Grab some hot coco, throw on your P.J.’S and climb aboard The Polar Express, right here in Northeast, Ohio. The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad has been hosting The Polar Express train ride for over twenty years. This magical train ride is inspired right from the pages of Chris Van Allsburg’s beloved children’s book.
Children riding the train receive a golden ticket that grants them access to a magical journey to the North Pole. But, this ticket doesn’t come without a price.Parents can expect to pay around forty-five dollars for a coach ticket, and the price increases by about twenty dollars for the dinning car and add another twenty dollars if you want the executive car, according to Kathleen Sapola, The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroads event coordinator. That ticket grants riders access into the world of The Polar Express where guest will take a two hour-long train ride through the national park to the North Pole that is located in Peninsula, Ohio. On the way to the North Pole, the elves read “The Polar Express” book and the passengers are served hot chocolate and cookies. As the train pulls into the North Pole, Santa is visible and a wave of excitement is felt from all the passengers.
“When you’re working at the North Pole you just see their [the child passengers] little faces pressed against the glass [of the train], and they’re just amazed” said Sapola.
The surprises don’t end there though; Santa then boards the train and comes through the cars.
“They go crazy when Santa actually comes on the train,” said Sapola.
Christmas carols can be heard throughout the train as it’s pulling away from the North Pole as all of the passengers sing together. The passengers also have a chance to meet the one and only Santa Clause as they sing songs of Christmas cheer.
“This is the most rewarding program we do here at CVSR [Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad], it’s Polar Express. You just can’t find those kids faces anywhere else. Polar Express, it’s magic,” said Sapola.
The Polar Express gives back to the community by doing what they call a “charity run.” The charity run is an event that starts at 10 A.M. with one train leaving out of Akron and another leaving out of Rockside. The cars are donated to groups such as Akron’s Children’s Hospital or families in need. “We just want to give them something special,” Sapola said.
The Polar express also helps families that are braving the cold Northeast Ohio winters, by doing an annual coat drive. Guest are able to bring in coats for families in need.