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Whether we like it or not, the holiday season is upon us.
There is something about the holiday season that encourages me to develop a sudden love for trains. I attribute it to my third-grade performance of “The Polar Express”. I played an elf and I had a line about hot chocolate. But clearly, the association between winter and trains stuck. So you can imagine my excitement when someone brought up the fact that Ohio has some of the coolest holiday train rides in the country.
If you’re looking for a quick getaway, there are a few options within a few hours from here! Although some of these train rides are still a little ways away, they sell out very quickly, so it’s never too soon to start planning your holiday adventures.
The North Pole Express at LM&M Railroad is a total “Polar Express” experience. The train runs on various days between November 19 and December 26. Passengers can enjoy hot chocolate and cookies on the train platform.
The train ride is an hour long and Santa and his elves will make their way through the train cars to visit with each family. Parents are encouraged to bring their cameras. Tickets start at $26 for adults and $22 for children 2-16. Advanced reservations are required.
For more information about The North Pole Express, please click here.
For 40 years, The Santa Train has been running along the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway. Trains start running on November 27 and continue each Saturday and Sunday through Sunday, December 18. The trains leave from the Nelsonville Depot at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. The Santa Train is a 2-mile trip and it takes about two hours to complete. The train is decorated, heated, and of course, includes a visit from Santa. Tickets are $16 for children and $21 for adults.
For more information about The Santa Train, please click here.
Put on your pajamas and head to the North Pole on the Polar Express at the Dennison Depot. Storytellers will be reading The Polar Express aloud as kiddos make crafts, eat snacks, and ride the train. Santa will join the journey midway, making time to visit with children and give them all a special gift.
The Polar Express at The Dennison Depot runs December 3-5 and December 10-12. Ticket prices begin at $42 for Balcony seating, $50 for coach seating, and $70 for First Class seating. Group rates are also available.
For more information about The Polar Express, please click here.
The route winds through Cuyahoga Valley National Park, located about two hours northeast of Columbus. Enjoy hot cocoa, cookies, activities, and more as the train makes its way through the park. The train will stop at the North Pole where riders can hand-deliver their letters-to-Santa to the North Pole’s postmaster!
Be sure to have your camera ready, because you never know who might show up on the 90-minute train ride. Tickets start at $45 and the train runs from November 5 through December 19. For more information about the North Pole Express at Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railway, please click here.
Hop on board the quarter-scale trains at Northwest Ohio Railroad Preservation for a magical trip through a winter wonderland. The museum and the train barn are decorated with sparkling lights, as well as the trees along the route. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be there on certain nights.
The trains run on Fridays & Saturdays from 5:30 to 9 p.m. and Sundays from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. from November 26 through 2. Admission is $4 for adults and $3 for kids 12 and under. Be sure to dress warmly since the trains are open air.
For more information, please click here.
All aboard, Columbus. We’re going for an awesome ride!
Originally published 10/25/17. Updated 11/4/19.
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