This weekend, residents young and old can tour Largo Central Park via train.
That is, via a one-eighth scale model of a real train that carries passengers on a mile-long journey around the leafy 70-acre park, through a 160-foot-long tunnel, and up and over a man-made lake and waterfall.
Volunteers from a club called the Largo Central Railroad operate the four to six miniature trains that represent different eras of U.S. railroading. Everything about the design of the trains is authentic, from the engines to the whistles, right down to the paint schemes.
On the first full weekend of every month, the Largo Central Railroad offers rides to the public. Each train can carry up to 25 passengers.
For Walter Jamison, past president of the club and current board member, the train rides are an important way children can learn about the history of railroads.
Nowadays, he said, model trains are less common as gifts, so most children don't have many opportunities to learn about trains.
"This gives the kids the chance to get up close to the locomotives and see that these are just the same kind of engines that they see when they're riding along the highways and the train passes through," he said. "It gives them an idea of exactly what a railroad is and what its usefulness is."
The club, founded in 1991 and run on donations, also gives presentations to student, Scout and church groups.
"We stress the history of railroading and how it's helped bring this country to where it is," Jamison said.
Adults and children ages 1 and up can get a ride between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. this Saturday and Sunday, and the first full weekend of every month. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
Admission is free, but donations are welcomed.