Palestine is about 2.5 hours away from us, and we entirely underestimated not only how long it would take us to get there, but also in our getting out the door when it was time to go. We just cut it way too close, and by the time we found the train station we discovered the train had pulled out around the time we’d arrived in town. (It took us another 10 minutes or so to find the station, which wasn’t hard, we just didn’t have good directions from mapquest.) I was so upset, having brought my family so far and gotten their hopes up – but the Lord was with us and the staff at TSRR were fantastic; they were able to get us on the train at the halfway point!
We had a staff member drive us to the crossing, and the train picked us up right on the road! A little strange, maybe slightly embarrassing as we boarded, but the staff did everything possible to make sure we got as much of the experience as we could. We missed the book reading and the presentation of hot chocolate, but they still brought us some and also some cookies, so the kids were happy!
The staff let us know that we’d be going back by the North Pole on the side if the kids wanted to come to the front of the car and see! It was all lit up, and though we missed the presentation when they passed it the first time, it was still pretty and the kids loved it.
I really cannot emphasize how super fantastic the staff was. The office people getting us on board was only half of the story; the train staff themselves were super great, paid attention to my kids and really helped make it special.
We weren’t the only ones though – everyone was dancing in the aisles!
Then it was time for Santa to board the train! He made his way through the cars, and each of the kids received bells just like on the movie.
We had rented the movie through Amazon streaming earlier in the week, so even the little twins were aware of what was going on and impressed!
Caleb is still talking about how Santa came and gave him a bell. It’s obvious that this train ride was really special for all of them, and the little ones most of all.
Afterward, we went into the gift shop and got a few items, including a Christmas tree ornament to put our picture in, so we had to go back outside for a picture op!
The kids really enjoyed themselves and weren’t upset at all at missing the first part of the ride. They all (even my hubby!) said it was worth the drive. We sang Christmas carols all the way there and back. HERE are some great Christian Christmas carols!
This was a really special treat for us, and the kids are counting it as part of their Christmas this year. I’m really impressed with how extraordinary the staff was toward us, and we are definitely making this a more regular thing. The railroad has other themed rides through the year, and we never knew – now that we do know, we’re going back as often as we possibly can!
What a blessing this was, and such a fun filled time with family. If you have the chance to do something like this – and there are train rides like this all over the nation – please do! You won’t regret it, even if not everything works out like you’d planned. Spending time with loved ones and creating cherished memories is an important part of the season, and part of what our Savior came so that we could have. Celebrate!