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Chug, chug, chug — 5 train displays to put you in the holiday spirit

Love trains, especially this time of year? Your first stop is Christmas at the Junction at EnterTRAINment Junction.

“For some reason, Christmas and trains have always gone together. It probably goes back to when Lionel Trains were the big thing. Growing up, everybody seemed to have them around their Christmas tree. It creates a warm nostalgic feeling that has been shared throughout the generations,” said Bill Balfour, general manager at EnterTRAINment Junction.

It doesn’t matter if you’re 8 or age 80, you probably have had a Christmas train of some kind. If not your own, the family had one, he said.

EnterTRAINment Junction features three Christmas train displays at the Expo Center, which are free and open to the public.

The three train layouts include a Lionel train display that was originally exhibited at the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis. There is also an HO-scale train display featuring the ever-popular Dept. 56 buildings and villages. The third train display was created by members of the Greater Cincinnati Garden Railway Society, and is set against a winter backdrop.

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Christmas at the Junction also features “The World’s Largest Indoor Train Display” as part of the ticketed attraction.

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“The World’s Largest Indoor Train Display,” a G-Scale model train display, focuses on three time periods in history, including the mid-1800s when everything was steam trains. Then, it goes into the Golden Age of Train Travel, which is the 1940s and 1950s. The last section features on modern-day trains with diesel, mostly freight trains,” Balfour said.

With the “Christmas Journey to the North Pole” walk-through attraction, guests will enjoy snowy scenes with snowfall on the way to the North Pole and Santa’s Village. The village features a post office, a sleigh house, a reindeer barn and an elves’ workshop.

Guests will have an opportunity to visit with Santa one-on-one in his study and see Mrs. Claus in her kitchen, where visitors will receive a free cookie. (Santa goes on vacation after Christmas.)

As part of Christmas at the Junction’s winter experience, visitors will also find a holiday-themed Main Street area, a 1930s cityscape trimmed in festive lights and decorations. Main Street has a sidewalk café, several party rooms and a toy shop, Junction Hobbies & Toys.

Junction Hobbies & Toys stocks selection of classic and nostalgic toys, including the area’s largest collection of Thomas the Train merchandise, G-Scale and HO trains and accessories, LEGOS and more.

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Other spectacular attractions at EnterTRAINment Junction are also open, including a 1,000-foot replica of the historic Coney Island Amusement Park, a kids’ play area, the A-Maze-N FunHouse as well as the American Railroading Museum and more.

Check out these other area train displays:

Train Days at Heritage Village Museum in Sharon Woods Park on Dec. 20, 21, 22 and 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Heritage Village volunteers will bring in and set up their model trains — adding to the “Great Circle Line & Points North” O-Scale Model Railway, which was already set up for the previous Holly Days event on Dec. 9, 10. Cost is $3 for ages 12 and up, $1 for ages 5 to 11, ages 4 and under and members are free. (A GreatParks parking pass is required.) For more information, go to www.heritagevillagecincinnati.org.

Holiday Junction featuring Brickopolis at Cincinnati Museum Center runs through Tuesday, Jan. 2. Holiday Junction featuring Brickopolis in Cincinnati Museum Center’s special exhibition gallery will feature favorites like the Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends and the Super-O interactive layout trains, which will return this year. In addition to a variety of train layouts of different sizes and themes, the riding train will be back, allowing riders to explore a winter wonderland. Additionally, Holiday Junction featuring Brickopolis will include countless bricks, crafted into custom LEGO creations courtesy of the Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana LEGO Users Group (OKILUG). Cincinnati Museum Center members are free. Adults are $10.50; seniors ages 60 and up are $9.50; children ages 3-12 are $8.50, toddlers 1-2 are $5.50 and ages 1 and under are free. More details at www.cincymuseum.org.

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Cincinnati Choo Choo Holiday Show at Krohn Conservatory runs through Sunday, Jan. 7. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., daily. Discover the magic of being home for the holidays aboard the Cincinnati Choo Choo at Krohn Conservatory. The 2017 Holiday Show will take guests back in time to holiday festivities in the city as they’re reminded of their favorite family traditions. The conservatory will be filled with red poinsettias, evergreens and other holiday plants. The train display and historical buildings created by Applied Imagination will immerse visitors in the sights and sounds of chugging trains and splashing water, with trains overhead and trolleys at their feet. Adults are $7; Youth ages 5-17 are $4 and children 4 and under are free. Go to http://www.cincinnatiparks.com.

Through Sunday, Jan. 14, Behringer-Crawford Museum will celebrate the 26th anniversary of its beloved Holiday Toy Trains. The exhibit includes over 250 feet of model train tracks, vintage Lionel and Plasticville trains, Thomas the Tank Engine and more than 30 guest-activated displays, a Charles Dickens display, special holiday exhibits and more. The exhibition is free for museum members (and children under 3,) and is included in the price admission for others. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sundays, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Special hours on Christmas Eve 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. and New Year’s Eve 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Closed Mondays, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Cost is $9 for adults; $8 for senior adults ages 60 and over. $5 for children ages 3 to 17. Wednesdays are Grandparents’ Days – one grandchild is free with a grandparent’s paid admission. For more information, visit www.bcmuseum.org.

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