The iconic roadside attractions and landmarks along the historic U.S. Highway Route 66 highlight new additions to the Eiteljorg Museum’s holiday model train display, Jingle Rails: The Great Western Adventure. Open from Nov. 17 to Jan. 21, Jingle Rails is an enchanting holiday attraction, featuring garden scale (G-scale) model trains that crisscross miniature replicas of famous landscapes — from the skyline of Indianapolis to the impressive sights of the American West — that visitors can walk through, around and under.
Visiting the Eiteljorg during the holiday season has become an annual family tradition for many, and Jingle Rails is one of the most affordable holiday attractions in the Indianapolis area. Every year, tens of thousands of guests experience Jingle Rails. The magazine Midwest Living recently featured Jingle Rails as one of 12 ways to celebrate Christmas in the Midwest.
Railroad tracks guide the model trains past intricate reproductions of Lucas Oil Stadium, Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, an Aspen ski resort, Hoover Dam, Golden Gate Bridge and other landmarks. The scenes are constructed of all-natural materials: bark, acorns, pine cones, tree roots, honeycomb and other materials, and are decked out in holiday lights.
New to Jingle Rails this season is a representation of U.S. Route 66, the iconic highway that carried motorists between Chicago and Los Angeles during the mid-20th century. Starting with the classic Chicago skyline and Route 66 sign, the new addition passes notable tourist attractions from the route’s heyday, including the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Cadillac Ranch in Texas, Sinclair filling station with its signature dinosaur and Blue Swallow Motel in New Mexico, all depicted in miniature. The scene ends in California at the Pacific Park Pier with a dazzling fully operating and illuminated Ferris wheel.
“Each year the Eiteljorg tries to have a new backdrop scene or ‘pod’ in Jingle Rails,” said Steve Sipe, the Eiteljorg’s director of exhibition and graphic design. “This grouping will be a vibrant representation of Route 66 in its prime with kitsch, fun, and family adventure.”
Jingle Rails was designed and artistically created by Paul Busse and his company, Applied Imagination in Alexandria, Ky. Similar installations by Busse and his team can be found at the New York Botanical Garden and the United States Botanic Garden in Washington D.C.
Now in its ninth season, Jingle Rails this year features a new addition to downtown Indianapolis: a miniature of the Hilbert Circle Theatre building, home to the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. The reproduction of the Indiana State Fair also returns, after a year off.
Train tables, art-making and other winter activities enhance the Jingle Rails experience. Screenings of the holiday film The Polar Express take place on Dec. 15 and Dec. 21, both at 2 p.m. On Jan. 12 at 10:30 a.m., Native American storyteller Dovie Thomason (Lakota/Plains Apache) will present a family program offering an intertribal sampling of traditional animal stories titled Lessons from the Animal People, in partnership with Storytelling Arts of Indiana. Visit the museum’s website, www.eiteljorg.org, for more details about Jingle Rails programming.
Recognized by USA Today as a “10 Best” Indianapolis holiday attraction, Jingle Rails is included with regular admission to the Eiteljorg. Adults are $15, seniors are $12, youth ages 5 to 17 are $8, and children ages four and under are free. Purchase advance discount tickets by ordering online.
While visiting the Eiteljorg, museum-goers also can see the new family-friendly Western art galleries, including the exhibit, Attitudes: The West in American Art. Visitors also can experience the museum’s special exhibits The Reel West and Harry Fonseca: The Art of Living, enjoy the kid-friendly R.B. Annis Western Family Experience, grab a bite at the Museum Café and shop at the Museum Store.
Jingle Rails: The Great Western Adventure at the Eiteljorg Museum is presented by The Indiana Rail Road and sponsored by One America, Katz Sapper & Miller, the Indianapolis Colts and Faegre Baker Daniels LLP.
VIDEO: For a YouTube video of the Jingle Rails trains, visit this link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wQir2G_1Hg&feature=em-share_video_user. Video is courtesy of James E. Moriarty, Moriarty Media.
PHOTO: Images of Jingle Rails are attached; photo credit is courtesy of the Eiteljorg Museum and Applied Imagination.