“The Hayes Train Special,” a beloved holiday tradition at the Hayes Presidential Library & Museums, will return this year with changes to accommodate for crowd control and physical distancing. This intricate, multi-tiered display that winds several trains through a Victorian winter wonderland reminiscent of President Rutherford B. Hayes’ day, will open on Saturday, Nov. 28.
As a gift to the community and Hayes Presidential visitors during what has been a wild and difficult year, the “Hayes Train Special” will be free to the public from Saturday, Nov. 28 to Saturday, Dec. 12. Attendees must reserve free, timed tickets at https://www.rbhayes.org/news/2020/10/23/general/hayes-train-special-returns-for-the-holidays-plus-six-days-free-display-admission/. Walk-ins will be accepted, pending availability.
“As is the case with many businesses and organizations, we have been hit hard financially by the COVID pandemic. But community spirit is about more than a budget number,” said Christie Weininger, Hayes Presidential director. “Our community has been so supportive of us through the years and especially during the pandemic. We wanted to give back and this seemed a great way to do it. 2020 has been a rough year for everyone, so it feels good to offer up a little bit of joy this year in particular.”
From Dec. 14 – Jan. 2, there will be an admission fee to the display, and timed tickets for these dates also are available at rbhayes.org.
This year, the display will be placed in the museum auditorium, which offers more room for physical distancing. Visitors must wear a face-covering and are asked to maintain 6 feet of distance between their household group and other visitors.
Also new this year, Hayes Presidential is offering timed admission tickets for the train only to accommodate visitors who only want to see that exhibit. Tickets for the train exhibit only are good for one hour.
“Hayes Train Special” only tickets are $3 for ages 6-12, $6 for ages 13 and older and free for ages 5 and younger.
Admission to the train exhibit is also still included with a site pass or regular museum admission. All tickets are available at https://www.rbhayes.org/visit-us/visitor-information/ or the museum front desk. Hayes Presidential members are admitted for free.
“With the train display being in the auditorium this year, we had an opportunity to offer tickets to the display only for customers who are just coming to see the trains or have a smaller budget for their visit,” said Kristina Smith, marketing/communications manager. “Timed tickets allow us to control crowd size. Visitors who buy the site pass or museum-only admission will still have access to the ‘Hayes Train Special’ throughout their visit.”
Interactive buttons allow visitors to be a part of the special exhibit. They can lower the crossing gates, run one of the trains, send a lamplighter up to his post and more. There will be hand sanitizer placed around the exhibit for visitor use.
The “Hayes Train Special” will remain on display through Saturday, Jan. 2. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The display will also be open from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 27.
The train display has been a tradition at the Hayes Presidential since 1994. It is sponsored by Croghan Colonial Bank and the Gordon W. Knight Family.
On the final day of the train exhibit, Saturday, Jan. 2, the annual model train clinic will take place from 1-4 p.m. Admission to the train clinic, which includes access to the “Hayes Train Special,” is $5 per person. Model train hobbyists will assist guests with repair and upkeep questions about their model trains. Tickets for the model train clinic are available at rbhayes.org. For information, call 419-332-2081.