Gift #1144: Jingle Rails

Yesterday we went downtown to a museum to experience “Jingle Rails” – a holiday miniature train exhibit.  It’s been a long time since we’ve been and I was excited to visit it again and see what had changed.  About 10-15 trains meander through downtown Indianapolis, iconic scenes of the west, under tunnels, and over bridges in a huge gallery outfitted with trees, poinsettias, and snow.  While I’m not much of a train enthusiast, I do really admire the displays as they are all made completely of natural materials and are brilliant.  It’s like a snowy fairy scene on steroids.  Here’s a mini tour of some of my favorites:

First stop, downtown Indianapolis:


Yep, here’s our very own city, outfitted with several famous buildings (although the building I work in is not represented.. sigh) and the traditional lighted Christmas tree that decorates the monument each December.

From there, we journey to California (hold on because it’s a long stretch, even by train).  We now arrive at our next destination – Yosemite National Park.  As a side note, this park is tops on my bucket list of places I’d love to see.  The model features a lovely remake of the inn.


Isn’t the detailing exquisite?  I love the stonework columns.  Also in this exhibit are some teepees, which I liked because of how they were decorated.   They are made of cedar bark strips, and accented with nuts, acorn caps, and small stones.  I think it would be so fun to make these!


After our stay at this national park, we board up on the next departing train and head to my beloved state of Colorado.  Here we make our way to the famed skiing town of Aspen.  And check out the accommodations here!


This is one of my favorite buildings in the whole gallery (not that I’m biased towards Colorado or anything).  The railings are made of carved walnut shell slices.  Bark columns decorate the front, and the lights flicker delicately inside the windows, just beckoning you in.  Beyond is a ski lift that runs up the mountain above.  Hot air balloons hang from the ceiling because that’s a popular activity for the more adventurous types in Colorado.  Here is a shot up the mountain as seen between two joists of a railroad bridge overhead.


Pure Colorado magic, that is.  At this point I start to get desperately homesick and also start getting derailed (pun intended) by little things in the exhibit, like that green lichen stuck to the large tree trunks, the pocket of little succulents over there, how they carved that gourd to look like a stagecoach….  Or what’s the story with this tiny building stuck on the edge of a cliff?


Those tree roots around the building are amazing! And this is on the back side of the main exhibit.   I wonder what it would be like to live here…. But then we’re back on a train headed for the most famous national park of all… Yellowstone!


I took lots of picture at this stop and have smartly arranged a few into a collage for you to save on the length of the blog post.  Here we have the magnificent inn (I love all those tiny windows).  My parents ate at the restaurant here when they visited last year.  Down below on the left is Old Faithful – it’s actually letting off steam in the photo but you have to look carefully to see it.   And there’s also the iconic Roosevelt Arch.  All around are geysers and little mineral pools which are beautifully recreated.

And new this year is a tour along Route 66! Starting out in Chicago and ending up in Santa Monica, the Mother Road bustled millions of cars across the US in its heyday.  Along the road, a myriad of oddities and dining/entertainment options sprang up.  And here are a few:


From bottom right, the iconic sign and behind that is “the world’s largest rocking chair” which you could stop to admire on your road trip.  Bottom left gives a shot of the road itself leading out of Chicago and the first original Steak and Shake.  Top left is the great blue whale (it’s currently busy swallowing a train).  I have no idea what it’s story was – I think it was originally in Oklahoma, and then the Santa Monica Pier tells us that we’ve reached our journey’s end.

I hope you enjoyed the tour.  All aboard for the next train headed back east!!

Blessings to you,


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