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Thomas & Friends™: Explore the Rails Debuts at Children’s Museum May 19

10-Year Tour Brings STEM Learning with Thomas & Friends to Pittsburgh!

Pittsburgh, PA (April 23, 2018) - The world’s most beloved #1 blue engine rolls into Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh this spring.  Thomas & Friends™: Explore the Rails, an interactive exhibit created by Minnesota Children’s Museum, will steam into Pittsburgh on May 19, 2018 for a 3 month stay through September 9, 2018.

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 manufacturer1, is the presenting sponsor for the exhibit. 3M is the national tour sponsor.

Featuring the favorite engines and destinations from Thomas & Friends, the STEM (Science Technology, Engineering and Math) - focused exhibit 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.

“The skills and proficiencies children learn and refine through play in the early years set the stage for future learning and success from the kindergarten classroom to the workplace,” said Dianne Krizan, President of Minnesota Children’s Museum. “Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails will deliver high-quality playful learning experiences rooted in science, technology, engineering and math for millions of children across the continent.”

Visitors to the 1500 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” they all are.

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 old and new 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 other 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.

Admission to Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails is free with Museum admission. Children’s Museum admission is $16 for Adults, and $14 for Children, and free for Museum members. For more information about the exhibit at Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, please visit https://pittsburghkids.org/exhibits/thomas.

For information about the overall Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails tour, visit: www.thomasandfriends.com/en-us/events

3M National Sponsorship
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. “Minnesota Children’s Museum delivers high-quality STEM learning opportunities for children across Minnesota and beyond. We’re thrilled to take our collaboration to the next level and impact children and families across the country as the national sponsor of Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails,” said Kim Price, Vice President, 3Mgives.

About Children’s Museum Pittsburgh  
Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh (www.pittsburghkids.org) is a place that delights and inspires children, where they can take off on fantastic flights of imagination daily, and return to earth to splash in a river, hammer a nail and ink a silkscreen. With 80,000 square feet of space the Museum welcomes more than 306,000 visitors annually and provides tons of fun and loads of “real stuff” experiences for play and learning. Permanent hands-on, interactive exhibit areas at the Museum include The Studio, Theater, Waterplay, Attic, Nursery, Backyard and MAKESHOP®. The Museum’s award-winning, three-story, center building is screened by a shimmering wind Sculpture and connects two historic structures (Allegheny Post Office Building & the Buhl Building). In 2006 the Museum became a certified green building and was honored by the American Institute for Architects and the National Historic Preservation Trust. In 2015 Parents Magazine named the Museum one of the nation’s 15 top children’s museums and in 2017 the Children’s Museum was Voted One of the Nation’s Ten Best Museums for Families in USA Today’s 10 Best Reader’s Choice Contest.

ABOUT THOMAS & FRIENDS™
Thomas the Tank Engine™ was created over 70 years ago, by a British clergyman, the Rev W Awdry, as a storybook for his son. That story quickly grew to become the award-winning global brand franchise it is today, enjoyed by families in more than 160 territories and over 55 languages across multiple touch-points and formats, including: 500+ original TV shows; 12 feature-length films; 27 websites in 13 languages; apps; toys; consumer products; publishing; live attractions and much more. Thomas & Friends has earned numerous prestigious accolades including, a Parent’s Choice Award, a Webby and a Licensing Award for Best Classic Licensed Property. Thomas & Friends is viewable on more than 30 world-class broadcasters including Nick Jr. in the US, Super RTL in Germany, and on Five’s Milkshake! in the UK. Thomas & Friends can also be viewed across digital platforms including Hulu, iTunes, YouTube and more. On YouTube, the Thomas & Friends channel has had over 1.16 billion lifetime views, over 909k subscribers and 2.6MM engagements. For more information about the world of Thomas & Friends, please visit www.thomasandfriends.com and facebook.com/thomasandfriends

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 FISHER-PRICE
Fisher-Price, Inc., a subsidiary of Mattel, Inc. (NASDAQ:MAT) located in East Aurora, N.Y., is the leading brand of infant and preschool toys in the world. The company’s legacy of high quality toys has enhanced early childhood development for more than 82 years. Some of the Company’s best-known “classic” brands include Little People®, Power Wheels® and Imaginext®. Fisher-Price is also a leading developer of baby gear products (infant swings, bouncers, high chairs), as well as a wide array of character-based toys inspired by high quality children’s programming such as Dora the Explorer™, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Thomas & Friends®. The Company’s website, www.fisher-price.com, as well as its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/fisherprice provide valuable information and resources to parents and grandparents around the world.

ABOUT 3Mgives
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.