The best way to start your train-cation is by visiting Strasburg Railroad to see the magic of Christmas come alive. Every year, Strasburg Railroad decks the halls or well rails so to speak with holiday cheer to offer families special Christmas-themed rides. These enchanting excursions will appeal to your little ones imagination as you dive into a story book tale, sing carols and indulge in a special treat. Check out these magical holiday train rides and choose the one that entices you the most. I personally had a hard time picking and would do all three if I could.
SANTA PARADISE EXPRESS
The celebration begins on the platform as the sounds of the season fill the air with serenading of carolers and toots and whistles of locomotives. Step back in time as you climb aboard an authentic vintage steam train and sit back and relax as you are warmed by the fire of a pot belly stove. This magical ride will take passengers on a 45 minute ride that passes through picturesque Amish country on its way to Paradise, Pennsylvania. During your ride you will be entertained as carolers and musicians stroll from car to car. Even the jolly old elf himself will make a special appearance. Santa will greet each child aboard the train and give them a train-themed gift (for children ages 3 to 11).
Join Santa on his journey to spread the magic of the season to thousands of those who believe. Tickets are still available for this year on December 10th, 11th, 17th & 18th, 2016. Tickets cost: $30 President’s Car, $27 Parlor Car, $27 Lounge Car, $18 Adult Coach, $11 Children 2-11 Coach, and $3 Infant Coach.
THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
The spirit of Christmas comes alive as you step aboard the Night Before Christmas Train. Each passenger car has their very own narrator who is dressed in Victorian nightshirt and cap to read passengers the classic poem, “The Night Before Christmas.” Enjoy milk and cookies as you travel down the tracks through beautiful Amish Country to Paradise, Pennsylvania and back. It is a jolly good time as you hear the classic tale and sing carols. The night wouldn’t be complete without a visit from Santa who will make his way through the aisles to greet all good little girls and boys. On our ride each child got a candy cane and Night Before Christmas Coloring Book.
Check their website for available dates. Tickets cost: $27 Parlor Car, $27 Lounge Car, $18 Adult Coach, $11 Children 2-11 Coach, and $3 Infant Coach.
CHRISTMAS TREE TRAIN
Hop aboard the Christmas Tree Train to Leaman Place Grove where families can pick a pre-cut tree and have it hauled by steam engine back to the station. No worries a staff member is available to assist in helping families load their trees. This special train ride is available on special dates and departs at 9:00 AM and 12:30 PM.
Check their website for available dates and cost. Tree not included with ticket.
EXTRA ACTIVITIES AVAILABLE
After the train ride, children are treated to old time holiday storybook readings in the caboose located near the children’s playground. Families can also enjoy the Tinsel Trolley ride, a self-propelled motor car that offers a cozy, fun trip down the tracks, all included in the ticket price.
During the day time check out the Cranky cars, a man powered cart that allows kids to crank their way around a small track. Also, climb aboard a puffer belly, small train that will take you on a small ride. Both activities were available at no additional charge. There is also a really fun playground located behind the restrooms.
Don’t forget to check out the three different gift shops. A souvenir shop, toy store and Thomas gift shop. My boy’s favorite store is the Thomas gift shop because there is a wooden railroad train table the kids can play at. There are also two coin operated ride on trains. The Thomas ride on is located in front of the gift shop closest to the restrooms. The Strasburg ride on is located between café 90 and the souvenir shop.
A FEW TIPS FROM THE EXPERT
- Dressing in Pajamas for the Night Before Christmas ride makes the experience even more fun. Also, they are ready for bed after the train ride.
- Be sure to arrive early for your train. You want to make sure you have time to get your tickets and get in line to board. If you purchase your tickets online, you will still need to pick them up at the station.
- Parking is free, but the lot is small. Another good reason to arrive early.
- The vintage seats can flip so that you can turn them around to face each other for more privacy and bonding experience. ***Don’t forget the seats also flip on the Tinsel Trolley***
- The best seat on the Trolley is in the very back past the pot belly stove in the cabin. My boys love watching the engineer drive. Be sure to ask first it’s proper etiquette.
- We always bring a few dollars worth of quarters for the coin ride on trains.
- The gift shop hours are accommodating, they are usually open at least a half hour before the first scheduled train and close 1 hour after the last train leaves each day. My recommendation is to go for the train ride. While waiting for the train to board they will have something to play with.
- If you can make a reservation in the Parlor car it is worth it! You will get to see the engine couple up to your car for the return journey!
- Make time to visit the other train museums while in town it’s worth it…to splurge and make this a Christmas train-cation they won’t forget! Check out this article for creating the ultimate Christmas Train-cation with information on attractions, lodging and dining: https://theplayfulparent.org/2016/12/02/christmas-train-cation-2016/
Strasburg Rail Road
301 Gap Road
Ronks, PA 17527