SCRANTON -- Visiting our region's rail history just became more affordable. The National Park Service decided to waive entrance fees for the Steamtown National Historic Site.
Until this week, the entrance fee for visitors at Steamtown was $7 for ages 16 and up. The National Park Service says it's getting rid of that fee in hopes of bringing more people to the attraction.
Some of Steamtown National Historic Site's first free patrons may have also traveled the farthest to be here. The friends from New Zealand were surprised when they didn't have to pay to get in.
"Yeah, I thought that was pleasant. That seven bucks will buy my lunch!"
Peter Walton and Paul Harvey met up here while both are on cross-country trips. They've seen many national parks together, and they think, the more accessible the better.
"I think this is a great way for a family to spend a weekend day inexpensively and get a little bit of education on history," Paul Harvey said.
"An attraction like this, I think everybody should go to because I think it's a great thing for locals to see their heritage. And if they can take the kids or grandkids for free, it doesn't get much better," Walton said.
Steamtown will still have forms of revenue. The train excursions will still require a ticket and employees think that without an entrance fee, folks may be more likely to buy something in the museum gift shop.
For William Madrian, this place is priceless. He used to work building trains in upstate New York and feels the National Park Service decision is a good one.
"I think it's going to pay off. It will really pay off, in just the amount of tourism it generates. And just to expose kids and anybody to this, all of this, this is all our history. This is American history here."
Officials at Steamtown say that along with the excursions, there will still be fees for certain special events like the annual Rail Fest.