Trains have been the fascination of children ever since the first rail was laid.

Thomas Opening

The Strong museum in Rochester, New York is kicking off 2018 with an exhibit dedicated to the smiling train of Thomas…and his Friends.

Thomas will roll into The Strong on January 20 and be on display until May 6.


Thomas, Percy, and Gordon will introduce visitors to the island of Sodor and work to solve a variety of math and science challenges.

The exhibit will include an oversized Thomas the Train engine where visitors can take plenty of photos and climb aboard to work the controls. The head of the railway Sir Topham Hatt will also be available to pose for photos.


Outside at the Knapford Train Station, visitors can pretend to be a Pullman and sort baggage or freight and load it on to the train. Visitors can also take on the role of a ticket seller or even the conductor…complete with conductor’s uniform.

Visitors can race the train around the island with the large diorama; making stops at the Tidmouth Shed, Brendam Docks, the Rescue Station, and the Quarry. Visitors can test their math and engineering skills by reworking track layouts, building bridges and building, and calculating speed to ascend the climbs.


The wall graphic provides information on Sodor’s “Steam Team” engine crew.

At the Sodor Steamworks, help Victor work on the engines and to learn their various parts. Load coal and water for the upcoming journey.

The new Thomas exhibit even has some activities for the wee ones with the Sodor Tot Spot where they can learn about opening doors, turn knobs, and even move trains along the track.

The Engine Driver’s Common Room offers a history of Thomas the Train from his inception in the 1940s.

The Strong has special events scheduled for opening weekend on January 20 and 21 with a history of trains in Rochester, make train related crafts, pose for photos with a railroad director, and see presentations from Otto M. Vondrak – editor for “Railfan & Railroad” magazine.

Events run from 11am to 4pm on Saturday and 1pm to 4m on Sunday.

The Strong museum is open from 10am to 5pm Monday thru Thursday, 10am to 8pm on Friday and Saturday, and noon to 5pm on Sunday.

General admission to The Strong is $15 for adults and children over two, two and under are free, and free for The Strong members. Admission to the Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden is an extra $5 for non-members and $4 for members with children under the age of two free.

Photos courtesy of The Strong Rochester, New York