Tour Brings STEM Learning with Thomas & Friends to Baltimore
The world’s favorite blue engine and his engine friends will roll into Port Discovery Children’s Museum this January. Thomas & FriendsTM: Explore the Rails, an interactive exhibit created by Minnesota Children’s Museum and inspired by the popular children’s series on PBS KIDS in the US, will steam into Baltimore on January 21st for a 3½ month stay.
The Thomas & Friends exhibit was designed and developed by Minnesota Children’s Museum in partnership with HIT Entertainment, a subsidiary of Mattel, Inc. Fisher-Price, the #1 Infant/Preschool Toys manufacturer, is the presenting sponsor for the exhibit. 3M is the national tour sponsor.
Young conductors go full steam ahead with the interactive learning adventures in this popular exhibit, as they explore science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts on the Island of Sodor with Thomas and his friends. Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails seeks to engage children, ages 2 through 7 years, and families in foundational skills that foster STEM literacy through playful learning experiences. The exhibit incorporates foundational STEM practices that encourage thinking mathematically, making comparisons, experimenting to solve problems using a variety of methods and tools, thinking creatively and reflecting on actions and results.
“This is an exceptional exhibit. I’m proud that Port Discovery is able to give children in our region access to thoughtfully designed, interactive experiences like the Thomas exhibit. It broadens their exposure to STEM learning and helps them associate subjects like math and science with fun and play, which predisposes them to enjoy these subjects as they grow,” says Port Discovery Children’s Museum President & CEO Bryn Parchman.
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 much more. In the exhibit, children help Thomas and his friends solve a variety of challenges, from a simple sorting and shape identification activity to more complex engineering obstacles, such as completing a train track using track pieces with different levels of elevation. As children confront 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” we all are.
“Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails brings to life kids’ favorite characters and destinations from the Island of Sodor in a fun and educational way,” said Julie Freeland, Senior Director, The Americas, HIT Entertainment.
Admission to Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails is included with each general admission ticket. General admission is $14.95 for adults and children ages 2 and up and free for Museum members. The Thomas & Friends exhibit is locally sponsored by CSX and M&T Bank.
For more information about the exhibit at Port Discovery, please visit portdiscovery.org. For information about the overall Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails tour, visit:http://events.hitentertainment.com.
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.
- Work with friends loading luggage, livestock and other freight into the coaches of two train cars.
- Collaborate with others to get Percy moving by loading coal into his coal box and filling his tank with water from a water tower.
- Suit up as the conductor to exchange money and sell tickets to visitors taking a ride on the train.
- Wander through a Thomas & Friends retrospective featuring model engines from the original live action series produced in London, copies of the original drawings and manuscripts from the Rev. W. Awdry, the creator of Thomas & Friends, and a collection of memorabilia documenting the history and evolution of Thomas & Friends through books, television, and toys.
About Port Discovery
As the premier children’s museum in the mid-Atlantic, Port Discovery Children’s Museum educates children and inspires life-long curiosity. Our play-to-learn philosophy opens the door for children to discover and explore the world around them and to lead smarter, healthier, more engaged lives. The Museum, a 501(c)(3) non-profit institution, offers 3 floors of educational, interactive exhibits and programs and is ranked among the Top 10 Children’s Museums in the United States by Fodor’s Travel, Forbes and Parents Magazine. Port Discovery has served over 4.8 million visitors to date. To learn more, visit portdiscovery.org.
3M National Sponsorship
The Minnesota Children’s Museum’s long-time supporter 3M has signed on for a 5-year national sponsorship of the Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails exhibit, providing a strong connection to their history of innovation in science and engineering.
About THOMAS & FRIENDSTM
About Thomas & Friends™ Thomas the Tank Engine™ was created by a father for his son 70 years ago and today is enjoyed by families in more than 300 territories and in over 40 languages. The No.1 blue engine and his friends invite children to enter a world of imagination through the tracks of a train and the words of a story. Children embark on adventures with their engine friends while experiencing timeless life lessons of discovery, friendship and cooperation. Thomas & Friends makes tracks to great destinations on PBS KIDS® in the US and on Five’s Milkshake! and Nick Jr in the UK and on CCTV in China. Downloadable episodes are available through iTunes. For more information about the world of Thomas the Tank Engine™ and his friends, please visit www.thomasandfriends.com
About Minnesota Children’s Museum
For more than 30 years, Minnesota Children’s Museum has combined early childhood research and best practices to provide children and families with hands-on experiences that develop healthy minds and bodies, build critical and creative thinking skills and prepare children for success in school and in life. A non-profit community organization and leading cultural institution, the Museum serves more than 450,000 children and adults each year through immersive experiences and environments that encourage children’s active exploration and adult engagement.
As the nation’s leading developer of traveling children’s museum exhibits, the Museum is a trailblazer in creating immersive learning environments, reaching more than 15 million children and adults in the United States, Canada and Mexico through the nation’s largest collection of children’s traveling exhibits. The Museum is consistently rated as one of the top children’s museums in the country by national media outlets like Forbes and Parents and was recently named as a finalist for an Institute of Museum and Library Services Medal of Service, the nation’s highest honor conferred on museums and libraries.
About HIT Entertainment
HIT Entertainment is one of the world’s leading preschool entertainment companies, specializing in building powerful brands based on engaging stories. HIT Entertainment’s world-class portfolio includes Thomas & FriendsTM, Mike the Knight™, Fireman Sam®, Bob the Builder, Barney®, Angelina Ballerina®, Pingu® and Rainbow Magic®.
HIT Entertainment excels at creating and building globally successful brands which capture the hearts and imaginations of preschoolers and their families. This is achieved through exceptional storytelling in multiple formats, enhanced by creating high quality character-based products and experiences with best-in-class partners. HIT Entertainment’s lines of business span television and home entertainment production, content distribution, digital media, publishing, consumer products and live events and attractions. HIT Entertainment, a subsidiary of Mattel, Inc., has operations in the UK, US, Canada, Hong Kong and Japan. For more information visit www.hitentertainment.com
In 1931, Herman Fisher and Irving Price embarked on a journey to change the toy industry. Their goal: creating playthings that inspire a child’s development. More than 85 years later, Fisher-Price remains deeply rooted in the belief that play is the way children learn best. To this day, understanding the importance of play in building a child’s skills is the fundamental principle, as the company strives to enrich the lives of families with young children around the globe. United by the passion for a child’s safe care and development at each age and stage, the people of Fisher-Price work tirelessly to bring families the best toys and baby products in the world. Some of the company’s best-known brands include Laugh & Learn®, Little People®, Power Wheels®, and Imaginext®, and it’s also a leading developer of character-based toys for children’s programming such as Thomas & Friends™, Blaze and the Monster Machines and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Fisher-Price is a subsidiary of Mattel, Inc. (NASDAQ:MAT). For more information, visit www.fisher-price.com (U.S.) andwww.fisher-price.ca (Canada) or connect with Fisher-Price on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.
3Mgives is a recognized leader in corporate giving, philanthropy, volunteerism and community engagement. Since 1953, 3M has invested $1.3 billion in cash and products around the world and was most recently honored with the United Way Spirit of America Award, the Silver U.S. President’s Volunteer Service Award and the Excellence in Mentoring Award for Corporate Leadership. For more information, visit www.3Mgives.com or follow @3Mgives on Twitter.
CSX, based in Jacksonville, Florida, is a premier transportation company. It provides rail, intermodal and rail-to-truck transload services and solutions to customers across a broad array of markets, including energy, industrial, construction, agricultural, and consumer products. For nearly 190 years, CSX has played a critical role in the nation’s economic expansion and industrial development. Its network connects every major metropolitan area in the eastern United States, where nearly two-thirds of the nation’s population resides. It also links more than 240 short-line railroads and more than 70 ocean, river and lake ports with major population centers and farming towns alike. More information about CSX Corporation and its subsidiaries is available at www.csx.com. Like us on Facebook (http://facebook.com/OfficialCSX) and follow us on Twitter (http://twitter.com/CSX).
About M&T Bank Corporation
M&T is a financial holding company headquartered in Buffalo, New York. M&T’s principal banking subsidiary, M&T Bank, operates banking offices in New York, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. Trust-related services are provided by M&T’s Wilmington Trust-affiliated companies and by M&T Bank. Visit https://www.mtb.com/