Train enthusiasts

Thomas The TrainStart your day at Taltree Arboretum & Gardens in Valparaiso, where the train master has seen visitor after visitor leave the huge railway garden amazed and impressed. You’ll be, too.

The railway garden’s wonderful waterfalls, elaborate bridges, impressive 14-foot change in elevation, and its more than 3,500 tiny trees and bushes are a hit with both kids and adults.

Taltree is also which is home to 3.5 miles of trails, a rose garden, a butterfly garden, a kids area with animals and plenty of events and concerts.

After hanging out at Taltree, enjoy a classic American meal at Industrial Revolution Eatery & Grille in Valparaiso. The restaurant pays homage to our nation’s Industrial Revolution and features a model train chugging above the dining area.

Also in Valparaiso is another model railway garden – [Listing not found!], which is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. CST Saturdays from April to October.

Head to downtown Porter, which is one of the best spots in the region to watch trains chug by. The dining choices in downtown Porter include the famous Wagner's Ribs and the train-themed Whistle Stop Bar and Grill (both of which are for those 21 and older), or Santiago's Mexican Restaurant.

For a train-themed overnight stay, Riley's Railhouse Bed & Breakfast, located along railroad tracks in Chesterton, has become a popular stop.

The next day, travel to one (or more) of the other great places for train lovers in Northern Indiana: the Hesston Steam Museum in LaPorte (where you can take a 2.5-mile journey on a real steam locomotive), the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum in North Judson (with its museum and train rides) and Elkhart’s National New York Central Railroad Museum (which features memorabilia and train cars).