Chicago – December 2017 – Museum of Science and Industry

The Chicago Museum of Science and Industry was the perfect choice for another exceptionally cold December day.  Located in the Hyde Park neighborhood on the South Shore of Chicago, it is located in the former Palace of Fine Arts from the 1893 World Columbian Exposition.  It became the Museum of Science and Industry during the 1933 Century of Progress Worlds Fair.

2017 12 27 125 Chicago.jpg




The famed ‘Christmas Around the World’ tree greets you as you arrive during the holiday season, standing 45′ tall with 30,000 lights and ‘snow’ falling twice an hour.

2017 12 27 19 Chicago Museum of Science & Industry.jpg




My main purpose for the visit to what is essentially a children’s museum was to see the ‘Great Train Story’, a 3500 square foot HO model railroad display.

This model leads you from a large Chicago model along a 2200 mile journey to Seattle. It is located in the transportation hall, underneath a Boeing 727.

2017 12 27 22 Chicago Museum of Science & Industry.jpg





The downtown Chicago model has many details including the El.

2017 12 27 25 Chicago Museum of Science & Industry.jpg




When you reach Seattle it is complete with the Space Needle.

2017 12 27 40 Chicago Museum of Science & Industry.jpg





The other exhibit I wanted to check out was the lego ‘Brick by Brick’ display. Interestingly despite all the interesting architecture in Chicago from Frank Lloyd Wright they chose to use Fallingwater, located near Pittsburgh (although it is the best architectural home in America)

2017 12 27 57 Chicago Museum of Science & Industry.jpg





The Pyramids were represented, including a cutaway to show the interior.

2017 12 27 66 Chicago Museum of Science & Industry.jpg





Same as with the Roman Colosseum. While the exhibits were nice, we have seen better exhibits for both the Lego’s and model railroad displays (Cincinnati History Center comes to mind, as well as Entertrainment Junction). Still it beat being outside in -2 Ft (-15 C) weather.

2017 12 27 68 Chicago Museum of Science & Industry.jpg






Hamilton, OH – August 2017 – Remote Control Airplane ‘Flying Circus’

The Cincinnati Remote Control Airplane Club has been around for over 50 years. Once a year they host a ‘Flying Circus’ at the Butler County Airport in Hamilton, Ohio. This event allows them to showcase to the public their love of their airplanes, as well as their skill in flying them.

There were a number of models both in scope of the time of aviation design as well as scale.

2017 08 06 3 Hamilton OH RC Plane Flying Circus.jpg



One of the highlights was an event to break balloons by flying low and fast and clipping them with (hopefully) their wheels. Not all used their wheels.

2017 08 06 20 Hamilton OH RC Plane Flying Circus.jpg



A few slammed into the display holding the balloons.

2017 08 06 31 Hamilton OH RC Plane Flying Circus.jpg



Some of the landings made it but a bit off course.

2017 08 06 36 Hamilton OH RC Plane Flying Circus.jpg



The pilots went to pick up the remains of those that crashed.

2017 08 06 39 Hamilton OH RC Plane Flying Circus.jpg



A Wright Flyer model was flown, albeit very briefly before crashing.

2017 08 06 42 Hamilton OH RC Plane Flying Circus.jpg



The models were amazing in detail – from a distance it is tough to tell they are models.

2017 08 06 51 Hamilton OH RC Plane Flying Circus.jpg



The coordinator had a great hat.

2017 08 06 56 Hamilton OH RC Plane Flying Circus.jpg



A model Valkyrie deloyed a chute to slow it down when landing.

2017 08 06 66 Hamilton OH RC Plane Flying Circus.jpg



Some of the landings were dicey, but made it.

2017 08 06 84 Hamilton OH RC Plane Flying Circus.jpg


A trio of Red Baron bi-planes put on a great show.

2017 08 06 96 Hamilton OH RC Plane Flying Circus.jpg



Some model jets made an appearance.

2017 08 06 109 Hamilton OH RC Plane Flying Circus.jpg



Another close landing.

2017 08 06 124 Hamilton OH RC Plane Flying Circus.jpg



In the end it was a great show.

2017 08 06 151 Hamilton OH RC Plane Flying Circus.jpg







Pittsburgh – July 2017 – Carnegie Science Center

2017 07 01 140 Pittsburgh Carnegie Science Center.jpg


The Carnegie Science Center, like most science centers, is geared towards children, but with an excellent railway model of the highlights of Pittsburgh I wanted to check it out.

An added bonus was the Robot Hall of Fame, as well as a submarine docked on the banks of the Ohio River!

2017 07 01 74 Pittsburgh Carnegie Science Center.jpg


2017 07 01 79 Pittsburgh Carnegie Science Center.jpg


An interesting display showing the stress high heel shoes put on a woman’s ankle and foot.

2017 07 01 111 Pittsburgh Carnegie Science Center.jpg


Forbes Field

2017 07 01 126 Pittsburgh Carnegie Science Center.jpg


Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater

2017 07 01 136 Pittsburgh Carnegie Science Center.jpg


Danger Will Robinson….

2017 07 01 148 Pittsburgh Carnegie Science Center.jpg

Hilliard, OH – May 2017 – N Scale Model Trains

A rainy Sunday morning meant trying to find something inside to do. Fortunately there was a N Scale Model Train show in Hilliard, Ohio. N Scale is a very small scale, and the scenery that the various groups did was very intricate.

The model rail clubs came from throughout Ohio and surrounding states. The best was easily the Dayton N Scale club, as they had working carnival rides, ski lifts, and many others.

A German Rail Station

2017 05 21 4 Hilliard OH N Scale Model Trains.jpg


With the small scale they build models in suitcases, and in this case, a guitar case.

2017 05 21 9 Hilliard OH N Scale Model Trains.jpg


Some of the scenery the trains run through included a drive in movie theater.

2017 05 21 14 Hilliard OH N Scale Model Trains.jpg


The ski lift.

2017 05 21 21 Hilliard OH N Scale Model Trains.jpg


Clubs came from as far away as Indiana and New Jersey.

2017 05 21 27 Hilliard OH N Scale Model Trains.jpg


The small, fast moving trains proved to be tricky to photograph.

2017 05 21 33 Hilliard OH N Scale Model Trains.jpg


Another station.

2017 05 21 40 Hilliard OH N Scale Model Trains.jpg

Cincinnati – January 2017 – Custom Cars and Model Trains

Our first weekend outing of 2017 was back to Cincinnati to the Custom Car Show, last attended in 2015. The show itself was held at the Duke Energy Convention Center, in downtown Cincinnati. Going down on a Sunday morning we managed to find parking on the street about a block from the hall and headed in.


2017 01 08 88 Cincinnati Custom Car Show.jpg


Officially called the KOI Cavalcade of Customs Car Show, there were hundreds of the coolest custom cars, hotrods, motorcycles, trucks, and more in two main rooms, with exhibitors along the outside corridors.

2017 01 08 16 Cincinnati Custom Car Show.jpg


All in all it is a decent show, but not too different from the one two years earlier.

2017 01 08 73 Cincinnati Custom Car Show.jpg


2017 01 08 74 Cincinnati Custom Car Show.jpg


On the way back north we stopped in West Chester, Ohio for Entertrainment Junction. They advertise they are the largest indoor train display at 25,000 square feet with more than two miles of track and 90 trains depicting every era of American railroading.

2017 01 08 112 Cincinnati Entertrainment Junction.jpg


Not sure what to expect we made our way to a warehouse park along the freeway, and headed in. While it is clearly geared toward kids, with a large play area, the models were stunning. We spent a couple of hours going through the train displays twice. This is one that is highly recommended.

2017 01 08 130 Cincinnati Entertrainment Junction.jpg


2017 01 08 227 Cincinnati Entertrainment Junction.jpg


2017 01 08 225 Cincinnati Entertrainment Junction.jpg

Cincinnati – November 2015 – Museum

On a cold sunny November day we found ourselves back in Cincinnati. The William Howard Taft National Historic Site was our first stop. Taft’s home in an area of Cincinnati near the University serves as the Presidential Center. Built around 1835 Taft was born and raised there, living there until he went off to college at Yale in 1874. Eventually the family left and the home was sold. It was re-purchased in the 1960s and restored.

In addition to the house there is a small museum and visitor center next door. The ranger opened up the house, gave us an overview of the first floor and sent us off on our own. The displays present Taft’s life and career nicely, especially given his unique positions of President and U.S. Supreme Court Justice.

2015 11 14 24 Cincinnati Taft Presidential Center.jpg


Our primary reason for coming to Cincinnati this day was to visit the Cincinnati Museum Center. The former Union Terminal is the home of the Museum Center. This remarkable building is a marvel. When built and used as a train station the incoming vehicle traffic was split into three ramps. The first ramp served taxis and cars, the second buses, and the last was for streetcars. While the streetcar line was never connected, the other two dropped passengers off on the north side ramps then proceeded under the rotunda and came up on the south side where ramps brought passengers down to the vehicles to depart.

The massive 180-foot-wide and 106-foot-tall rotunda, today the second largest half dome in the world (after the Sydney Opera House), is the primary space. When the building opened in 1933, it connected to another important space, the train concourse, a 450-foot-long structure that sat over the tracks below. Here 16 train gates connected to the platforms where passengers and baggage would be loaded or unloaded from the train. Today only 1 example of the gates remains, and it isn’t functional.

2015 11 14 174 Cincinnati Museum Center.jpg


Today the CUT operates 3 major museums (Cincinnati History Museum, Natural History & Science and the Children’s Museum), an Omnimax and the Cincinnati Railroad Club. For our visit they had set up a special exhibit called the Art of the Brick, a display using Lego’s. Created by Nathan Sawaya and featuring over 100 works of art showing masterpieces made out of Lego bricks, millions and millions of Lego bricks.

Some of the classics were represented, Greek Sculptures, Mona Lisa, American Gothic, Scream, and others, in addition to some massive original pieces. The 3-d effect the bricks gave really brought depth to the art. The well placed lighting added further.

2015 11 14 84 Cincinnati Museum Center.jpg


At the completion of the Lego art exhibit we grabbed a quick lunch before leaving with a group going on a building architecture tour. The guide took us into non public space where he described the construction challenges of the massive dome, the ventilation challenges, including the unique windows that can open, various catwalks, and the stunning lower level ice cream shop finished with Rosewood tiles (a local Cincinnati company).

2015 11 14 139 Cincinnati Museum Center.jpg


Also of note are two massive murals depicting industry and transportation in Cincinnati. Originally there were 14 of them throughout the terminal but when a major portion was being demolished 11 of them were moved to the Cincinnati Airport. Ironically with the loss of an airport hub, and subsequent closure of terminals they were in used airport terminals so now 8 of them have been moved back downtown and displayed at the Convention Center.

We moved on to the railroad company offices, completed in the classic 1930s Art Deco style. The offices, boardrooms and dining areas were magnificent. Even the current day Amtrak waiting area had an element of style to it.

2015 11 14 190 Cincinnati Museum Center.jpg


Once we completed the building tour we continued on to the Cincinnati History Museum. Immediately upon entering this wing we were greeted by a huge model of downtown Cincinnati in the 1950s, complete with running streetcars and lights, Union Terminal, Crosley Field, and all of the large buildings.

Beyond the model were a full size actual street car, a Crosley car, a complete 1800’s ‘street’ with buildings and a riverboat. Also on the lower level was the traditional Christmas Model Train exhibit, and in keeping with the theme a special Lego train village.

2015 11 14 230 Cincinnati Museum Center.jpg


Finally we went to the Control Tower for the railyard where the Cincinnati Railway Club has a display and shop. From this vantage point we could watch the active railyard with what seemed like miles of rail spur lines and sidings.

All in all the day at the museums in Cincinnati was fantastic. I couldn’t ask for more – wait I did – we stopped by Ikea on the way home and I had Swedish meatballs!

2015 11 14 305 Cincinnati Museum Center.jpg