On the polar express

I’ve been to the North Pole. I’ve met Santa. I’ve boarded the Polar Express.

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If you’re looking for a fun and unique holiday experience for your kids, load them up in the car and head to the Texas Stare Railroad in Palestine, TX.

The Polar Express, a book by author Chris Van Allsburg, and subsequent Warner Brothers film, has come to life.

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Board passenger cars and be entertained on your 30 minute train ride to the North Pole by dancing chefs who bring you cups of hot chocolate and cookies as music from the movie streams through the speakers. Settle in for a recorded reading of the book by the author as you chug along through the piney woods.

When you reach the North Pole, Santa will board your train to personally deliver a gift to each child.

Fill the ride back to the station caroling along with fellow passengers, led by your dancing chefs.

To make the drive to Palestine worth the time and to get the best experience you can, follow my tips.

1. Take the first train of the day (5:15 on the day we went). This ensures that there’ll still be daylight as you ride through the woods, making for a much more scenic tour and getting to see a gorgeous sunset while on board.
2. Arrive early. We planned to get there 2 hours early and that time went by too quickly with us exploring the surrounding woods, walking the train tracks, checking out the gift shop and snapping pictures with the engineer.
3. Bring your own additional drinks and snacks. Besides the hot chocolate and cookie on the train, nothing else is served.
4. Wear your pajamas. It’s not only accepted, it’s recommended, fun for your kids, and comfortable.
5. Come camera ready! There’s unlimited amounts of gorgeous scenery and photo ops in this unique Christmas treat!

Now for my pro/con list…

Pro’s
1. Incredibly unique holiday adventure
2. Fun and exciting for the whole family
3. Gorgeous wooded scenery
4. Opportunity for an old fashioned train engine ride
5. Brings a child’s favorite holiday movie to life
6. Santa personally greets and gives each child a gift

Con’s
1. Disappointing quality Santa and North Pole (think fake beard mall Santa)

All in all, I recommend making a family day or even over night trip experience of it. Check out the Texas state railroad for further details, to check the schedule and purchase tickets.

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