Best Holiday Train Rides

All Aboard! Calling all train lovers. The holiday season is here, and so are 7 Holiday Train Rides.

Picture this: Your entire family, clad in cozy pajamas, huddled together under warm blankets, as a crackling fire casts a comforting glow in the fireplace. To your side, you have bowls filled with buttery popcorn and mugs brimming with piping hot cocoa, crowned with a delicious layer of melted marshmallows. Your children’s eyes sparkle with anticipation as “The Polar Express” races across the screen, embarking on its journey to the North Pole. The resounding engine roar and the sound of the whistle evoke a sense of wonder in their hearts, as they dream about what it would be like to step aboard that enchanting train.

Scenes like these, whether on the screen, carefully crafted train tracks beneath the Christmas tree, or even a real train ride leading to a holiday shopping adventure, are a cherished part of the Christmas tradition. And now, your child won’t merely have to daydream about being a passenger on this magical journey.

Holiday Trains Rides near Cincinnati & Dayton:

North Pole Express

Location: LM&M Railroad | Lebanon, OH
Dates: November: 19, 20, 21, 24, 27, 28; December: 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17, 18, 19, 22, 23, 24, 26
Price: Coach Class: $22-$26; Deluxe Class: $35-$39; Infants (Under the age of 2, not occupying a seat): $5
Purchase tickets here

Passengers spend time with Santa and his elves on the 1 Hour & 15 minute festive train ride. Train cars are decorated with holiday lights and decorations, adding to the cheer found throughout the event. Our North Pole Express has become a tradition for many here in Warren County. We invite you to celebrate the holidays with us at the Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad and experience this magical event with your family and friends. Each passenger will receive a souvenir bell and prepackaged cookie.

Kings Island & Miami Valley Railroad at Winterfest

Location: Kings Island | 6300 Kings Island Dr Kings Mills, OH
Dates: November 24 – December 31
Price: Prices very depending on package
Purchase tickets here

Many people today have never been on a train. And still fewer people have been on a real steam train. That’s why Kings Island’s recreation of the railroad of the late 1800’s appeals to guests of all ages. Kings Island’s two locomotives have been at the park since it opened in 1972 and are scale replicas of the famous 1800’s locomotive known as The General, which was the subject of the Great Locomotive Chase of the American Civil War (The General is preserved at the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History in Kennesaw, Georgia).

The Polar Express

Location: White Water Valley Rail Road | 455 Market Street, Connersville, IN
Dates:November 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19, 24, 25 & 26; December 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 15 & 16.
Price: $45 per person ages 2 and up.
Purchase tickets here

THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride returns this holiday season with service to the North Pole. This is the only licensed THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride event in the Greater Cincinnati, Dayton and Indianapolis areas. Tickets will sell out quickly! Don’t miss the chance to share this holiday favorite with your family!

THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride is a magical re-creation of the classic children’s story. Passengers are served hot chocolate and a treat by dancing chefs, enjoy a reading of the book by Chris Van Allsburg, and receive the first gift of Christmas (a silver sleigh bell) after Santa and his elves board the train at the North Pole. During the trip, the conductor will punch everyone’s golden ticket and Santa will briefly visit with each family.

The Santa Christmas Train Rides

Location: Hocking Valley Scenic Railway | 346 Railroad St, Nelsonville, OH
Dates: November 25 – December 23 each Friday, Saturday and Sunday
Price: Adult (Ages 13+) – $24; Child – $19; Senior/Military (60+) – $20
Purchase tickets here

Each train features the same theme – Santa gets on board the train and visits with each child as the train traverses the historic (and with any luck, snow-covered) Hocking River Valley. Each coach is decorated and heated, Christmas music plays throughout the train over the audio system, and after Santa’s visit, each child receives a special candy cane treat! Make sure your child or grandchild brings his or her Christmas wishlist to share with Santa! These are incredibly popular and do tend to sell out, so order as early as possible to secure your spot!

The North Pole Adventure

Location: Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad
Dates: November 8 – December 21
Price: Starting at $45
Purchase tickets here

Climb aboard and join us for a journey of a lifetime. Escape the ordinary of the every day as you watch the magic unfold as we make our grand journey on the North Pole Adventure™. Enjoy hot cocoa, cookies, and festivities as we navigate the sweeping curves of the Cuyahoga Valley and across the globe for our mighty journey to the North Pole to hand-deliver your letter to Santa to the North Pole’s very own Postmaster.

The North Pole Adventure™ is where time doesn’t matter, and we’ll show you an escape with excitement, wonder and surprise as we make a personal delivery to the North Pole.

The Polar Express 

Location: Dennison Depot | 400 Center St, Dennison, OH
Dates:November 30th, December 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 2023
Price: Starting at $46
Purchase tickets here

Join us for this family reenactment of the award-winning book, “THE POLAR EXPRESSTM“,  written by Chris Van Allsburg. Your adventure begins on board our decorated vintage coaches as Storytellers read the story aloud.   As the train heads north toward the North Pole, festive elves will entertain you with songs, games, and activities. As you travel to the North Pole enjoy a beverage and delicious cookies, specially made by Mrs. Claus just for you.

When the train arrives at the North Pole, you will see Santa and his workshop out your train window.  (Passengers do not get off the train.)   Our visit to the North Pole lasts long enough to pick up the most important person – Santa!  Once onboard, Santa will visit with children and gift them all with a special jingle bell taken from his reindeer’s harness.  When you hear the bell ring…you truly believe!

North Pole Express 

Location: Northwest Ohio Railroad Preservation Inc. |​12505 County Road 99, Findlay, OH
Dates: November 24 – December 30, 2023
Price: $5.00 Adults; ​$3.00 Children 12 and under
Purchase tickets here

Hop on board the quarter scale trains for a magical trip through a winter wonderland of sparkling lights and festive decorations. See delightful toy trains running in a beautifully decorated museum and train barn. Hundreds of decorated trees inside and out, plus Santa and Mrs. Claus visit on select nights. A great place to bring visiting family and friends that has become a family tradition for many. Be sure to bundle up for the train ride!

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