Whether you are a West Chester County local family, live a bit further north in Ohio or south into Kentucky, or like us, needed a half-day of kids entertainment while visiting family near Cincinnati, EnterTRAINment Junction is worth the trip! And unlike most amusement adventures, this one is as fun for the adults as it is the kids. We are sharing our tips on ticket discounts, making the most of each exhibit, and where to get food in the neighborhood to refuel after a day of fun.
We have been following our own advice and finding creative ways to adventure and travel more with the kids including sneaking half-day and full-day adventures into existing family visits and travel. On our way to Ohio this winter we spent some time at Mammoth Cave and extended our stay in Cincinnati for a day to check out EnterTRAINment Junction! This place was awesome! Read all about it below.
What is EnterTRAINment Junction?
EnterTRAINment Junction is a beautifully curated, incredibly fun, and unique indoor amusement experience for all ages. If your kiddos are into trains, you may have trouble getting them to leave. Boasting the largest train display in the world, with over 2 miles of model train-track that moves through history telling the story of transportation from the 1860’s to today. Your little kids will enjoy spotting animals and people while the big kids can chat about the time period and what looks different about life during that time. You can bet our 6-year-old was in full-in history nerd heaven and I was right there with him!
But as cool as the model trains are there is so much more to see. We have broken down each section below including must-know-before you go tips!
Where is EnterTRAINment Junction?
Located in West Chester Township in Ohio, EnterTRAINment Junction is just 18 miles north of Cincinnati. Located right off of the main interstate, route 75, it is easily accessible from Dayton (30 minutes), Columbus (about 1.5 hours), Indianapolis (2 hours), and Louisville (2 hours). It has a large free parking lot on-site with overflow parking available during the busy seasons.
EnterTRAINment Junction Tickets
There are several ticketing options available through the website. The “Do-it-All” tickets are the best value giving you access to the display of model trains or Train Journey, Imagination Junction (children’s play area), as well as rides and seasonally rotating special evens in the Expo hall. The official website regularly offers ticket savings for buying online. So we encourage you to get your tickets before you arrive. And definitely search “Entertrainment Junction Groupon” before you go. We found 20%-30% off coupons regularly leading up to our trip. Kids 2 and under are always free.
During our visit in December, we purchased the “Do-it-All” tickets. This gave us access to the “Christmas Journey”, check-out more info below on how you can wander around Santa’s home, enjoy a cookie from Mrs. Clause and meet the big guy himself!
EnterTRAINment Junction Events
Host your next birthday party at EnterTRAINment Junction. Reservations can be scheduled on-line through their website or by calling the event team at 513-898-8000 ext. 203.
There are several party packages to meet any budget. From room-only to a fully catered and staffed event with goody bags and decorations provided. Be sure to check out the full package descriptions and details on their website. The number above is your best resource for any event-specific questions.
EnterTRAINment Junction Activities
An interactive play area with 5,000 square feet of space to climb and romp. A special area roped off for toddlers only, will allow your littlest train lover to wander around and climb without fear of being knocked down by the bigger kiddos.
Be sure you bring a pair of socks if you plan to spend time at Imagination Junction as shoes are not allowed and socks required in some areas.
There is an outdoor train accessible from Imagination Junction open spring to fall.
While we missed out on the outdoor train ride we were perfectly timed for a visit to the Christmas Journey. Open from the Saturday before Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve and again for Christmas in July! (Note: Santa is on vacation from Dec 25th on). Your family will weave through Santa’s workshop, into the kitchen and enjoy a cookie from Mrs. Clause while waiting to meet Santa. He was incredibly kind and patient and the display is beautiful. Staff welcome personal photos but also will be snapping beautiful professional photos available for purchase.
This was our most magical and memorable Santa visit yet with the kids.
A super fun circus experience for the whole family, especially a hit among the older kids. When you enter you will make your way through fun and silly attractions including Curtain Chaos, the Mirror Maze, Clown College, and Crazy Caper. The experience ends with space exploration, the Outer Limits. Our kids were nearing their limit of fun and are generally pretty sensitive to noise and chaos so we opted to skip the A-Maze-N Funhouse this time. We look forward to checking it out on our next visit!
Food Options at EnterTRAINment Junction
The cafeteria-style food of pizza, tenders, and fries will delight a picky toddler eater, but there is some great (and mostly cheaper) food just a short drive away. We have highlighted local favorites below but there is, even more, to explore if you hop on Yelp or Google Reviews! Also yes, this is a long list of chain restaurants, which almost never recommend, but when in Rome!
Local Flavor- Skyline Chili
Dive into a cheese coney or a 3-way (spaghetti topped with chili and cheese) like a local. Hailed as highly addictive it got big thumbs up from our little guys! I opted to skip dinner this day as I met my quota of Cincinnati chili as a kid. It is definitely a polarizing flavor profile and you either love it or you don’t. Either way it’s worth the experience for sure!
Nostalgic Diner- Bob Evans
The original farm-to-table restaurant with locations saturating the mid-west and Florida. If you aren’t familiar, Bob’s is super family-friendly and serves breakfast all day (think one step up from Waffle House or IHOP). I worked here through high school and college so I give it a few extra bonus points. The Wildfire BBQ chicken salad for lunch or biscuits and gravy any time of day are my go-tos!
Organic Eats- Northstar Cafe
The Cincinnati adjacent location gets rave reviews and you can’t beat their delicious organic menu, juices, and sweet treats, worth a visit for breakfast, lunch or dinner! We love, loved loved Northstar when we lived in Columbus at the original location in the Short North, not surprised this gem has been growing over the last decade.
Burgers and Fries- Five Guys
A step-up from your standard fast-food burger, Five Guys has a simple menu (burgers, fries, and dogs!) and they get those things right. Not your healthiest option on this list but pretty darn delicious.
Final Tips for your visit to EnterTRAINment Junction
Stools for the tiniest ones- You can pick-up a stool at the ticket counter to give your littlest kids a boost to see the trains a bit better along the journey. We opted to lift up our 4-year-old since we were already pushing a stroller but will grab a stool next time since I think he would quite enjoy being able to set it up and take charge of his own a view!
Stop in the giftshop LAST. It is a very well designed and curated little toy shop. Popping in when we were all ready to leave made it much easier to pull everyone out. If we had stopped in first while we were still full of energy we might have stayed in there all day and spent far more money than we intended!
Visit the restrooms before you start the train journey. It’s a closed pathway so you will either have to rush through our double back on your steps if someone needs a potty break mid-way through.
Let us know about your visit and any other tips you have to pass onto our readers!