These Maryland and DC Christmas train events will delight you and your kids! Santa trains and train gardens are a great way to connect during the holidays!
What is it about trains and Christmas that is just so magical? Whether you enjoy a cozy ride in the country with Santa Claus or pop into the local fire department to see their model train display, no holiday season would be complete without checking out a Christmas train.
These Christmas train activities and events are sure to keep the Holiday magic going strong for you and your entire family.
11 Maryland and DC Area Christmas Train Events Your Kids Will Love!
1. B&O Railroad Museum Magical Holiday Express
Tickets to the very popular Polar Express sell out quickly every year, but there are still tons of fantastic Christmas train events and experiences to enjoy throughout the holiday season. Kids can see Santa, ride the train, see model train displays, and do fun Christmas-themed crafts. http://www.borail.org/holiday/
- Train Rides With Santa
- December 7-22- Saturdays at 11am and 1pm. Sundays at 1pm.
- Train Rides With Frosty
- December 7-22- Saturdays and Sundays at noon and 2pm.
- Train Rides with Winter Princesses
- December 28 and 29 at 11am and 1pm
2. Walkersville Southern Railroad Santa Train
This is probably one of our family’s favorite holiday traditions. The Walkersville Southern Santa Train is perfect for young kids. It isn’t intimidating, the ride is gorgeous, and milk and cookies are served at the end of the ride. You can read my review here. To purchase tickets click here.
3. Christmas at Strasburg Rail Road
Trust me, this Lancaster County train experience is totally worth the drive. We have experienced both their traditional Santa Train and the Night Before Christmas train. They are both fantastic. Here are some more details:
- Santa’s Paradise Express: https://www.strasburgrailroad.com/ride/events/santas-paradise-express/Much like the Walkersville Southern Santa Train, Jolly Old Saint Nick will pay each kid a visit and riders will also be treated to other live entertainment designed to put a smile on your face and a warm fuzzy in your heart. Make sure to come early or stay late to check out the other Christmas-themed activities included in your ticket cost.
- The Night Before Christmas Train: https://www.strasburgrailroad.com/ride/events/the-night-before-christmas-train/Just like the name suggests, don your pajamas and get ready to sip on some milk and cookies while enjoying a dramatic reading of this beloved classic. You might even sneak a peak of the little red elf himself!
- Christmas Tree Train: This is such a unique Christmas experience your family will treasure! Ride aboard the Christmas Tree Train to Leaman Place Grove where you can choose a pre-cut Frasier or Douglas Fir tree and have it delivered by steam on a flatcar back to the station. https://www.strasburgrailroad.com/ride/events/christmas-tree-train/
4. Western Maryland Scenic Railroad
Take a one-of-a-kind trek through Winter Land aboard the Western Maryland. In 2019, the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad will host the Polar Express!
The ride is 65 minutes long and tickets start at $55. Here is more information on the Polar Express Experience.
5. Steam Into History
We are checking these trains out for the first time in 2019. Located in York, PA (so just over the MD-PA border), these trains have a fantastic reputation with families. There are a number of options for holiday fun:
- Santa Express: Riders will hear the Night Before Christmas and Christmas music in anticipation of a visit from the man in red. There will be a lot of excitement on the train as Santa boards the train and hands out a small gift to the children. You will be able to take pictures with Santa. There will be hot chocolate, cookies and music in the station prior to departure.
- Princess and Friends Express: Our popular Santa Express trains are back on the schedule this year with holiday cheer for all ages, with special Snow Queen and Ice Princess guests! Riders will hear the Night Before Christmas and Christmas music in anticipation of a visit from the man in red. There will be a lot of excitement on the train as Santa boards the train and hands out a small gift to the children. You will be able to take pictures with Santa, and he will be joined by the Snow Queen and her friends from the Enchanted Teapot!
- Breakfast with Santa at the Glen Rock Mill Inn: Create a holiday family tradition with our brand new event which includes breakfast with Santa at the Glen Rock Mill Inn. The Glen Rock Mill Inn and Steam Into History have come together to bring a special discounted package where you and your family can enjoy a scenic train ride through the countryside of Southern York County and a delicious brunch!
- Tannenbaum Train: You and your family will take a 45-minute train excursion to Seitzville, PA for a horse drawn carriage ride by the Victorian Carriage Company to Bricker’s Tree Farm. Learn about a Victorian Christmas while riding an authentic steam locomotive, the William H. Simpson. Guests will be able to cut their own tree or purchase a pre-cut tree, and have it transported back to New Freedom.
For more information on all trains visit the Steam Into History website!
Train Gardens Worth A Visit
One of the great things about Maryland area train gardens is that many of them are either free or included with other attractions. Here are a few that are really quite lovely!
- Howard County Fire and Rescue Train Garden. Yep, this is a free event in a local firehouse that is just incredible: http://www.ellicottcityvfa.com/content/train/
- Arbutus VFD Annual Train Garden: http://www.arbutusvfd.org/train_garden.htm
- The Shops at Kenilworth- This mall, located in Towson, boasts a fantastic train garden plus many other family-friendly holiday activities, including Sensory Friendly Santa Photos and Breakfast with Santa plus a magic show! https://www.theshopsatkenilworth.com/events/holiday-train-garden/
- Train Garden at Marley Station Mall- This lovely train garden runs from November 19th through New Year’s Eve: https://www.facebook.com/events/1009512976056597/
- Brookside Gardens Garden of Lights- The Garden of Lights is one of the best walk-through lights displays in the DC area. If you check out the Conservatory you can see some pretty fantastic model trains too! Here is my review of Brookside Gardens, including the Garden of Lights.
- United States Botanic Garden- If you venture into DC to see the White House Christmas Tree, you have to check out the US Botanic Garden in all its holiday glory. Not only are there tons of holiday poinsettias, but each year they make a fantastic holiday train display completely out of organic materials. Read my review of this holiday tradition here.
Hope you have fun checking out these Christmas trains.