Monday, December 3, 2012

New Hope Valley Railway Santa Train

C is obsessed with trains.  Last year we had a really lovely time at the Life + Science Museum's Santa train experience but this year, after a successful birthday party at New Hope Valley Railway, C had been asking to go back to NHVR.  We decided we'd go to see Santa.

If you aren't familiar with NHVR you'll want to read Marney's article about it here.  For select weekends in December Santa rides the train (check out their schedule online, see below).  Ticket prices are the same for the Santa ride as all other rides, and nearly everything about the actual experience is the same - except that everything is decorated for the holidays, Santa rides the train with the kids (and a helper elf) and gives out candy canes, and throughout the ride kids can spot decorations in the woods for the holiday season.

We decided to do this train over Life + Science this particular year because it's a real train (big seats! lots of space!), tickets are easier to get (although still purchase in advance, especially if you want a steam engine as opposed to a diesel engine), and the times worked out better for our schedule with The Bug (Life + Science runs only at night, after the Museum closes; NHVR runs only during the day as it is not lit at night).

Santa really spent a lot of time with the kids on the NHVR train.  Since the whole experience is an hour train ride he had plenty of time to sit with us, answer questions, and really spend time with the children.  And, again, it's a real train, which just makes C so ecstatic.

This doesn't have any of the activity stations you'll find at Life + Science but they do have all of the trains in museum to go through as well as the models.  Also, you can buy hot chocolate and other concessions before you go on the train (and take them on with you) at NHVR.  Life + Science is certainly a different experience being at night, with all the twinkly sparkle lights, but it really all depends on what type of thing you are looking for.

If you want a long train ride, a conversation with Santa, and a little bit less stress making it all happen, keep the NHVR Santa train in mind.

New Hope Valley Railway Santa Train
5121 Daisey Street
New Hill


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