All Aboard! Magical Winter Train Adventures
Imagine putting on your coziest pajamas and sitting down with a glass of milk and a plate of cookies … on a train. That's what kids (and many of their parents) will be doing this holiday season when they hop aboard one of the iron reindeers around the country --steam engines, trams, trains, and trolleys that get decked out for the holiday season and welcome children of all ages.
Finding a fun ride within driving distance shouldn't be difficult. At last count there were over 70 nationwide, from New York (like the Adirondack Scenic Railroad) to Nevada (Nevada Northern Railway) and everywhere in between.
And there's more good news: While many dinner train and performance train rides tend to stretch a family's budget, holiday rides are usually priced affordably for the whole family to enjoy.
The one catch? Rides tend to be popular and sell out early -- so purchase your tickets online in advance of the holiday rush.
1. The Fillmore & Western Railroad Railway Company, Ventura County, CA
The Fillmore & Western Railroad Railway Company offers three magical holiday rides:
- The Christmas Tree Holiday Train goes past large rural ranches, and orange, lemon, and avocado groves to Santa Paula Christmas Tree Farm where you chose your Christmas tree, which is taken back on the train.
- The Dinner With Santa train ride is a family affair with a four course meal (with chicken fingers, mashed potatoes, and fruit for the kids) and a chance to tell the jolly fat man all your holiday wishes
- On the North Pole Express rides you bring your pajamas and teddy bears as some of Santa's elves accompany the passengers on this one-hour nighttime jaunt to the North Pole and back while chefs distribute cookies and milk and elves read Chris Van Allsburg's Caldecott winning book, "The Polar Express."
For more info on the Fillmore & Western Railroad Railway Company, visit www.fwry.com.
2. The Maine Narrow Gauge Railway Company & Museum, Portand, ME
Dress warmly for the 35-minute steam train ride at The Maine Narrow Gauge Railway Company & Museum. These Christmas trains take passengers along Portland's harbor Casco Bay. The tracks are lighted with holiday decorations and displays of Santa Claus (who you also get to visit with in person), but the real view is of the lights on the 38 islands in Casco Bay and the waterfront, where you might see a glimpse of workers unloading the oil tankers that pass through, even in the winter.