From mini models to the real deal, here are six terrific train experiences not to be missed.
Holiday Show at Krohn Conservatory
A lush and fantastical display awaits inside the glass walls of the Krohn Conservatory in Eden Park. Trains chug through a scenic wonderland of flowers and recreations of the Cincinnati region’s most iconic landmarks, as well as some imaginative structures dreamed up by the exhibit’s creators. November 18, 2017–January 7, 2018.
Holiday Toy Trains
With vintage Lionel and Plasticville trains, Thomas the Tank Engine and more than 30 moving, interactive displays carefully built at kids’ eye level, this magical tableau is tailor-made for children. November 18, 2017-January 14, 2018.
This train attraction, with two miles of track, trains depicting every era of American railroading and the A-Maze-N Funhouse (which features a mirror maze and a hilarious tilt room), provides tons of fun all year long for little engineers. During the holidays, there’s a special Christmas cityscape display—and it even snows inside! November 11, 2017-December 31, 2017.
During this festive hour-long roundtrip ride on a vintage train, kids can talk to Santa, listen to caroling elves, hear a reading of The Polar Express and sip hot chocolate. Pajamas encouraged! Train times vary throughout the season, starting on Saturday, November 25. Closer to Christmas, rides are also available on Thursdays and Fridays.
Kings Island & Miami Valley Railroad at Winterfest
Kings Island, Miami Valley Railroad
The authentic steam-spitting engines of the trains in this fleet are actually 1/3 scale replicas of famous locomotives from the 1800s. Ring in the holidays by taking a ride on this train through Kings Island
as it's decked out for Winterfest with over 5 million lights. You can catch the train on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 5:00 pm until 10:00 pm November 24th through December 30th. Winterfest is also open some weekdays closer to Christmas.
PNC Festival of Lights
Head to the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
and witness a "Wild Wonderland" of dazzling holiday lights. Hop on the train and take a ride around the zoo, then watch a performance from the Madcap Puppets or search for fairies in Fairland. There is an additonal cost to ride the train, but you have the option to purchase a Ride Package ticket. The PNC Festival of Lights takes place from November 18-January 1, 2018 and is open 5:00 pm until 9:00 pm Sunday through Thursday and 5:00 pm until 10:00 pm Friday and Saturday.
At the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal
you can explore 12,000 square feet of train exhibits, including familiar friend Thomas the Tank Engine. LEGO adds to the holiday fun with 1,800 square feet of landscapes featuring motorized trains and whimsical scenes. Holiday Junction chugs through the museum center November 10th-January 1st. Please note that the rest of the venue is closed for renovations.Written by: Jessica Gordon with updates by Emily Lloyd