Riding the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad
When we visited Cuyahoga Valley National Park, we found that there was an excursion train that runs through the park, traveling between Independence and Akron. We thought this might be a fun way to experience the park and looked into ticket prices.
The National Park Scenic Train offers coach tickets for $15 for ages 13 and up, and $10 for ages 3-12. (Children under 3 can ride for free on a parent’s lap.) Although the prices are very reasonable, it adds up quickly for a larger family, so I started to look for discounts, coupons, or promotions. I found that if we rode the train on Thursday, that we would be eligible for a half-price military/veteran fare. The offer was extended to each veteran plus three guests. Since my husband and I are both veterans, we were able to purchase half-price tickets for all the kids. What a deal! I don’t know if this discount is available year-round. The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad offers different promotions throughout the year, such as “children ride free”. If you want to use the military/veteran discount, contact them to see if it is being offered, and if you don’t qualify, contact them to see what other promotions are offered that you may be able to benefit from.
Once we boarded the train and found seats, an easy task since there were not many passengers, the two Trainmen assigned to our car introduced themselves and told us a little about the train and the park. The trainmen are volunteers who give their time and talents to assist passengers, narrate the trip, and answer questions about the railroad and the region. Trainman Tom and Trainman Harold, who were assigned to our car, were both very knowledgeable and personable and patient with our group of inquisitive kids.
With our tickets we had the option to hop off the train and re-board later. At one stop, we did exactly that. A large group of us got off to spend several minutes exploring one of the educational exhibits within the park, a short walk from the platform. It was a nice chance to stretch our legs during the 3.5 hour trip, and the exhibits were very enjoyable.
Amenities and Other Excursion Options
There is a concession car on the train where one can purchase snacks, sandwiches, drinks, and souvenirs. Cash and credit cards are accepted. There are also toilets in the coach cars, but no running water for hand-washing. Waterless hand sanitzer was available. For visitors with mobility challenges, there is an ADA accessible car with a lift. Due to limited availability, they request that you call ahead to reserve seating in an accessible car.
Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad also puts on special excursions, such as a Polar Express Train for the holidays, and wine and beer tastings (nobody under 21 permitted on board) More information can be found at the FAQ on the official website.