We haven’t ventured off to any indoor events or activities since before COVID. Usually we stay safe at home and are busy with work and school. However, we enjoy going on occasional walking nature trails, playing at the park or fishing. I was feeling a little unsure if we should make the trip up to Baltimore to enjoy our annual holiday tradition.  I’m really glad we took the leap of faith and went.


I was impressed with all the safety measures and precautions met in order to go above and beyond standard regulation. We felt comfort and were able to let our guard down to have a piece of Christmas joy. A few things I noticed to help with health and safety. Tickets must be purchased in advanced to help keep admission reduced to a manageable number of guests. Hand sanitizer stations are located throughout the museum. Masks are required and staff follow this rule fully. Bathrooms are cleaned and attended to frequently. Activities are contactless or reduced contact. There are many options for indoor or outdoor exhibits. We went on a weekday and it felt like we had the entire museum to ourselves. I highly recommend going to the 11:30 AM early in the season on a Thursday.


Tickets are priced just right for all that is included with admission. Your pass includes access to all museum exhibits, train ride, featured new stop at Rudolph Stables and reindeer antlers. Night time train ride also includes hot beverage. The day we went they had three craft project to take and make or make or take your choice. They were a gorgeous ornament, wooden toy train and a cookie you can decorate with edible marker. My kids were most excited to bring home these goodies. The excitement on their faces was priceless!

The museum is decorated beautifully. Seeing the magnificent engines with the back drop of gorgeous holiday decorations is breath taking. Festive toy train displays are set up for your enjoyment. If you would like to pay a $1 you can ride the antique carousel. We always bring two quarters and a penny so we can make a smush penny.


To view our Holiday Festival of Trains calendar at a glance, click here!

All Aboard for Reindeer Railway Train Rides!
The B&O celebrates the wonder and joy of the holiday season with family-friendly festivities. Our famous train is no exception! This year, the Mile One Express transforms into the Reindeer Railway offering a festive train ride on the nation’s first mile. The train ride includes child-size reindeer antlers for all child tickets. With paid admission, Observation Car tickets are $10 adults, $6 children (ages 2 – 12), $4 B&O Members and Coach Class train ride tickets are $3 adults, $2 children (ages 2 – 12) and free for B&O Members. Train rides are offered: Thursday & Friday at 11:30 AM | Saturday at 11:30 AM & 1 PM | Sunday at 1 PM

Holiday Festival of Trains – Live Performances
While you’re here for Holiday Festival of trains, enjoy special live performances from Bach to Rock Fulton and Ballet Nouveau. For full schedule of performances, see our Holiday Festival of Trains calendar. Bach to Rock Fulton: Dec. 6, 12-13, & 19-20. Ballet Nouveau: Dec. 12

Holiday Model Railroad Layouts
The Holiday Festival of Trains would not be complete without the beautiful model train displays throughout the holiday season. Marvel at model trains zipping through enchanting displays by renowned area clubs and Baltimore’s very own Jimmy Ulrich of Jimmyville! Nov. 20 – Jan. 3: O Scale model layout by Jimmy Ullrich. Dec. 16-Dec. 31: NTRAK by Baltimore Area NTRAK.

Reindeer Railway Evening Train Rides & Holiday Lights

Fridays & Saturdays, Nov. 27-28, Dec. 4, 11-12, & 18-19

Each evening, tour through Santa’s Winter Village shops, model train layouts, enjoy a visit from Santa and share cookies with spiced cider or spiked cider for the grown-ups. The train ride includes child-size light-up reindeer antlers to wear on the Reindeer Railway to help light the way for Santa! Get your tickets here.


Photos with Santa

Dec. 5-6, Dec. 12-13, Dec. 19-20, & Dec. 21-22

The holiday season is officially here when Santa comes to town, and we hope you’ll join us in greeting him when he arrives back in Baltimore! Santa will be celebrating the season with you at the B&O Holiday Festival of Trains. Plus, Frosty the Snowman will be joining Santa and his elves. Photos offered will require safe social distancing and face coverings. Prices: $14 – One (1) 5×7” Photo, +$6/each additional 5×7” Photo Learn More.


Breakfast with Santa 

December 6, 12-13, & 19-20 

Santa will join you and your family during breakfast and be available for socially distant photo sessions. Families will ride the Reindeer Railway train and children will be given reindeer antlers for the trip. Join us and Santa for a delicious breakfast buffet inside the spacious Roundhouse transformed into a festive wonderland featuring the B&O’s signature 35-foot Christmas tree, model train layouts, and Santa’s winter village. Tickets sell fast, get yours now!  Get your tickets here!


Toddler Time with Santa

Thursday, Dec. 10, 10 AM

Santa will join children and families for a fun holiday craft, listen to a reading of one of Santa’s favorite books, The Polar Express! Toddler Time is included with admission, but pre-registration is required. Learn more & register here!


Thank you B&O Railroad for providing tickets. The Playful Parent is a 501(c)(3) and writes reviews and hosts giveaway to promote learning through play. The Playful Parent is not paid to work with companies and shares information with a non-biased opinion. All content and photos are property of The Playful Parent and may not be used without permission.***