All aboard: Port Orchard nonprofit offers free train rides - and smiles

PORT ORCHARD, Wash. -- South Kitsap Regional Park has all the typical things you’d expect: baseball fields, hiking trails and, of course, a playground. But what makes this park special is the group of volunteers on a mission to make kids smile.

The Kitsap Live Steamers are sharing their love of the railroad one ride at a time.

From April to October, the nonprofit group gives free miniature train rides on the second and fourth Saturdays of every month. The forest-like setting is maintained solely by the members of The Kitsap Live Steamers, most of whom are retired train enthusiasts.

“It’s fun to see all the kids out here having a good time. Having smiles on their faces and even the adults enjoy it,” says Kitsap Live Steamer President Tom Huffman.

As passenger trains become less and less popular, riders like John Olson and his son Garrett are happy to see the history and tradition continue. Riders of all ages enjoy the 10-minute trip and can do so absolutely free. The Kitsap Live Steamers graciously accept donations to help them maintain the one-mile course.

You can learn more by visiting the Kitsap Live Steamers website.