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Tweetsie Railroad Travel Guide (Attractions and The 5 Best Things to Do)

Published by Carl Hedinger. Last Updated on May 27, 2024.

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Tweetsie Railroad in Blowing Rock (near Boone) is the perfect place to reconnect with your inner child! This Wild West theme park offers a special experience for the entire family.

The heart of the park is a ride on an authentic steam train, but visitors can enjoy live entertainment, delicious food, and other exciting rides and activities.

Tweetsie Railroad is one of the top attractions in Western North Carolina. If you still aren’t convinced about all the fun to be had here, then keep reading.

There are so many things to do at Tweetsie Railroad that you’ll be booking your tickets before the end of our guide!

Tweetsie Railroad smoke

Of course, we think you need to take in as much info about the park and all the Tweetsie Railroad attractions as possible, and here’s how we have organized this guide:

  • Where is Tweetsie Railroad?
  • The History of Tweetsie Railroad
  • Hours of Operation
  • Ticket Info
  • Tweetsie Railroad Attractions
  • Special Events
  • The Best Things to Do at Tweetsie Railroad (Our Top 5 Picks)
  • Things to Do Nearby

You’re welcome to skip to any section below or continue reading about the park’s location and the history of Tweetsie Railroad.

Read More: 40 Wonderful Places To Visit In The High Country (Boone, Blowing Rock, And More!)

Where is Tweetsie Railroad?

Address: 300 Tweetsie Railroad Ln, Blowing Rock, NC
Official Website

Tweetsie Railroad

Tweetsie Railroad is located in Watauga County between downtown Blowing Rock and Boone, North Carolina, two mountain towns known for beautiful views.

The entrance to the park is on Highway 321, the road that connects the two towns. Its convenient location makes Tweetsie Railroad a great day trip from Boone or Blowing Rock as a base.

You can visually plan your trip to Tweetsie Railroad and its surroundings with our Western North Carolina Map.

Read More: The North Carolina Travel Map (with 1000+ Great Places Included!)

The History of Tweetsie Railroad

Tweetsie Christmas steam engine

The Tweetsie Railroad has long been a presence in Western North Carolina, dating back to 1866. Since then, it has undergone changes and modifications that make it the beloved theme park that it is now.

  • In 1866, the Tennessee legislature granted East Tennessee & Western North Carolina Railroad Company permission to build a railroad through the Blue Ridge Mountains.
  • By 1919, the railroad had expanded to Boone, North Carolina, connecting the small mountain town with the rest of the state.
  • Around this time, locals nicknamed the railroad “Tweetsie” because of the shrill “tweet, tweet” whistles that echoed throughout the mountains. The train has been known as Tweetsie ever since.
Tweetsie Railroad riding the traing
  • However, all good things must come to an end. Floods swept through the area in 1940 and destroyed the railroads in Boone.
  • In 1950, the railroad company ceased operations and scrapped all the steam locomotives that were used, except for one, the No. 12 “Tweetsie.”
  • The No. 12 locomotive was then moved around the country, from Virginia to California. It was brought back to Boone in 1956 by Grover Robbins Jr. He and his brothers are responsible for multiple High Country attractions we know today. They include the ski facility at Beech Mountain, the Land of Oz attraction there, and The Blowing Rock.
  • The current Tweetsie Railroad premiered in the summer of 1957, with No. 12 taking people for excursions around the mountains. The three-mile track was completed the following year.
  • In 1960, Tweetsie Railroad obtained another authentic steam locomotive, the No. 190 from Alaska.
  • In the following decades, Tweetsie Railroad transformed into North Carolina’s first theme park. A Wild West-themed town was built around the station, and attractions have been added to it throughout the years.

Read More: 125+ Important Facts About North Carolina You Should Know (History, Geography, and More!)

Tweetsie Railroad lower level rides

Hours of Operations

The park operates from April to October (make sure to check their website for specific days of operation). In the off-season, the park is open for select dates for special events, such as Tweetsie Ghost Train in September and October, followed by Tweetsie Christmas, which begins in late November.

Read More: The 11 Best Places to Go Snow Tubing in North Carolina

Tweetsie Railroad chairlift

Ticket Info

The theme park has different ticketing options to meet all your needs. One-time tickets for Tweetsie Christmas are as follows:

  • Adults: $60
  • Child (3-12): $40
  • Child 0-2 Years: Free

There are also seasonal and annual pass tickets for frequent visitors.

Your admission covers the price of the train ride, chair lift, and all of the rides. Additional costs include gem mining, food and drink, and animal feed for the petting zoo.

Tweetsie Ticket Information:

Tweetsie Railroad train approaching

Tweetsie Railroad Attractions

Today, Tweetsie Railroad is so much more than an excursion railroad. It is the heart of Western North Carolina, with attractions like amusement rides, live shows, a zoo, and so much more.

Here are some of the best things to do at Tweetsie Railroad.

The Wild West Train Adventure!

Tweetsie Railroad Blowing Rock NC Wild West Adventure

All aboard! Of course, the first thing on our list is an action-packed ride on one of the trains. The park operates two historic narrow-gauge steam locomotives: No. 12 and No. 190.

Both trains leave from the station at the entrance and take riders on a three-mile track around the park with lots of interactive demonstrations and shows weaved throughout.

Tweetsie Railroad show

Daytime tickets let visitors take unlimited rides on the Wild West Train Adventure. For special events, including Tweetsie Christmas, visitors must purchase tickets for one specific train departure time that will take them to the park.

Read More: Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in Bryson City (Everything You Need to Know to Have a Great Time!)

Amusement Rides

Tweetsie Railroad drop ride

In addition to train rides, Tweetsie Railroad has a plethora of amusement rides suitable for the whole family. These rides include:

  • Carousel
  • Ferris Wheel
  • Chair lift with beautiful, expansive views
  • Free Fall
  • Tilt-A-Whirl
  • Boats

Tweetsie Railroad has everything from adrenaline-racing twists and rides to family-friendly carousels! Make sure you check which rides are open when you’ll be visiting.

Tweetsie Railroad airplane ride

From our experience, we typically enjoy the amusement rides at the top of the chair lift at Miner’s Mountain first and then walk down the hill to the carnival rides! There’s a mix of rides throughout, mostly geared toward children 10 years old and younger.

Read More: How to Enjoy Carowinds Amusement Park (10 Important Tips!)

Live Entertainment

From April to October, visitors can enjoy a variety of interactive shows that encompass dancing, music, and magic. The Wild West Train Adventure is the park’s primary interactive entertainment, with bandits popping out along the tracks.

Tweetsie Railroad show with characters

Swing by the Tweetsie Palace for magic shows, or grab a seat at the Miner’s Mountain Theatre for a charming animal-centered musical and a clogging jamboree.

During Tweetsie Christmas, don’t miss out on the Christmas variety show in the Tweetsie Palace!

Read More: Winter in Boone (20 Great Activities, Snow Tubing, and More!)

Visit the Deer Park Zoo

Tweetsie Railroad petting zoo

Kids and adults alike will love the Deer Park Zoo, a small petting zoo that operates from April to October. Some of the friendly animals you’ll meet here include:

  • African pygmy goats
  • European fallow deer
  • llamas
  • Miniature horses and donkeys
  • Emus
Tweetsie Railroad llamas

It’s the perfect addition to an already exciting time at the park. Before entering Deer Park Zoo, guests can purchase animal feed. We recommend have a couple of dollar bills on hand if you’d like to feed some of the animals! Our 6 year old loved feeding the deer and some of the goats were brave enough to hop the fence!

Read More: NC Zoo in Asheboro (ALL the Tips to Help You Enjoy the World’s Largest Zoological Park)

Other Fun Activities at Tweetsie Railroad

Tweetsie Railroad gem mining

In addition to these major attractions at Tweetsie Railroad, there are even more things to do:

  • Get an even more authentic Wild West experience with activities like panning for gold and gem mining.
  • Kids can also run around on the Miner’s Mountain playground and play games in the arcade.
  • Adults can engage in some shopping at the original General Store or Company Store.
Tweetsie Railroad enterance
  • And of course, the food here is delicious! Grab a dinner at the Cowboy Cantina or Feed & Seed, which offer pizza, hot dogs, burgers, nachos, and more.
  • The dessert options here are even more exciting, with homemade fudge at the Fudge Works, hot funnel cakes at the Funnel Factory, and the park’s signature Mountain Ice Cream.

Read More: 14 Delicious Blowing Rock Restaurants for High Country Travelers

Special Events

Tweetsie Christmas

Part of what makes Tweetsie Railroad so thrilling is the special events it hosts throughout the year. We’ve mentioned Tweetsie Christmas a few times, but the park is known for some other great events as well.

  • Tweetsie Christmas: The holiday spirit is in full swing here as the park transforms into Tweetsie Christmas. Starting at 5:00 pm on select dates in November and December, visitors can enjoy displays of thousands of Christmas lights as they travel in an open-air train. Other activities include Santa’s Gingerbread House, a live Christmas show, select amusement rides, and s’mores!
  • Ghost Train Halloween Celebration: When the sun goes down, Tweetsie Railroad gets a little spooky. In September and October, the park comes to life with costumed characters, haunted houses, scary rides, and more.
  • July 4th Fireworks Extravaganza: Enjoy the biggest fireworks show in the High Country. Tweetsie Railroad extends its hours so visitors can stay for the dazzling fireworks display.
  • Railroad Heritage Weekend: This special weekend at Tweetsie Railroad remembers the golden age of the steam locomotive. Noteworthy events during this August weekend include a ride on a special vintage steam locomotive and tours of the train shop.

Read More: How to Spend Christmas in North Carolina (25 Holiday Events)

Our Tips for Visiting Tweetsie Railroad

Our biggest tip for visiting Tweetsie Railroad: Sit in Car 3 on the right-hand side of the train. While you can still see the show from any of the train cars, to get a front-and-center view, you’ll want to be in the middle of the train and on the right side.

Tweetsie Railroad ferris wheel

Another hot tip: Wear comfortable shoes. Tweetsie Railroad is located on the side of a mountain, so there is most certainly some uphill walking to navigate the park. You’ll want to wear whatever is most comfortable for walking all around.

Wear sunscreen and a hat. We made the mistake of not layering up on sunscreen during our last visit in September. While there are some shaded areas, there isn’t much, and I had forgotten to lather us up with sunscreen and got a bit toasty!

Tweetsie Railroad miners mountain

You can pack a picnic if you’d like! While the food at Tweetsie is delicious, it is expensive. So if you are looking to cut costs, feel free to pack a snack and some water.

And our last tip for visiting Tweetsie Railroad is to check with your hotel to see if they offer discount tickets! During one visit, I was staying at Graystone Lodge in Boone and could purchase tickets through them ahead of time at a discount.

The Best Things to Do at Tweetsie Railroad (Our Top 5 Picks)

Tweetsie Railroad NC Number 12 Train

We made some tough decisions when picking the best things to do at Tweetsie Railroad. Nevertheless, here’s what we think are the top 5 attractions:

  1. Tweetsie Christmas
  2. Ghost Train Halloween Celebration
  3. The Wild West Train Adventure
  4. July 4th Fireworks Extravaganza
  5. Amusement Rides

Read More: 100+ Unique Things to Do In North Carolina (Your NC Bucket List)

Things to Do Nearby

Tweetsie Railroad’s positioning between Blowing Rock and Boone means that visitors can stay and explore both of these lovely mountain towns.

Blowing Rock

Things to do in Blowing Rock shops

Blowing Rock is one of our favorite places to visit in the High Country, with fall being especially beautiful here.

We recommend staying at the Chetola Resort and exploring the 100-acre property. Guests could spend days fly fishing at the lake, hiking on and near the resort, and relaxing at the spa.

While in the area, you can’t miss out on The Blowing Rock, one of North Carolina’s oldest tourist attractions. The town also has a rich history, which you’ll see as you stroll downtown or visit the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum.

Read More: Moses Cone Memorial Park in Blowing Rock (History + The Best Things to Do)


We also hold a special love for Boone after many visits to this High Country town. The views from this town are spectacular given that the Blue Ridge Mountains are nearby.

The Horton Hotel’s rooftop bar shows some of the best views. This hotel is also the only one downtown and a great place to stay due to its proximity to great shops and restaurants.

Boone has an event for every season, from the Watauga County Farmer’s Market to the ski season in winter. However, no matter when you visit, be sure to check out the downtown shops, the Boone Greenway Trail, and nearby Blue Ridge Parkway stops.

Read More: NC Blue Ridge Parkway Hikes (30 of the Best Trails!)

More Things to Do Near Tweetsie Railroad

We’ve covered quite a few attractions and things to do near Tweetsie Railroad, but did you know that we’ve created many more NC travel guides for the area?

Here are a few of them.

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