Train Day held at Aiken Railroad Depot

May 11, 2019

What do balloon animals, sing-along songs and trains have in common?

It’s all a part of the Train Day celebration held every year in downtown Aiken at the Aiken Railroad Depot.

“This (Train Day) is actually a national holiday,” said Mary Rosback of the Aiken Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism. She has been involved with the event for five years.

Train Day is a family-centric event that includes several activities for kids, such as a sing-along session, vendors and games, mini-train rides and music from the Depot Jam.

“It’s a daily occurrence that someone wants to be in the passenger car and in the caboose,” said Hampton Wayt of the Aiken Visitors Center and Train Museum. “This is the one day a year, up to this point, where we actually open up the caboose ... By the fall, we hope to have that open full-time.”

Stephanie Lee, who went to the event with her family, posed for pictures with her sons inside the caboose.

“We came two years ago, and we had fun,” Lee said. “I knew they had train rides, which is cheaper than at the mall. Jacob, our youngest, really loves trains at this age. He’s 18 months old, and he’s totally into Thomas and everything.”

The event was also a chance for kids to use the drive-a-train exhibit, which opened around Christmastime in the depot. The exhibit, which is comprised of several vintage pieces of train sets from the 1920s, was donated by several local families and added onto by Wayt. The exhibit has been a major hit with visitors.

“That, we’ve seen, has been so engaging,” Rosback said. “It is now a permanent exhibit. It will stay inside the depot. Families and children of all ages enjoy it. It’s a way for them to be more hands on.”

The Aiken Visitor’s Center and Train Museum is located at 406 Park Avenue SE. It is open Tuesday – Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.