Holiday traditions live at Cincinnati Museum Center

CINCINNATI – Cincinnati’s favorite holiday tradition is back! Holiday Junction featuring the Duke Energy Holiday Trains is now open at Cincinnati Museum Center and this year includes additions that you have to see to believe.

Holiday traditions live at Cincinnati MuseumThe 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 Energy Holiday Trains, zipping around a winter wonderland. Admission is free to Duke Energy customers with a special confirmation code. Click here to get your code.
“Every year I look forward to seeing more and more families make Union Terminal part of their holiday tradition,” says Douglass McDonald, president and CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center. “It’s an honor for us to be the home of the Duke Energy Holiday Trains, a Cincinnati tradition now in its 69th year and one that combines with our Holiday Junction exhibit for an experience unlike any other.”
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!
“We’ve seen these trains thrive at their permanent home at Cincinnati Museum Center,” said Casey Ruschman of the Duke Energy Foundation. “We are so pleased with the partnership that has proven to be a great place for people of all ages to see them for many holiday seasons to come.”
This year there’s even more for families to love about Holiday Junction featuring the Duke Energy Holiday Trains. A new raised platform surrounding the Duke Energy Holiday Trains gives visitors of all sizes and heights a better view of the iconic trains. Santa’s fireplace makes for a photo opportunity you won’t want to miss as you document your child telling Santa everything on their list this holiday season. And you’ll want your camera ready once you see the incredible locomotive engine built by Santa himself! It’s sure to take your breath away.
Don’t worry, all of your favorites are back, too. The observation deck overlooking the Duke Energy Holiday Train display offers a fantastic view and photo opportunity of the historic trains. And 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. Don’t forget to duck as you walk under the new bridge of our Garden Railway display.
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.
Santa’s also filled our newly expanded gift shop with plenty of trains and other toys for gifts and stocking stuffers.
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 present 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 7 – 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 generations,” says 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 a sampling of 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 scattered throughout the exhibit. 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 some of the 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.
Santa arrives in style
This year Santa’s giving Rudolph and all of the other reindeer a little more time to rest up for the big day, but don’t worry, Santa’s still flying in. Be here at 11 a.m. Friday, November 28 as Santa arrives by helicopter to light the Union Terminal tree and begin checking his list twice as children sit on his lap to share their holiday wish list.
Exhibit Hours
Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
December 24th 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cincinnati Museum Center is closed Nov. 27 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. 4, only Cincinnati Museum Center Members can enter at no cost. Admission to the CMC “All Museums” ($14.50 adult / $10.50 child) or the Cincinnati History Museum ($10.50 adult / $8.50 child) includes free entry to Holiday Junction featuring the Duke Energy Holiday Trains.

For a full list of holiday programming please visit