Last year, our family spent a weekend in French Lick where our girls got to ride the famous French Lick Polar Express to the North Pole. A full year has passed, and the girls are STILL talking about that trip! They loved dancing and singing with the elves, drinking hot chocolate and eating cookies, and (of course) riding a real train. It was a dream come true for preschoolers!
All Aboard: Where to Ride a Holiday Train
Unfortunately, the French Lick Polar Express usually sells out an entire YEAR in advance. (It’s been called one of the top five most magical Polar Express rides in the country, so it’s not surprising that it’s popular.) If you can’t snag French Lick Polar Express tickets for this year, here’s a list of other Polar Express train ride locations (and other holiday trains) for you to consider.
Catch a ride on the Holiday Express at Deming Park. 6:00-8:00 p.m. $1.00 per ride. All proceeds go to listed organization.
- December 1st– Vigo County Public Library
- December 2nd– Boy Scouts Troop 200
- December 3rd– Delta Theta Tau
- December 4th– Girl Scouts
- December 5th– Boy Scouts Troop 200
- December 9th– Girl Scouts
- December 10th– Wabash Valley Master Gardeners
- December 16th– Terre Haute Humane Society
- December 17th– 181st Intelligence Wing & Terre Haute North ROTC
December 2 and 3. As part of Miracle on 7th Street in downtown Terre Haute (read more about this fun tradition HERE!), there will be a train with lights that runs downtown on Saturday. The rides are FREE and passengers will get to enjoy Christmas tunes.
December 4. See the Santa train in Sullivan, Indiana (28 miles from Terre Haute) and give dear old Santa your wish list. Santa arrives by train and each child has a chance to come aboard, see the train, and give dear old Santa his or her wish list. Santa even has some very special guest “critters” including Rudolph, Mr. and Mrs. Snowman and Christmas Mouse. The event is FREE to all and everyone has an exciting time.
November 28-December 18. Whitewater Valley Railroad Polar Express. 148 miles from Terre Haute in Connorsville, IN. Board the train at Grand Central Station in Connersville to pick up Santa Claus along the way. Once on board Santa will come and visit with each child on the train. Train departs at 9:30am, 11:45am and 2pm. Tickets are $10 ages 2 and up.
November 4, 2016-January 1, 2017. Polar Express. 109 miles from Terre Haute in French Lick, Indiana. The 2016 season is almost sold out! At time of publishing, there are a few tickets available for the week after Christmas.
December 1-23. Sullivan Express Santa Train. $30 per family. 86 miles from Terre Haute in Indianapolis. Narrated ride through bear country, Christmas tree lot, and the North Pole. At the North Pole, play in Santa’s workshop and visit with Kris Kringle. Read a review from Indy with Kids HERE.
We also find it fun to travel by train during the holiday season. The kids can wander around the train cars and the parents don’t have to worry about driving in sketchy road conditions. Win-win!
A holiday train ride is a great tradition for families with young kids, since most kids adore trains. And for those of us in Terre Haute, an amazing train ride could almost make up for all of the times we’re railroaded around town. Oh, who am I kidding? Nothing could make up for that! At the very least, a holiday train ride reminds parents that trains aren’t completely bad.