Step Inside the World’s Most Beloved #1 Engine

Welcome to the Island of Sodor! In Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails visitors find themselves surrounded by the island’s iconic locations: Knapford Station, Sodor Steamworks and much more.

Fun Full Steam Ahead

In the exhibit, children help Thomas and his friends solve a variety of challenges, from a simple sorting and shape identification to more complex engineering obstacles, such as completing a train track using track pieces with different levels of elevation. As children confront new challenges and test their abilities, the smiling faces of Thomas, Percy, Victor and others are there to offer encouragement and remind children how “really useful” they all are.

Exciting Opportunities for STEM Learning

Children engage in a multitude of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) challenges. These interactive opportunities encourage asking questions and posing challenges, seeking information and exploring options, identifying problems and designing creative solutions and reflecting on actions and results.

    • Climb into Thomas’ cab and explore the engine’s inner workings. Flip levers and investigate other moveable parts that trigger train noises such as braking, whistles and steam.
    • Fix Percy’s wobbly wheel by removing and replacing parts and experimenting to find a combination of wheels, rods and bolts that work.
    • Explore the favorite Island of Sodor destinations including: Tidmouth Sheds, Brendam Docks and the Sodor Search & Rescue Station on an over-sized Thomas Wooden Railway train table.
    • Work with old and new friends loading luggage, livestock and other freight into the coaches of two train cars.
    • Collaborate with others to get Percy moving by loading coal into his coal box and filling his tank with water from a water tower.
    • Suit up as the conductor to exchange money and sell tickets to other visitors taking a ride on the train.
    • Wander through a Thomas & Friends retrospective featuring model engines from the original live action series produced in London, copies of the original drawings and manuscripts from the Rev. W. Awdry, the creator of Thomas & Friends, and a collection of memorabilia documenting the history and evolution of Thomas & Friends through books, television, and toys.

Showing at Exploration Place September 23 – January 8 and included with museum admission. 

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Thomas & Friends™: Explore the Rails! was created by Minnesota Children’s Museum, presented by Fisher-Price and sponsored by 3M.