Duke Energy Holiday Trains celebrate their 75th anniversary at the Cincinnati Museum Center

CINCINNATI – The holidays are back at Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC). The Duke Energy Holiday Trains continue to evoke childlike wonder in kids of all ages as they celebrate their 75th year. A blizzard of custom-built LEGO bricks returns, featuring whimsical scenes and characters from your favorite books and movies. Historic trains and new technology fill the galleries with moments of winter wonder. And Santa is feeding his reindeer and prepping his sleigh for a trip to the tristate.

Since 1946, families have gathered to watch as miniature locomotives and railcars zip around snowbanks and crowded streets. They’ve pored over the scenes of people dragging home freshly-cut trees, pushing cars up snow-covered hills and crowding the rail station. This year, adults will once again bend down to share the same eye-level views they remember from their childhood and hoist a new generation onto their shoulders for a fresh look at a Cincinnati holiday tradition. Children who grew up visiting the trains downtown now bring their grandchildren to see the same trains at Cincinnati Museum Center.

“Year after year, decade after decade, generation after generation the Duke Energy Holiday Trains have delighted families during the holidays,” said Elizabeth Pierce, president & CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center. “Some people will fall in love with the trains for the first time this year, others for the 75th time, but for everyone we are delighted to once again stoke the fires and send this beloved holiday tradition along their 1,000 feet of track for past and present generations alike.”

You can flip through 75 years of Duke Energy Holiday Trains history in an interactive storybook with just the wave of your hand. The no-touch experience features historic photos and stories of the trains over the decades projected onto a giant storybook.

The Duke Energy Holiday Trains are surrounded by other incredible train layouts, some dating back over 100 years. The Carlisle & Finch Company, based in Cincinnati, produced the world’s first toy electric train in 1896. Their 1904 version click-clacks through Holiday Junction, showcasing 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 designed to complement the O-scale trains.

Back again is Brickopolis, a blizzard of LEGO bricks crafted into fantastical scenes from the magical worlds of Disney, Marvel, DC Comics, Harry Potter and more. The whimsical display is a seek and find treat surrounding a stunning LEGO metropolis complete with running trains, active seashores and hijinks by the local residents.

Speaking of seek and find, a holiday scavenger hunt featuring CMC-themed objects hidden in the garden railway layout begs you to walk around, peel your eyes and scour every detail for flying pigs, dinosaurs and more tucked away in the snowy hills.

Of course, no holiday is complete with a visit to Santa. Santa arrives Friday, November 26 and regardless of which list you’re on, he’ll be sitting by his fireplace eager to hear what you want for the holidays or ready for you to plead your case. His belly will be shaking like a bowl full of jelly in the Public Landing adjacent to Holiday Junction.

Even the OMNIMAX® Theater is turning into a winter wonderland as the classic film Rocky Mountain Express takes you on an immersive journey through the rugged beauty of the Canadian Rockies aboard a historic steam locomotive.

Holiday Junction featuring the Duke Energy Holiday Trains will be open November 12, 2021 through January 3, 2022. Hours will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday through Monday with select extended hours.

Tickets are $10 each for adults and children or $5 with the purchase of any other museum experience. Admission is free for CMC Members. Visit cincymuseum.org/holiday-junction for more details and special holiday hours.

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