We rode the main steam engine and my boys loved it. My oldest is 5 but I would imagine a 7 year old would like it too.
The steam train is a trip on a piece of Americana, and takes about 1.5 hours. Its maybe the steepest incline you will ever take on a train. And so, the speed of the train is relatively slow. It's amazing to see the energy involved as the train is near peak power, huffing and puffing, and steam blowing out. If you take it, try to sit in the front car, to get the full effect. Ride about 1.5 hours.
The beach train, on the other hand is totally different. It's a very quite, relaxing scenic ride, in open cars, or a early 1900's enclosed car, similar to the cars you see in cowboy movies of the 1950's. The trip itself is about 2 hours. But it takes you right to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. You can stay 2 hours, or, you can stay there 5 hours. That's what we do. Season passes for both. You can't beat it. My grandson, who loves trains since he was 4, went on 13 trips to the beach, and 5 steam train rides.
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