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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Review of the North Pole Express at the Kentucky Railway Museum

This review is from a few years ago and some of the information may have changed 

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We all got in our pajamas and headed to New Haven, Kentucky for a ride to the North Pole at the Kentucky Railway Museum. Our train was full, and reservations are required, so I recommend buying your tickets early (Tickets are $23.00 for Adults and $18.00 for children ages 2-12 under 2 is free). Once you have bought your tickets, you have specific seats set aside for you, so there is no need to rush to the station. The Kentucky Railway Museum is about an hour from Louisville, so it's a good idea to leave time for traffic. If you are there early, there are activities like making Christmas chains, temporary tattoos, spin art, and Thomas Train Tables to play with. There is also a small gift shop with reasonable prices to browse, and some of the railway museum pieces to look at.
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There are only two small, single bathrooms at the station, so there are long lines right before the train boards and when the train returns. But be sure to use them before you board, because there are no working bathrooms on board the train, and the ride is about an hour and a half long. The train cars were a bit cold, so be sure to wear long pajamas or pack some layers for the ride. The train boards 10 minutes before leaving, and the conductor collects the tickets once the train takes off. Bakers pass out sugar cookies and hot chocolate as the train starts it's journey to the North Pole, and Christmas music plays overhead. It's a slow ride out, but as it gets closer to the "North Pole" they turn out all the lights on the train. Make sure if you have little ones afraid of the dark you warn them ahead of time or have your phone ready to illuminate your seats. The train stops at the "North Pole" where we could watch Santa wave to us from the front porch and spot Rudolph in Santa's barn window.

PhotobucketWe then headed back toward the station, and Santa, Rudolph, and a Polar Bear had joined our train! They walked through the train cars to say hello to everyone and would stop for pictures when asked. If felt like a long trip back to the station, but mostly because you can't see anything outside the train windows - it was dark before the train left the station. It might have been nicer to take the Santa Express which is the afternoon train, however then you would miss all the lights on the North Pole house.

We got back to the station, where Santa was ready to meet all the kids from the train for pictures ($8 per 5x7). The line moved fairly fast, and the pictures print while you wait, but it made for a late evening. My son had spilled 2 of the hot chocolates on the train, my kids got antsy on the train ride back, and on the Santa line, and it got pretty late for us, but my kids had a great time. They loved the station activities, the conductor taking their tickets, the hot chocolate and cookies, the characters walking through the train, and the train itself. It was a great night.

By guest contributor: Caryn

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