Our iconic, little red train — the Iberschoff Special — has run faithfully for more than 50 years, with its infamous bell and whistle to greet Zoo animals and visitors.

Like everything at the Zoo, our train has a wonderful story. The latest chapter is one of the most exciting because we now have a new train car that is certifiably accessibly for those with special needs.

Cost: $1 per person, per ride or $5 per person for an unlimited day pass.

About the Train and its Cars

The 2018 Zoo season is a special one as we introduce our accessible train in June, a dream come true thanks to donors and a long list of invaluable local companies and organizations.

Because of our amazing supporters, we acquired not only one, but TWO train cars that are identical to our existing train’s seating. Here’s a look at all the local experts who made this milestone possible:

  • Living Landscapes lowered portions of the track to allow clearance under the bridge and made alterations at the depot to help visitors get on and off the train with ease. They also helped work on the stone retaining wall that follows the train track near the tunnel and train garage expansion.

With a growing train, our train garage needed to grow too! With the help of these companies, we can now easily take the locomotive or any of its cars off the track for storage and maintenance with a fun kid-themed makeover to our train tunnel:

  • Rhode Brothers Excavating
  • Harmer Steel
  • Bergman Construction
  • ProBuild of Saginaw
  • Mid-Michigan Truss & Components
  • Larking Painters
  • Delta Door Sales
  • Eikenhout
  • Wobig Construction
  • GW Heating and Cooling
  • Van Herweg Electric
  • Valley Glass Company

Work on the accessible train car was completed by:

  • Eric Smith and others from Mike’s Wrecker Service — traveled to Pennsylvania to retrieve the new train cars and helped with fabrication
  • Snyder & Staley Engineering — design
  • Barney’s Welding & Fabricating — custom design and manufacturing
  • Al Rogers — custom painting of locomotive and train cars

Train’s Rich History

The Zoo first introduced the miniature train as an attraction in 1967. This brand new train was purchased from the Allan Herschell Company and is model number S-24, also known as the “Iron Horse.” Its cars have colorfully painted canopies to protect riders from the sun. Each car is 17 feet long and can carry up to 14 adults. The engine was designed to resemble vintage locomotives of the 1870s. The same type of train was shipped all over the world to locations in Toronto, Canada, São Paulo, Brazil, Tokyo, Japan, and Barcelona, Spain.

The Zoo would not have been able to make this purchase without funds from Dr. Carl H. Iberschoff, a Saginaw school teacher, who left the money to the city of Saginaw for improvement of parks and playgrounds. The train is affectionately called the Iberschoff Special, in memory of Dr. Iberschoff’s generosity.