“More than a ride...it’s an experience” is the motto for the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum in Washington, Pa.
"It is an important motto," said Scott Becker, executive director of the museum. "We pride ourselves on providing a great experience for our visitors.”
That experience can include a four-mile round trip on an antique streetcar, a guided tour of the Trolley Display Building and a stop at the visitors center. More than 50 trolleys are on display at the museum, Becker said.
“We tell people to allow 90 minutes for a tour so that they can see everything,” he said.
The Pennsylvania Trolley Museum is dedicated to sharing the history of trolleys as an important mode of transportation.
“We consider it a living history museum,” Becker said. “Fifty years ago, people used streetcars to go everywhere – work, the movies, shopping, visiting friends. We want people to know the history of the trolley.”
With more than 23,500 visitors in 2010, including many families and school children from the greater Pittsburgh area, the museum is a popular destination. Attendance for 2011 is up 17 percent from last year, Becker said.
The holidays should bring even more riders to the center. The popular Santa Trolley kicked off the museum's 2011 holiday season Nov. 25.
Santa arrived that morning on a 100-year-old Pittsburgh streetcar, Becker said.
No. 4145, a restored Pittsburgh Railways trolley, was used to transport Santa to the museum. Making the event even more special was the fact that when the history of 4145 was researched, workers found out it originally went into service on Nov. 25, 1911.
“To have it on the exact day that it was introduced 100 years ago is pretty special,” Becker said.
The Santa Trolley features a ride with Santa, who makes sure to visit each child on the scenic trip. Riders also will enjoy Christmas carolers and hot cocoa.
Included in the admission price is the Yuletide Shuttle, a ride with the museum’s “Mr. Conductor.”
The museum has a Lionel Train display featuring six trains and trolleys in the visitors center. The museum store also is open.
“We like to say that we appeal to children of all ages: from 2-year-old to 80-year-old kids,” Becker said. “There is a little kid in everyone, and we like to bring out that kid.”
The Santa Trolley operates from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends through Dec. 18. The last trolley with Santa leaves at 4 p.m. The museum will close for the 2011 season Dec. 18 and reopen March 30.
Admission is $9 for adults, $8 for ages 62 and older and $6 for ages 3 to 15. There is no cost for children younger than 3. There is a special $35 family rate for as many as two adults and four children.
The museum is participating in the “Toys for Tots” campaign. Free admission is granted to anyone who brings an unwrapped toy with a minimum value of $10. Toys will be accepted through Dec. 18.
The Pennsylvania Trolley Museum is at 1 Museum Road, Washington, Pa. For more information, call 724-228-9256 or visit the website at www.pa-trolley.org.