The Polar Express at the B&O Railroad Museum

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The Polar Express at the B&O Railroad Museum

Magical does not begin to describe the experience of riding the “real” Polar Express. Any little (or big) fan of the classic book and movie will be beside themselves to get their very own golden ticket and hop aboard the train.

The Arrival:

When you arrive to the B&O Museum you will check-in and obtain your assigned seat and a wristband.   Then, while you wait for the program to begin kids can make a craft out of pipe cleaner and, of course,  jingle bells. There is also a DJ hosting a dance party.

The Boarding:

Once departure time rolls around, the magic begins!  Passengers line up and watch a clip from the Polar Express movie.  Then, a nighttime scene is created, and the conductor and the boy appear and greet the passengers.  The conductor and boy look convincingly like those in the movie.  As passengers head outside to board the train they have the opportunity to meet the conductor and the boy and take a photo.

The Train Ride:

The train is decorated with gifts, garlands, and snowflakes and frost on the windows.  Once passenger take their seats hosts dressed just like those in the movie in white coats and red scarves perform an elaborate dance to the “hot chocolate song” before passing out hot chocolate and sugar cookies. A conductor comes along to punch everyone’s golden ticket.  While the train is en route to the North Pole a recording of a reading of The Polar Express book comes on and the hosts hold up giant picture books so that kids can follow along with the story. The highlight of the trip is when Santa comes aboard and gives each child (and grown-up!) the first gift of Christmas – a silver “believe bell.”

The North Pole:

When the train reaches the North Pole, the first stop is walking under shimmering arches with “snow” falling all around.  There is not a lot of time to talk to Santa on the train, but at the North Pole kids have the opportunity to tell Santa what they would like for Christmas and have their picture taken. There is a large walk-through Christmas tree, plenty of Elves, a mock Polar Express station, more trains to explore, and a play station with toy trains.

My four-year-old son had the time of his life riding the Polar Express.   He absolutely could not believe that the Polar Express was real and that he got to ride it.  He was a little skeptical that our destination  really was the North Pole but he was able to move past that quickly.  Ever since we got home he has not let his “believe bell” out of his sight.

A ride on the Polar Express is the perfect way to kick off the holiday season.  It’s an experience every child should have at least once!

Good to know:

  • Doors open 45 minutes before departure time. The Polar Express is a very popular event.  There may be a wait to check-in so we recommend arriving early. Once the Polar Express departs it’s gone so you don’t want to miss it.
  • No strollers are allowed on the train. There is stroller parking available if you need a stroller to get from the parking lot to the check-in area.
  • Parking for this event is in the museum’s back parking lot at 1100 James Street, not the main parking lot. There is a short walk from the parking lot to the museum, which is across the street and up a short hill. There will be staff directing you so you can’t get lost!
  • PJs are encouraged! On our trip we saw several families in matching PJs, which made for some great photo ops! Plus, when else can adults wear pajamas in public?
  • Ingredients for the hot chocolate and cookies served on the train are on the B&O website. If your child has any allergies you may bring your own treats aboard the train.
  • There is a Polar Express gift shop so that you can stock up for the season.
  • The Polar  Express runs November 16 & 17, 23 & 24, 29 & 30 & December 1
    Showtimes: 8:45am, 10:00am, 11:15am,12:45pm, 2:00pm, & 3:15pm
  • Tickets are available at the Gold, Silver, and Bronze level
  • Tickets usually sell out so act fast if you have a specific date or time in mind.

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