All aboard! As the holiday season rolls in so does a long list of Santa-themed train ride excursions packed with fun for the whole family. From meeting Santa to visiting the North Pole, gifts for children, hot chocolate and plenty of Polar Express realness, we love this holiday activity for so many reasons.
Here’s everywhere you can take the fam on a holiday-themed train ride excursion this season in Buffalo and Western New York:
Did we miss one? Did one of these places close? Send us a note!
Arcade & Attica Railroad’s Wonderland Express Train Rides features 6 runs daily on their heated vintage train. Visitors will experience a 2 hour and 20 minute round-trip excursion to Curriers Station (aka the North Pole) to experience activities for the whole family including jumping on the lil’ elf sleigh, taking a family photo in Santa’s sleigh, mailing your wish-list, visiting the Elf House, and more. Get the chance to visit Santa in his house, enjoy souvenirs and food concessions (cocoa, cookies, chili, and more), and on the way home all the children will receive a gift from Santa!
Excursions run most Saturdays and Sundays in November and December with some Friday availability.
The Museum’s vintage locomotive and train cars from 1947 to 1957 features five passenger cars and two first class cars. This holiday season enjoy multiple family friendly train ride experiences to Lockport and back.
First, check out Santa’s Toy Land Express on November 27th and 28th, 2021. According to their website, “Within just 45 minutes the train magically reaches the North Pole. On this magical adventure to the North Pole to pick up Santa, aglow in Christmas lights the children can write a letter to Santa and everyone can enjoy warm cocoa and a cookie! Santa boards the train from the North Pole to visit the children while they ride back to the museum, giving each child a small gift to remember this special day. Don’t forget to save time to enjoy a ride on the Traveling Train and visit with 2 of Santa’s live reindeer.”
All of Santa’s Toyland Express tickets include admission into the museum, hot cocoa, a cookie and a small gift for children. New this year the children can also enjoy unlimited rides on the mini traveling train.
Second, The Polar Express train ride will run December 4-5, 11-12, 18-19, 2021. Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, passengers will relive the magic of the story as they are whisked away on THE POLAR EXPRESS™. According to their website, “Once onboard, hot chocolate and treats are served as passengers read along with the classic children’s book, The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg. Santa and his helpers greet passengers at the North Pole and then board the train, where each child is given the first gift of Christmas – a silver sleigh bell. Chefs aboard each car lead passengers in singing Christmas carols on the ride back to Medina. Families can explore the railroad museum’s exhibits and interactive model train layout and take a Christmas photo in Santa’s sleigh.”
3. The Buffalo Cattaraugus & Jamestown Railroad’s Santa Express
This holiday season, The Buffalo Cattaraugus & Jamestown Railroad presents a 1 hour train ride on the Santa Express departing from 4 Scott Street in Hamburg. Santa & Elves will be riding the train and will give gifts to the children riding the train. Excursions are available on Nov 27 & 28; Dec 4 & 5; Dec 11 & 12; Dec 18 & 19, with multiple departures each day.
4. New York & Lake Erie Railroad’s Santa Express Train Ride
Santa Express Train Rides are coming up at New York & Lake Erie Railroad. According to their website, children will get to meet Santa during the ride and he just might even have gifts for all! This is a 1 hour trip for all ages. Rides take place on weekends from Nov 27 – Dec 19, 2021.
5. Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum’s Real Santa Train Rides
Head about an hour east of Buffalo towards the Genesee Valley to Rush, NY to find this holiday train ride experience where all trains depart from a restored 1909 train station just 20 minutes from downtown Rochester. Real Santa Train Rides are available Dec 10-11 & 17-18, 2021.
According to their website: “Enjoy the festive holiday atmosphere inside the train station while you wait for the conductor to call “ALL ABOARD!” Ride in vintage comfort as you climb aboard a 1940s streamlined coach for a special trip to the North Pole to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Enjoy complimentary hot chocolate and cookies served at your seat as we make our way through the forests and countryside. At the North Pole, every child will get to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus and receive a candy cane from one of his elves. Bring your cameras for photos and be prepared for magical moments! This event is perfect for young children, with the entire train ride experience and Santa visit lasting about an hour.”