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1:00 p.m. Sunday: Best Miniature Re-Creation of a Bygone Era 

Golden State Model Railroad Museum

Poetry can even be found in the chugging of a train, and the trains always run on time at the Golden Gate State Model Railroad Museum, where a group of obsessive rail buffs have assembled ten thousand square feet of model railroads inside a Point Richmond warehouse. The East Bay Model Engineers Society, which runs the museum, has been building model railroad layouts since 1933. No wonder there's an old-timey feel to the painstakingly detailed scenes here. One layout includes a 1/87th-scale recreation of East Bay locales including Oakland, Newark, and Martinez, circa 1930. Here you'll find long-gone sights such as the Key trolley line that used to run between the East Bay and San Francisco, and the long-defunct Oakland Mole ferry. The museum is a true labor of love. It's a paean to a time when trains embodied the American dreams of commerce and wanderlust, an era before freight cars became rolling canvases for taggers and the American passenger rail system became an accident-prone version of Greyhound. It's also a great attraction for kids -- okay, mainly kids with a Y chromosome. The museum is open from 12:00-5:00 p.m. every weekend day April through December. Free on Saturdays. Trains only run on Sundays, but visitors can tour the models for free on Saturdays.

(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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