There are so many holiday trains chugging into their stations in the tri-state. Kids of all ages love to watch the locomotives whirling by, adorned with wreaths, big red bows and whistling loudly “Choo-choo!”. It is fun to imagine where the miniature passengers are heading on their train excursion. Do the passengers have hot cocoa to keep them warm on their trip? Did they pack a gift to bring to a loved one once they reach their destination? Winter trains surely bring about a sense of wonder, awe and nostalgia during the holiday season… and we at Cincinnati Family Magazine have scoped out some of the best places for your family to make some magical train memories…
Behringer-Crawford Museum – Holiday Toy Trains
Families will love the festive memories made at the Behringer-Crawford Museum this year featuring vintage Christmas vignettes, 250 feet of train tracks showcasing wintry and whimsical train displays, LEGO creations designed by members of OKILUG and even a LEGO maker space! Wednesdays are Grandparents Days: one grandchild admitted free with each paying grandparent! Behringer-Crawford Museum, 1600 Montague Road, Covington; Open Nov, 13! Tue – Sat, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sun 1 – 5 p.m.; $9 adults, $8 seniors 60 +, $5 children, free for members and children under 3; (859) 491-4003 or bcmuseum.org.
Cincinnati Museum Center- Holiday Junction
Choo choo! Holiday Junction Featuring the Duke Energy Holiday Trains is pulling into its home at Cincinnati Museum Center once again- don’t miss out on this family holiday tradition. Cincinnati Museum Center , 1301 Western Avenue, Cincinnati; Open Nov. 12! Thu – Mon, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.; $10 general admission OR add Holiday Junction to any museum experience for $5, free for members and children two and younger; 513-287-7000 or cincymuseum.org/holiday-junction.
Train Days at Heritage Village
Watch model trains chug around villages, mountains and through tunnels in these large model train displays inside an actual historic train station and Hayner House. Heritage Village Museum, 11500 Lebanon Road, Sharonville; Dec 15 – 17, 22 and 22, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.; $3 admission, free for members; 513-563-9484 or heritagevillagecincinnati.org.
Krohn Conservatory: Trains and Traditions, A Cincinnati Holiday
Experience a tapestry of colorful poinsettias, charming garden railways and beautiful replicas of Cincinnati landmarks created out of “Botanical Architecture” by local artisans; Applied Imagination. Krohn Conservatory is where holiday traditions take place in the warmth of the tropics. The Crib of the Nativity, sponsored by the Western & Southern Fund, will be open December 10 – January 2nd daily from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. Krohn Conservatory, 1501 Eden Park Drive, Cincinnati; Open Now! 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.; $10 adults, $7 children 5 – 17, free for children 4 and under. ; 513-421-5707 or cincinnatiparks.com.
Bills Schott’s Holiday Train Display
All aboard! Get in the holiday spirit and watch as locomotives make their way through wintry scenes. Highfield Discovery Garden , 10397 Springfield Pike, Cincinnati; Nov 26 – Jan 9, Wed – Sat 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Sun 12 – 4:30 p.m., Closed holidays; $2.75 per person + valid vehicle permit required for park entry ; 513-521-7275 or greatparks.org/calendar/special-events/bill-schotts-holiday-train-display.
Christmas at the Junction
Create memories that last a lifetime and experience the magic of the holidays at the world’s largest train display; then take a journey to the North Pole for an encounter with Mrs. Claus and Santa! EnterTRAINment Junction, 7379 Squire Court, West Chester; Open Nov 13 – Jan 3, Mon – Sat 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sun 12 – 6 p.m.; $18.95 Do-It-All admission, free for members and children under 2; 513-898-8000 or entertrainmentjunction.com.
Watching train figures is fun… but so is taking a ride on a train! There are quite a few kiddy size trains and even some that grown-ups can enjoy, too … engineers of all ages will enjoy taking a ride on a train this winter!
Kings Island Winterfest
Kings Island has been magically transformed into a winter wonderland. Families can go ice skating, bask in the glow of more than 5 million lights, go on exhilarating rides (including a TRAIN ride!), enjoy live entertainment and meet lots of friendly holiday characters. Kings Island , 6300 Kings Island Drive, Kings Mills; Select nights Nov 26 – Dec 31, 5 – 10 p.m.; online tickets as low as $29.99, group discounts available; visit website for more information; (513) 754-5700 or visitkingsisland.com.
Lumaze Christmas Light Festival
Bask in the glow of a million twinkling lights at this new Cincinnati Christmas festival! Little ones will love the magic castle playground, ride-along train, LED hopscotch & swings, visits with Santa and so much more. Families can snap a picture at worldly lights displays, enjoy live music performances, do a little holiday shopping at the local winter market and grab a bite to eat (grown-ups can enjoy a drink from the licensed bar if they’d like). At Lumaze, there is something for everyone! Duke Energy Convention Center, 525 Elm Street, Cincinnati; Open select nights Nov 26 – Dec 31; 4 – 10 p.m.; adult pricing: $22.99 weekdays, $25.99 weekend & holidays, $27.99 Christmas. children (4 – 12)/senior (65+) pricing: $16.99 weekdays, $19.99 weekend & holidays, $21.99 Christmas; family packages, 2 adults + 3 children: $75.99 weekdays, $89.99 weekend & Christmas; lumazelights.com/cincinnati-christmas.
North Pole Express (register)
Choo, choo! This train ride is full of magical merriment; families will meet friendly elves and say “Hello” to Santa during this jolly 1 hour, 15 minute long train journey! Each child will receive a souvenir bell and a prepackaged cookie to complete the adventure. Departures December 3 -5, 9 – 12, 16 – 19, 22 – 24 and 26.Weekday departures: 6 & 8 p.m. Weekend departures: 12, 2, 4, 6 & 8 p.m.; LM & M Railroad, 16 East South Street, Lebanon; 6 p.m.; $22 – 26 coach class, $35- 39 deluxe class, $5 infants (under 2, not occupying a seat); 513-933-8022 or lebanonrr.com/northpole.
PNC Festival of Lights
The 39th PNC Festival of Lights will be just as special and memorable as ever! Families can enjoy familiar favorites like the holiday light displays (there are over 4 million lights glowing!), Wild Lights Show on Swan Lake, Madcap Winter Wonders, Toyland Express Train rides, finding Fiona Fairy statues, roasting s’mores and so much more. Festival of Lights festivities start at 4 p.m. each evening. Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, 3400 Vine Street, Cincinnati; Nov 19 – Jan 9, 4- 9 p.m.; included in daily admission or membership; 513-281-4700 or cincinnatizoo.org/events/festival-of-lights.
Free Movie Night at the Levee
Kick back and relax with a classic film on a jumbo LED screen.
December 23rd – The Polar Express
The Gallery at Newport on the Levee, 1 Levee Way, Newport; 7 – 9 p.m.; 8592910550 or newportonthelevee.com/movie-night-on-the-levee.