Eiteljorg Musuem Blog

Popular holiday tradition Jingle Rails returns this year with new Hollywood theme

by Emily Sabens, marketing intern | Oct 23, 2017

17JingleRailsImageNoLogoSince it first opened in 2010, Jingle Rails: The Great
Western Adventure
has become a cherished Indianapolis holiday tradition for families. The extraordinary miniature train attraction returns to the Eiteljorg on Saturday,
Nov. 18.

In Jingle Rails, nine G-scale trains chug along nearly 1,200 feet of track through iconic scenes and landmarks of the West that visitors are sure to recognize. Made of all-natural materials such as bark, twigs and acorns, the backdrops are decked out in bright, festive holiday lighting.

One of the most affordable holiday attractions in Indianapolis, Jingle Rails is included with regular admission, and children age 4 and under are free.

The Jingle Rails adventure begins in the museum’s Clowes Court, where a miniature train departs from a scaled-down version of downtown Indianapolis. It swings past replicas of Monument Circle, Lucas Oil Stadium, Union Station and the Eiteljorg itself.

After exploring the Circle City, visitors follow the trains to other displays depicting the iconic landmarks of the American West. You’ll see recreations of national parks and lodges, a Northwest Coast Native village, an Aspen ski resort and wonders — both natural and man-made — including Mount Rushmore, Mesa Verde, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Old Faithful, Hoover Dam, Golden Gate Bridge and more.

There is an exciting addition this year: Visitors will be able to experience Hollywood and see familiar landmarks such as Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, the Warner Bros. water tower, the Griffith Park Observatory and, of course, the iconic Hollywood sign. The display is thanks to a generous donation from the Kortepeter Family, who have committed to supporting a new addition to Jingle Rails each year.

The Hollywood backdrop also includes a replica of a traditional Western movie set, complete with a saloon, bank and sheriff’s office — a nice lead-in to the museum’s upcoming 2018 special exhibit, The Reel West. Opening March 3, The Reel West will examine how Hollywood movies and television have shaped the public’s ideas of the American West.

From its inception seven years ago, Jingle Rails has expanded in size, scope and popularity. The must-see attraction extends from Clowes Sculpture Court into Eagle Commons. Families can again pose for a keepsake photo next to a towering replica of a locomotive steam engine — created from tree roots and honeycomb — that was a recent addition in 2016. Visitors also will enjoy a birds-eye view of each train by exploring the interactive kiosk.

Jingle Rails was designed and built by Paul Busse and his talented crew of creative artists, botanical architects and landscape designers at Applied Imagination. Based in Alexandria, Kentucky, the nationally-recognized team has created similar railway exhibitions for the New York Botanical Garden and the United States Botanical Garden in Washington, D.C.

Jingle Rails photoOver the years, Jingle Rails has received national acclaim. It was featured in a Chicago Tribune article highlighting popular Midwest holiday attractions. Fox News Travel recognized Jingle Rails in an article titled, “See the world in miniature: 12 of the most incredible model railways.” USA Today also recognized Jingle Rails as a “10 Best” Indianapolis holiday attraction.

Last year, more than 40,000 guests experienced the holiday railway. All the while, a dedicated team of staff, volunteers and model-railroading enthusiasts keep the trains and display running smoothly.

Jingle Rails: The Great Western Adventure will remain open until Jan. 15. Don’t miss this captivating and beloved holiday tradition.

At the Eiteljorg Museum
Nov. 18 to Jan. 15

Included with regular museum admission  (except on Jan. 15 (Martin Luther King Jr. Day; admission is free on that date only.)

This article originally appeared in the November 2017 issue of Storyteller magazine. 

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