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  • Writer's pictureJoey Amato

All Aboard: Hoosier Holiday tradition Fifth Third Bank Jingle Rails returns to Eiteljorg Museum



One of Indianapolis’ favorite Hoosier holiday traditions returns this season when the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art presents the 14th annual Fifth Third Bank Jingle Rails: The Great Western Adventure. Running from Nov. 18 through Jan. 15, the family favorite Jingle Rails model railroad display will also be open late on eight dates between Dec. 16 and Dec. 30 so families have more time and opportunities to enjoy this favorite holiday attraction and the entire museum. Visitors are encouraged to purchase discount tickets in advance at Eiteljorg.org/JingleRails.

For almost 15 years, Jingle Rails has delighted families across the region, building on lasting memories and creating new ones. Returning to the Eiteljorg each holiday season to experience the unique sights and sounds remains a family tradition for thousands of Hoosier families.

With more than 1,200 feet of track, Jingle Rails is a whimsical model railroad that features a network of G-scale trains winding through tunnels and over trestles, rambling past iconic scenes of Indianapolis and the American West, created with all-natural materials such as tree bark, twigs, leaves, nuts, pine cones and other woodsy materials. The adventure begins in Downtown Indianapolis as trains chug past Monument Circle decked in holiday lights, Lucas Oil Stadium, Union Station, a miniature Eiteljorg Museum and other fixtures of downtown. The display also features other Indianapolis treasures: the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Indiana State Fair. The journey heads West past iconic scenes and landmarks, including the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Las Vegas and the Golden Gate Bridge, among others. The entire Jingle Rails display was designed and built by the creative artists, botanical architects and landscape designers at Applied Imagination in Alexandria, Kentucky.

“Visiting Fifth Third Bank Jingle Rails at the Eiteljorg Museum is a cherished holiday tradition each year for so many families in Indianapolis and around the state,” Eiteljorg President and CEO Kathryn Haigh said. “This season, we are excited to offer extended evening hours on select dates in December so more guests can attend and experience this wonderful holiday attraction, which entertains and fascinates our youngest and oldest visitors alike. We look forward to welcoming back returning visitors and meeting new ones at what has become one of Indianapolis’ most beloved holiday attractions.”

Jingle Rails is included with general museum admission, so visitors can take advantage of all the museum has to offer, including current exhibitions such as UNSETTLE/Converge: Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship 2023, the Jingle Rails family area with train tables and activities to delight young visitors, and a family favorite, the R.B. Annis Western Family Experience. This popular discovery area on the Canal Level highlights five diverse families of the American West through immersive play environments.

Discount Jingle Rails Tickets: Purchase $2 off discount tickets in advance at Eiteljorg.org/JingleRails. Museum members and children 4 years old and under are free. Museum memberships can be purchased online or onsite, and open the door to exclusive opportunities throughout the year. The family-grandparent level of membership is ideal for those bringing older children to Jingle Rails. The Eiteljorg Museum is also a proud participant in the Access Pass Program.

Extended Hours: On select dates Dec. 16 through Dec. 30, the Eiteljorg will be open until 7 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and on Sunday Dec. 17. Standard museum closing time is 5 p.m. Here is a full list of extended hours:

Saturday Dec. 16: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Sunday Dec. 17: Noon – 7 p.m.

Thursday Dec. 21: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Friday Dec. 22: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Saturday Dec. 23: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Thursday Dec. 28: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Friday Dec. 29: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Saturday Dec. 30: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

The museum and Jingle Rails are closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Regular hours (not extended) will resume Jan. 2, 2024.


New this year, to spotlight Jingle Rails to passing motorists downtown during the holiday season, a whimsical inflatable train will appear on the Eiteljorg’s front lawn. Special programs also are planned, including members-only events, art-making workshops and more. For details, visit Eiteljorg.org/events.

The Eiteljorg is grateful to its loyal volunteers who help present Jingle Rails and make the model railroad attraction a success, including model-train hobbyists and others who enjoy meeting and greeting the public. Anyone interested in volunteering during Jingle Rails can contact Rachel Noll at Rnoll@eiteljorg.com.

Fifth Third Bank is once again the title sponsor of Fifth Third Bank Jingle Rails: The Great Western Adventure. Jingle Rails is sponsored by Katz, Sapper and Miller, One America, Barnes & Thornburg LLP, the Indiana Soybean Alliance, The Hagerman Group, The Butler Family Foundation Endowed Jingle Rails Fund, the Sunrise Foundation, Boot Barn, the Indiana Arts Commission and the Arts Council of the City of Indianapolis. Additional support is from Stuart’s Household Furniture Moving and Storage, Inc.


Images courtesy of the Eiteljorg Museum

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