All aboard the Holiday Express at the Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge!
A miniature village with 10 garden-scale model trains and thousands of lights will open at the Children’s Museum on Friday, December 8. The Holiday Express features a 2,500-square-foot G-scale railroad display inside the Children’s Museum gymnasium, with the 10 trains running consecutively. The display will be open through January 1.
Designed by landscaper and train enthusiast Mark Fuhrman, the display includes rivers, waterfalls, and more than 100 scale model buildings decorated for the holidays. The trains include logging trains, freight trains, and passenger trains. Many buildings in the village Fuhrman created are scale model replicas of East Tennessee structures, most depicting the architecture during logging days in the Smoky Mountains.
“The Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge is excited to host the Holiday Express display this upcoming season. We invite everyone to come out with family and friends to enjoy the trains and festivities during the holidays,” said Beth Shea, executive director of the museum, which is located at 461 West Outer Drive in Oak Ridge.
Visitors will have the opportunity to walk on a bridge over a creek near a waterfall in the village filled with holiday trees. They will see a carnival area, sawmill, outhouse, and railroad artifacts such as a velocipede, a three-wheeled hand-propelled railroad, and pump car. Visitors can participate in a scavenger hunt as they wander through the holiday display.
The holiday attraction, with trains running on a quarter-mile of track, will be open weekends and during Christmas week. It begins a week after the museum’s December 1 gala, with the theme “Starry CMOR Night,” focusing on children, art, and science. Fuhrman explained that it will take nearly a week to construct the miniature holiday village and model railroad in the gymnasium after the gala.
Fuhrman, of Clinton, a member of Knoxville Area Model Railroaders, has volunteered as a model railroader at the Children’s Museum for more than a dozen years. His landscaping firm, Complete Landscape Services Inc., built the outdoor train garden at the museum.
A train hobbyist for 40 years, he became interested in model trains as a child. His interest grew as an adult hiking in the Smoky Mountains, where he learned of the logging communities there before the National Park was formed and of the Little River Railroad that brought trains to the mountains.
Fuhrman’s first garden railroad display was built at the Knoxville Dogwood Arts House and Garden Show in 1993 and has continued every year. Holiday Express began as a benefit for the University of Tennessee Gardens in 2008 and continued there for four years. In 2012, the Holiday Express moved to Dollywood for three years. Fuhrman said he thought the Children’s Museum would be the perfect place to revive this holiday tradition. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Children’s Museum, a nonprofit museum founded in 1973, serving more than 45,000 visitors a year through its exhibits and educational programs.
Hours will be from noon-8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 1-6 p.m. Sundays. On Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, Holiday Express will be open from noon-6 p.m. Weekdays during Christmas week the display will be open from noon-8 p.m.
Admission is $5 per person, and children under 3 will be admitted free. Children’s Museum members will receive a $1 discount. Combo tickets for a museum visit and train display viewing will be $12 for adults, $11 for seniors 62 and older, and $10 for children ages 3-17.
Holiday Express will be open, but Children’s Museum exhibits will be closed December 24, 25, 31, and January 1. Museum hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, and 1-4 p.m. Sunday. For more information, see the Children’s Museum web site at http://childrensmuseumofoakridge.org/ or call (865) 482-1074.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
This press release and photo were submitted by Kay Brookshire.
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