Get in the seasonal spirit by visiting some of Cincinnati’s holiday model train displays.
Holiday Junction at the Cincinnati Museum Center
The Duke Energy Holiday Trains are celebrating their 75th anniversary this year. The display first debuted in downtown Cincinnati in 1946, and this year’s iteration at the Cincinnati Museum Center’s Holiday Junction features 60 trains, with more than 300 total railcars, zooming along cozy, miniature winter vignettes. Check out the details at track level, or see an overview from above.
In addition to the little locomotives, visitors can find everything in this winter wonderland from LEGO builds “featuring whimsical scenes and characters from your favorite books and movies” to scavenger hunts to an interactive storybook that relays the history of the train display. Of course, Santa will be there getting his sleigh ready and feeding his reindeer.
“Year after year, decade after decade, generation after generation, the Duke Energy Holiday Trains have delighted families during the holidays,” says Elizabeth Pierce, CMC president and CEO, in a release. “Some people will fall in love with the trains for the first time this year, others for the 75th time, but for everyone we are delighted to once again stoke the fires and send this beloved holiday tradition along their 1,000 feet of track for past and present generations alike.” Through Jan. 3, 2022. Included with admission. 1301 Western Ave.,Queensgate, cincymuseum.org.
Trains and Traditions, a Cincinnati Holiday at Krohn Conservatory
Krohn Conservatory is upping the whimsy factor this winter with floral show Trains and Traditions, a Cincinnati Holiday. The exhibit features "a tapestry of colorful poinsettias, charming garden railways and beautiful replicas of Cincinnati landmarks created out of 'botanical architecture' by local artisans Applied Imagination," per the Krohn. Look for mini but elaborate stick-like renderings of structures including the Roebling Suspension Bridge, Taft Museum of Art, Union Terminal and the Krohn itself. Trolleys, streetcars, Cincinnati-themed locomotives and even Thomas the Tank chug along both elevated and eye-level railways, all surrounded by holiday flowers, blooming schlumbergera (aka Christmas cactus) and other verdant greenery. Through Jan. 9, 2022. $10 adults; $7 ages 5-17; free kids 4 and under. 1501 Eden Park Drive, Eden Park, cincinnatiparks.com.
Holiday Toy Trains at the Behringer-Crawford Museum
The Behringer-Crawford Museum in Covington boasts its own tiny train display, Holiday Toy Trains, with locomotives traveling along 250 feet of track. The museum says eight trains will travel through 30 miniature recreations of “cities, farms and snow-covered fields.” Visitors can interact with the O-gauge Lionel model trains by activating landmarks including a bus station, car wash and firehouse — complete with an animated firefighter sliding down a fire pole. There is also a carnival with moving rides and attractions.
Brick builds from the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana LEGO User’s Group complete the exhibit, with a chance for kids (and adults) to build their own creative and colorful LEGO creations. Through Jan. 9, 2022. $9 adults; $8 seniors; $5 ages 3-17. 1600 Montague Road, Covington, bcmuseum.org.
Christmas at Entertrainment Junction
Visit Entertrainment Junction — home of the self-proclaimed “world’s largest G-Scale model train display” — for some train-based entertainment, as well as holiday cheer. They’ve transformed their entrance area into a 1930s Main Street scene, featuring Christmas lights and decor, and added a “Journey to the North Pole” walk-through adventure. Make your way to the North Pole to visit Santa and pass snowy landscapes, a post office, reindeer stables and the elves’ toy-making workshop. Mrs. Claus will be in the kitchen with fresh cookies for kids, and Santa will be in his study waiting to hear holiday wishes. Santa will be available alternating days either in person or via video chat. Through Jan. 2, 2022. Tickets start at $9.95. 7379 Squire Court, West Chester, entertrainmentjunction.com.
Holiday Train Display at Highfield Discovery Garden
Take a trip to Highfield Discovery Gardens at Great Parks’ Glenwood Gardens to see an O-scale model train display. The collection, from owner Bill Schott, features a scenic journey along the Great Circle Line & Points North Rail Road, complete with tiny snow-covered towns, wintry mountains, an ice-covered harbor and various intersecting railways. Through Jan. 9, 2022. Included with $3 Cool Season admission. 10397 Springfield Pike, Woodlawn, greatparks.org.
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