MEGA Train List for Central Ohio and Beyond

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My kids love trains! I have been to *almost* every place on this list! When Jaden was 3, he could have gone to Barnes and Noble every single day to play with Thomas. This list isn’t so much for your kids as it is for you! Of course your kids will love these places, but this list is to keep YOU from going insane from doing the same thing every day! 😉 A good number of these things are special events that are only available for a short time! So check the list and mark your calendars because many of those are coming up this month! You, too, can be a really useful engine! 😉

1. Paul Busse Model Garden Railway at Franklin Park Conservatory, downtown Columbus


The train in the picture below is up nearly year round, but the one above makes a special appearance during the holidays! Check the link for info on Merry and Bright!


2. Grandview Library, Grandview Heights


One great library with a train table!

3. Huntington Holiday Train at Columbus Metropolitan Library, downtown Columbus


The Huntington Holiday Train arrives in mid-November and the Main Library hosts an Open House on November 30th, which will include hot chocolate and cookies, crafts and the lighting of Topiary Park! For even more trains, keep an eye on the Hilliard and Gahanna branches which will offer Polar Express programs this year!

4. Ohio Railway Museum, Worthington

The museum has been working on repairing the tracks so no train rides are available as of today, but they hope to be up and running for the holidays!

5. The Train Station, Clintonville


Model trains are for sale here and they also have a small play area for kids!


6. Moody Street Trains, Clintonville


Model trains are for sale here and there is a train table for playing. On Saturday, December 3, 2016, they will host the 2nd Annual National Lionel Train Day which will feature prizes, face painting and a visit from Santa!


7. Model Railroad Days at COSI, downtown Columbus

Model Railroad Days are November 16-20, 2016 this year and large model train sets are available for viewing and there are also trains to play with! During the weekend you can watch the movie Rocky Mountain Express in the theater. At Christmastime, The Polar Express is shown as well! (p.s. there is also a train to play with in the little kidspace at COSI!)



8. Barnes and Noble, various locations


Barnes and Noble offers the hope that your children will play with trains while you quietly sip coffee and read a magazine.

9. Hilliard Branch, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Hilliard


The Hilliard Branch is a fun library for kids and has a Chuggington train table.

10. Von Maur, Polaris Fashion Place

In the children’s section of the store, there is a train that runs along the wall and a train table for playing!

11. Easton Express Railway, Easton Town Center


This outdoor train track is always decorated for whatever season it happens to be and is a big hit with the kids!

12. BrickUniverse, Columbus Convention Center


There are lots of working LEGO trains at this once-a-year LEGO Expo!

13. Delaware County Model Railroaders’ Open Houses, Delaware

Model railroads are set up on these special open-house dates!

14. Great Train Show at Ohio Expo Center

This expo is coming January 14-15, 2017 and includes model railroads, train dealers, hands-on exhibits and more!

15. Inniswood Metro Gardens, Westerville

We stumbled upon this train track behind the offices at Inniswood. I couldn’t find any info on if/when it is used, but if you know, please leave a comment below!


16. Holiday Train Display at Ohio History Center

This special train is on exhibit during the holiday season! It will be on display November 28, 2016 – January 4, 2017.



There are other trains on the grounds of the Ohio History Center year round, including one inside the building that can be sat in, and the one seen below that sits outside.


17. Schiller Park in German Village

This is a great park with a train that can be played on!


18. Alum Creek Park North, Westerville

This park is affectionately known as “the train park” – and aptly so!


19. Henceroth Park, Grove City

This park offers lots of vehicles to play on including a jeep, boat and this wooden train!


20. North America Train Ride at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

For $1 per person, you can ride a train around the North American exhibit at the zoo!


21. Christmas Time Open House at Central Ohio Model Railroad Club

For 4 weekends in December, the club puts on an open house featuring giant model railroad layouts, an interactive Thomas the Tank Engine display and more! Admission is free!

22. Open Garden Tour by the members of Columbus Garden Railway Society

On the second Sunday in September, members of the Columbus Garden Railway Society open their houses (gardens!) for a tour of their own Garden Railroads!


23. Little Buckeye Children’s Museum, Mansfield

One of the larger exhibits at the Little Buckeye Museum is the model train display and nearby train tables for playing!



24. Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum, Bellevue


There are tons of trains on display here, may of which you can climb aboard! This museum has indoor and outdoor components and the gift shop has a train table for playing!

25. Northwest Ohio Railroad Preservation, Inc., Findlay

This organization offers train rides and holiday events (including the North Pole Express), a museum, gift shop and model train displays!

26. The Buckeye Express Diner, Bellville



Eat dinner in an OSU-themed train car! There is a train playground outside too!

27. Dennison Railroad Depot Museum, Dennison

This museum has a railroad car just for kids, model trains and a scavenger hunt just for kids!

 28. Lodi Station Outlets, Lodi


This outlet mall is built with a train theme! You can purchase tickets to take a train ride around the property!

29. EnterTAINment Junction, West Chester

This venue offers displays, a museum, seasonal rides and a funhouse!

30. Day Out with Thomas, various locations

These special days only happen a few times a year at Ohio locations and include a 25-minute train ride, kids activities, live music and more!

31. Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, Northeast Ohio

The trains here run mainly on the weekends and there are several events scheduled throughout the year, including a Christmas Tree Adventure!

32. Hocking Valley Scenic Railway, Nelsonville

This railway offers special trips throughout the year including a Santa Train on December 18, 2016. Tickets are limited.

33. LM & M Railroad, Lebanon, Lebanon

This historic railroad offers special events including the Day out with Thomas and North Pole Express!

34. Train-O-Rama, Marblehead

One of Ohio’s largest multi-gauge model railroad displays open to the public! Trains are for sale in the gift shop as well!


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What Should We Do This Weekend? September 16-18, 2016

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1. Ohio Open Doors

When: September 9 – 18, 2016
Time: Times Vary
Location: All Over Ohio

The Ohio History Connection is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act with a 10 day period of unique tours, talks and special events at over 130 buildings across the state! One such event taking place this weekend is Family Day at Orange Johnson House! Visit the website to search the special events by area of the state. Take a look at all the Ohio History Center has to offer!

2. Goodnight Moon at Park Street Theatre

When: September 15 – October 2, 2016
Time: Various times throughout the week and weekends (see link for more details!)
Location: 512 Park St., Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: 614-224-6672

See this beloved night-time story come to life on stage with singing and dancing! The performance is 1 hour long and is recommended for ages 3 and up!

3. Ready for Kindergarten Family Storytime at Main Library

When: Friday, September 16, 2016
Time: 10:30 AM – 11:00 AM
Location: 96 S. Grant Ave., Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: 614-645-2275

This storytime, including songs and activities, is for the whole family! See what’s new at Main Library here!

4. Sing a Story at Miller Park Library

When: Friday, September 16, 2016
Time: 10:30 AM – 11:15 AM
Location: 1901 Arlington Ave., Upper Arlington , OH 43212
Phone: 614-488-5710

This story time features songs and stories for kids to enjoy!

5. Open House at OSU Airport

When: Saturday, September 17, 2016
Time: 7:30 AM – 2:00 PM
Location: 2160 West Case Road, Columbus, OH 43235
Phone: 1-800-777-5488

The OSU Airport is holding an Open House and 5K! There will be a pancake breakfast, aircraft and touch-a-truck displays, door prizes, hot air balloon rides, food trucks and more! Admission is free, but some activities have a cost. If you’ve never been, read more about our visit to the OSU Airport here!

6. Jack Hanna’s Fall Fest at the Columbus Zoo

When: Saturday & Sunday, September 17 & 18, 2016
Time: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM both days
Location: 4850 Powell Rd., Powell, OH 43065
Phone: 614-645-3400

Jack Hanna will be in person to share stories of his travels at 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM each day! There will be activities and entertainment! It is advised that you arrive at the Animals on Safari Stage early to hear Jack Hanna!

7. Arts in the Alley in Grove City

When: Saturday & Sunday, September 17 & 18, 2016
Time: Saturday: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM, Sunday: 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: Downtown Grove City
Phone: 614-875-9762

This weekend’s art show includes over 100 juried artists and crafters! Categories include youth art, quilting, crafts, photography and fine art. There will be food, live entertainment and a kids’ fun street! The parade begins at 9:30 AM! See more to do in Downtown Grove City here!

8. Batman Day at Packrat Comics

When: Saturday, September 17, 2016
Time: 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Location: Hilliard and Marysville Locations
Phone: 614-527-8450 (Hilliard) 937-642-1320 (Marysville)

Free Batman comics and masks while supplies last! If you come in costume you can save 10% off your purchase!

9. Kids’ Independents’ Day

When: Saturday & Sunday, September 17 & 18, 2016
Time: 11:30 AM – 6:00 PM both days
Location: Corner of Town and Lucas Streets

This weekend is the Independents’ Day Festival in Franklinton! This is the second year of the “festival within a festival” for children. This year’s theme is Moon Ranch and the area will feature a farm house, barn, moon creatures and other moon-themed activities! Special guests include The Shazzbots, Turtle Lady, Thurber House and more! (See the full schedule in the link.) There will also be a private nursing and diaper-changing station available! Yay! Also, this festival is free!

10. Harvest and Heritage Celebration at Smeck Farm

When: Saturday & Sunday, September 17 & 18, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM both days
Location: Smeck Historical Farm, 7395 Basil Road, Baltimore, OH 43105
Phone: 740-681-7249

If you’re up for a drive this weekend, check out this celebration hosted by Fairfield County Historical Parks! Features include antique farm equipment, live music, food and craft vendors and family activities!

11. Out of this World Ice Skating Party at Chiller Ice Rinks

When: Sunday, September 18, 2016
Time: 1:30 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: The Chiller Dublin, Easton and North

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey will partner with the OhioHealth Chiller Ice Rinks for an Out of This World Ice Skating party to celebrate the circus, Out of This World. If your child is one of the first 75 to arrive at any location, they will receive a free ticket to the circus, which takes place October 14-16, 2016.

12. Family Reading Festival at the Shops at Worthington Place

When: Sunday, September 18, 2016
Time: 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: 7227 N. High St., Worthington, OH 43085

Worthington Libraries is hosting this festival to celebrate reading! Some of your kids’ favorites storybook characters will be there to help, like Clifford, Curious George and Pinkalicious! There will also be games, crafts, information from local agencies and, of course, storytimes!

13. Salsa Cinderella at Abbey Theater of Dublin

When: Sunday, September 18, 2016
Time: 3:00 PM
Location: 5600 Post Rd., Dublin, OH 43017
Phone: 614-410-4554

The Abbey Theater is putting on the story of Cinderella, but the characters are the ingredients in salsa! This show is recommended for ages 4 and up! See website regarding special 10th anniversary pricing!


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*Please be aware,  information is gathered from multiple community sources.  Times, dates and locations are subject to change. There may be a fee to participate in a featured activity.  Please call ahead or check links to confirm activities.  Enjoy what you do today!*

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