The one-of-a-kind model train attraction that has become a must-see holiday family tradition, Jingle Rails: The Great Western Adventure, returns to the Eiteljorg Museum on Saturday, Nov. 19.
Visitors to Jingle Rails at the Eiteljorg Museum are in for an enchanting holiday experience, as nine model trains crisscross miniature landscapes that whimsically recreate downtown Indianapolis and the landmarks of the West, including the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore, the Golden Gate Bridge, Las Vegas and the Hoover Dam, all built of natural materials and decked out in festive lighting. Jingle Rails will be open through Jan. 16 at the Eiteljorg Museum.
Now in its seventh year, Jingle Rails at the Eiteljorg Museum has emerged as a popular holiday tradition, as families with children and grandchildren return each year to enjoy the train display that makes a fanciful loop through the West. During the 2015 holiday season, approximately 44,000 museumgoers visited Jingle Rails during its nine-week run at the Eiteljorg. USA Today named Jingle Rails a “10 Best” Indianapolis attraction.
Based on guests’ input that families wanted a “photo op” they could pose next to for a memento of their visit, a new feature has been added to Jingle Rails: an approximately half-scale replica of the front of a locomotive steam engine, imaginatively crafted from a tree trunk and roots, perfect for group snapshots or selfies.
“With its intricate recreations of iconic Western scenes, Jingle Rails at the Eiteljorg Museum sparks children’s imaginations about the West and engages parents and grandparents, bringing back nostalgic memories of favorite landmarks. We are delighted that Jingle Rails has multigenerational appeal year after year, and it’s a good starting point for visiting all of the Eiteljorg Museum, since the story of the railroad is central to the history of the settlement of the American West,” said John Vanausdall, president and CEO of the Eiteljorg.
Chugging along the tracks through 12 miniature landscapes, the G-gauge model trains pass replicas of downtown Indianapolis landmarks such as Lucas Oil Stadium and, crossing bridges and trestles, connect to cleverly constructed scenes from the West and national parks. As the Jingle Railsdisplay has grown, the track’s length has expanded from the museum’s Clowes Court into Eagle Commons. Two favorite miniatures added in 2015 that return this year are glitzy Las Vegas – with its neon waving cowboy sign – and the Hoover Dam.
Crafted out of natural materials such as bark, moss and walnut shells, the miniatures were designed and built by Paul Busse and his company, Applied Imagination, in Alexandria, Ky. They built similar replicas at the New York Botanical Garden and United States Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C.
More than 60 volunteers help staff the display and guide visitors during the nine-week run of Jingle Rails. A small crew of model train enthusiasts also volunteer to maintain and repair the trains, which represent different eras in the history of the railroad in the West.
For a train’s-eye view of how it looks to pass through the tunnels, around the landscapes and over the trestles, visitors at the interactive kiosk can watch video taken by GoPro cameras mounted on the trains and also explore connections to the museum galleries. Also new to Jingle Rails this year are live music performances, storytelling and holiday movie screenings on specific dates. Check eiteljorg.org for details.
Jingle Rails Schedule
- Nov. 19 – Opening day. Music act Patchwork performs from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
- Nov. 25-27 – Thanksgiving weekend. Museum is closed on Thanksgiving Day but is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
- Nov. 28-Dec. 4 – Hospitality Week. Indianapolis hospitality workers such as skycaps, hotel concierges, cab drivers and waiters and their families can enjoy free admission to the museum.
- Dec. 3 – Eiteljorg Museum Winter Market. More than 30 artists sell hand-made art at the season’s best regional art market.
- Dec. 10 – Music act New Augusta Duo performs from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
- Dec. 17 – Patchwork performs from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Polar Express movie screening in the Lilly Auditorium at 11 a.m.
- Dec. 21 – Polar Express movie screening in the Lilly Auditorium at 1 p.m.
- Dec. 26-28 – Storytelling with Anishinaabe storyteller Teresa Webb, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
- Dec. 28 – New Augusta Duo performs 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
- Jan. 2-6 – Teresa Webb Storytelling 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
- Jan. 7 – New Augusta Duo performance 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
- Jan. 16 – Final day to see Jingle Rails.
Jingle Rails: The Great Western Adventure is included in the price of admission to the Eiteljorg Museum. The presenting sponsor is The Indiana Rail Road Company, and other sponsors are OneAmerica, the Indianapolis Colts, Katz Sapper & Miller, Stuart’s Household Furniture Moving and Storage Inc., the Kortepeter family and L.G. and Alyce Edwards.
Jingle Rails also coincides with the Eiteljorg’s special exhibition of Titan of the West: The Adams Collection of Western and Native American Art, and regular museum admission gets visitors into both attractions.
About the Eiteljorg
The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art seeks to inspire an appreciation and understanding of the art, history and cultures of the American West and the indigenous peoples of North America. The Eiteljorg is located on the downtown canal in White River State Park, at 500 West Washington St., Indianapolis. For general information about the museum and to learn more about exhibits and events, call 317.636.WEST (9378) or visit eiteljorg.org.