Since the release of the movie Polar Express there has been an increasing attraction to Christmas themed train rides. Connecticut is home to five holiday themed trolley or train rides across the state. They feature both daytime and evening options. A common theme to each location is a visit from Santa Claus, spread of holiday cheer, and family fun.
- North Pole Express is located in Essex, CT. Take a 1 1/2 hour ride on a Christmas themed train ride, as each coach is transformed to a child's dream come true. Each coach of the train will feature a live musical version of The Night Before Christmas. Dress your children in their PJs as they become part of the North Pole Express. They will get the chance to meet Mr. Clause himself and each child will leave with a special gift from Santa. Children will love to sip hot cocoa, eat cookies, and sing along to their favorite Christmas carols. Children age 2 and younger ride for free as long as they are seated on an adult's lap. It is suggested you arrive 30 minutes before your departure time. Due to the popularity of this ride the remaining dates are December 26-29, 2013 at 5pm, 5:30pm, 7pm, and 7:30pm. Tickets can be purchased directly on their website. First class tickets featuring upholstered arm chair with cash serviced beverages is $63 per person. Coach seat tickets on padded benches is $30 per person. A daytime one hour ride on Santa Express will run at 11:30am, 1pm, and 2:30pm starting Friday, November 29th. Santa Express will run Saturday and Sundays through December 22, as well as Monday December 23, 2013. Ticket prices are $20 for coach seats and $40 for first class. For more information on available times call (860) 767-0103 or (800) 377-3987. The Valley Railroad Company operates the North Pole Express, located at 1 Railroad Avenue in Essex, CT.
- Winterfest at the Connecticut Trolley Museum will take you on an illuminating ride through the Tunnel of Lights. Stay warm inside the trolley through 3 miles of light displays. Sing along to Christmas carols, and follow along on a free sing along booklet. Children will have the chance to sit on Santa's lap, tell them their wish list, and receive a gift. Winterfest starts November 29th and will run every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday until Christmas from 5pm-9pm. The fun continues after Christmas with rides December 26-30, 2013 from 6pm-9pm. Adult ticket prices are $10 per person, $8 for seniors age 62 and over, $6 for ages 2-12, and $3 for children under 2. The museum is located at 58 North Road in East Windsor, CT. For more information call (860) 627-6540.
- Naugatuck Railroad is featuring two options for Christmas themed train rides, one daytime and one evening. The Santa Express is the daytime option beginning Sunday, December 1, 2013 at 1pm and 2pm, and each following Saturday and Sunday from December 7 to 22 at 2pm. Ticket price is $16 per adult, $14 per senior or child, and free for kids 2 and younger. The second option is a night time Northern Lights ride every Saturday and Sunday starting November 30 through December 22 at 5pm and 7pm, with the exception of 1pm and 5pm rides on December 1st. Ticket price for Northern Lights rides are $25 per person, or free for ages 2 and under. Both train rides stop by Santa's Train Workshop where Santa will board the train with a gift for each child. Expect to also see a glimpse of Mrs. Clause and the hard working elves. Parking is free at the Naugatuck Railroad which is located at 242 East Main Street in Thomaston, CT. For more information call (860) 283-7245.
- Santa's Railyard takes off December 7th at the Danbury Railway Museum. Each ticket includes the train ride, child's gift, a visit with Santa, and coloring station. Rides operate every half hour on December 7, 8, 14, 15, and 21st. Saturday hours are 12pm-3:30pm. Sunday hours are 12:30pm-3:30pm. Ticket prices are $10 per person, or free for children ages 2 and under. Departures are from 120 White Street in Danbury, CT. Contact information is (203) 778-8337.
- The Shore Line Trolley Museum will be home to Santa on the weekends leading up to Christmas Day. Take a ride on an antique trolley, decorated with care to get you into the holiday spirit. Enjoy complimentary cookies and hot cocoa. At night the actual museum transforms full of holiday lights. Rides depart every 20-30 minutes from 10:30am to 7pm. Children will enjoy a visit with Santa and a gift. The fun starts November 29 and each following Saturday and Sunday through December 22, 2013. Adult ticket prices are $10 per person, seniors are $8, and children ages 2-15 are $6. One dollar discounts at the door only are available for AAA members, active duty or veterans, and K-12 and college educators. The museum is located at 17 River Street in East Haven, CT. For more information call (203) 467-6927.
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