A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Holiday Junction featuring Duke Energy Holiday Trains open through Jan. 2 at Cinci Museum Center

LEGOs have been snapped into place with care. Locomotives are nestled snug on their tracks. Visions of snowmen and snowfields are ready to dance in your head. (And, yes, St. Nick will soon be here.)

Cincinnati’s beloved holiday tradition is back as Holiday Junction featuring the Duke Energy Holiday Trains opens Friday at Cincinnati Museum Center.

The Duke Energy Holiday Trains, now in their 76th season, are the star of Holiday Junction. Families have gathered around the historic trains since 1946, watching with wide-eyed whimsy as miniature locomotives and railcars zip around snowbanks and past crowded streets. Each year, adults 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 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 and have been a centerpiece of the season,” said Elizabeth Pierce, president & CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center. “Whether you’re falling in love with the wooden, brightly-colored circus train for the first time or you’re noticing a new detail along the tracks and snow-covered hills after 60 years, there’s something in the display that brings out the wide-eyed child in all of us each year.”

The museum’s winter wonderland is more than just the Duke Energy Holiday Trains’ impressive, 1,000 feet of O-gauge track. A 1904 electric toy train from the Cincinnati-based Carlisle & Finch Company – who produced the first such electric toy train in 1896 – click-clacks through Holiday Junction, showcasing the meticulous craftsmanship in its metal trains, buildings and bridge. Nearby, a pre-World War II Lionel layout and a Lionel Super O layout from the 1960s show the evolution of toy trains and prefabricated landscapes that have been the stars of nose-smudged toy store windows for generations.
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 display is filled with playful masterpieces surrounding a stunning LEGO metropolis complete with running trains, active seashores and hijinks by the local residents.
Speaking of seek and find, the holiday scavenger hunt once again dots the garden railway layout with themed objects that beg you to walk around, peel your eyes and scour every inch of the snowy hills. This year, CMC is mixing holiday spirit with school spirit, hiding University of Cincinnati, Xavier University, and Northern Kentucky University-themed objects throughout the layout.
Of course, no holiday is complete without a visit to Santa. Santa arrives Friday, November 25, and regardless of which list you’re on, he’ll be sitting by his fireplace eager to put his elves to work on your holiday wish list. His belly will be shaking like a bowl full of jelly in the Public Landing adjacent to Holiday Junction.
Tickets for Holiday Junction featuring the Duke Energy Holiday Trains are $10 each for adults and children or $5 with the purchase of any other museum experience. Admission is free for CMC Members.
CMC will host extended hours on these dates:

• Wednesday, Nov. 23, open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Thursday, Nov. 24, closed
• Friday, Nov. 25, open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
• Saturday, Nov. 26, open 10 a.m. 6 p.m.
• Tuesday, Dec. 20 to Friday, Dec. 23, open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Saturday, Dec. 24, open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
• Sunday, Dec. 25, closed
• Monday, Dec. 26 to Monday, Jan. 2, open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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

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