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Granby’s Christmas Trains Display better than ever this year

Granby’s Christmas Trains Display better than ever this year

Al Warner shares his love of trains with his grandson Luke during their visit to the 2019 Christmas train display in Granby.
Amy Golden / agolden@skyhinews.com

Starting the day after Thanksgiving, trains once again chug around a tiny Christmas village that has been a Grand County tradition for more than a decade.

The Christmas Trains Display in Granby features hours of work and details in every piece. And this season is going to be better than ever, according to Director Dave Naples.

The Christmas train display has five working trains chugging along the tracks of the model ski town that spreads 1,200 square feet. The Christmas village features two working ski lifts, 150 homes in the village and almost 400 figures. New this year, the display will include a working roadway for cars and extra Christmas decorations.



For the first eight years of this tradition, it was built for the holiday season somewhere in Granby and then torn down. The train display moved to its permanent location four years ago at the Moffat Road Railroad Museum, making it the largest permanent Christmas train display in Colorado.

The first year the display was open, 600 people visited. Now, almost 4,000 come to the display every Christmas season and Naples expects just as many visitors this year.



“It’s become a tradition, with people coming back year after year after year,” Naples said. “I have families that started with us and now their kids are teenagers and they’re still coming.”

The Christmas train display is a tradition for families at the Moffat Road Railroad Museum, as enjoyed here in 2019 in Granby.
Amy Golden / agolden@skyhinews.com

Al Warner was at the display the day it opened for the 2019 season with his son- in-law and grandson. They were visiting from Denver and this was their first time to the Granby train display.

Warner, who is a big train enthusiast, brought his grandson Luke because he hopes to get him interested in trains.

“I think this is super,” Warner said. “I’ve seen bigger ones but this is a great size for little guys. It’s just super to get them close enough to it to where they can appreciate it.”

Families often spend up to an hour and a half at the museum. Part of the display includes a scavenger hunt looking for small details throughout the Christmas village — and there are a lot of details.

According to Naples, it took four people working full-time for four months to build the display. They spend 500-600 hours working on it every year, meaning each year’s Christmas village is a little bit different.

“We can’t wait to come back,” Warner said.

Some exciting upgrades are coming to the museum this year as well. The railroad museum will feature a newly opened visitors center, which will be a Christmas store for the holiday season.

The Moffat Road Railroad Museum’s new visitor center offers a Christmas store for the holiday season. The 1957 building was saved from destruction in 2018 and opened this year.
Courtesy Moffat Road Railroad Museum

A Walt Disney crew built the visitor’s center in 1957 as the fun house attraction for the Magic Mountain Amusement Park. The building became the Heritage Square Amusement Park in Golden in 1971. It was added on to and became the Wedding Bell Chapel.

The Moffat Road Railroad Museum saved the building from destruction in 2018 and brought it up to Granby. The bell tower and steeple have been added to the roof and work has been completed on the inside, including a display of historical artifacts and gift shop.

Naples said the Christmas store will offer imported and artisan ornaments, decorations and handmade local gifts, along with model trains.

The railroad museum is also working on completed a children’s train ride that could open as soon as Thanksgiving, but that depends on when the locomotive and cars are finished being constructed. Naples plans to add on to one of the buildings on site and to work on the caboose this winter.

“The plans are pretty ambitious but we don’t know how to shoot low,” Naples said.

Find the Christmas schedule for the museum at moffatroadrailroadmuseum.org. Santa and reindeer will be visiting the museum Saturday and Sunday as well.

Naples is asking all guests comply with local COVID-19 guidance, including face masks. The number of visitors will be limited to two families per building, but no reservations are required.

Find the museum at 555 County Road 574 next to Kaibab Park in Granby.

Museums in Grand County

Headwaters River Journey

Winter Park is home to a one-of-a-kind museum that’s focused on water and sustainability by highlighting local waterways, such as the Fraser and Colorado Rivers. With over 31 exhibits, many interactive, the Headwaters River Journey engages visitors with games, real- world examples and creativity stations. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and free for children and students. Reserve a tour time by calling 970-300-3337 ext.1 or email info@headwaterscenter.com.

Cozens Ranch Museum

Learn about the pioneer days of the Fraser Valley and what it looked like to journey over Berthoud Pass on foot at the Cozens Ranch Museum. The first homestead, post office and stage stop in the Fraser Valley is now home to exhibits about the Cozens family, Doc Susie, President Eisenhower, Ute Native People and the discovery of Berthoud Pass. It also features a gallery of local artists and books on Grand County history. Tickets are $3 for children ages 6-17, $6 for adults and $5 for seniors. The museum is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

Pioneer Village

Inside what was once the original Hot Sulphur Springs Schoolhouse, built in 1924, the Pioneer Village Museum was established in 1974. It’s also home to the original courthouse, county jail, a blacksmith shop and more. The skiing display highlights the humble beginning of the major Colorado industry in Hot Sulphur and also features 8,500 year old artifacts from the Windy Gap. The museum is open from 10 a.m.-4p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Admission is $6 or adults, $5 for seniors and $3 for children.

Kauffman House Museum

The Kauffman House is the only remaining log hotel built in Grand Lake prior to 1900 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The museum’s collection includes historic house displays, winter sports equipment and other historical artifacts from Grand Lake’s unique history. The museum is open for special occasions during the winter. Go to grandlakehistory.org for more.

 


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