With the holidays approaching, many New Jersey families will be looking for ways to get into the holiday spirit. One of the most magical and exciting ways to do this is by hopping on a train!
Luckily, there are several train rides for kids in New Jersey. From re-enactments of Christmas stories to model train shows and rides through holiday lights, there are so many options for young children to have fun.
1. The Whippany Railway Museum: In Morris County, this historic railroad offers a variety of train rides for kids throughout the year. This non-profit museum is a great way to teach your child about the importance of rail transportation and how it was an important part of NJ history. In addition to offering a few fun train rides for kids, this museum also has an interactive exhibit where kids can learn about the life of trains.
2. The North Pole Express: Located in Flemington, this classic train offers an unforgettable experience that features a visit from Santa and his helpers. Passengers board this train and relive the story of The Polar Express while enjoying hot chocolate, Walker’s Shortbread, and a chance to meet the big man himself.
3. Railmen for Children: This organization offers a Santa train that is operated by NJ Transit workers. The Santa train, which runs for an hour on a modern passenger train, is a beloved holiday tradition that many NJ Transit employees come back to every year.
4. Black River and Western Railroad: Located in Hunterdon County, the Black River and Western Railroad is one of the best train rides for kids. Antique passenger coaches depart from Flemington and Ringoes for a scenic 75-minute ride that takes you through rural Hunterdon County. The railroad also offers seasonal rides such as the Pumpkin Train, which goes to Pumpkin Junction to pick pumpkins and enjoy a wagon ride.
5. The Tri-State Railway Historical Society: This museum focuses on the railroading history of the tri-state area and offers train rides for kids during the holidays as well as other events that are popular with local residents and visitors. The annual Santa Train is a huge fundraiser for this non-profit, so tickets sell out fast.
6. The New Jersey Museum of Transportation: If you’re looking for a train that’s not a traditional passenger train, head to this museum in Allaire State Park. It’s home to the oldest continually operating narrow-gauge steam preservation locomotive in the country, and it offers plenty of train rides for kids during the holidays.
7. The Santa Claus Limited: This classic train ride offers a one-hour trip to the North Pole where you’ll meet Santa and his helpers. You’ll also receive a silver sleigh bell and a photo opportunity.
This is a wonderful option for children who are big fans of the Polar Express. The train is narrated and includes music, dancing chefs serving cookies and hot chocolate and Santa making an appearance. There are several options for tickets, and children ages 5 and under save 50 percent. In addition, on weekends and holidays, up to three children (ages 4 and under) can ride for free with a ticket purchased by an adult.