Santa aboard the Polar Express train excursion at the Mount Rainier Railroad and Logging Museum. Credit: Brewsphoto LLC
Apologies here that we're bringing up anything related to Christmas or Santa well before Thanksgiving. Cringe. But we need to momentarily interrupt your turkey day craft-planning and restaurant reservation-making (heh) to bring you a quick message.
Picture this: A couple of months from now, you and your sweet family are enjoying a holiday train excursion, perhaps with the grandparents or a group of friends. Your kids are over the moon at the prospect of meeting Santa, and there's hot cocoa to keep things cozy. The historic train car trundling through the countryside makes for an afternoon of holiday cheer.
But wait! If you don't take a moment to book your tickets now, you may miss out on this holiday cheer. In a couple of months, you may just be sitting on the couch at home watching a random NFL game, let's say Bengals vs. Jets or something. Popular Santa and holiday train excursions do sell out. So just take a sec here — as you wish, of course — to read up on three local holiday train opportunities and book your tix as desired. (Or, you know, go Bengals.)
This Santa Train has been running since 1969 and it's the museum's most popular seasonal event. Board your train at the North Bend Depot, ride through the Snoqualmie Valley to meet Santa in the decorated historic Snoqualmie Depot. Kids receive a small gift from Santa and everyone enjoys a warm beverage and cookies from the vintage kitchen car. Then board the train again for the return trip to North Bend. Sensory-friendly excursion with fewer guests offered on Dec. 1.
The Polar Express train excursion follows the story of the popular children's book and movie of the same name. Once on the train and traveling through the countryside at the foot of Mount Rainier, characters read the story aloud for families. Guests enjoy hot cocoa and treats. At the "North Pole," Santa boards the train and gives each child a small gift. Join in singing carols on the return trip to Elbe.
Dates: Nov. 22–Dec. 31, 2019
Location: 54124 Mountain Hwy E., Elbe (Elbe is located about an hour south of Tacoma)
Tickets: Adults $38 and up; children ages 3–11 $27 and up; ages 2 and under free; fares higher for peak dates and premium seating. Book online or by calling 360-492-6000.
The Chehalis–Centralia Railroad offers two holiday train options, both a Santa Train and a Polar Express Train Ride. The Santa Train offers families a shorter train excursion (about 30 minutes) and the opportunity to meet and take a photo with Santa.
The Polar Express train ride follows the story of the popular children's book and movie. Kids are encouraged to dress in their pajamas, just like the children in the story. Guests enjoy cookies and hot cocoa aboard the train. At the "North Pole," Santa joins the train ride and offers a gift to each child. Singing and other entertainment features in the return trip.
Dates: Nov. 22–Dec. 22, 2019
Location: 1101 S.W. Sylvenus St., Chehalis
Tickets: Santa Train $15 per person; ages 1 and under free (seated on laps); Polar Express Train $38 per person; ages 1 and under free (seated on laps). Book online.
Can't wait? Holiday trains not your cup of cocoa?