Santa to Kick Off Cincinnati Museum Center's Holiday Season With Helicopter Arrival

You can catch the Jolly Old Elf himself at the museum from Black Friday to Christmas Eve.

click to enlarge Santa at the Cincinnati Museum Center - Photo: Provided by Cincinnati Museum Center
Photo: Provided by Cincinnati Museum Center
Santa at the Cincinnati Museum Center

Santa Claus is leaving his reindeer at the North Pole for a special appearance at the Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC) on Black Friday.

On Friday, Nov. 24, Santa will arrive at the museum in style courtesy of a UC Health helicopter to kick off the holiday celebrations. Everyone is invited to gather at the fountain outside Union Terminal to welcome Kris Kringle at noon. Prior to Santa’s arrival, guests can enjoy live music from the Chris Comer Trio starting at 11 a.m. and activities in the Rotunda.

Following Santa’s arrival, museum visitors can catch him on Union Terminal’s Mezzanine level where he’ll be listening to everyone’s Christmas wishlists until Dec. 24. Visits with Santa are included with museum admission.

And while guests are visiting Santa, they can also check out CMC’s Holiday Junction, which has a separate admission fee. Now in its 77th year, Holiday Junction is a tradition that’s been handed down from generation to generation, with Greater Cincinnati families gathering to watch the candy-colored circus trains, sleek sleeper cars and coal-laden hopper cars (for those on the naughty list) zip around scenery of snowbanks and crowded streets.

Highlights of Holiday Junction include a 1904 electric toy train from the Cincinnati-based Carlisle & Finch Company, who made the first such electric toy train in 1896, along with a pre-World War II Lionel layout and a ‘60s Lionel Super O layout that show the evolution of toy trains and prefabricated landscapes. You’ll also be able to spot Thomas the Tank Engine as he and his friends chug around the mountains of Sodor.

Also returning for the holiday season is Brickopolis, a busy metropolis crafted from LEGOs that depict fantastical scenes; beloved characters from Disney, Marvel, DC Comics, Harry Potter and more; and, of course, a train. You can also take part in the holiday scavenger hunt, scouring the snow-blanketed hills and trees of the garden railway layout to find icons like Rudolph and the Grinch.

Holiday Junction runs until Jan. 8. Tickets are $10 or $5 with the purchase of other museum experiences. Admission is free for CMC members.

Cincinnati Museum Center, 1301 Western Ave., West End. More info:

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About The Author

Katherine Barrier

Katherine Barrier is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati’s journalism program and has nearly 10 years of experience reporting local and national news as a digital journalist. At CityBeat, she oversees the digital and social media strategies, edits web and print content and writes for the dining and arts...
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