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20 May . 2016

Weekender: Get a Blast from the Past in Frisco

Climb aboard a vintage red caboose at the Museum of the American Railroad, step into an old-time cinema house at Frisco's Heritage Museum, or challenge your kids to a game of Pong at the National Videogame History Museum. History lessons were never this much fun!

Museum of the American Railroad: Dedicated to preserving the history and exploring the future of railroads, this not-for-profit museum is in the process of relocating from Dallas to Frisco. In fact, plans for its new main building, modeled after Boston’s 19th-century Union Station (replaced by Boston Garden in the 1920s) have already inspired other new architecture in Frisco Square. The museum’s relocation is fitting, since Frisco actually takes its name from the Frisco Railway that ran through the town as part of a route planned to stretch from St. Louis to San Francisco. Eventually the entire museum collection will be housed indoors, protecting the trains (and visitors) from the elements. For now, however, you can take a 45- to 60-minute outdoor walking tour of the museum’s trains, located a few blocks from the Heritage Museum, where you buy tickets. Step back in time as you check out the museum’s Pullman luxury sleeping cars, a real-life little red caboose and one of the largest steam locomotives ever built.

Frisco Heritage Museum: Frisco’s past comes alive at the Heritage Museum. The small museum showcases local history, including a kids’ activity center showing how pioneers lived on the area’s Blackland Prairie. There’s also a covered wagon, a collection of antique cars, a 1960s living room and TV exhibit, an interactive farm exhibit explaining how cotton is picked and becomes fabric, and a retro cinema showing multimedia presentations. Visit the third Sunday of the month and you can also tour the Frisco Heritage Center, including a log cabin, one-room schoolhouse, church, two houses, a train depot and a blacksmith shop.

National Videogame Museum: Step into a reproduction circa-1980s arcade and explore the history of the video game industry, including the games themselves, controllers, toys based on video games, memorabilia, design documents, magazines, press kits and more. There’s also a faux ’80s family room and teen bedroom, complete with video games of the era, to really take you back. Plus, you get to play many of the games: In addition to the world’s largest Pong console, the nonprofit museum also features a 30-foot counter with rotating game consoles. You even get a few free tokens to spend on your favorite classics in the retro arcade!