The Museum of Discovery and Science (MODS) in Fort Lauderdale, a recent recipient of the 2023 National Medal for Museum and Library Service (IMLS), will host the traveling exhibit Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails! The exhibit is presented locally by Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, Florida Prepaid College Savings Plans and Tri-Rail. The official ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the exhibit’s opening will take place at 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 15. The ceremony will be attended by Meredith Feder, deputy director of MODS, Caitlin Stella, CEO of Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, Ann Briggle Fonts, spokesperson for Florida Prepaid College Savings Plans, and David Dech, executive director of South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA).
The exhibit showcases the beloved engines and destinations from the show. It aims to engage children aged 2 through 7 and families in the foundational skills of STEM literacy through playful learning experiences. The exhibit incorporates STEM practices that encourage mathematical thinking, making comparisons, experimenting with various tools and methods to solve problems, thinking creatively and reflecting on actions and their results.
“It is with great excitement to bring Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails! to MODS, an exhibit that embodies the magic of learning through play,” Joseph P. Cox says, president and CEO of MODS. “We believe in nurturing curiosity and fostering a love for STEM. When young children explore STEM by connecting with activities and exhibits, they are building a significant foundation for STEM literacy with their young learners. This exhibit delivers high-quality playful learning experiences and leave children wanting more!”
As visitors explore the exhibit, they will be transported to the iconic locations of the Island of Sodor, including Knapford Station, Sodor Steamworks and more. Children can participate in various activities that involve helping Thomas and his friends overcome challenges. These activities range from simple sorting and shape identification to complex tasks like building a train track using pieces with varying elevation levels. The familiar faces of Thomas, Percy, Victor, and other characters are there to cheer on and motivate children, reminding them how valuable their efforts are.
“Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails! allows children to learn through play in the early years, setting the stage for future learning and success,” said Caitlin Stella, CEO of Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. “At Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, we are proud to support the work of MODS that awakens the imagination to engage, educate and inspire healthy growth and development for children in our community.”
Visitors can enjoy the Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails! exhibit at the Museum of Discovery and Science by purchasing a regular admission ticket. The exhibit will be open daily to the public from September 15, 2023, until January 15, 2024. The exhibition was developed in collaboration between the Minnesota Children’s Museum and Mattel, Inc. and is presented by Fisher-Price, a leading manufacturer of infant and preschool toys. The exhibit is nationally presented by Fisher-Price.
Photo credit: Minnesota Children’s Museum