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Everything you need to know about the US Polar Express rides

Step aboard the Polar Express train rides happening throughout the United States and prepare to embark on a magical holiday adventure that will leave you in awe. Inspired by the beloved classic story and iconic film, this enchanting experience will transport you to a realm of festive wonder and joy.

Everything you need to know about the US Polar Express rides

From the moment you step onto the train, you’ll be captivated by mesmerizing performances, heartwarming stories, and delightful surprises at every turn. And don’t forget to keep a keen eye out for a special encounter with none other than Santa Claus himself!

This extraordinary journey is a gateway to creating treasured memories that will shine as brightly as Rudolph’s nose. However, with countless options to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide which Polar Express ride to join.

But fear not! Our curated list of the best Polar Express rides across the United States will make your decision much easier. So, get ready to embark on an adventure that promises to fill your heart with holiday cheer and create moments that will be cherished for a lifetime.

What to wear on the Polar Express?

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Preparing for the thrilling journey of the Polar Express, you may find yourself pondering, “What should I wear?” The answer lies in finding the perfect blend of comfort and festive flair! While there isn’t a strict dress code, embracing the holiday spirit is highly encouraged.

For a cozy and traditional look, slip into your favorite Christmas-themed pajamas. Whether it’s a classic plaid pattern or playful reindeer motifs, these snug sleepwear options will ensure your comfort throughout the ride. Enhance the ensemble with comfy socks or slippers for that extra touch of relaxation.

If you’re yearning for an elegant touch, let your fashion imagination run wild with a vintage-inspired outfit. Think tweed blazers, tailored trousers, and timeless accessories. This sophisticated ensemble will infuse your Polar Express experience with a delightful old-school charm.

If a more casual vibe is what you seek, opt for a cozy sweater adorned with playful holiday patterns or vibrant festive colors. Pair it effortlessly with comfortable jeans or leggings for a relaxed yet stylish look. And why not add a dash of whimsy with a Santa hat or a pair of reindeer antlers?

Remember, the key is to enjoy yourself and let your unique style shine. Whether you choose classic pajamas, vintage-inspired elegance, or a cozy sweater ensemble, let your outfit embody the joyful spirit of the holiday season.

So, prepare to step onto the Polar Express with confidence, revel in every moment, and embrace the enchantment of this magical adventure!

What’s included on the Polar Express?

The Polar Express offers an immersive experience that goes beyond typical Santa train rides. It creates cherished memories and keeps the holiday spirit alive in your heart. On the Polar Express, you can expect a delightful array of experiences and treats, such as:

Hot Chocolate: Savor velvety hot chocolate that warms your soul and sets the perfect holiday mood.

Cookies: Enjoy delicious cookies that complement the hot chocolate, creating a delectable combination.

Entertainment: Be entertained throughout the ride with a variety of engaging activities, including sing-alongs, anecdotes, and even spontaneous dance parties, ensuring non-stop fun.

Santa Claus: Await the grand entrance of Santa Claus himself, who will fill the atmosphere with joy and excitement. Santa may also present you with a special shiny silver bell from his sleigh as a magical reward for those who believe.

What age is the Polar Express train ride best for?

The Polar Express train ride is suitable for all ages, making it a magical experience for both children and adults. Whether you’re a wide-eyed toddler or a young-at-heart adult, this enchanting adventure caters to everyone.

Children between the ages of 3 to 10 often experience sheer joy and excitement as they believe in the magic of Santa Claus and the holiday season. However, the Polar Express also holds a special nostalgic charm for grown-ups, allowing them to rediscover the wonder and beauty of childhood.

It’s an opportunity for families to come together, create lasting memories, and establish cherished traditions. So, regardless of your age, hop aboard the Polar Express and prepare for a ride of a lifetime!

What to expect on the US Polar Express rides?

On the Polar Express, you can expect to be immersed in a world of holiday magic and enchantment. As you step aboard, you’ll be treated to warm hot cocoa and cookies, adding a cozy and delightful touch to the experience.

The train will take you through scenic winter landscapes, showcasing snow-covered trees and picturesque vistas. The journey typically lasts one to two hours, providing ample time to create lasting memories and embrace the festive spirit.

Occasional stops along the way may offer breathtaking views, but the magic of the Polar Express is ever-present, ensuring a nonstop trip filled with delight. The activities, performances, and a visit from Santa himself will ensure that you are engaged and entertained throughout the journey.

When you disembark, the joyful memories will stay with you, leaving a smile on your face long after the voyage is over! The Polar Express promises an unforgettable journey filled with magic, wonder, and joy.

Locations of the US Polar Express Train rides 

Adirondack Scenic Railroad Polar Express

Experience the magic of the Polar Express Train Ride by Adirondack Scenic Railroad departing from Utica’s Union Station. Enjoy hot chocolate and cookies while journeying to meet Santa and receive the first gift of Christmas.

Capture cherished memories in your pajamas as you ride in the mesmerizing snowstorm from the Observation Car. Engaging staff will accompany you throughout the journey, ensuring a delightful experience for all.

Aside from singing, trivia, and dancing with the family, Adirondack Scenic Railroad offers old-world charm and stunning scenery.

Alberta Prairie Railway Polar Express

Step aboard the vintage 1920s train of Alberta Prairie Railway for an extraordinary adventure on The Polar Express. Depart from Stettler, Alberta, and be transported to a world of wonder on your way to the mystical North Pole.

Indulge in irresistible hot chocolate and delectable cookies prepared by the talented Polar Express Chefs. Santa Claus will make an appearance, gifting each child under 12 with a shimmering silver sleigh bell, while passengers receive a unique ceramic souvenir Polar Express mug.

Aspen Crossing Polar Express

Prepare for an exhilarating journey on the Polar Express ride at Highway 24 in Mossleigh, Alberta. This adventure caters to adventurers of all ages, offering a packed itinerary of excitement.

Enjoy encounters with the humorous engineer, educational grain elevator tours, a delicious three-course lunch, and an entertaining train robbery by skilled outriders. Explore the vibrant gift shop and farmers market for added charm.

The Polar Express ride at Aspen Crossing promises an unforgettable adventure blending history, thrills, and mouthwatering food.

B&O Railroad Museum Polar Express

Step into an enchanting world at the B&O Railroad Museum’s Polar Express Ride in Baltimore. Marvel at meticulously restored locomotives and exhibits that showcase the history of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.

Board the Polar Express train and be surrounded by twinkling lights and festive decorations. Indulge in the delightful aroma of hot cocoa and cookies served by cheerful attendants, and wait for Santa Claus to make his grand entrance! 

Big South Fork Scenic Railway Polar Express

Experience a thrilling and immersive ride through history on the Big South Fork Scenic Railway in Stearns, Kentucky. Hold on tight as you speed through forests and mountains along the historic Kentucky & Tennessee miners’ train route.

Explore the captivating world of coal mining, with fascinating stories and mind-blowing facts. Visit the Barthell Coal Camp, where you can step back in time and wander the streets of a bygone era.

From the informative museum to the unique mine tour, this adventure is filled with excitement and surprises, offering a thrilling journey through Kentucky’s coal country.

Blackstone Valley Tourism Council Polar Express

Embark on a magical holiday adventure aboard the Blackstone Valley Polar Express in Woonsocket, RI. Gather your family in festive pajamas and board the train for 90 minutes of pure joy.

Sing along to Christmas carols, savor hot cocoa and delicious cookies. Make a special stop at the North Pole, where Santa and his merry elves welcome you with open arms.

Each child receives a shiny silver jingle bell as a magical keepsake. With dancing, games, and a festive atmosphere, this Polar Express ride guarantees unforgettable memories that will warm your heart for years to come.

Branson Scenic Railway Polar Express

Hop aboard the Branson Scenic Railway for an unforgettable adventure through the stunning Ozark Mountains. This 40-mile round-trip ride offers a nostalgic journey, with a special holiday twist as it transforms into The Polar Express.

Get ready for Santa’s visit, piping hot cocoa, and a touch of magic. Enjoy the charming scenery and informative narration as you traverse the picturesque landscape. The Branson Scenic Railway Polar Express is a delightful experience for all.

California State Railroad Museum Polar Express

Delight in the captivating fusion of railroading history and holiday enchantment at the California State Railroad Museum Polar Express. Step into a mesmerizing world where vibrant characters from the beloved Polar Express story spring to life.

Savor velvety hot chocolate, and delectable treats, and embark on a magical journey to the enchanting North Pole, surrounded by a breathtaking tapestry of holiday lights. Anticipation builds as Santa Claus himself pays a visit, bestowing each passenger with a cherished keepsake.

It’s a seamless fusion of history, transportation, and pure holiday joy.

Cape Cod Central Railroad Polar Express

Experience the wild ride of the Polar Express at Cape Cod Central Railroad! Immerse yourself in holiday magic as you journey on an enchanting train ride.

With friendly staff and a visit from Santa Claus, this extraordinary adventure will leave you grinning from ear to ear. Activities in the waiting area keep the little ones entertained.

Grab your hot cocoa, climb aboard, and create unforgettable moments on this magical holiday adventure.

Catskill Mountain Railroad Polar Express

All aboard the Catskill Mountain Railroad’s Polar Express ride, where holiday magic comes to life! Journey to the North Pole with a golden ticket in hand, enjoying hot chocolate and mouth watering cookies served by dancing chefs.

Dive into the captivating story of The Polar Express and celebrate at the North Pole with Santa and mischievous elves. Receive a shimmering silver sleigh bell as a keepsake. 

Colorado Railroad Museum Polar Express

Step onto the Polar Express Train Ride at the Colorado Railroad Museum for an unforgettable experience! Sip hot chocolate, savor cookies, and sing carols with fellow passengers in the lively Polar Express Pavilion.

Feel the magic as the steam-powered locomotive transports you to a world of holiday enchantment. Meet Santa, receive The First Gift of Christmas, and witness the spectacle of smoke and steam. It’s pure enchantment on wheels!

Delaware River Railroad Excursions Polar Express

Prepare for an exhilarating expedition aboard the Polar Express Train Ride with Delaware River Railroad Excursions! Immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring landscapes of the scenic Delaware River, surrounded by its natural splendor.

Step into the captivating world of The Polar Express, where the beloved story by Chris Van Allsburg unfolds right before your eyes.

Look forward to the much-awaited arrival of the legendary Santa Claus, who will personally gift you the coveted first present of Christmas—a glimmering silver sleigh bell. And for an extra dose of excitement, don’t miss the mine train adventure, where you can unleash your inner adventurer and unearth a dazzling treasure trove of gems. 

Dennison Railroad Depot Museum Polar Express

Board the Dennison Railroad Depot Museum’s Polar Express Train Ride for an exhilarating adventure! Enter a world of holiday magic with spirited elves, songs, and laughter. Create unforgettable memories as you journey through the enchanting winter landscape.

This unique ride offers a historical backdrop, showcasing Dennison’s role during WWII. It’s a thrilling and nostalgic experience for all ages, making it a must-do.

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Polar Express

Glide along the narrow-gauge tracks, marveling at views of the awe-inspiring landscapes of southern Colorado. Engage with lively staff who add to the excitement.

The historic Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, dating back to the 1880s, guarantees a one-of-a-kind adventure. Brace yourself for a wild ride, filled with stunning scenery and lifelong memories.

Fox River Trolley Museum Polar Express

Feel the thrill of the Polar Express at Fox River Trolley Museum! Step aboard the magical train and be transported to a world of wonder and joy.

Enjoy the cheerful staff and festive vibes and look forward to a surprise visit from Santa Claus!

French Lick Scenic Railway Polar Express

Set out on an enchanting adventure aboard the Polar Express at French Lick Scenic Railway. Get cozy in the first-class domed rail car with hot chocolate and cookies.

The talented cast brings favorite movie characters to life with delightful songs and dances. Santa makes a grand appearance, gifting each guest a jingling bell.

While the outside scenery might not steal the show, the vibrant atmosphere inside the train guarantees a memorable journey filled with wonder and joy.

Galveston Railroad Museum Polar Express

Join lively actors, savor steaming hot cocoa, and indulge in scrumptious cookies served by dancing chefs on this whimsical journey like no other. Santa awaits you at the North Pole with the first gift of Christmas on the Galveston Railroad Museum’s Polar Express.

Don your coziest pajamas for added holiday cheer and take home with you keepsake sleigh bells!

Grand Canyon Railway Polar Express

All aboard the Grand Canyon Railway’s Polar Express in Arizona for the wildest winter adventure! Journey from Williams to the mystical North Pole, through the dark wilderness.

Excitement builds as kids’ faces light up and bells jingle. Santa eagerly awaits with a special gift for every good boy and girl.

Sip piping hot chocolate, savor scrumptious chocolate chip cookies and enjoy the timeless tale. Plus, you’ll also get to marvel at breathtaking views of the mighty Grand Canyon, creating an epic blend of magic and natural wonders.

Great Smoky Mountains Railroad Polar Express

Board the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad for a magical Polar Express journey that lasts 1.25 hours. Delight in steaming cups of cocoa and treats while the heartwarming story unfolds.

Santa Claus greets each child, gifting them with a silver sleigh bell. With joyful carol singing and breathtaking scenery, your family will create unforgettable memories on this extraordinary ride.

Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. Polar Express

Embark on a wild adventure on the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum’s narrow gauge railway in Portland, Maine. Enjoy a thrilling 45-minute ride along picturesque Casco Bay, accompanied by lively commentary and breathtaking views.

Upgrade to first class for cushy seats, tasty snacks, and refreshing beverages. What’s more, this ride is pet-friendly!

Bring your furry pals along and make unforgettable memories together. Don’t miss exploring the nearby walking trail or browsing the awesome gift shop.

Medina Railroad Museum Polar Express

Your golden ticket to board the Medina Railroad Museum’s Polar Express grants you access to an adventure that begins with hot cocoa and scrumptious cookies. Sing festive tunes as the enchanting Polar Express story unfolds with captivating illustrations.

Enjoy breathtaking views from the train windows and meet Santa at the North Pole, receiving shiny silver bells as souvenirs. This extraordinary experience supports the museum’s exhibits and guarantees a joyous holiday tradition.

Miami on Brightline Polar Express

Let enchantment take over as the Polar Express Train Ride returns to Miami Central on the magical Brightline train. Indulge in hot chocolate and scrumptious shortbread cookies served by dancing chefs.

Santa and his helpers join the fun, presenting guests with the first gift of Christmas. Sing, play games, and interact with characters, creating unforgettable memories along the way.

Take home a keepsake sleigh bell and a souvenir golden ticket from this whimsical one-hour journey.

Monticello Railway Museum Polar Express

The Polar Express Train Ride at Monticello Railway Museum offers its guests a spellbinding holiday adventure through the stunning Piatt County countryside. Sip hot chocolate, join in jolly caroling, and be delighted by surprises along the way.

Marvel at the rolling hills and picturesque landscapes, adding extra enchantment to your magical expedition.

Morristown & Erie Railway Polar Express

Board the vibrant Morristown & Erie Railway for a unique Polar Express experience. This lively freight railroad, born from a historic merger in 1903, takes you on a thrilling 10.5-mile ride through Whippany, NJ.

Sing, sip delicious hot cocoa, and immerse yourself in the infectious charm of this legendary railway. With its rich heritage and lively atmosphere, the Morristown & Erie Railway guarantees unforgettable Polar Express memories.

My Old Kentucky Dinner Train Polar Express

Polar Express in Bardstown, KY is the train to board for a holiday experience that marries magic and gourmet dining! Relish an extraordinary adventure with a delectable three-course meal that tantalizes your taste buds.

Savor each mouthwatering bite as you journey through stunning landscapes and sip on rich hot cocoa. This unique twist on the Polar Express elevates the experience to new heights of indulgence and fun, creating an enchanting ride filled with laughter, joy, and culinary excellence.

National Railroad Museum Polar Express

Don festive PJs and set out on a magical journey through the pages of the beloved Christmas tale aboard The Polar Express Train Ride at the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Experience the Hot Chocolate Dance and a captivating reading of the story in the lively Lenfestey Center.

Then, board a vintage train car and venture to the North Pole, encountering mesmerizing sights like the Northern Lights and playful polar bears. Meet Santa Claus and create cherished memories on this unforgettable holiday ride.

North Alabama Railroad Museum Polar Express

Get ready for a winter train ride like no other at the North Alabama Railroad Museum. With thrilling options for both day and night rides, this is a must for train enthusiasts of all ages.

Experience the magic of the Huntsville Polar Express with Santa Claus, twinkling lights, and holiday cheer. The passionate volunteer staff ensures a journey filled with joy and wonder. 

North Carolina Transportation Museum Polar Express

Step into your comfiest pajamas and prepare for an unforgettable escapade aboard the Polar Express Train Ride at the North Carolina Transportation Museum. Delight in hot chocolate and indulgent cookies as you journey through the pages of The Polar Express to meet Santa Claus at the North Pole!

North Fork Trolley Company Polar Express

North Fork Trolley Company in Riverhead, NY offers guests a dazzling one-hour-long adventure aboard the Polar Express. Complete with flowing hot chocolate, mouth-watering cookies, and golden tickets punched by the lively conductor, this journey to the North Pole is guaranteed to be one for the books.

Encounter Santa and his merry helpers, who grant you the first gift of Christmas, and enjoy captivating onboard entertainment all along the way!

Oklahoma Railway Museum Polar Express

Hold on tight and get ready for an exhilarating journey on the legendary Oklahoma Railway Museum, transformed into the magical Polar Express. Revel in the sights, sounds, and excitement as the train steams through enchanting woods and charming neighborhoods.

Engage with lively characters, delight in a joyous reading of the story, and indulge in scrumptious cookies served by dancing chefs as you prepare your little ones for an encounter with Santa himself!

Railtown 1897 State Historic Park Polar Express

Brace yourself for an unforgettable journey filled with delightful encounters on Railtown 1897 State Historic Park’s Polar Express. Dance with enthusiastic volunteers in the train car and explore the fascinating history of these iconic trains.

Immerse yourself in the magical atmosphere and learn about the trains’ appearances in various beloved films. This extraordinary experience guarantees a memorable adventure for all.

Southern California Railway Museum Polar Express

Brace yourself for the extraordinary Polar Express adventure at the Southern California Railway Museum, where vintage trains and enchantments collide. Immerse yourself in a captivating world of restored rolling stock, where the vibrant atmosphere comes alive with friendly staff, delectable cuisine, and lively tunes.

This immersive journey into the realm of trains will ignite your sense of wonder. And for an extra special treat, don’t miss the adjacent Fred Harvey Museum, a hidden gem showcasing fascinating exhibits. 

St. Louis Union Station Polar Express

The Polar Express at St. Louis Union Station takes you on a breathtaking journey through holiday enchantment. The spirited staff, fully immersed in their roles, add an irresistible charm to the experience.

With engaging Polar Express activities for the kids and lively performers, joy fills the air, making it the perfect Polar Express train ride for kids. And here’s a secret tip: snag a seat on the left side of the train for an up-close view of the mesmerizing Christmas decorations.

Texas State Railroad Polar Express

Experience an extraordinary rail adventure on the Texas State Railroad Polar Express, where history and holiday charm unite. Board the dome car and be captivated by the breathtaking Piney Woods Route, offering stunning scenic views.

Make sure you enter the winter wonderland wearing cozy Christmas pajamas and prepare to be enchanted by the lights and Christmas magic. Indulge in velvety hot chocolate and delicious treats, served by lively chefs radiating joyful energy.

Let them transport you to a storybook world, creating cherished memories that will forever warm your heart.

V&T Railway Commission Polar Express

Get cozy in your pajamas and join the lively caroling and captivating story session as the V&T Railway Commission Polar Express transports you to the North Pole. Indulge in steaming hot chocolate, savor a scrumptious holiday treat, and join Santa and his merry crew as they celebrate and enjoy the festivities.

Each passenger receives a cherished silver sleigh bell.

Vermont Children’s Trust Foundation Polar Express

A spirited adventure awaits you aboard the Polar Express Train Ride presented by the Vermont Children’s Trust Foundation. Step into the Wing Building in Burlington and be greeted by enthusiastic conductors eager to embark on this magical journey with you.

Sing joyous carols and lose yourself in the captivating story of The Polar Express as you’re whisked away to the North Pole. Look forward to a delightful encounter with Santa, who will gift you a magical sleigh bell.

Make your extraordinary 75-minute ride even more fulfilling by supporting the local prevention programs and donating used books.

Western Maryland Scenic Railroad Polar Express

The magical Polar Express Train Ride at Western Maryland Scenic Railroad involves getting cozy with your family, sipping on hot chocolate, and singing along to holiday tunes as you journey through stunning scenery. Meet Santa, receive a special silver sleigh bell, and create unforgettable memories aboard this steam engine adventure.

White River Rotary Club Polar Express

Embark on an enchanting journey aboard the Polar Express Train Ride in White River Junction! Let the festive spirit sweep you away as you travel to the North Pole in the company of lively volunteers.

Sing joyous tunes, receive the first gift of Christmas, and bask in the magical atmosphere of a winter wonderland. 

Whitewater Valley Scenic Railroad Polar Express

Join The Polar Express Train Ride at Whitewater Valley Scenic Railroad in Connersville, Indiana. Indulge in hot chocolate, savor treats, listen to the beloved tale, and meet Santa and his merry elves.

Witness a dazzling light spectacle in a breathtaking winter wonderland.

US Polar Express Rides FAQs

  1. How can I make the most of my Polar Express experience?

To make the most of your Polar Express experience, here are some helpful tips. First, dress comfortably and warmly, layering up to stay cozy while still expressing your style.

Before boarding, fuel up with a hearty meal to keep hunger at bay and avoid any potential hangry moments during the ride. It’s also a good idea to visit the restroom beforehand to ensure you don’t miss a single enchanting moment of the journey.

Bring along “The Polar Express” book for a lively read-along, immersing yourself in the story and adding to the magical atmosphere. And of course, remember to pack your camera!

Capture the wonderment and snap away to preserve those unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime. By following these tips, you’ll be well-prepared to fully immerse yourself in the Polar Express experience and create cherished moments to treasure forever.

  1. Can I bring my own food and drinks on board Polar Express?

While you may be tempted to bring your own food and drinks on board the Polar Express train, it’s important to note that there are usually restrictions in place. To get the most accurate and up-to-date information, it’s recommended to check with the organizers or visit their website.

However, there’s no need to fret! The Polar Express experience ensures that you’ll be provided with a delightful selection of treats and refreshing beverages to keep you in the holiday spirit. 

  1. Is alcohol available onboard polar express trains?

Unfortunately, alcoholic beverages are not available onboard the Polar Express trains. This enchanting ride is all about family fun and creating a joyful atmosphere for everyone, especially the little ones. So, alcohol takes a backseat on this journey.

But don’t worry! There are plenty of non-alcoholic drinks and delicious snacks available to keep you satisfied during this amazing journey.

Sip on a hot chocolate or indulge in a sweet treat, and let the spirit of the Polar Express fill you with happiness.

  1. Is there wheelchair accessibility on the Polar Express trains in USA?

Most Polar Express train rides in the USA strive to provide wheelchair accessibility. However, it’s important to verify the availability of wheelchair accessibility and specific accommodations with the individual train ride you plan to board. Contact the organizers or visit their official website for accurate information.

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