Thomas & Friends™: Explore the Rails! Exhibit at The Strong Museum
AgesAll Ages Adults & kids together
Entering Sodor: step through the exhibit portal—complete with a windmill, curving railway, and puffy clouds—and be transported to the industrial Island of Sodor. Take pictures with a giant Thomas the Tank Engine model (with buffers and coal bin) and then hop aboard to explore the train’s inner workings. Climb into the cab to pull the brake, whistle, and steam levers. Outside, step into a scene from the television series and take a picture with Thomas and Sir Topham Hatt, the head of the railway.
Knapford Station: enter the bustling Knapford Station—the glass and steel heart of the Island or Sodor. On the platform, sort freight and baggage on to train cars, including crates, sacks, and livestock. Make sure everything is secure before sending it on its way! Don a conductor’s uniform and sell tickets to various stops across the Island. Be sure to follow the instructions from Sir Topham Hatt to keep up with the train’s schedules. Race to adjust the three clocks to reflect whether trains will be early, late, or on-time.
Around the Island: zoom your own train across Sodor at a sprawling train table that includes favorite stops such as Tidmouth Shed, Brendam Docks, the Rescue Station, and the Quarry. Create new routes with various track pieces and become an engineer by building bridges and buildings. Put your mathematical skills to the test trying to guide a train around a steep curve by adjusting its speed. At a nearby wall graphic, learn about the various famous engines of Sodor (known affectionally as the “Steam Team”) and learn about their different jobs.
Sodor Steamworks: help Victor, the Steamworks manager, fix and improve the engines. Use oversize nuts, bolts, rods, and wrenches to fix the wobbly wheels on the green engine Percy. Learn about the parts of an engine and replace Percy’s old funnels, lanterns, and buffers. Then work with friends and family to load coal on a conveyer belt and pump water into Percy to finish getting him ready to hit the rails again. Once the steam whistle blows, Percy can chug again!
Sodor Tot Spot: the littlest explorers step into the rolling hills of Sodor and use eye-hand coordination to open doors, turn knobs, and slide trains along a track.
Engine Driver’s Common Room: explore a retrospective of Thomas the Tank Engine that celebrates the rich history and evolution of the books, television shows, and toys from the 1940s to the present. See images chronicling each important era in Thomas’s past; models from previous television series, such as the original British live-action series; original drawings and manuscripts from creator Rev. W. Awdry; and a collection of other memorabilia.
Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails remains on view through May 6, 2018. The exhibit is included with general museum admission.