#5 of 22 Boone Things To Do

Tweetsie Railroad

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Tweetsie Railroad - Wild West Amusement Park South of Boone
Staff Score:
4.5 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Tweetsie Railroad is a multi-faceted Wild West theme park located in North Carolina just south of Boone. This is a wonderful theme park that young children will especially love with its petting zoo, carnival amusements, and locomotive ride complete with a western cowboy show. 

- The SmokyMountains.com Local Expert Team

Tweetsie Railroad is an exciting family-friendly attraction that brings a bit of that old Wild West feel to the mountains of North Carolina. Don’t let its name limit your imagination as this attraction has enough to offer guests a full day of fun.

You will find Tweetsie Railroad built into the side of a mountain just off of Highway 321, mid-way between Boone and Blowing Rock. It’s pretty hard to miss with the park’s massive sign in front of a four-way stop light on the small mountain highway.

The big highlight of this North Carolina amusement park is, of course, the train and train track. The park first opened on Independence Day in 1957 as an excursion train ride in which guests could jump on a coal-fired steam locomotive and enjoy a three-mile ride around the mountains. The locomotive itself is quite special, having been originally built in 1917, it is the only surviving narrow-gauge engine of its size and style from East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad — the name “Tweetsie” was given to the engine both due to its official initials and its high-pitched whistling tweet. If you love trains, no matter your age, you will appreciate the size and beauty of this locomotive. All ages also will appreciate that while the track does take riders around a mountain, it is more than that. The track includes a trestle-crossing and an old-style Wild West shoot-out show between cowboy bandits and Indians.

The Tweetsie train ride is certainly the big draw of the park, but the owners and operators have added a ton of other theme park amenities and attractions over the last 65 years the park has been in operation. Visitors today can also enjoy the following at Tweetsie Railroad:

County Fair Rides
Tweetsie Railroad has over a dozen amusement park rides, all of which are child-friendly. These rides range from classic rides like the Ferris Wheel and Tilt-A-Whirl to more unique options like a Chair Lift to Miner’s Mountain which takes riders up and over the park, offering panoramic mountain views of Tweetsie Railroad and the surrounding countryside.

Live Entertainment
There are two unique theaters here: Tweetsie Palace and Miner’s Mountain Theater. Both have unique shows that change by the season, but generally, you can expect a mixture of puppet shows, magic shows, and traditional Appalachian songs and dances.

Deer Park Zoo
This petting zoo offers all guests a chance to see, pet, and even feed a variety of beautiful animals including pygmy goats, Nubian goats, llamas, and Babydoll Southdown sheep.

Activities
What Wild West amusement park is complete without a little gold panning? Gold and gem panning are both exciting activities that offer a little chance at striking some beautiful rocks and minerals. Kids will also appreciate the special Miner’s Mountain Playground and on-site Arcade.

Food
Tweetsie Railroad is designed to be an all-day activity for families and so, of course, they have incorporated a great array of dining establishments. You can choose from sit-down restaurants like the Feed & Seed or enjoy fast amusement fare from one of the many counter vendors like The Funnel Factory.

General Shopping
Of course, there is shopping. Gift merchandise, specialty toys, and western apparel are just a few of the things you’ll see as you meander throughout Tweetsie Railroad.

Insider Tips:
-If you are going to be in this general area for several days, we recommend visiting Tweetsie Railroad after 3 pm. This is because by arriving at or after 3, you can enjoy easier parking and ticket admission times, fewer crowds, and your ticket includes entrance for the following day.
-If you find you or your family really loves this place, go for that season ticket. The season ticket here offers, of course, free entrance, but you also get side benefits like discounts on other area attractions and free friend tickets during select months.