Spending the Holidays in Paradise is the perfect place for a Christmas Train-cation! Our family has been vacationing to Lancaster, Pennsylvania for years. It has always been a favorite spot to travel to; however, even more so now that our kids are train enthusiasts. Spending the holiday’s in Lancaster County is a joyous time to create fond memories and start festive family traditions.  This article will highlight where to stay, eat and venture to so your family can have the ultimate Train-cation!

(Note: throughout the week I will be writing additional articles about each attraction, restaurant and hotel and provide the links so you can see details and tips.)


Nestled right in the heart of Amish country is a unique and family friendly hotel perfect for the train fanatic. The Red Caboose Motel on Paradise Lane in Ronks, Pennsylvania is located right next door to the National Toy Train Museum, walking distance to Strasburg Railroad and just around the corner from the Choo Choo Barn. At the Red Caboose Motel, you actually get to stay in a real caboose! There are so many amenities that will make your stay special during the holidays. From Christmas movies in the restored barn theater to watching the model train set up in the gift shop or drinking milk and cookies while listening to carolers to making a ginger bread house, there is plenty to do to keep your little one busy. I think my son’s favorite part about staying at The Red Caboose is that it overlooks the Strasburg Rail Road so you can hear the whistle blow and watch trains go by.


The Red Caboose Motel

312 Paradise Lane

Ronks, PA 17527



Price: Prices start at $85 per night




Night Before Christmas Train

Sparkling skies, warmth from a potbelly stove, smells of freshly baked cookies and magic in the air. This special train recreates the excitement and anticipation of Christmas Eve. A reader dressed in Victorian nightshirt and cap will read Clement Clarke Moore’s classic poem, The Night Before Christmas, as passengers enjoy cookies and mile while the train rolls along.

Santa Paradise Express

The Santa Paradise Express has been a Christmas tradition since 1959. Passengers are welcomed by a very special visitor November thru December. Santa himself will climb aboard and greet families as they travel down the tracks to Paradise, Pa and back. As a special treat, children ages 11 and under will receive a gift from Santa.

PLAYFUL PARENT FEATURE ARTICLE- FOR OUR PERSONAL EXPERIENCE AND TIPS ABOUT VISITING STRASBURG RAIL ROAD CLICK ON THIS LINK: https://theplayfulparent.org/2016/12/07/strasburg-rail-road-rides-make-a-christmas-train-cation-complete/


Strasburg Rail Road

301 Gap Road

Ronks, PA 17527



Price: $3-$30 (Prices vary due to discount, age and type of ride Coach v.s. Parlor Car, etc)

National Toy Train Museum

The National Toy Train Museum couldn’t have said it better, “Christmas and toy trains go together!” The museum has been decked out with holiday cheer to make visitors experiences especially memorable. Come see how this museum designed to look like an old-time train station has been transformed into an exhibit that will make your heart feel light. You are sure to enjoy the massive toy train collection that features models from the 1800’s to today. With over five different interactive train layouts including Standard, G, O, S and HO you will be occupied for hours. From The Polar Express playing on the big screen to Actual Polar Express train in the holiday layout you feel in the Christmas spirit! Saturday December 3, 10 & 17 Santa will make a special appearance. All those coming to visit Santa can receive free admission with the donation of a non-perishable food item.

PLAYFUL PARENT FEATURE ARTICLE- FOR OUR PERSONAL EXPERIENCE AND TIPS ABOUT VISITING THE NATIONAL TOY TRAIN MUSEUM CLICK ON THIS LINK: https://theplayfulparent.org/2016/12/05/national-toy-train-museum-where-christmas-and-toy-trains-go-together/


The National Toy Train Museum

300 Paradise Lane

Paradise Township, PA

717 687-8976


Price: Under age 6 Free, Children (6 to 12) $4, Adults (13 to 64) $7.00, Senior Citizen Discount (65+) $6.00

Choo Choo Barn

This Christmas be sure to visit the Choo Choo Barn for their sixth annual holiday layout, set up November 25, 2016- January 16, 2017. Come see the magical transformation of Traintown USA in to a winter wonderland. Watch in awe as Santa’s sleigh flies over 1,700 sq feet of model train extravaganza that is decked out with holiday lights and snow covered landscapes. The 150 hand-built animations and 22 moving trains are more than impressive. Don’t miss out on the annual “Santa Search;” 55 Santa’s have been hidden throughout the display (one for each year the Choo Choo Barn has been open.)

PLAYFUL PARENT FEATURE ARTICLE- FOR OUR PERSONAL EXPERIENCE AND TIPS ABOUT VISITING THE CHOO CHOO BARN CLICK ON THIS LINK: https://theplayfulparent.org/2016/12/04/the-choo-choo-barn-holiday-display-feel-like-a-kid-again/


226 Gap Road

Strasburg, PA



Price: Adult $7.50, Kids 3-11 $4.50, Under 3 FREE


Hershey Park

Hershey Park is the perfect place to make a memorable family getaway for Christmas. See the holidays come to life at Hershey Park’s annual Christmas Candy Lane and Sweet Lights attraction. Candy Lane transforms Hershey park for the holidays by decked the halls with over two million twinkling lights, festive decorations,  Hershey’s  Characters decked out in their holiday best all while still having over 30 rides available.  The older kids are sure to enjoy the option riding on five coasters; while the little ones are sure to be excited about visiting Santa’s workshop and meeting his reindeer. Don’t worry this attraction sticks with the train-cation theme, there are three different train rides including the; Monorail, Tiny Tracks and Dry Cluth Railroad. Not to mention a pretty cool holiday toy train setup. Just when you thought you’d seen it all a winter wonderland awaits at Hershey Sweet Lights. This holiday drive thru is spectacular of lights that includes nearly 600 illuminated, animated displays; all seen from the comfort of your car. This amazing lights display will venture through two miles of wooded trail. Both Candy Lane and Sweet Lights are available November 11, 2016 thru January 1, 2017.


Hershey Park

100 W. Hershey Park Drive

Hershey, PA 17033



Price: Age 2 and under FREE, 3+ $19



Breakfast- The Speckled Hen

This is my favorite coffee shop of all time! I wish there was one in Southern Maryland. This mom and pop coffee shop is located in the historic town of Strasburg, Pennsylvania. The Speckled Hen is known for their craft coffee and homemade food. One of the best parts about this coffee shop is that they are family focused in every way… From their comfortable seating with a toy area for the kids to fresh ingredients from partnering local farms they always have those with little ones in best interest. Whether cozying up by the fire place or sitting back to watch the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree you are sure to feel right at home for the holidays.


The Speckled Hen

141 E. Main St.
Strasburg, PA 17579




Lunch- Issac’s

Your family is sure to enjoy dining at this unique restaurant known for their award-winning sandwiches, made from scratch soup and fresh salads. Not only will your taste buds be in heaven but your little ones will find the menu more than appealing. From rainbow bread to fun coloring page they are sure to be entertained from ordering to check please! What makes this restaurant even more unique is its dining area that is decorated in a railroad theme, including a train car dining room.


226 Gap Road

Strasburg, PA

(717) 687-7699


Dinner- Casey Jones

Also on the property of The Red Caboose Motel is Casey Jones, a restaurant that is in a retired dining car. As you eat you can admire the views. When a train passes by the restaurant is simulated to rumble and shake like you are moving on the tracks! The menu is appetizing and it’s in a perfect location for if you have an evening train ride planned.


Casey Jones

312 Paradise Lane

Ronks, PA 17527



***The Playful Parent does not receive payment to write articles, all information and opinions shared are my own. Discounts and complimentary admission is always a plus but not a requirement. I enjoy writing articles about my families experiences so that parents feel encouraged to get out and try something new with their kids.***