We received tickets to ride The Polar Express for this piece but all opinions are my own.
There is something magical about a child’s excitement and awe at Christmas time. As a mom, I’m very excited about this Christmas and holiday season and ones to come. My children at 3 and 2 are old enough to appreciate all the wonderful things happening at this time of year. One thing that will become a holiday tradition for us is riding the Polar Express to the North Pole.
We went for the first time a few weeks ago and seeing the joy on their faces throughout the experience I know it won’t be our last.
We made the three hour drive from the Houston area to the Palestine depot of the Texas State Rail Road. I had so much fun picking out their Christmas jammies to ride the train as is the tradition and we had been reading the Polar Express book that week leading up to our Friday train ride. Dad scheduled the day off and we secured a hotel room as we thought the late night drive back would not be fun with two kids who are marginal travelers at best. (But I know many who made the trip in one day.) Excitement was definitely building all week!
I was almost as excited as the kids when we arrived at the depot. The vintage train and depot were all decked out in lights, garland, and ribbon and looked like the holidays come to life. My little train lovers (She loves the trains almost as much as he does!) were speechless and just pointing at the huge train with their mouths open wide. I loved seeing all the kids in their jammies giddy with excitement at being able to do something literally straight out of a story book. It really did feel like there was magic in the air!
We boarded Car 46 and as per a tip from a friend who had previously been we sat on the row away from the depot so that we would be closest to the North Pole when the time came. It was funny how many must have received the same tip because the seats on that side were a hot commodity and filled quickly!
Soon we were chugging into the Texas night headed to the North Pole! The kids loved having their cookies and hot chocolate as the train steamed along and I loved that they read The Polar Express over the train’s sound system while the train attendants walked around showing the children the book’s illustrations.
Before you knew it, we slowed down as we approached The North Pole. The train’s overhead lights went low and the only sound was that of the children on the train gasping in awe at the beautiful light display of The North Pole. Such a sweet moment.
When we stopped a special passenger boarded the train. That’s right- The North Pole’s main resident, the big man in the red suit, Santa! He visited each child and gave them a special gift which I know the kids will treasure for years to come. Then the train turned into a party while the train attendants helped everyone sing carols and dance in the aisles. I loved seeing the fun the kids were having and knew it was something they would be talking about through the holidays and beyond!
When we came back to the depot we captured our experience with a Polar Express photo and Christmas miracle- both of my kids looked at the camera and smiled at the same time which never happens!
Both kids had an amazing time riding an honest to goodness train and seeing the North Pole and Santa and I had an amazing time watching them love it. Caitlin might be a tad young at 23 months as she got very tired and cranky on the last 15 minutes of the ride but Ethan at 3.5 was the perfect age to truly be in awe and experience the magic. Next year she will be 3 and he 4 so I think the experience will be even better if that’s possible. We will definitely be “All aboard!” the Polar Express again!