Explore the Rails with Thomas & Friends


ROCKFORD – The world’s most beloved blue engine is rolling into Discovery Center! Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails! is an interactive exhibit inspired by the popular children’s series on Nickelodeon. It will steam into Discovery Center Museum on Jan. 12, delighting children until its close on May 12. This is the first time the exhibit will be in Illinois.

Featuring the favorite engines and destinations from Thomas & Friends, the STEM (Science Technology, Engineering and Math)-focused exhibit engages children, ages 2 through 7 years, and families in foundational STEM skills using playful learning experiences.

Visitors to the 1,500 square foot exhibit will be delighted as they find themselves surrounded by the Island of Sodor’s iconic locations: Knapford Station, Sodor Steamworks and more. In the exhibit, children help Thomas and his friends solve a variety of challenges. As children confront those 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.

Inside the Exhibit: 

* 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. 

* Loading luggage, livestock and other freight into train cars.

* Get Percy moving by loading coal into his coal box and filling his tank with water from a water tower.

* Dress up as the conductor to exchange money and sell train tickets to other visitors.

The exhibit is in both English and Spanish.

Admission to Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails! is $11 for adults and children; $1 for Museum members. For more information about the exhibit, please visit DiscoveryCenterMuseum.org.