Events: South Coast Railroad Museum

Calendar of Events and Activities


Free Miniature-Train Rides

Free Handcar Rides

Continuing Lecture Series

Free Railroad Films


Free Films in the Gandy Dancer Theater

The Gandy Dancer Theater is closed while we refurnish Goleta Depot's freighthouse area. Until the Gandy Dancer Theater reopens, visitors may view films and film clips anytime on the "Information Station" resource in the Visitor Center.

"Toy Trains & Teddy Bears"
Holiday Display  

"Toy Trains and Teddy Bears! What better symbols are there of the Holidays, Past and Present. In that spirit, these cherished keepsakes are shared anew this Joyous Season - as their gift to you - by members of our Museum Family, young and old."

So reads the label that introduces the museum's annual holiday exhibition, which opens Friday, November 25, 2016 and continues through the month of December in the Waiting Room at Goleta Depot. The display features toy locomotives and cars and a menagerie of stuffed animals - some rare, all precious - borrowed from the homes of Junior Engineers Club members, museum volunteers, members, trustees, and staff, as well as from the museum's own collections.

Great Goleta Rail Race

Saturday, May 21, 2016. Unlimited free miniature-train and handcar rides will be given on this May Saturday, as the museum celebrates the 35th anniversary of its spring fundraiser. A "Great Goleta Rail Race" theme has been used for 20 years. The event is made possible by contributions from hundreds of museum members, friends, and supporters.

Reminiscent of the tale of John Henry, the Great Goleta Rail Race offers its own version of the epic struggle between human and machine, as the people-powered museum handcar is pitted against the Goleta Short Line miniature-train in a competition to determine which can complete the greatest number of passenger-miles over a three-hour period. From 1 until 4 p.m. on race day, both the handcar and train will operate continuously, giving free rides to all visitors. Race officials will keep careful record of the total passengers carried and the distance completed by each conveyance. The Great Race winner will be determined based on these totals, adjusted using a handicap based on the previous years' results.

Museum members, as well as the general public, are invited to attend, to observe the action and cheer on the participants, as well as to actively join in as rider-participants, themselves. At the event, you, your family members, and friends may throw your support behind either the handcar or train, simply by riding that vehicle once or as often as you like; or, you may use the opportunity to enjoy the free rides on both the train and handcar. All riders will receive a certificate acknowledging their Great Race participation. The museum's normal, slow operating speeds will be maintained throughout the event. Train riders must be at least 34 inches tall; the handcar ride has a 48-inch height requirement.

Super Saturday!

"Super Saturday!" is an annual event held at the museum before the Super Bowl football game. The next event will be Saturday, February 6, 2016. Hours: 1-4 p.m. The event marks the first weekend day of unlimited free miniature-train rides during the year. It is open to the general public.

Sponsors for the 2015 Super Saturday event:

* Rotary Club of Goleta Noontime
* Michael J. Gartzke, CPA
* Bruce and Andrea Morden
* In Memory of Peter Tiersma
* Thea Cremers
* Noel and Peggy Langle
* Marc Bradley & Lori Roper
* Ralph and Vicki Kornahrens

Candy Cane Train

Buy your Candy Cane Tickets online and receive an extra train-ride free (save $1.50 with each ticket purchased!)

The 24th annual "Candy Cane Train," the railroad museum's popular year-end family event, begins Friday, November 25, 2016, continuing through Dec 24. The event runs daily, except for Nov. 28-30, Dec 1, 5-8, and 12-15, when the museum is closed.

Event hours are 1 to 4 p.m. on Nov 25 and weekends; 2 to 4 p.m. all other weekdays. Last train departs at 3:45 each day!

Candy Cane Train tickets are $4 (adult or child), which includes a ride on the festively-decorated miniature train, an assortment of holiday treats and favors, and a coupon good for a future museum train ride. Extra rides on the Candy Cane Train will be available for $1.50 each. Museum members receive their customary 25¢ discount on all tickets purchased. Tickets will be sold at the museum during event hours or in advance through the online store. For the safety of our guests, all train riders must meet the 34-inch minimum-height requirement.

Those attending the Candy Cane Train event also will be able to enjoy the museum's holiday display, Toy Trains and Teddy Bears!, also opening on Nov. 25.

Free Miniature-Train Rides

Each year the museum schedules a number of days during which unlimited free rides are offered to all of our visitors on the "Goleta Short Line" miniature-train. On these free days, trains normally run two or more times an hour, starting 15 minutes after the museum opens, with the last train of the day dispatched at 3:45 p.m. These free-ride days include:

Free Fridays - Train rides are free every Friday in 2016 until Thanksgiving. Sponsored by Fairview Car Wash.

Free Rides For Moms *** Free Rides For Dads
As a token of our esteem, the museum gives free miniature-train rides for moms every Mother's Day (Sunday, May 8, 2016) , while free rides for dads are included as part of “Rotary Day” (see next paragraph) on Father's Day.

Rotary Day - Free miniature-train and handcar rides on Father's Day (Sunday, June 19, 2016) are sponsored annually by the Goleta Noontime Rotary Club.

Free Handcar Rides

Handcar rides are free on the third Saturday of every month.

Continuing Lecture Series

“Introduction To The Coast Starlight Trails & Rails Program”
Presented by: Museum Director Dr. Gary Coombs & members of the museum's Coast Starlight guide team.

Two Dates & Locations:

1. Date/Time: Wed., March 9, 2016; 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Place: Visitor's Center, South Coast Railroad Museum,
300 North Los Carneros Rd., Goleta, CA 93117

2. Date/Time: Thurs., Feb. 25, 2016; 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Place: Willow Glen Branch Library, 1157 Minnesota Ave,
San Jose, CA 95112

Coast Starlight GuideLearn about the South Coast Railroad Museum's volunteer guide program aboard Amtrak's Coast Starlight trains, which is conducted in partnership with the National Park Service's “Trails & Rails” program, Juan Bautista De Anza National Historic Trail, and Amtrak.

Find out what it's like to be a member of the team of dedicated museum volunteers who ride the Coast Starlight, sharing with passengers information about local history, points-of-interest along the route, things to do, and the natural history of the area.

This presentation is designed especially for persons who are interested in becoming Coast Starlight guides for the 2016 travel season (mid-April thru Sept.).

The public is cordially invited to attend this presentation. There is no admission charge.

Future Continuing Lecture Series programs will be announced here.

Most Continuing Lecture Series programs are held at the Goleta Public Library, 500 North Fairview Ave., Goleta, beginning at 7 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public. Refreshments are usually served following the program.

Easter Bunny Express

Saturday, March 26, 2016. One of the museum most eagerly-awaited family events, the Easter Bunny Express is held each year the day before Easter Sunday. Hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Those holding the event's egg-shaped tickets may participate in a variety of activities, including scheduled stops at Wabbit-Twacks Station (to board the museum's miniature train for a 1/3-mile ride around the grounds); Easter-Bunnyville (to meet the Easter Bunny and select an egg surprise); Jack-Rabbit Junction (to enter a drawing for some marvelous gifts); and What's Up Dock (to collect another event souvenir).

Tickets ($4 for adults and children) will be available at the museum during the event until 3:30 p.m.; or they may be purchased in advance during museum hours (Fri.-Sun., 1-4 p.m.).

BUY tickets now through the museum's online store and receive 25 cents off each ticket purchased — and avoid the admissions line on event day!

Hop aboard the Easter Bunny Express. It's sure to be another hare-raising eggs-perience for the whole family! If it rains, the event will be moved to the following Saturday.

Depot Day

Sunday, August 21, 2016. Depot Day is held annually on the last Sunday in September. Hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Depot Day is held each fall to commemorate and celebrate the preservation of Goleta Depot. Depot Day, which is made possible by members and friends, is also the museum's main annual community fundraiser.

MORE about Depot Day.

Steaming Summer

Steaming Summer grew to become “Goleta Railroad Days” in 2009. The 2014 event will be held over the weekend of August 9-10.

Visit the Goleta Railroad Days website

Hours will be 11 am to 4 pm each day.

Stories on past events can be found in the "In The News" pages. Or, conduct a search for "Steaming Summer" (with quotes), using the search tool on the menu above.
Watch a video of the 2005 Steaming Summer event.


All Events »   

Take a Scenic Daytrip on a Vintage Railcar!

Download your free copy of the new HISTORY OF GOLETA DEPOT

Explore the museum's IMAGE GALLERIES.

Check out the latest MUSEUM NEWSLETTER.

South Coast Railroad Museum

From the Museum Blog:

Posted 12/16/2015
Museum Hours:

Posted 11/24/2015
Don't Miss The Candy Cane Train!

Posted 09/02/2015
Depot Day Coming Sept. 27

Posted 03/24/2015

Posted 12/22/2014
Sweetheart Special Vintage-Rail Trip

Posted 11/03/2014
Support Museum With AmazonSmile

Posted 10/06/2014
Garcias Are Museum Heroes

Posted 02/10/2014
Trains For A Green Planet

Posted 01/13/2014
Museum Joins Rose Parade Festivities

Posted 11/23/2013
Decorating For The Holidays

Posted 10/24/2013
"Family Fun Train" Coming Nov. 9

Posted 07/29/2013
SB Vino Train Tickets Available Through Museum's Online Store

Posted 04/16/2013
Welcome, Mariem!

Posted 03/11/2013
Pride Of Madeira Ready To Bloom

Posted 02/18/2013
Sweetheart Special Had Lots To Savor

Posted 02/12/2013
Goleta Short Line's No. 1316 Based On Historic S.P. Diesel Switcher

Posted 02/07/2013
Nancy Steps Up!

Posted 01/30/2013
Rick Reeves Completes Training

Posted 01/23/2013
Turntable Upgrade Completed

Posted 01/16/2013
Borgia Has A New Look!

Posted 01/09/2013
Meet Our New Intern: Shuyan Dong

Posted 01/03/2013
Blueprints Share Depot Architecture

Posted 01/01/2013
Coast Starlight Volunteer Training Scheduled For 2013

Posted 12/20/2012
In Memoriam: James Higman

Posted 12/19/2012
Historic Super Chief Lounge, Acoma, Being Readied For Return To Service

Follow us
on Twitter

Like Us On Facebook