For the grown-ups, there are plenty of benches surrounding the train tables, coffee and snacks, and a family-friendly bathroom located close to the tracks (perfect for toddlers and preschoolers in the tender stages of potty training).
Upstairs, Whittle Shortline hosts birthday parties. A private room houses another large train table, and a separate room provides space for food and drinks and party games. Every birthday child has the opportunity to leave their mark on the walls of Whittle Shortline Railroad. Party hosts help kids put their handprints, names and the date on the wall.
All of this train fun is housed in a building rich with its own railroad history. The Frisco Hotel, a Valley Park icon, was built in 1880 to house crews who were laying tracks westward through Missouri, according to the Whittle Shortline Railroad website. The building later became a commercial hotel, and has since housed bars, restaurants, social clubs, a brothel and a barber shop. Whittle Shortline Railroad, a family owned company, bought the Frisco Hotel in 1999. More than 70 trains chug past the Frisco each day, and kids have a nice view of the trains through the store's front window.
Play at Whittle Shortline is free, however they do ask for donations in a large metal kettle. Kids love listening to coins clank in the container. The shop hosts family fun nights on the second Friday of the month for $4.50 per child. During these special events, both floors are open and special activities are planned for kids.
Whittle Shortline Railroad
28 Front St.
Valley Park, MO 63088
Whittle Shortline is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 12-5 p.m.