strasburg railroad christmas
There is nothing better than the glimmer of pure joy you see in your child’s eye when they catch the first glimpse of Santa coming their way. It really is the true magic of Christmas.
I was able to experience just that while aboard the Santa Paradise Express on the Strasburg Railroad, located in beautiful Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The Santa train is a 45 minute train ride in a real historic rail car, built in 1832! The cars are so beautiful, it really seems as though you took a step back in time.
While waiting for our train, Mrs. Claus was there to greet us and assist us with our letters to Santa. The children were so excited to be able to hand deliver their special list right to the big jolly man himself.
Once we boarded the train, we were amazed with the quality of the rail cars. Strasburg Railroad takes such great care of the cars, the craftsmanship of the woodwork is just amazing. We settled into our seats, and listened to the Christmas music as the train was starting to roll over the tracks.
Before we knew it, we were being entertained by a group of carolers singing some Christmas favorites, as well as musicians. We were lucky enough that we sat in the center of the rail car; it was like our own personal concert. My children were so mesmerized by these groups, even more than I could have thought they would be.
Of course, the star of the show was none other than Santa himself. The children literally stopped in their tracks when they first noticed him coming through the rail car. Santa took the time to stop and chat with each and every child, collecting the wish lists, and of course taking a photo. A professional photographer was on hand to capture the special visit, but personal photos were allowed as well. What a special memory for the children.
Between the Santa visit, the carolers, the musicians, and viewing the farms through the window, the 45 minute train ride went quick. We were back at the station before most could remember all nine reindeers.
The day of our visit was a super rainy day, but we did not let that ruin our fun! At the station there was plenty of other holiday activities.
Since it was raining pretty hard on the day we visited, we were unable to enjoy some of the other activities at the station. But, I could see how train enthusiasts could spend quite a few hours at the rail station. There is even a Trackside Cafe where you can grab a bite to eat or a small snack before or after your train ride. Menu selections include freshly-made pizza, cheesesteaks, burgers, grilled chicken, salads and plenty of tempting desserts.
Of course no visit would be complete without a trip to the gift shop. I love how they had a large Thomas the Train table set up encouraging the kids to play. We don’t have a train table, so it is always a treat to play with one. And since the weather was so bad, it was a nice break from the rain.
It was a great day for the whole family. The look of my childrens’ faces really proves that there is still the magic of Christmas in their hearts. I cherish these memories, and would love to make this Santa ride an annual tradition. If your child loves Christmas and likes trains, the Santa Train makes a great gift for them. We didn’t tell our kids until we arrived, and they were pleasantly surprised at the Christmas adventure.
Strasburg Rail Road is running several train rides this season, not just the Santa Paradise Express. Holiday trains run until December 21st, so there is still plenty of time to create holiday memories at the station. You can find out more information about the schedule and how to purchase tickets here.
All aboard, and Merry Christmas!