Duke Energy holiday trains exhibit returns next month

Santa Claus will make his grand arrival on Friday, Nov. 27

Duke Energy holiday trains exhibit returns next month
Holiday Junction featuring the Duke Energy Holiday Trains set to open with new additions at the Cincinnati Museum Center on Friday, Nov. 13. (Source: Cincinnati Museum Center)

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - One of Cincinnati’s most beloved holiday traditions is set to open with new additions for a safe and memorable holiday visit.

“Holiday Junction featuring the Duke Energy Holiday Trains” will debut Nov. 13 at the Cincinnati Museum Center and run through Jan. 3, 2021. Hours will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays through Sundays.

The Duke Energy Holiday Trains have been a Cincinnati holiday staple for over 70 years, delighting generations since they first debuted downtown in 1946.

Track-level views reveal intricate details of the display, where over 300 rail cars and 60 locomotives steam past anxious passengers waiting to board, cars sit with snow to their hubcaps and the perfect trees strapped to their roofs and a visitor from the North Pole circles the chimney tops.

Guests can also get a bird’s-eye view of the historic trains from an elevated walkway as the city stretches out before them.

The elevated vantage point also brings guests eye-to-eye with the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky skylines. 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 connected by the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge.

The Duke Energy Holiday Trains are surrounded by other incredible train layouts, some dating back as far as 1904.

The Carlisle & Finch Company, based in Cincinnati, produced the world’s first toy electric train in 1896.

Their 1904 version click-clacking through Holiday Junction showcases meticulous craftsmanship and detail in its metal trains, cars, buildings and bridges.

Nearby is a pre-World War II Lionel layout and a Lionel Super O layout from the 1960s, complete with ready-made structures specially designed to complement the O-scale trains.

This year, Holiday Junction features new additions that will greet guests as soon as they enter the door. The Northern Lights display serves as the perfect backdrop for family photos as wispy green lights dance behind you and snow-rimmed trees surround you.

The history of the Duke Energy Holiday Trains is also told through an interactive storybook guests can flip through with just the gesture of their hand. The no-touch experience features historic photos and stories of the trains projected onto a giant storybook.

To ensure guest safety this year amid the coronavirus pandemic, Holiday Junction’s riding train will not be pulling into station this season.

But the Holiday Scavenger Hunt will feature a rotating set of objects hidden in the garden railway layout begging guests to walk around, peel their eyes and scour every detail for objects tucked away in the snowy hills.

Brickopolis, also will return. The blizzard of LEGO bricks was crafted into fantastical scenes from Disney, Marvel, DC Comics and Harry Potter.

Tower A, Union Terminal’s historic control tower, will also be open during the holiday season from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

Santa Claus will make his grand arrival on Friday, Nov. 27.

Although guests will not be able to sit with Santa this year, they can have a fireside chat and give him their gift wish list through a plexiglass barrier.

Also returning this year is the OMNIMAX film Rocky Mountain Express, where guests can immerse themselves in the rugged beauty of the Canadian Rockies aboard a historic steam locomotive.

Visit cincymuseum.org/holiday-junction for more details and special holiday hours.

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