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The Trains at NorthPark, presented by Bank of Texas, will celebrate its 25th anniversary this holiday season. Benefiting the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas, The Trains at NorthPark will roll from Nov. 17 to  Jan. 6. The attraction will again be at NorthPark Center, located on Level Two between Barneys New York and Nordstrom.

Attracting more than 80,000 people annually, The Trains at NorthPark is the most elaborate miniature holiday trains exhibit in all of Texas, with locomotives traveling on a journey across America, past Dallas’ skyline, New York City, San Francisco, New England and Washington, D.C. In honor of its 25th anniversary, the exhibit has been updated with new landmarks.  In addition to the favorite hand-painted railcars available for purchase, there is also a limited edition silver anniversary boxcar available this season.

Additions to the exhibit include Dallas’ new skyline icon, the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, which opened earlier this year. San Francisco will be even more recognizable with moving trolley cars, Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf and a few more surprises around the San Francisco Bay. Albuquerque has been added, with hot air balloons that go up and down, a nod to the city’s hot air balloon festival. The new Ronald McDonald House of Dallas also makes its debut. Children and adults will discover trains rolling simultaneously, even on different levels, as well as interactive buttons that can be pushed to activate certain features.

The Event Chair is Cate Ford, who began as a volunteer with the Young Friends of the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas and has chaired its annual fundraiser. Her sights are now set on raising funds for The Trains at NorthPark. “This is the largest fundraiser for the House, generating nearly a third of its operating budget, and my committee and I are honored to be able to help the families who stay there.”

Ford added, “We are pleased to announce that the Honorary Chairs for this year’s Trains are Alan Engstrom and Debbie Raynor, who both served as the first Trains co-chairs in 1987. Their commitment and support throughout the years mean so much to the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas, and it’s a fitting tribute for us to honor these amazing community volunteer leaders.”

Bank of Texas will again be the Presenting Sponsor, as Bank of Texas CEO Norm Bagwell is a long-time Ronald McDonald House of Dallas supporter. “Bank of Texas is pleased to again partner with The Trains at NorthPark, which has become a tradition for many families including mine. Even more important are the funds raised for the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas to support the families who are going through a difficult time in their lives with a seriously ill or injured child. Our hope is that this exhibit will enable many more children and their families to be served by the House, as it also brings them and the greater community much joy.”

Lila Grace Ruiz is this year’s Kid Conductor who has stayed at the House. She battles a rare congenital disease that affects major muscles like the bladder, liver, colon, and stomach and keeps food, fluid, and air from passing through the body normally. There is no cure and she will need constant medical care for the rest of her life. Most recently, she has had severe allergic reactions to fire ants.

Since 1981, the House has stayed true to its mission of providing a home-away-from-home for families with seriously ill or injured children who have traveled to Dallas seeking medical treatment. In December 2009, a new, 58-bedroom Ronald McDonald House opened with the ability to serve twice as many families nightly.  Although families are asked to contribute $15 per family per night, no one has ever been turned away because of an inability to pay. The House stay includes a private hotel-style room, transportation, three meals a day, activities and more.  More than 2,400 families stay at the House annually.

Painted and customized by local artists, railcars are a popular gift for individuals and companies.  Those wishing to purchase a personalized painted railcar, including the limited edition silver anniversary boxcar, can place orders today by going online to or calling 214.631.7354. Railcars must be ordered by November 1st to be in the exhibit, but orders will still be taken.  A standard railcar is $175, a caboose is $225, and an engine is $325. The limited edition silver anniversary boxcar is $275. For sponsorship information, please call 214-631-7354.

Hours and times are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.  The early closing dates are as follows: November 21, Thanksgiving Eve, at 6 p.m.; December 24, Christmas Eve, at 4 p.m.; December 31, New Year’s Eve, at 6 p.m.; January 1, New Year’s Day, at 6 p.m.  The exhibit will be closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The cost is $6.00 for adults, $3.00 for children (ages 2 to 12) and senior citizens (65 and older).  Children under 2 admitted free.  Discount tickets are available at Tom Thumb ($1.00 off regular admission).  NorthPark Center is located at North Central Expressway at Northwest Highway, Dallas, Texas 75225.