Step back in time this holiday season for a one-of-a-kind ride on The North Pole Flyer. Pulled by an Alco Diesel engine, these lovingly restored trains will have you marveling at the unique details that remain while providing all the comfort of modern day. The Austin Steam Train Association’s annual North Pole Flyer is a wonderful way to celebrate the holidays for children of all ages. The cars are all decorated for Christmas with garland strung along the windows, pine cone decorations, and a holiday spirit that permeates the air.
Snug in pajamas, kids settle in for a magical journey that lasts a little over two hours. The train rides through mostly rural country to Bertram and back. My kids enjoyed waving to the cars waiting at the traffic lights as we passed by at the beginning of the trip. Those red-flashing lights and railroad crossing sounds were a favorite for my three-year old. Once you pass through Leander, it gets a little quieter outside allowing the focus to shift to all of the excitement building inside!
The journey begins with a cup of hot chocolate, perfect for warming little bodies on a cold day. We brought along a deck of cards, Boggle and Story Cubes for entertainment. Between the activities planned on the trip and our game playing, the kids never once asked, “Are we there yet?”. There is a concession car that sells snacks and merchandise, all very reasonable priced, should you find yourself in need of extra sustenance and entertainment.
- Storytime from one of Santa’s elves
- A visit with Mrs Claus (she hands out delicious cookies)
- Coloring sheets and crayons
- Christmas caroling
- A visit with Santa
It was incredibly heartwarming to hear the kid’s screams of excitement as Santa walked into the train car. If you are looking for a unique way to have your kids visit with Santa, the North Pole Flyer offers just that! Each child receives a special gift from Santa.
The activities are spaced out between the trains so there’s enough happening throughout the ride to keep the kids anxious for the next surprise. In between the activities, there is plenty of downtime to enjoy spending time with your family, game playing and talking.
There are limited numbers of ticket left so book your trip today. Passengers have a choice between three car types: Excursion Coach (Buckeye Trail & Buckeye Lake), First Class Coach (Silver Pine), and First Class Lounge (City of Chicago, Santa Fe, Eagle Cliff, Rippling Stream, Nambe.) Each car is climate controlled and has its own bathroom. Prices start at $33. Tip: If you can splurge, I recommend First Class as the cars offer more space, tables and some even with private compartments.
What: North Pole Flyer
Where: Austin Steam Train Association’s Train Depot, 401 E. Whitestone Blvd., Cedar Park
When: Saturdays and Sundays through December 20, 2015
Times: Departs at 10 am, returns at 12:30 pm; Departs at 2 pm, returns at 4:30 pm; Departs at 6 pm, returns at 8:30 pm
Tickets: Available online here.