Presented by Fifth Third Bank, Jingle Rails, now in its 11th year, features nine G-scale model trains that ramble past whimsical reproductions of the landmarks of the American West and the skyline of downtown Indianapolis. The trains chug along 1,200 feet of track, winding through tunnels and over trestles, passing miniatures of Monument Circle, Lucas Oil Stadium, Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon and other iconic sites, each crafted out of all-natural materials such as bark, tree roots, pine cones, acorns, seed pods and honeycomb. And for fans who missed visiting the Indiana State Fair or the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in person in 2020, both are recreated as scenes in this year’s Jingle Rails.
“We are pleased again to present Jingle Rails this year, with some slight adjustments for visitor safety,” Eiteljorg President and CEO John Vanausdall said. “Its appeal is multigenerational: Children love model trains, and parents and grandparents enjoy seeing the representations of national parks that may remind them of a favorite family vacation out West. But in the moment, people love creating family holiday memories.”
The creative team at Applied Imagination in Alexandria, Ky. – a botanical architecture firm led by Paul Busse – designed and built Jingle Rails and its additions. This year, two favorite backdrops return: the Indiana State Fair, featuring the Ferris wheel and Coliseum, and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, featuring the Grandstands, Pagoda, Yard of Bricks, Hall of Fame Museum and Goodyear Blimp above, with authentic sounds of the Speedway. During the 10-week run of Jingle Rails, a hard-working group of volunteers who are model-train enthusiasts ensure the electric trains run smoothly and answer visitors’ questions.
Admission: $15, adults; $8, youth ages 5 to 17; free, children ages 4 and under and Eiteljorg Museum members. For the safety of visitors, each group visiting Jingle Rails must reserve their entrance time slot in advance when ordering tickets online. Timed tickets are available in 15-minute increments, with the last entrance at 4:45 pm each day. So that families and groups can maintain social distancing while inside Jingle Rails, a one-way path is marked to guide visitors to and through the attraction. Admission to Jingle Rails also provides admission to the rest of the museum at no additional charge. The Eiteljorg’s other exhibition galleries do not have timed entry, and visitors can experience them at their leisure before or after seeing Jingle Rails. Exhibitions open during the holiday season include Quilts: Uncovering Women’s Stories, through Jan. 3, Please Touch: The Sculptures of Michael Naranjo, through Feb. 9, and Powerful Women: Contemporary Art from the Eiteljorg Collection, through March 21. The Eiteljorg’s Western art galleries and Native American galleries also are open. The Frank and Katrina Basile Museum Store is open during regular museum hours, and the Museum Café is available until 3 p.m. each day with a limited menu. (The children’s discovery area on the lower level, the R.B. Annis Western Family Experience, is temporarily closed.)