Holiday Festival of Trains at the B&O Railroad Museum

Like every year, the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore, Maryland hosts the Holiday Festival of Trains where the museum is transformed into a beautiful winter wonderland!

It has everything from Santa’s Winter Village, Holiday Model Layouts, Model Train Gallery, Reindeer Train Rides, Photos with Santa, Mrs. Claus & Frosty, live performances and more. In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know before you go.

Table of Contents

About the Holiday Festival of Trains
What to See & Do
Model Train Gallery (NEW!)
Holiday Festival of Trains Schedule
Holiday Festival of Trains Prices & Tickets
Good to Know Before You Go
Getting to the Holiday Festival of Trains
What’s Else to Do Nearby

About the Holiday Festival of Trains

Most kids love trains and whether you are a train lover or not, the Holiday Festival of Trains has something for everyone. While we can’t all have holiday train displays at home, so going to see the train displays is a great way to make up for it.

There are many to see including: Union Station, Brookside Gardens, College Park Aviation Museum, U.S. Botanic Garden, ZooLights, Sandy Spring Museum), but Baltimore’s B&O Railroad Museum is the place where trains are center stage, not just an add-on to other holiday offerings.

The roundhouse is very festive, with Santa hats, giant wrapped gifts, and elves among the displays. Make sure to have your camera ready as photo ops are everywhere (including just past the lobby where we snapped a photo with a Rudolph statue).

A Fun Look at the Holiday Festival of Trains fro

What to See & Do at The B&O Railroad Museum

The museum has all of it’s normal, wonderful train displays and galleries to see. The holiday decorations enhance the experience even further and then of course, there are the added holiday events and activities.

Jutting out from the center point are more than a dozen historic train cars, some of which are open for visitors to explore.

There are a few holiday train layouts that stay on display throughout the festival, however, some of the most fantastic exhibits are set up by local train clubs who take turns showing their setups.

Model Train Gallery (NEW!)

Festival of Trains at B&O Railroad Museum - Model Train Gallery
Credit B&O Railroad Museum

New for the 2021 holiday season is the Model Train Gallery which features a HO Scale model layout of Baltimore in 1997. You’ll see popular city and railroad landmarks, operating model trains and more.

Holiday Festival of Trains Schedule

The Festival of Trains runs from December 6th to January 2nd and there is lots to do!

The B&O Museum is transformed into a festive wonderland with fun for everyone young to old. Throughout the festival, specific dates also offer different events that you don’t want to miss!

Note: Before attending any of the events, make sure to check the B&O website for tickets and availability.

Here’s what is happening:

The Polar Express Train Ride
Nov. 19-21, 26-28 & Dec. 2-5, 10-12

Come watch a live performance of The Polar Express onboard as you travel to the North Pole on this 90-minute ride. Dance to the music and join in on the holiday kid’s activities before the show begins.

This is a super fun way to take a train ride (all decorated of course!) along the first commercial railroad in the country.

Riders receive a silver sleigh bell, take-home hot chocolate kit and cookies in a Polar Express tote bag. Upgraded tickets also receive other goods.

After arriving at the North Pole, you can explore Santa’s Winter village with crafts, model railroad layouts and pictures with Santa!

Stuff the Train Dance Party
December 9 at 6-9pm

Join the DJ for an all-ages holiday dance party at the Roundhouse. This event is to help collect new toy donations for kids currently in local hospitals, schools and shelters.

Holiday Toddler Time
December 9 at 10:30 – 11:15am

What’s more fun for toddlers than getting to make crafts, read and take pictures with Santa?

Photos with Santa, Mrs. Claus & Frosty the Snowman
Santa & Mrs. Claus: Dec. 9 at 11:30 AM
Santa Claus: Dec. 17, 18, 20 & 21 at 10:30 AM-12 PM & 1-3 PM
Frosty the Snowman: Dec. 19 at 10:30 AM-12 PM & 1-3 PM

Usually all the picture taking attention goes to Santa but what about Mrs. Claus and Frosty the Snowman too? At the festival you can get some more interesting Christmas photos.

Pet Photos with Santa Paws
December 14 at 5-7pm

People shouldn’t get to have all the fun. Bring the dogs to get their own photos with Santa.

One photo is included with your ticket, however, you can purchase additional prints if desired.

Breakfast with Santa
Dec. 17 – 19 from 8:15 – 10am

Visit the B&O Roundhouse for a holiday breakfast buffet with Santa.

Reindeer Railways: Evening Train Ride & Holiday Lights
Dec. 17, 19, 21, 26, & 28 from 6 – 8pm

It’s time for an evening holiday train ride on the Reindeer Railway! Music and holiday activities will kick off at Santa’s Winter Village, then jump onboard the railway and enjoy spiced cider (for kids), spiked cider (for adults) and cookies for everyone.

Children receive reindeer antlers to help light the way for Santa!

Live Performances
December 18

Enjoy live musical performances from Bach of Rock Music School and Ballet Nouveau

Noon Year’s Eve
Dec. 31 from 10am – 2pm

Midnight is quite late for kids so why not celebrate earlier in the day at B&O Railroad? They’ll countdown to 12 noon and them welcome the New Year will confetti, streamers and yes…a ball drop!

READ NEXT: 45+ Holiday Light Shows In The DC Area

Holiday Festival of Trains Prices & Tickets

Festival of Trains at B&O Railroad Museum
Festival of Trains | Credit B&O Railroad Museum

Ticket prices vary by activity so we’ll break down the cost of tickets here.

Note: All tickets can be purchased directly from the B&O Railroad Museum website here.

The Holiday Festival of Trains

This is simply the price of admission to the B&O Railroad Museum which is $16 for children ages 2-12, $25 for adults and $20 for seniors.

This also includes the *NEW* Model Train Gallery, Toddler Time on December 9th and Noon Year’s Eve are all included in the price of admission to the museum.

The Polar Express

Bronze, silver and gold seats are available for purchase and range from $47 (children) and $52 (adults) to $57 (children) and $67 (adults).

Stuff the Train Toy Drive

Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for kids. New, unwrapped toys for kids are welcome for the holiday toy drive.

Photos with Santa Paws

Tickets are $20 for adults and $12 for kids.

Breakfast with Santa

The holiday breakfast buffet is $42 for adults and $36 for children if you are non-members. B&O members are $28 – $36.

Reindeer Railway

Tickets start at $10 for members and for the general public tickets are $20 for children and $30 for adults.

Good to Know Before You Go

  • The museum is open from 10am – 4pm Monday thru Sunday.
  • The museum will be closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
  • Make sure to check the museum’s website for tickets and availability before going
  • Masks are required when inside the museum and anywhere indoors
  • The roundhouse can be chilly so you might want to keep your coat on during your visit.
  • Visitors who who bring in a new toy for donation to the Stuff the Train Toy Drive will receive one free ticket for a train ride on the Mile One Express per toy on December 9th.
  • The festival includes music, dance performances and other activities during the festival. View the entire schedule above or on the museum’s website
  • The large size of the roundhouse, and the obstructed sightlines from the old train cars stationed in it, make it easy to lose track (pun intended) of kids in here. Keep a close eye on them, and/or designate the roundhouse’s center as a meeting spot — it’s easy to see from most of the roundhouse.

Getting to the Holiday Festival of Trains

The B&O Railroad Museum is easy to get to. It’s about a 10-minute drive off I-95.

It’s not in the heart of the Inner Harbor, which means that parking is free in the museum’s large lot.

The museum’s address is: 901 W Pratt St. Baltimore, MD 21223

What’s Else to Do Nearby

There’s so much to do in Baltimore so especially if you’re coming from farther out, you can add in some other fun activities such as:

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