Ruland Junction Toy Train Museum | AR

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Ruland Junction Toy Train Museum located in Heber Springs, Arkansas. Family visit to this unique and charming museum filled with two stories of trains and memorabilia.

We’re always looking for fun new places to explore as a family. So when I found out that there was a toy train museum near our favorite camping area, we had to take the trip to check it out.

After five years of calling Arkansas our home, we never knew this little gem existed. This museum isn’t just for young children who love trains, adults alike will get lost in the owners stories and creative way this man can use an old Band-Aid tin.

Follow our journey on…

This toy train museum is set back a few block from Main Street. It’s located in a residential neighborhood and can be easily missed if you normally only travel the main roads in town.

Heber Springs is known for their beautiful lake with great boating, swimming and more. But it can get a bit busy and after visiting here you’re reminded to slow down and get creative with the things that surround you.

Ruland Juncation Toy Train Museum

Ruland Toy Train Museum is located at 401 S 12th Street, Heber Springs, Arkansas. The parking area is a bit small but there was only one other car in the lot when we arrived for our visit.

Ruland Junction Toy Train Museum

This charming building with its railroad crossing sign gives the feeling of an old train station, and at any second a conductor will call “all aboard!” and collect your tickets.

We walked through the red front doors and were greeted with a friendly voice saying that he’d be right over. Walking over to us was Wayne Ruland, the owner and operator of Ruland Junction Toy Train Museum.

Black antique train with a red stripe.

The first question he asked was directed to our daughters.

“Do you like trains?”

For a moment they stared at him unsure of how to reply. They’ve enjoyed The Polar Express in Branson. But that was more to meet Santa Clause. We’ve also visited an antique store at Pickles Gap Village in Conway, where they had a rather elaborate train setup towards the back of the store. But that ends our experience with trains.

We replied with “a little bit.”

“Well, we’ll have to see if I can change your mind.”

Old photos displayed on a glass case.

Mr. Ruland asked if we’d like a little tour and we followed him to a glass case with antique trains ranging from box cars to more intricate designs.

And so the stories began of how his father made his first train at the age of 4.

Homemade toy train depot from an erector set.
Train depot with tall toy crane.

The glass case was a timeline. His father’s trains at the age of 4, 10, 14 and so on. Each one with more detail than the last. Along the way he would ask questions to get them thinking outside of the box.

What do you think this is made out of? As he pointed to an old Band-Aid tin for train cargo.

Toy figurines standing on a train platform
Mr. Ruland giving a tour of his museum

He continued to give us a tour, pointing out along the way things that he made when he was younger. Or something a little boy or girl had made for him over the years for his museum.

After our tour he looked at the girls and asked if they’d like to see the trains go around the track. Then he sent them up to a spot on the stairs landing for a better view of all the trains.

At one point our girls sat down on the landing. Not only were their trains on the tracks in front of you, there were also trains underneath in the hidden village below.

Train, tracks, villages and more all displayed on a large table.
Two young girls watching the trains at the museum.

Up the wooden staircase are more trains and villages to explore. Above you are exposed beams and angled ceiling lined with maps and other vintage clippings. You’ll even find a village straight out of the 50’s with classic cars and stores lining the main street.

50's village with classic cars and town with church in the center.

As we made our way back down to the red doors to drive back to our campsite, he handed them each a little craft to get their projects started. Even though they didn’t know too much about trains before, they left with inspiration to get creative with the things they have at hand.

Admission

Adults- $5.00 Children 12 and under- $2.50 -Cash only

After our trip they came home and grabbed all of the cereal boxes and paper towel rolls out of the recycling bin. They had much bigger plans for them.

It has turned into the start of their very own village.

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