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Book Tix for These NJ-Area Holiday Train Rides Before They Sell Out

Don’t miss these magical holiday rail trips to the North Pole.


Photo courtesy of Whippany Polar Express Train Ride


The North Pole Express

All Aboard: 80 Stangl Rd., Flemington.
Nov. 17–Dec. 23: Weekends, times vary. $28.
908-782-6622, blackriverrailroad.com

Kids get to ride all the way to the “North Pole.” Santa, Mrs. Claus and their elves will visit each and every passenger on the train (that means no long lines to visit St. Nick!). Enjoy hot cocoa, a cookie and a photo booth before you head home. Be sure to visit the gift shop, museum and Santa's sleigh after the ride.

The Christmas Express with Santa Claus

All Aboard: New Jersey Museum of Transportation, 4265 Atlantic Ave, Wall Twp.
Nov. 23, 24 and 25, Dec. 1, 2, 8, 9, 15 and 16; Sat.-Sun., 11 am-4 pm (departs every half hour).
Nighttime rides are also offered on December 1, 8 and 15 from 6-8:30 pm. $6.
732-938-5524, njmt.org

This annual trip through Allaire State Park to meet Saint Nick has been running over 35 years at the New Jersey Museum of Transportation. Santa sits down with every kid onboard. Have a blast on the nighttime ride, or check out the day rides for young ones with early bedtimes, too.

Whippany Polar Express Train Ride

All Aboard: 1 Railroad Plaza, Whippany.
Nov. 17-Dec. 30, days and times vary. $40-70 kids, $45-75 adults.
973-419-6255, whippanythepolarexpressride.com

This ride was new last year and a huge hit. Kids will receive their iconic silver sleigh bells in addition to hot chocolate and a cookie. Your crew will meet Santa while reading along with the famous children's book, The Polar Express. The ride is one hour long. Splurge on First Class seating in a stunning restored 1940s coach boasting extra leg room and huge windows.

Santa's Trolley Ride

All Aboard: Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St., Cape May.
Nov. 17-Dec. 22. Sat.-Sun. Times vary. $10 for adults, $8 for kids.
609-884-5404, capemaymac.org

Head to Physick Estate to meet Mrs. Claus and her man. Kick back with the gang and listen to seasonal stories and songs while getting a serene tour of Cape May. Santa has sweets for your little ones waiting for them in the Carriage House, too.

Strasburg Railroad Christmas Trains

All Aboard: Strasburg Railroad Museum, 301 Gap Rd., Ronks, PA.
Nov. 23–Dec. 16, departure times, dates and prices vary per train.
866-725-9666, strasburgrailroad.com

It’s worth the drive to Amish country to take one of these three train adventures. There’s the “Night Before Christmas Train” (story time with milk and cookies), “Christmas Tree Ride” (where you pick up your own tree to take home) and “Santa Paradise Express” (where you’ll see good ol’ Saint Nick himself).

Tri-State’s Santa Train

All Aboard: Wayne/Rte. 23 Transit Center, Rte. 23 Southbound & West Belt Parkway, Wayne.
Saturday, Dec. 8. 9 and 11 am, 1 and 3 pm. $23 for adults, $13 for kids under 12, infants-in-arms ride free.
800-838-3006, tristaterail.org

For one day only, hop on a train where Santa hands out gifts to the kids. There’ll also be appearances from Mrs. Claus and other seasonal characters, too. All four rides are during the day, so you can still get the kids to bed on time. This ride is also wheelchair accessible.

Phillipsburg Polar Express

All Aboard: 99 Elizabeth St., Phillipsburg.
Nov. 23-Dec. 16. Times vary. $42 for adults, $32 for kids ages 2-12, $5 for kids under 2 sitting on laps.
877-872-4674, 877trainride.com

Take a trip based on The Polar Express that features the movie’s tunes. Sip on hot chocolate, chomp on cookies and enjoy a reading of the original book. Then, sit back while the kids get a sleigh bell from Santa, check out the juggling chef, roaming hobos and elves.

Santa’s Steam Spectacular

All Aboard: New Hope & Ivy Railroad, 32 West Bridge St., New Hope, PA.
Nov. 10-Dec. 31. Times vary. Prices vary.
215-862-2332, newhoperailroad.com

Step onto a historic steam engine train and join Santa and the Mrs. on a round trip to the North Pole. Sing along to Christmas carols, sip warm cocoa and bite into a freshly baked cookie. Each kid will receive their own sleigh bell gift from Santa and his helpers.


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