All Aboard! Santa and Polar Express Train Ride Locations

A few years ago, 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

All Aboard! Where to catch a ride on a holiday train or the Polar Express

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.

Take your kids for a ride on the Polar Express!


Visit our neighbors in Casey, Illinois for free train rides (103 N Central) and hayrides during Candy Canes on Main on Saturday, December 1.

On December 1 and 2, have lunch with Santa on a train leaving from Monticello, IL for $15 per person. The ride is about an hour long. Santa will visit individually with each child during the train ride. The lunch is targeted for kids, and consists of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, chips, cookies, and drink. Everyone with a ticket receives a lunch. Cheese sandwiches are available on request for those with allergies.

On December 2, 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.

Catch a ride on the Holiday Express at Deming Park. The train will run Dec. 3-21 weather permitting from 6-8 p.m.

The trackless train will reappear with free rides in downtown Terre Haute during Miracle on 7th Street on December 7 and 8.


Head to Indy for a ride on the Sullivan Express Santa Train from November 23-December 23.  $20 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.

Ride the Polar Bear Express from Kokomo or Logansport. Come with your family to enjoy a relaxing and enjoyable trip to the North Pole this holiday season! And what better way to travel than by rail? Enjoy stories, songs, cookies, and hot chocolate along the way! We’ve even invite the Mr. Claus himself to ride our train and visit each of our families along the way. Don’t miss out on this magical experience!

The Whitewater Valley Railroad Polar Express will be making trips 148 miles from Terre Haute in Connersville, 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. $35 per persons ages 2 and up. The 2018 season is sold out! 

The French Lick Polar Express is 109 miles from Terre Haute in French Lick, Indiana. The 2018 season is sold out! It’s time to purchase tickets for 2019. 

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! You can read all about how our family travels by train to Chicago HERE. 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.

Must-read tips for traveling by train to Chicago!


Not offered in 2018:

November 30-December 31. As part of the seasonal “Winter Wonderland” event, bring the entire family out for a night of ice skating, train rides, crafts, and pictures with Santa at DIY Rentals in Terre Haute.

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