Audrey and Harry Lesner, otherwise known as The Budget Savvy Travelers, are full-time travelers and digital nomads. Born and raised in Chicago, their passion to show others how to break free without breaking the budget. They are the proud winners of the 2019 Top Budget Travel Blog.
The National Museum of Transportation was founded in 1944 and consists of a wonderful collection of planes, trains, and automobiles. It’s recognized as the largest collection of vehicles in the world, and the Smithsonian Institution considers it to be one of the best collections in the world. The museum is a must-see attraction for enthusiasts of historical vehicles.
Displaying more than 70 locomotives, the massive museum covers about 42-acres just outside St. Louis, in Kirkwood Missouri. The indoor/outdoor space is located on three of Route 66 alignments, making it an easy pit stop along the way. The private museum focuses on preserving, restoring, and displaying all kinds of vehicles including locomotives, cars, boats, aircraft, and railroad equipment. The museum sits along a railway spur making it easy to accept unusual and large pieces to add to its collection.
Near the parking lot, visitors will be greeted by a full-sized trolley that operates on a loop of track circling the grounds. The first artifact accepted into the museum was a mule-drawn Bellefontaine #33 streetcar that originally operated from about 1870 to 1895. A few other prized possessions include an 1858 wood-burning locomotive, a 1920s Pullman sleeping car, a Big Boy (famous for being the world’s largest steam locomotive), a Chrysler turbine car signed by Jay Leno, and Bobby Darin’s 1960 dream car.
The National Museum of Transportation has seasonal hours but is generally open Monday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. During the colder months, it’s closed on Monday and Tuesday. On Sundays, the museum is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. General admission costs $10 for military and seniors, $12 for adults 13 to 64, and $5 for children 3 to 12. Children under 3 are free.
Cover image by MadeYourReadThis via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)