The Polar Express at the Texas State Railroad
Last week, the boys and I went on an adventure and rode The Polar Express at the Texas State Railroad! I have lived in Palestine most of my life and have never been on the actual train so I was excited to see what it was like. Hubby was happy that we had an event that we didn't have to drive for two hours. And Benjamin…well, he was just curious and excited to be wearing jammies!!
We arrived at the station about 45 minutes before boarding time and picked up our tickets with no problem. Benjamin got a special boarding pass, his very own Round Trip ticket on The Polar Express!
We wandered around the station a little and checked out the gift shop. There were tons of great gifts to commemorate your trip to The Polar Express. Benjamin was just intrigued by the working train track along the ceiling and the Christmas tree. He had to check out whether there were presents under the tree for him. 😉
There was also a few food booths at the station, mostly carnival-type foods for families who had arrived extra early.
We headed out to the train yard looking for our number 5 car and we met up with Gena and her boys from Life with Captain Fussybuckets waiting for The Polar Express ride, too! When the train arrived at the station, Benjamin covered his ears from the loud whistle, but he was jumping up and down to see it. Before we knew it, we were boarding the train and ready to get this adventure started!
We boarded the train car number 5 and found some seats. The seats in coach are similar to school bus seats, but the backs flip forward and backward. We thought Hubby would have to sit behind us, but we were able to flip the backs and ended up facing each other. I have to admit, that was my favorite part about the trip. We both were able to watch the excitement on Benjamin's face!
The train car was decorated for Christmas with lights, garland, and stockings. Everyone in the crew was really nice and interacted with Benjamin as they passed up and down the aisle.
First, the conductor came around and punched Benjamin's ticket, then the dancing chefs came along and gave us a cookie and hot chocolate. The train had a speaker system and we listened to The Polar Express book being read. The acoustics were not great, of course, so we didn't really understand most of it. However, the chefs did bring around the book for us to look at the pages.
After about 30-40 minutes, we were getting close to the North Pole and Benjamin kept watching out the window for Santa. When we finally arrived, he was over the moon! He loved the lights and seeing Santa outside his workshop. We even saw a few elves! We passed by the North Pole slowly and then stopped to head back the other direction toward home. As we passed back by the North Pole, Santa wasn't there and we just told Benjamin that Santa had to get back to work.
Then, the surprise happened and Santa was on the train! He gave all the kids a jingle bell to take home with them. One of the dancing chefs came back around to check if Benjamin's bell really did ring, and it did, so we know he believes!!
I wish I had more (and better) pictures to share of our adventure, but with the dark train, all the movement and excitement, and well…the camera on my phone…the few pics I took didn't look great.
Our thoughts on The Polar Express
Benjamin had a lot of fun and I wish I had shown him the movie again before we went on the train because it has been a year since he has seen it.
Since we were in coach seating, there was no air or heat and on the night we went it was a little warm. The family behind me had their window cracked so that helped, but it would be wise not to ride the train in super hot or super cold weather.
The crew was really kind and fun. The one particular chef who danced up and down the aisle during the hot chocolate song was strange at first, but loosened up while he was dancing.
We wish there had been something outside the train during the ride for Benjamin to see because he was bored for much of the ride to and from the North Pole.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that although we received our tickets as compensation for posting about the Polar Express, we are aware that the price for the three of us to ride would have been $100. Knowing this, I'm not sure that I can say that our experience matched the price. Having said that, Benjamin still talks about it and really enjoyed it. If I had shown him the movie or told him the story before the train ride, we may have experienced even more of the magic!!
Find out more about The Polar Express at the Texas State Railroad and experience the magic yourself!
I would love to hear your experiences with The Polar Express!!