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Holiday Traditions Live at Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal

Be a part of the magic when Holiday Junction Featuring the Duke Energy Holiday Trains opens Nov. 8

CINCINNATI – Cincinnati’s favorite holiday tradition is back! Holiday Junction featuring the Duke Energy Holiday Trains opens Friday, November 8 at Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal.

Holiday JunctionThe priceless holiday trains are on display inside the Cincinnati History Museum and have joined Museum Center’s family-favorite Holiday Junction exhibit as a must-see display of the holiday season. Visitors experience a collection of model trains, including the timeless Duke Trains, zipping around a winter wonderland. Admission is free to Duke Energy customers with a special confirmation code. Click here to get your code.

“It’s amazing to see Union Terminal full of families and knowing that they’re creating memories that will last a lifetime,” says Douglass W. McDonald, president and CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center. “Holiday Junction combines two Cincinnati traditions into one as the Duke Energy Holiday Trains complement our Holiday Junction exhibit and ensures this unique tradition lives on in Cincinnati forever.”

The Duke Energy Holiday Trains have been on display since 1946 and are one of the largest portable models in the world, measuring 36 ½ by 47 ½ feet long. The trains are authentic “O” gauge, meaning that a quarter inch on the model is equivalent to one foot on a real train. The rail cars, tracks and buildings are 1/48 actual size. During the holiday season, the trains will travel more than 100,000 scale miles!

“It is a wonderful partnership that gives our historic trains a permanent home at Cincinnati Museum Center,” said Johnna Reeder, vice president of Community Relations for Duke Energy. “We are so pleased this has been and will continue to be a great place for people of all ages to see them for many holiday seasons to come.”

New components this year include an expanded story area where children can listen to their favorite holiday stories in front of the fireplace. Pogie and Patter, the reindeer from the former Pogue’s Department Store, will come to life before your eyes. Cincinnati’s best Santa returns but he’s done some redecorating to make your visit with him even more magical. Santa’s also filled our newly expanded gift shop with plenty of trains and other toys for gifts and stocking stuffers.

The observation deck is back, overlooking the Duke Energy Holiday Train display for a fantastic view of the historic trains. Children will love seeing Thomas the Tank Engine and his friend Percy zipping around through the island of Sodor as the display’s centerpiece.

Throughout the exhibit, you’ll see examples of popular “N” and “Z” scale layouts, a collection of Lionel trains and see an exact reproduction of the Lionel dealer display layout of the Super “O” Track, complete with interactive push buttons.

While grownups and kids enjoy the model trains together, children can escape to their own holiday wonderland as they ride through a magnificent winter scene on a special kid-size train. Tokens to climb aboard are $1 per child, per ride. CMC Members receive one free ride per visit for each Member child listed on their Membership.

Duke Energy Customer one-time admission codes

Available through December 24, Duke Energy Ohio and Kentucky customers are able to visit to print a personalized admission voucher, or if you do not have the ability to print the voucher, to simply retrieve a personalized confirmation code. In either case, the printed admissions voucher or the confirmation code must be presented at the Museum Center Box Office for exhibit tickets.

This unique admission voucher or confirmation code must be exchanged for exhibit tickets at Cincinnati Museum Center’s Box Office. The entry tickets will be good for same day, one time entry and is valid from November 8 – December 24. The admission voucher or confirmation code is good for four free admissions (maximum two adults) to see Holiday Junction featuring the Duke Energy Holiday Trains in the Cincinnati History Museum. The voucher and code have no cash value.

An All-Inclusive Holiday Experience

“The Duke Energy Holiday Train display is a vital part of Cincinnati’s history and one that delights families across the generations,” said McDonald. “It is an honor for Museum Center to be the guardians and caretakers of this key Cincinnati tradition. What makes this tradition that much stronger is that we can add to it our display of historic trains, the breathtaking OMNIMAX film Rocky Mountain Express and the palpable magic of Union Terminal.”

From the moment you step foot into Union Terminal, the magic of the holidays and the history of trains in our community will surround you – families, out-of-town guests and railroad enthusiasts alike share in this unique tradition. Not only will you experience the Duke Energy Holiday Trains and Cincinnati Museum Center’s trains, you’ll also see Toys Through Time and The Pennsylvania Railroad Calendar Series paintings as part of the exhibit. Exciting programming and energizing performances will contribute to the overall cheer of the holidays.

Holiday Favorites Return

You’ll feel just like a kid again with your favorite games, toys and dolls on display in Toys Through Time . Recall your childhood holiday wish list with items such as a first edition Monopoly set and the historic Goldsmith dolls. Cincinnati’s own Carlisle & Finch trains are also on display and are considered the first true electric model trains. Adults will relive their childhood memories and children will make new ones with this exploration of fun from yesteryear.

Another highlight of the exhibit are historic paintings from the Pennsylvania Railroad Calendar Series. Between 1928 and 1958, five different artists were commissioned by the Pennsylvania Railroad to work on the calendar series. Two of those artists are represented here. One Hundred Years 1846 – 1946 was painted by Frank Reilly (born 1906), a well-known editorial and advertising illustrator of the period, to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of the Pennsylvania Railroad. But, the majority of the paintings in the series are the work of one man – Grif Teller (born 1899). His paintings for the Pennsylvania Railroad calendars helped foster the company’s image as one of the nation’s most powerful, efficient and modern railroads. The paintings are on loan from the American Financial Group.

Rocky Mountain Express is pulling into station in our OMNIMAX Theater to take you back to the Age of Steam with beautiful landscapes, breathtaking vistas, jaw-dropping chasms and roaring river gorges. Ride along as this family-favorite film weaves the incredible story of building this nearly impossible railway with an awe-inspiring ride along its historic rails.

Thanksgiving Crafts

Join us as we make autumn-inspired crafts to adorn your home this Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 23 through Wednesday, November 27

Daily, times vary

Santa’s Arrival & Tree Lighting

The holidays aren’t the holidays until Santa arrives! Join us the day after Thanksgiving as Santa Claus and his family arrives at Union Terminal in their Christmas carriage to flip on the Christmas lights and usher in the holiday season. A time honored family tradition that you are not going to want to miss!

Friday, November 29

Santa arrives: 11:50 a.m.

Tree lighting: Noon

Holiday Harmonies

The museum’s grand Rotunda will once again be filled with local performers this holiday season as we bring back Holiday Harmonies. Singers, dancers and musicians from the community will be here to fill the Rotunda with holiday spirit. Come support your favorite group and enjoy ones you haven’t seen before.

Friday, November 29 through Sunday, December 22

11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The MistleTones

Enjoy the holidays by stopping to see our holiday variety troupe perform. Listen to them sign holiday classics and watch them perform A Christmas Carol Abridged in Reakirt Auditorium.

Friday, November 29 through Tuesday, December 24

Days and times vary

Grandparents’ Weekend

December 7 & 8

Sponsored by Harold C. Schott Foundation

Francie& Tom Hiltz

Saturday, December 7

Otto M. Budig Dance Academy Presentation of the Nutcracker

Take a journey through the land of the sweets with Spanish Coffee, Chinese Tea and Sugarplum fairies. Cincinnati Ballet’s Otto M. Budig Dance Academy is the region’s only pre-professional training program which combines superior instruction, unparalleled performance opportunities and a strong connection to Cincinnati Ballet. Come watch these young talented dancers in this timeless holiday classic sure to delight young and old.

11:30 a.m. & 1:30 p.m.

Sunday, December 8

Pancakes with Santa

Supporting partner Fifth Third Private Bank

Join us for a special morning featuring a decorate-your-own pancake buffet and family-friendly activities. With a special appearance by Santa Claus, it’s sure to be a holiday event the entire family will remember!

11:30 a.m.

$30 Adult, $15 Child, free for under 2

Call (513) 287-7021 for reservations.

Programs to Start New Traditions

Winter Solstice Celebrations

Come and celebrate Holidays around the world! Enjoy our weekends of fun, hands-on activities about Hanukkah, Chinese New Year, Diwali, Christmas Around the World and Kwanzaa.

Sundays, December 1 through December 29

12 p.m. to 3 p.m.

December 1: Hanukkah

December 8: Chinese New Year

December 15: Diwali

December 22 & 23: Christmas Around the World

December 29: Kwanzaa

Parents’ Day Out: The Science of the Holidays

Get some holiday shopping done without the kids! Leave the kids with us to have a great time at Cincinnati Museum Center learning about the science behind the season.

Saturday, December 14

9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

$40 per child Members, $50 per child Non-Members

Call (513) 287-7001 for reservations

Ages 7 – 12

Exhibit Hours

Monday – Friday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Saturday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Sunday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

December 24th 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

CMC is closed Nov. 28 and Dec. 25 for the holidays.

Don’t wait too long to experience this Cincinnati tradition! Last day for free exhibit entry with your Duke Energy voucher is December 24!

While the exhibit is also open to the public from Dec. 26 – Jan. 5, only Cincinnati Museum Center Members can enter at no cost. Admission to the CMC “All Museums” ($12.50 adult / $8.50 child) or the Cincinnati History Museum ($8.50 adult / $6.50 child) includes free enter to Holiday Junction featuring the Duke Energy Holiday Trains.

For more information, visit