Duke Energy Holiday Trains Return to the Cincinnati Museum Center

The decades-old Cincinnati tradition returns this year, with a full toy train display and other holiday fun

Photo: Cincinnati Museum Center

A favorite holiday tradition is returning to the Cincinnati Museum Center: Holiday Junction featuring the Duke Energy Holiday Trains opens Nov. 13.

The annual train display has been a Queen City tradition since 1946, and this year's exhibit will feature over 300 rail cars and 60 locomotives, says the museum.

View the snowy rail yard from track level or take a bird's-eye view via an elevated walkway and see the city unfold with the skyline in miniature. The museum center says, "The display topper is created with more than 100 pieces of custom-cut art in the shapes of Union Terminal, Music Hall, Paul Brown Stadium and more, with both sides appropriately connected by the Roebling Bridge."

In addition to the custom topper, there will also be historic toy trains — a thrill for train buffs — including a 1904 Carlisle & Finch, a pre-World War II Lionel and a Lionel Super O from the 1960s. 

To help with COVID distancing, Holiday Junction will also feature a glowing and blinking "Northern Lights" display; an interactive Duke Energy Holiday Trains storybook to learn about the history of the exhibit through no-touch technology; a Holiday Scavenger Hunt (in place of the riding train); a Brickopolis construction with LEGO bricks portraying scenes from Disney, Marvel, DC Comics and Harry Potter; and Santa.

This year, children will not be able to sit on Santa's lap, but they will be able to have a fireside chat with him through a Plexiglas barrier, says the museum.

Tower A will also be open Friday through Sunday to provide a view of the real Union Terminal train yard, and the film Rocky Mountain Express will be returning to the OMNIMAX.

Holiday Junction featuring the Duke Energy Holiday Trains opens Nov. 13 and runs 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Fridays through Sundays through Jan. 3, 2021.

The exhibit is included with museum admission: $14.50 adults, $13.50 seniors, $10.50 ages 3-12, free for 2 and younger, free for members. Reserve your timed entry tickets online at cincymuseum.org/tickets. Face masks are required for anyone over 6 years old (unless you have a health condition that makes wearing a mask inadvisable). 

The Cincinnati Museum Center is located at 1301 Western Ave., Queensgate. Get more info about COVID updates at cincymuseum.org/visit-updates.

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