Visiting Exhibit Hall

visiting exhibit hall

The Visiting Exhibit Hall serves as a space to showcase some of the world’s most innovative and engaging traveling exhibits, designed especially for children, ensuring that the Museum is constantly reflecting the world around us.

current exhibit

Thomas & Friends™: Explore the Rails! Exhibit Logo

January 22, 2022 – May 15, 2022

All aboard for fun learning adventures with everyone’s favorite blue engine, Thomas, and his engine friends at some of the Island of Sodor’s iconic locations: Knapford Station, Sodor Steamworks, and more. In this exhibit, children help Thomas and his friends solve a variety of challenges, from a simple sorting and shape identification activity to more complex engineering obstacles, such as completing a train track using track pieces with different levels of elevation. As children confront new challenges and test their abilities, Thomas, Percy, Victor, and others are there to offer encouragement and remind children how “Really Useful” we all are.

recommended for ages 2-7

Image of the Explore the Rails exhibit

The exhibit was created by Minnesota Children’s Museum and inspired by the
popular children’s series now on Nick Jr.

exhibit experiences

Little girl with a conductor hat at the ticket window.

knapford station

Sort freight and baggage on to train cars, don a conductor’s uniform and use pretend money to sell tickets to other visitors, and adjust time clocks based on whether the train is arriving late or early.

island exploration

Choose from a wide range of engines or other vehicles and explore this miniature version of the Island of Sodor!

sodor steamworks

Help Victor, the Steamworks manager, fix and improve the engines! Use oversized nuts, bolts, wheels, rods, and wrenches to tighten wobbly wheels and learn about different types of trains.

sodor tot spot

A semi-enclosed, toddler play space with a busy wall full of sliders, mirrors, a spinner, and other
stimulating interactives.

engine driver’s common room

Learn about Thomas’
history and the evolution of the books, shows, and toys.

where is this exhibit located?

The Visiting Exhibits Hall is located on Floor 1, one level down from the main entrance, next to the Tinkerers Studio.

past exhibits

September 3, 2021 – January 9, 2022

In the Moomin Animations – Thrills and Cuddles exhibit, visitors learned how the Finnish author Tove Jansson’s beloved Moomin books were brought to life using animation! Co-produced by the Moomin Museum, Embassy of Finland in Washington, DC, National Children’s Museum, Gutsy Animations Ltd and Moomin Characters Ltd, and supported by Finarte and Lovi Ltd.

January 2020 – September 2020

The Visiting Exhibit Hall featured Nickelodeon’s Dora and Diego: Let’s Explore! The interactive exhibit for preschoolers was presented in Spanish and English and was sponsored by PNC.