Nut Tree, Vacaville

by Joe Thompson

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2007

We visited the Nut Tree Family Park & Village in Vacaville in September, 2007, for the first time since the Nut Tree had reopened in 2006. My wife and I had stopped at the old Nut Tree many times before it closed in 1996.

signs Replicas of the old Nut Tree freeway signs along the line of the new railroad. September, 2007.

We found a parking space and wandered past a Fenton's Creamery and a few other stores, then found the entrance to the Nut Tree Family Park between two sets of stores. Almost immediately, I saw the distinctive roof of the old ticket booth, and the train stopped at the depot behind it. It was the train I remember riding when I was a kid, and taking my daughter to ride when she was younger. When the engineer cranked the engine and started off, it sounded very familiar. We didn't get to ride, but I observed a nice route that wound around behind the merry-go-round and other rides. They had bumper cars, a roller coaster, the old hobby horses, and a nice garden. It was all centered around the Harbison House, which had been moved slightly from its old position. The whole area would be wonderful for kids up to 5 or 6 years old.

station sign The Nut Tree Railroad's station sign. September, 2007.

locomotive The Nut Tree Railroad's locomotive waits at the station. The engineer prepares to collect fares. September, 2007.

locomotive front view A front view of the Nut Tree Railroad's locomotive at the station. September, 2007.

The Nut Tree Railroad's train leaves the station. September, 2007. Click arrow button to play video. (Adobe Flash is required. Some browsers will require two clicks to start the video.)

train The Nut Tree Railroad's train in motion. September, 2007.

The Nut Tree Railroad's train leaves the "tunnel". September, 2007. Click arrow button to play video. (Adobe Flash is required. Some browsers will require two clicks to start the video.)

Harbison House The 1907 Harbison House. September, 2007.

Carousel The Nut Tree carousel. September, 2007.

auto I liked this auto in the parking lot. September, 2007.

exit The Family Park exit. September, 2007.

After we left the Nut Tree, we continued up 80 to the California State Railroad Musem.

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Update -- 30-April-2009

Sad news about the park. Here is a press release from the operators:

Nut Tree Family Park Closure

Vacaville, CA(January 13, 2009)- After considering the current economic conditions and nearly two years of struggling attendance levels, the owner of the Nut Tree Family Park has elected to close the park indefinitely. Despite the implementation of a variety of new marketing and operational strategies, the current economic environment was too much to overcome.

We would like to thank everyone for their patronage and support these past two years.

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Update -- 31-July-2009

Better news about the park, thanks to a former employee for pointing it out.

An article from the Vacaville Reporter on 14-July-2009, "Westrust takes control of Nut Tree," states that developer Westrust has purchased a significant portion of the Nut Tree property and will preserve and revive some of the attractions, including the railroad and the merry-go-round. Westrust also hopes to increase use of the airport.


Update -- 30-November-2010

Tree lighting poster A poster advertises the 04-December-2010 Christmas tree lighting. It features the locomotive.


2011

Locmotive The Nut Tree locomotive. July, 2011.

The day after we visited the Nevada State Railroad Museum, we left Reno and headed towards home. We stopped at the Nut Tree to get ice cream at Fenton's Creamery. The railroad has been reduced to a loop enclosing a small area with some kiddie rides. The track crosses the road, passes Fenton's, and disappears behind a fence. I assume this leads to the train shed.

Locmotive and station The Nut Tree locomotive and the station. July, 2011.

Locmotive and train The Nut Tree locomotive and its train at the station. Fenton's Creamery is in the background. July, 2011.

Locmotive and train A broadside view of the Nut Tree locomotive. July, 2011.

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2013

1 of 5 The Nut Tree train approaches. 1 of 5. July, 2013.

On our way home from the Sacramento and the California State Railroad Museum, we stopped at the Nut Tree in Vacaville. We had ice cream at Fenton's.

2 of 5 The Nut Tree train approaches. 2 of 5. July, 2013.

3 of 5 The Nut Tree train approaches. 3 of 5. July, 2013.

4 of 5 The Nut Tree train approaches. 4 of 5. July, 2013.

5 of 5 The Nut Tree train approaches. 5 of 5. July, 2013.

1 of 8 The Nut Tree train goes around the end of the Plaza. 1 of 8. July, 2013.

2 of 8 The Nut Tree train goes around the end of the Plaza. 2 of 8. July, 2013.

3 of 8 The Nut Tree train goes around the end of the Plaza. 3 of 8. July, 2013.

4 of 8 The Nut Tree train goes around the end of the Plaza. 4 of 8. July, 2013.

5 of 8 The Nut Tree train goes around the end of the Plaza. 5 of 8. July, 2013.

6 of 8 The Nut Tree train goes around the end of the Plaza. 6 of 8. July, 2013.

7 of 8 The Nut Tree train goes around the end of the Plaza. 7 of 8. July, 2013.

8 of 8 The Nut Tree train goes around the end of the Plaza. 8 of 8. July, 2013.

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Copyright 2007-2013 by Joe Thompson. All rights reserved.

Last updated 31-August-2013