Wheaton Regional Park consists of 536 acres of land in Montgomery County. There are several distinct areas of the park and it is impossible to see it all in one visit. Located in the Shorefield Area of the park, the miniature train and historic carousel are popular destinations for families.
The Shorefield Area is accessed off of Georgia Avenue and has a huge parking lot to accommodate the many users of this section of the park. The carousel and train station are located a short walk from the parking lot. Tickets for both rides can be purchased at the train station and are interchangeable between the two amusements. At $1.75 per ticket, this is a fun and affordable day out.
The carousel was built around 1915 and was housed on the National Mall from the 1960s through 1980. It was restored and moved to its current location in Wheaton Regional Park in 1981. The carousel has 33 horses, 3 zebras and several chariot seats. This ride is located under a pavilion, allowing it to operate during the rain (though they reserve the right to close it).
The miniature train is a replica of an 1863 C.P. Huntington engine and passenger cars. The 15 minute long train ride takes you through wooded areas, meadows, over a bridge and through a tunnel. Not bad for $1.75! The conductors know their crowd and help to create a fun atmosphere with added touches like blowing the train whistle and bellowing the “All Aboard”before departing the station. The train cars are reasonably comfortable and can sit 2 to 3 people. The sides of the train car are open with the exception of a small chain going across. There are many trees that the train passes closely next to so it is really important to keep all of the little hands inside.
Restrooms are located in the train station building, which also has a party room available for rent. Both the men’s and women’s restrooms have changing areas. There is no food service at Wheaton Regional but several vending machines are located in the carousel area for drinks and ice cream. On Saturdays and Sundays in the Spring and Summer the Shorefield Area of the park is crowded with many parties and barbeques at the picnic shelters. The train and carousel run continuously on busy weekends so the wait is never too long.
Also located in this area of Wheaton Regional Park is a large playground area consisting of 4 different play structures, a swing area, a sand area and several play jeeps. The playground has equipment for varying ages and agility levels but it can be difficult keeping track of your kids. While the play area is vast, most of the equipment is old. The majority of the structures are wood and all have a mulch surface underneath. Another set of restrooms and water fountains are located nearby.
There are many other areas of Wheaton Regional Park that can be explored by families. Pine Lake is a great spot for fishing, Brookside Gardens and Nature Center can be accessed by walking trails within the park, and the Wheaton Riding Stables offer guided trail rides for those 8 and up every Sunday. Come spend a day with your family in this expansive Montgomery County Park.
Miniature Train and Carousel Hours and Operating Schedule
- Open Saturdays and Sundays only in April and September 10am â€” 5pm
Daily operation begins May 1st
- Monday through Thursday 10am – 5:30pm
- Fri, Sat, Sun. and Holidays 10am – 7pm
Tickets are $1.75 per ride. You can also purchase a book of 10 tickets for $15.75. Tickets do not expire. Visa and Mastercard are accepted.
Photo by Kim Engstrom