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Opening Day – Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails
May 25, 2019 @ 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
What began in a young boy’s imagination in 1911, evolved into a bedtime story, a long running book series, one of the most successful children’s television programs of all time, and an international traveling exhibition. Today Thomas & Friends reaches 110 million households across the United States and an even larger audience through internet streaming, DVDs, and toys.
Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails, an interactive, bi-lingual (English and Spanish) exhibition featuring the favorite engines, characters, and destinations of this beloved children’s classic, will delight Upstate fans when it makes a stop at the Upcountry History Museum, May 25 – September 8, 2019.
Designed by HIT Entertainment, a subsidiary of Mattel, Inc. Fisher Price, the 1500 square foot immersive exhibit combines hands-on learning with important concepts in science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM), with an emphasis on developing 21st century skills. These ideas are woven and layered throughout the exhibit, creating an experience that speaks to a diversity of interests, age groups and learning styles.
Visitors will find themselves on the Island of Sodor surrounded by iconic locations, including Knapford Station and the Sodor Steamworks. Large interactive models of Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends, combined with STEAM challenges, remind children ages 2 through 7 and their caregivers, how “really useful” we all are.
With the series’ major characters being modes of transportation, the world of Thomas is a launch pad for STEAM exploration. STEAM-based learning is visible as children identify problems, ask questions, seek answers, and explore tools and materials. Selling tickets and fixing the train schedule, building train routes, fixing Percy’s wobbly wheels and loading him encourage children to think about the technology and creativity behind steam engines.
The exhibit’s combination of STEAM-based learning and timeless lessons – bolstered by the series’ enduring popularity and multi-generation appeal –support adult/child engagement and a child’s growth in 21st century skills laying a foundation for success in school, work and life.