Polar Express and Christmas Train Rides near Houston this Holiday Season
If you have a little train lover in your life, taking a real Christmas train ride might just be at the top of the list for Santa this year. Help make kids' dreams come true by celebrating the holiday season with a memorable Christmas-themed train ride at a number of festive venues throughout the greater Houston area. Many of them even feature a visit from the big guy himself!
Find more ways to celebrate the holidays in 2020 in our Holiday and Christmas Events Guide.
In light of the continued Covid-19 pandemic, all venues are adhering to advanced cleaning and sanitation protocols and requiring masks during your visit.
Polar Express. Photo courtesy of Texas State Railroad
The Polar Express at Texas State Railroad - Palestine
Nov. 13-14, 20-25, 27-30, Dec. 4-6, 11-13, 16-24, 26-27
It may be a little bit of a drive to get to Palestine, but we guarantee you don't want to pass up the chance to ride Texas State Railroad's Polar Express. Passengers are served hot chocolate and cookies while the beloved story The Polar Express is read aloud on the trip to the North Pole, where Santa and his elves are waiting to give out the first gift of Christmas: a special silver sleigh bell! Christmas carols are sung on the return trip home, making this an unforgettable and magical Christmas experience for the entire family.
Ticket prices vary by date, time, and age of passenger.
The Christmas Train - Alvin
Nov. 27-28, Dec. 4-5, 10-12, 14-23
The Christmas Train in Alvin has been setting the bar for holiday train rides in Houston since 2000. The train departs every 7-10 minutes nightly to tour spectacular light displays around the Victory Camp property at Living Stones Church. In addition to the train rides, visitors can enjoy a massive Christmas village display, Santa, Big Al's Pizza, various concessions, a coffee bar, and shopping for Christmas decor and gifts in the venue's general store. Be sure to arrive early if you don't purchase tickets in advance, as the ticket lines can get very long.
Train rides are $10 for online advance purchase, $12 at the door. Ages 2 and under are FREE.
The Old Time Railroad train covered in freshly fallen snow in December 2017. Photo courtesy Old Time Christmas Tree Farm
Old Time Christmas Tree Farm - Spring
Nov. 21-22, 27-30, Dec. 1-20
This Christmas tree farm not only allows families to select and cut their very own tree but also offers train rides around the collection of trees. After taking a ride to see the trees, kids can also enjoy photos with Santa, giant slides, and inflatables.
Train rides require one $3 ticket per rider ages 2 and older. Other attractions require seperate ticket purchases.
Christmas at Dewberry Farm - Brookshire
Nov. 27-29, Dec. 4-6, 11-13, 18-20, 26-27
Ride the Dewville Express train when you visit Dewberry Farm this holiday season, visit the farm's forest of Christmas trees located on the back 40 acres, choose and cut your own Christmas tree, and enjoy everything else the farm has to offer this holiday season. Festivities include a gorgeous light display, giant snow globe photos, a huge selection of fun midway-style games, shopping at the country store, and enjoying seasonal baked treats.
Admission for ages 3+ starts at $19.95 plus tax. Children ages 2 and under are FREE. Military, senior, and group discounts are available.
Photo courtesy of Moody Gardens
Moody Gardens Holiday in the Gardens - Galveston
Nov. 21- Jan. 2
In addition to strolling through the beautiful waterfront light displays, visitors to Holidays in the Gardens can take an exciting train ride through the property for the ever-popular Festival of Lights, watch Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer in 4D, take a trip down the Arctic Slide, roast fireside s'mores, and more.
Ticket prices vary based on the variety of attractions and packages chosen.
Santa Ranch Express at Oil Ranch - Hockley
Dec. 1- 14
Take a ride on the O.I.L. Express this holiday season when you visit the Santa Ranch Express event at Oil Ranch. The ride takes visitors around Lake Buenas Noches to see a myriad of Christmas decor. Top off your visit with a photo op with Santa and Mrs. Claus, a hot chocolate, and shopping at the venue's general store.
Admission is $15.95 on weekdays and $19.95 on weekends. Children under age 2 are FREE.
Santa Express at Trader's Village - Jersey Village
Nov. 28-29, Dec. 5-6, 12-13, 19-20
Get in the Christmas spirit this year with a round-trip ride on the Santa Express at Trader's Village. After snapping a photo with Santa and Mrs. Claus, kids get a golden train ticket that grants them a ride on the trackless train for some extra holiday cheer.
Photos with Santa start at $5. Train tickets are complimentary with photo purchase.
A Railroad Christmas - Galveston
Nov. 27-29. Dec. 4-6, 11-13, 18-23
The holidays are taking over the Galveston Railroad Museum with special storytimes from Mrs. Claus, a walkthrough storybook experience of Twas the Night Before Christmas, 5 acres of Christmas themed trains, socially-distanced pictures with Santa, and special train rides on the Holiday Harborside Express.
Admission is $20 for adults and $15 for children ages 3-12. Holiday Harborside Express Train rides are $5. Parking is $15 in advance and $20 at the gate.
CANCELED Polar Express Trains in 2020
Hermann Park Train - Houston
This post originally published in 2018, updated annually