Planes, Trains, and Automobiles: A Look at Sites Historically Significant to Transportation


Icarus, though mythological, recognized the human dream to take to the air in flight. Over the years, people, with the growth of science, have developed many ways to get from point A to point B without using animals to carry them. The birthplaces of travel by methods such as the Iron Horse and others remain interesting to visit for every generation.


According to Budget, Dayton is the home of the Wright brothers and where they build their first plane. Not surprisingly, this area boasts multiple aeronautics museums and institutions. One of these museums in Dayton is the National Museum of the US Air Force. It offers activities for both children and adults. They can try a flight simulator, explore the space food that astronauts eat and sit in a real fighter plane while touring the site. Another favorite site for aviation fans in Dayton is The Wright B Flyer. Here, you can take a ride yourself on a reproduction of the first mass-produced plane developed by Wilbur and Orville Wright. You can also try a flight simulator without going up in the air. All of these activities take place at the Wright Brothers Airport in Miamisburg, outside Dayton.


According to Roadside America, the Golden Spike commemorated the last spike driven to join the Central and Union Pacific Railroads to form the Transcontinental Railway. This merger made travel by rail across the US possible (though not completely from Pacific to Atlantic). The Golden Spike can be viewed at Stanford University in Stanford, California. The Iron Horse was the first steam powered locomotive. Until then, horses were necessary to drive powered transit. Stephenson’s Rocket, one of the early locomotives powered by steam, is currently at the National Railway Museum in York, England, but is loaned to other museums throughout Europe.


One of the oldest antique car museums in the US is the Sarasota Classic Car Museum. Located in Sarasota, Florida, and open every day except Christmas, the museum has music, food and other entertainment. In addition to cars, the museum shows motorcycles and other vehicles. The museum is open throughout the week to welcome visitors. The Volkswagen Foundation Motor Museum in Wolfsburg, Germany, is a trip down memory lane for the VW enthusiast. Guided tours are available for free, but the museum is closed part of the year. 

Travel, regardless of mode, can be exciting no matter what your age. Learning about how it all started adds to the experience. Look into some of the many trolley, train and auto museums available in cities and towns around the world for even more exploration.

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