When: Nov. 5-Jan. 15 2012
My husband unpacked his G-scale train set last weekend, intent on sharing with our young sons the sheer joy of building train tracks and watching the engines endlessly chug around the floor. If a simple setup like ours can lead to hours of joy, just imagine what viewing a 2,200-square-foot display meticulously highlighting natural and historical landmarks of North Carolina will do for young and old souls alike.
The award-winning designers of Applied Imagination, known for their handmade New York and Chicago holiday train creations, have used natural materials in holiday train shows throughout the country. Trains run on more than 340 feet of track winding through the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Swinging Bridge, and snaking past Kitty Hawk, Bluebeard's ship and the State Capitol. And if you or your child is a fan of Thomas the Tank Engine, you're in for a lovely surprise.
The museum has set up a holiday cafe where you can enjoy hot chocolate, coffee and other treats. And you won't have to worry about twisting your ankle on train tracks in the middle of the night. The Wonderland Express runs until Jan. 15 and costs $4 plus the price of museum admission for nonmembers, or $2 for members. —Christina Cass
Price: $2-4 plus museum admission