If you’ve read some of our other posts about trains, you know that the Adventure Kids love all things train-related. So it’s no surprise that the Jingle Rails: The Western Adventure train exhibit at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in downtown Indianapolis is high on our list of must-see fun during the holiday season. If you’ve never been, let me tell you what to expect.
Jingle Rails is a nationally-acclaimed holiday train exhibit within the museum. Here you’ll find a roomful of G-scale model trains that chug along various tracks through intricate and enchanting scenes.
My favorite part of the display is the miniature version of our city, downtown Indianapolis! When the trains roll through this part of the exhibit, they pass:
- Monument Circle
- Union Station
- Lucas Oil Stadium
- Eiteljorg Museum
- Indianapolis Motor Speedway
- Fifth Third Bank Building
The rest of the miniature landscape’s design in the room revolves around the American West. Those sites include:
- Northwest Coast Native Villages
- Mt. Rushmore
- Grand Canyon
- Yosemite Falls
- Old Faithful
- Las Vegas Strip
- Hoover Dam
- Spanish Colonial Missions
- Golden Gate Bridge
- Aspen Ski Resort
One detail that sets the Jingle Rails exhibit apart from other model train exhibits is that all of the scenes are made out of all-natural plant materials. The exhibit was designed and created by Applied Imagination, and it is absolutely beautiful and unique.
In the basement of the Eiteljorg, you’ll find the Western Family Experience. This is a hands-on and engaging area for younger children.
Your kids can climb in a stagecoach, hop on some wooden ponies, and get involved in other activities focused on Native American, African American, and Chinese families. The Adventure Kids really enjoy this area!
Lots to See
The museum is filled with beautiful and interesting exhibits that explore themes, artifacts, and art related to the American West and the cultures of the Indigenous people of North America.
Jingle Rails will be open November 23 through January 20, excluding Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Years Day. The hours are:
- Monday-Saturday 10:00am-5:00pm
- Mondays in December 10:00am-8:00pm
- Sundays noon-5:00pm
Location and Parking
The White River State Park underground parking garage is on Washington just west of the museum. Parking is free if spots are available. The spots are first-come, first-served, but we have never had a problem finding a spot to park there. Make sure you take your ticket inside with you to be validated.
If you don’t have free tickets from your participation in the Indianapolis Public Library’s Summer Reading Program, then tickets can be purchased online or at the door. These are general admission tickets, so you will be able to explore the entire museum and see Jingle Rails all with one ticket.
- $15/person for ages 18-64
Note: Advance tickets are available online for the discounted price of $14/person.
- $12/person for ages 65 and older
- $8/person for ages 5-17
- Free for ages 4 and under
- Free for members, Native Americans, and IUPUI students and faculty
Additional Holiday Fun
At 1:00pm on the first three Saturdays in December, the Eiteljorg Museum will host a movie screening of The Polar Express (rated G). The movie showing is included in the price of admission.
They also have several $6.00 options for kids that include a side of fruit:
- grilled cheese
- chicken quesadilla
- hot dog
- chicken fingers
Overall, we think Jingle Rails is a unique and enchanting exhibit. The fact that you can explore the family area and other parts of the museum all for one reasonable price is just icing on the cake. We’re sure you won’t be disappointed with your visit to the Eiteljorg this year!