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I'm flying out Tuesday morning for St.Petersburg Florida (Tampa Bay Area) . I'll be there for a week. One day I'm taking my son fishing in the Gulf, one day sea kayaking, otherwise I expect to have sand between my toes and a cocktail in my hand.. 

Are there any good train related things to see in the area? Great garden layouts I could invite myself to impose upon, Good train shops to visit, Any other RR related stuff to see? ????

I'll entertain any and all suggestions.. 

Thanks guys.  
 
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The indoor layout in orlando is fantastic, i was there about 10 years ago and had a great time. glad to see it still in operation i thought i had read it closed.
Nick:D
 

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Dave,

Couple of thoughts: I live further south in Ft Myers.

1. Tampa has a great restored trolley system that runs from the cruise ship pier/aqarium (which is excellent by the way) to a shoping/dining night club area.

2. Tampa bay union station is restored and quite beautiful.

3. H&R trains in in St Pete and is a great garden railway store--they even have a G layout outside.

4. CSX bone valley line is just east of Tampa, good railfanning, but maps and a scanner is generally reccomeded.

5. Down in my area (2 hours south) the Seminole Gulf Railway has a great murder mystery dinner train (the food and entertainment is better than the scenery). It is a push pull afair with a GP-9 on one end and a converted F unit on the other as a control cab.

6. Mt Dora (east of Orlando) has a steam dinner train as well.

7. I think that there is a Lionel train museum near the airport in Bradenton (1 hour south of Tampa)--have not been there in a while, not sure if it is still there.

8. Look at Disney World in Orlando (about an hour east of Tampa): you can get a early morning tour of their steam railroad--behind the scenes with all the Disney history and trivia you can absorb--albiet a bit expensive (you have to pay for the tour and a ticket to the park). I did it and it was a blast. I have a saying about everything Disney though: "free" is a 4 letter word at Disney. I love the place anyway.

That is off the top of my head. Please feel free to contact me via email if you have any questions.

Matt
 
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