Thomas & Friends exhibit debuts Sept. 23

COSI is off-limits to visitors during its annual cleaning and maintenance regimen, which takes place Sept. 5-22. But when the science center reopens, children can immerse themselves in the Island of Sodor with Thomas the Tank Engine.

Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails opens Sept. 23 and runs through Jan. 7. The interactive traveling exhibit, linked to the PBS Kids series, was created by the Minnesota Children’s Museum. Kids can climb inside Thomas’ cab, explore the station, play on a train table and engage in other hands-on activities. For more information (and downloadable coloring pages), go to

Visitors also will be able to take a real railroad journey through the Canadian Rockies via a new movie in COSI’s National Geographic Giant Screen Theater. “Rocky Mountain Express,” a 47-minute film, will be shown Sept. 23 to Nov. 12. “Journey to Space 3D” and “Extreme Weather 3D” will remain in the lineup.

New titles will rotate into the planetarium programming as well.

On the horizon:

A new and much-anticipated dinosaur gallery, in partnership with the renowned American Museum of Natural History, is expected to open in the fall, with a related exhibition gallery to follow in February. Other upcoming events include Model Railroad Days (Oct. 25-29) and The Polar Express (Dec. 8-10).