Family Fun at Jingle Rails: The Western Rail Adventure

Can you believe it’s almost time to hang up the stockings and decorate the tree?

Each year, I feel like the festivities start earlier and earlier.  Poor Thanksgiving gets the squeeze. For some people that may be upsetting, but for me that is just fine. It’s not that I don’t enjoy Thanksgiving. I do. I mean, who doesn’t love to stuff themselves silly with turkey and mashed potatoes? The truth is – we have a mile-long list of all the ways we want to celebrate the season, and with so many fun things to do in a limited amount of time; the sooner we can start the better.

 

The first activity on this year’s list was to visit Jingle Rails at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in downtown Indianapolis. My four-year old son has been obsessed with trains since he first saw Thomas, so this was a must-do for our family.

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My husband and I enjoyed this outing just as much as the kids. The model train display was absolutely incredible. We were “ooing” and “ahhing” and pointing at things for family members to see the entire time. We talked about how cozy the scenes were and how you could imagine what it would be like to be sitting inside one of the buildings watching the train go by.

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All natural materials were used to recreate downtown Indianapolis, the Indiana State Fair, the old west and many historic landmarks such as the Hoover Dam, Mount Rushmore and the Golden Gate Bridge to name a few. The nooks and tunnels the trains went through added to the wonder of the display. Watching the train journey through the Grand Canyon made me long to actually be there.

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The entire experience of walking through this exhibit was very heartwarming. There is something about model trains and Christmas that just feels right. Seeing these intricate, beautiful displays surrounded by brightly lit Christmas trees left all of us feeling very excited for the Christmas season.

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The fun didn’t stop there. We enjoyed the downstairs play area where the kids colored, played games and had an overall blast while learning about history. We also enjoyed walking around the exhibits where we saw beautiful works of art. The kids loved seeing the bead work, headdress and tipi – and even had fun making a tipi of their own.

I have to admit, I was nervous about taking all of the kids to a museum. One of the cardinal rules of a museum is don’t touch a thing and my kids seem to have magnets going from their hands to just about everything they see. Seriously. This is not a joke. But they did a great job. I was very proud of them. I think part of the reason the trip was so successful is because they had things they could touch in almost every room we explored. Even the areas that were not designated for kids were very kid friendly.

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We left the museum filled with joy and anticipation for what this Christmas season will hold. I highly recommend making Jingle Rails a holiday tradition for your family. It was an extraordinary way to begin the holiday festivities. I can’t wait to see where the next 34 days will take us.

Jingle Rails will be open now through January 16. For more information on pricing, hours and special events such as happy hour and holiday photo sessions inside Jingle Rails, visit www.eiteljorg.org

Be sure to check out indyschild.com to find out where else we will be traveling to this holiday season. There are so many great things for families to experience in Indianapolis. I am excited to share our experiences with you and would love to hear about your family experiences as well. Please leave comments and #indyschild on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so that we can see what you and your family are up to this holiday season.

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