Northlandz is a 16 acre world class attraction developed by Bruce and his wife Jean. Included in this complex is a doll museum, La Peep Doll House, a 2,000 pipe theater pipe organ (which Bruce plays) and art galleries throughout. The building is reflective of the couples lifelong commitment to art, expression, and creativity.
The dream of the Great American Railway at Northlandz began over 35 years ago as the Williams' first home was being built in 1972. As builders would leave for the day Mr. Williams would escape to the basement and begin erecting scenes for his new basement passion. Mountain passes were erected complete with bridges and buildings.
Workers returning the next day, removed the new addition so they could continue their work. Bruce kept building the nightly exhibits. Thus was the beginning to a labor of love that has resulted in the world' largest model railroad.
All the reviews are correct. It's amazing, astounding, slightly overpriced, cold and needs renovating all in the same breath. My 4yo and 2yo sons really enjoyed the trains along with the train ride. They were indifferent to the dolls and random organ room. I personally enjoyed the 'Grandma' stories. definitely worth the visit.
Northlandz is a pretty amazing place. Built by one man, it is much larger than the building it is in looks since there are several levels. There are 8 miles of track, several operation organs including a pipe organ which the owner plays (concerts on the weekends). The model railroad is large with many bridges, canyons, and many trains. But to me what made the place particularly great was that there was a lot of funny scenes and strange buildings throughout. Definitely worth a stopover. Our visited lasted around two and and half hours which we didn’t expect, but there was enough entertainment to keep us there for that.
A massive train exhibit that astounds if not impresses and leaves you asking why on earth anyone would ever go to the trouble and expense of building something like this. About five minutes in you realize that the owner himself must not have considered this question carefully enough and as a result has left things literally filthy, disheveled, dimly lit and even unheated even in late December. And I still can’t shake the feeling of walking through a horror movie. However, our children did enjoy the exhibits and especially the outdoor train ride. That said it is quite expensive at $18 per adult and $9.75 per child plus $2.75 each for the train ride.
With all the negative reviews about the place looking old/dated, I went in with modest expectations and I was thrilled. It took about 90 minutes to cover everything at a decent pace. It's an engineering feat in how they managed to pack so many railway tracks and trains in an indoor space. It's bridges and tracks run into several levels. The railway tracks carry electricity to drive all the trains through all the meandering bridges and tunnels. The experience gets more immersive as you go past the first 30% of the exhibits. I would strongly recommend visiting for toddlers and adults of all ages.
The layouts are funny, lots of detail and we liked the stories that went along with some areas. The trains, of course, were neat to watch going over the bridges and through tunnels. The gift shop was pretty picked over and the bathrooms weren't too clean, but overall it was a fun way to spend an afternoon.