Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails! Opens January 20
December 20, 2017
For Immediate Release
Thomas & Friends™: Explore the Rails! Exhibit
Opens at The Strong Museum
January 20, 2018
All aboard! Chug in for the Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails! exhibit opening at The Strong museum on Saturday, January 20, 2018. Meet favorite steam engines like Thomas, Percy, and Gordon; explore the unique landscape of Sodor, which has held a special place in the hearts and imaginations of children for generations; and help Thomas and his friends solve a variety of math and science-based challenges in unique zones:
Entering Sodor: step through the exhibit portal—complete with a windmill, curving railway, and puffy clouds—and be transported to the industrial Island of Sodor. Take pictures with a giant Thomas the Tank Engine model (with buffers and coal bin) and then hop aboard to explore the train’s inner workings. Climb into the cab to pull the brake, whistle, and steam levers. Outside, step into a scene from the television series and take a picture with Thomas and Sir Topham Hatt, the head of the railway.
Knapford Station: enter the bustling Knapford Station—the glass and steel heart of the Island or Sodor. On the platform, sort freight and baggage on to train cars, including crates, sacks, and livestock. Make sure everything is secure before sending it on its way! Don a conductor’s uniform and sell tickets to various stops across the Island. Be sure to follow the instructions from Sir Topham Hatt to keep up with the train’s schedules. Race to adjust the three clocks to reflect whether trains will be early, late, or on-time.
Around the Island: zoom your own train across Sodor at a sprawling train table that includes favorite stops such as Tidmouth Shed, Brendam Docks, the Rescue Station, and the Quarry. Create new routes with various track pieces and become an engineer by building bridges and buildings. Put your mathematical skills to the test trying to guide a train around a steep curve by adjusting its speed. At a nearby wall graphic, learn about the various famous engines of Sodor (known affectionally as the “Steam Team”) and learn about their different jobs.
Sodor Steamworks: help Victor, the Steamworks manager, fix and improve the engines. Use oversize nuts, bolts, rods, and wrenches to fix the wobbly wheels on the green engine Percy. Learn about the parts of an engine and replace Percy’s old funnels, lanterns, and buffers. Then work with friends and family to load coal on a conveyer belt and pump water into Percy to finish getting him ready to hit the rails again. Once the steam whistle blows, Percy can chug again!
Sodor Tot Spot: the littlest explorers step into the rolling hills of Sodor and use eye-hand coordination to open doors, turn knobs, and slide trains along a track.
Engine Driver’s Common Room: explore a retrospective of Thomas the Tank Engine that celebrates the rich history and evolution of the books, television shows, and toys from the 1940s to the present. See images chronicling each important era in Thomas’s past; models from previous television series, such as the original British live-action series; original drawings and manuscripts from creator Rev. W. Awdry; and a collection of other memorabilia.
Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails remains on view through May 6, 2018. The exhibit is included with general museum admission.
© 2018 Gullane (Thomas) Limited. Thomas & Friends™: Explore the Rails! was created by Minnesota Children’s Museum, presented by Fisher-Price and sponsored by 3M.
Museum Hours: Monday–Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
General Admission Fees (does not include admission to Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden®): age 2 and older $15, under age 2 free, members free. Fees subject to change.
Admission to Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden: General Admission fee plus $4 for members, $5 for nonmembers, under age 2 free. Entry is by timed ticket only. Fees subject to change.
Parking: Free parking is available at the museum for all guests on a first-come, first-served basis during regular museum hours. Please note that, on high visitation days, the museum lot may reach capacity early in the day. If space is not available on site at the time of your visit, additional parking is available at neighboring municipal garages for a fee. The Strong is not responsible for fees incurred at off-site locations.