Railroad Days at the Union Pacific Museum is back, recognizing the 150th anniversary of the first national transcontinental railroad completed.
The community wide celebration commemorates president Abraham Lincoln’s designation of Council Bluffs as “Mile Zero.”
Events will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at various locations in Council Bluffs and Omaha. Areas to visit include the 100 Block, the General Dodge House, RailsWest Railroad Museum, and the Union Pacific Railroad Museum. Participating Omaha locations include Lauritzen Gardens, The Durham Museum and the Union Pacific’s Home Plate.
“The Union Pacific Museum is excited to represent Mile Zero of the nation’s first transcontinental railroad and be a part of this community-wide celebration of railroad heritage,” said Patricia LaBounty, curator of the Union Pacific Railroad Museum.
Bayliss Park will also hold activities for the first time this year to celebrate the anniversary.
From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the park will hold family friendly activities including train rides, a live music performance, vendors, interactive demonstrations, food trucks, art and more.
School buses or trolleys are available for transportation, provided by the Iowa West Foundation.
The vehicles will run in loops between locations.
The Council Bluffs Loop runs from Union Pacific Railroad Museum to RailsWest Railroad Museum to Historic General Dodge House to the 100 Block and back.
The River Loop runs from Lauritzen Gardens to Durham Museum to the Union Pacific’s Home Plate.
This year the 100 Block was added to the loop as an extra stop for food, restrooms and ATMs.
“The 100 Block businesses are excited to be included as a stop on the Railroad Days route,” said Donna Schoeppner, 100 Block event coordinator. “It will be a great opportunity for participants to take a break and grab a bite and a drink. Then they will be refreshed to complete their journey to all the other exciting stops.”
A “Drinkin’ with Lincoln” pub crawl will take place from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday.
The first 100 participants will be given Abraham Lincoln-style hats and beards.
Different Lincoln-era challenges will occur at each participating location and a beard contest.
Railroad festivities continue Monday as the Big Boy No. 4014 steam locomotive will travel from Omaha through western Iowa to Boone. Tickets for this ride provide funds for the Union Pacific Museum’s exhibits and programming.
A family pass for Railroad Days costs $15 and admits two adults and dependent children for both days. Additional adults to this pass costs $5. The pass admits two grandparents and up to four grandchildren.