Ah, isn’t the city beautiful at night? The buildings all lit up, silhouetted against a dark ceiling, and … wait a minute. Ceiling?
Yes. Ceiling. Because unlike Columbus, OH which just looks like legos but really is a real city, this is just a model. And where might you find such an astounding piece of work?
Why, EnterTRAINment Junction, of course!
Now, those of you who haven’t spoken to me in like a month probably have no idea what the heck EnterTRAINment Junction is. Those of you who have spoken to me probably know too much. But let me explain. No, it’s too much. Let me sum up. (EDIT: this is not a summary, let’s be honest. This is an explanation)
EnterTRAINment Junction is the world’s largest indoor train display (according to the pamphlet hanging on my wall right now). “Over 25,000 square feet [of model train tracks] – almost half a football field!” It’s pretty huge. There’s a scenic overlook where you can look down on the whole thing and it’s really enormous. It’s located in West Chester, OH, which is just outside of Cincinnati.
The whole thing was built in 2006 by a bunch of volunteers (oh if only I had known!), and volunteers still work to update the model.
They do different themed events. Currently going on is Christmas in July. There’s a smaller Christmas themed model with a fun scavenger hunt (with rhyming clues, like the Spruce Moose, below), and a full scale Christmas walk-through that will lead you to Santa. And Mrs. Claus bakes chocolate chip cookies and leaves them out for you while you wait to meet the Big Guy. We didn’t see Santa, but we got some delicious cookies.
There’s also a kid’s play area (train themed, of course), that we didn’t check out, a railroading museum, and kids rides, like a Thomas train that they can ride on. There’s a gift shop (where I bought a nice tshirt and Myriad bought some train shaped cookie cutters) and a hobby shop where you can buy minitures and stuff for making dioramas and lego-type toys (I bought a Roman guy Playmobil thing. One of the Latin quotes on his scroll is nunc est bibendum – now is the time for drinking).
Now, you’re probably thinking, why would I want to go to EnterTRAINment Junction? Well, obviously, go if you like trains. “90 large scale computerized locomotives” the pamphlet says. And they move at scale speeds.
Reason number 2: go if you like miniatures, models, dioramas, etc. “Hundreds of scratch built bridges, trestles, tunnels, mountains, and … hand crafted and amazingly detailed cities, industrial areas, farm lands, and coal mining towns.” And when they say amazingly detailed, they mean amazingly detailed. This was my main reason for wanting to go. And let me tell you, it didn’t disappoint. Extra detail: the lights in the building are on a timer, so that there’s a cycle of days and nights while you’re walking through.
Reason number 3: go if you like history. The walk through is set up chronologically. “Meander through three distinct eras in U.S. history, from the earliest days of steam-engine railroading up through today’s modern diesel locomotives.”
Reason number 4: go if you like scavenger hunts. They had five scavenger hunts there (Myriad took 2, and I took 3), which help you focus in and see all the little details in the models. And don’t forget to find the bonus dinosaurs hidden around the building!
Reason number 5: go if you like funhouses! The pamphlet calls it “the GREATEST FUNHOUSE on Earth!” (their caps, not mine) and it really was an awesome funhouse. There’s a curtain maze, a spectacular mirror maze (which could have gone on for miles for all we know, really, there was no way to tell, see photo), and a couple different funhouses, like the one with the crazy tilt room (so dizzying!).
Really, I think if you’re ever in the area, you definitely need to go to EnterTRAINment Junction. No matter your age or interests, you will enjoy yourself. I was so psyched about this place, that for basically the entire week that Myriad and I were in NY, I kept talking about it, and working myself up to be even MORE excited. Which normally, that’s a recipe for disaster. I was really worried that it wouldn’t meet my super high expectations. But trust me: it EXCEEDED them. I keep telling everyone about this. I took 90+ photos, and put the best 79(!) of them on facebook. There is so much fantastic detail that you just want to see everything and take a picture of everything.
We were there for about three hours, bought a pretzel (YUM) at the cafe, and then headed back home (we still had six hours to drive, I could have stayed longer.) AND IT WAS SO AWESOME I JUST CAN’T STRESS THAT ENOUGH. Really, mind-boggling details went into the models. They are fantastic. I thoroughly recommend this place to ANYONE AND EVERYONE.
Although next time, Myriad, we’re taking the VIP backstage tour.