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.

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