One of the reasons I started my site The Playful Parent is to encourage moms and dads to enjoy more quality time playing with their kids. Sometimes it can be hard to spark your imagination or inner child. At the Choo Choo barn you can’t help feeling like a kid again; which is why it’s a playful parent favorite. The exhibit encourages family bonding through its interactive setup. From pushing buttons to scavenger hunt; there’s so much to engage in with your little ones.
This was our first time exploring The Choo Choo Barn. There were so many interesting features that I didn’t expect. I was impressed with the intricate details of holiday cheer. From each street light adorned with hanging wreaths to circus animals wearing Santa hats; no stone was left unturned when it comes to decking out in holiday style. It was a wondrous surprise to see the two settings of both day and night. Watch as the lights fade and the twinkling lights of Christmas come to life. The night time setting only last about a minute every five to ten minutes. Now of course I expected trains we are talking about the Choo Choo Barn of course…but I didn’t expect to find flying elements such as a hot air balloon, air plane or Santa’s sleigh with eight tiny reindeer!
The display is low enough for most small children to peer through the glass at the trains. However, I was happy to take advantage of some cuddle time and snuggle up to my little man and hold him as we watched in aw. Fingers were constantly pointing left and right; “Did you see the Polar Express Mommy?” “Look, circus!” And of course “I found another Santa.” A unique tradition at the Choo Choo Barn is that they hide one Santa for each year that they’ve been open. This year the challenge is set to find 55 miniature Santas hidden throughout the layout.
I’d say you should plan about an hour to explore the train room. This excursion is perfect for little ones because they can walk around the display and view different trains and scenery. There is over 1,700 square foot of model train extravaganza to explore that includes 150 hand-built animations and 22 moving trains.
A few tips to help make your planning easier. Do not bring a stroller there isn’t enough room for one and your little one won’t sit high enough to see the display. The gift shop has so many cool toys, books and apparel! So be prepared to bring home a souvenir or two! Don’t forget to take advantage of the photo op in the parking lot. There’s a really fun small train the kids can climb aboard.
The Choo Choo Barn is located right next to the Railroad Museum of Pennsyvania and Strasburg Railroad. So you can park your car in those lots and walk over if the shopping center parking lot is full. There are some great shops and restarants located in the same shopping center including: hobby train store, sweets shop and Issac’s Restaurant. It’s best to come early in the morning when it’s less crowded. Don’t worry if you can’t make it to the Choo Choo Barn for the holidays they are open all year round with there traditional layout!
The Choo Choo Barn is open for its sixth annual holiday display starting November 25th and will be open 7 days a week through December 31 (closed 12/25). Open January 7-8, and 13-16. Most days open 10AM-5PM; check their schedule online as hours vary by date. There are also some special events; including can food drive and sensory friendly viewing. Admission cost $7.50 Adults, $4.50 (3-11) and 2 and under FREE.
For more information on trip planning for the ultimate Traincation including information on attractions, dining and lodging visit: https://theplayfulparent.org/2016/12/02/christmas-train-cation-2016/
Choo Choo Barn Details
226 Gap Rd
Strasburg, PA 17579800-450-2920
Sneak peek video: