The Polar Express Train Ride

The Polar Express at The Dennison Depot

December 4th, 5th, 6th, 11th, 12th, and 13th, 2020

Departure Times:   

Friday trips depart at 6pm and 8pm.

Saturday and Sunday trips depart at 2pm, 4pm, 6pm and 8pm. 

Make some lifetime family memories!  Put on your favorite pair of pajamas and hop aboard the Polar Express for a magical journey to the North Pole!  The Dennison Depot offers the authentic Polar Express Train ride, sanctioned by Warner Brothers and Rail Events.

Join us for this family reenactment of the award-winning book, “The Polar Express”,  written by Chris Van Allsburg. Your adventure begins on board our decorated vintage coaches as Storytellers read the story aloud.   As the train heads north toward the North Pole, festive elves will entertain you with songs, games, and activities. as you travel to the North Pole Delicious hot chocolate and cookies, specially made by Mrs. Claus just for you, are served on board.

When the train arrives at the North Pole, you will see Santa and his workshop out your train window.  (Passengers do not get off the train.)   Our visit to the North Pole lasts long enough to pick up the most important person – Santa!  Once onboard, Santa will visit with children and gift them all with a special jingle bell taken from his reindeer’s harness.  When you hear the bell ring…you truly believe!

Ticket Prices:

All passengers 1 year old and up must have a seat.

First Class:      $72  per person

Deluxe:             $62 per person

Coach:               $52 per person

Balcony:          $42 per person

Group Rate:    $35 per person, for groups of ten or more, only available in Balcony

Ticket Fee:      All tickets have a $3 ticket fee

Private Compartments: $450, seats 6 (Very limited)

Rent an Entire Car for a more intimate experience for your family or friends!

Not only will you have your coach to yourself,  by renting your own private car you have the additional opportunities to bring special gifts if you choose for Santa to pass out, minimal additional snacks, and the ability to seat your group as you like.

First Class Private Car Rentals:

We are offering the opportunity to rent an entire private First Class Car for your group.  We have a choice of two First Class cars:

One that seats 28:  Cost to rent is $3,000

One that seats 44:  Cost to rent is $4,000.

Deluxe Car Private Rentals:

Seats 52 passengers:  Cost to rent is $3,750

Coach Private Car Rentals

Seats 60 passengers:  Cost to rent is $3,750

Seats 72 passengers:  Cost to rent is $4,200

Seating Descriptions:

Looking for a more comfortable experience and extra treats for kids:  We suggest going First Class or Deluxe!

First Class seating includes the opportunity to wait and relax in seats inside in the First Class Waiting Room. When the weather is cold, this is a great benefit.  The Conductor will personally come and lead your family from the Waiting Room in the Museum’s Panhandle Theater to the Train as you will be first to board.   During your wait, children will be able to watch Christmas movies on the large screen.   On the train, each First Class child ages 1-12 will receive an engineer’s hat, a wooden train whistle and another special treat onboard the train.  First Class Cars include tables or table trays at your seats.

Deluxe Seating also includes all First Class amenities listed above, with the exception of tables. Children will receive an engineer’s cap and a wooden train whistle.

Coach passengers will also be welcomed by the Conductor and board the train from outside.  Please be prepared for the weather, warm clothes if cold; umbrellas if raining.

What to do while visiting?

Explore the Museum!  Kids can go on the Bing Scavenger Hunt. 

We suggest you arrive early to enjoy other activities at the Dennison Depot.  Before or after the trip, enjoy the holiday decorations in our beautifully restored 1873 Pennsylvania Railroad Depot, now a National Historic Landmark for its important role during WWII as a Servicemen’s Canteen.

Enjoy a tour through the museum that includes a variety of museum exhibits, Model Train Room, and a train attached to the Depot that includes a rare WWII Hospital Car, a Feature Exhibit, and Railroad and WWII History.  Kids will love our Children’s Interactive Railroad Experience Car where they can climb into Pullman bunks, cook in the Dining Car, explore the Railroad Shops and Yards, and write on the Hobo Tree.  All kids visiting the museum will receive a Dog Tag and be invited to enjoy the Bing Scavenger Hunt that will take you through the museum offering a variety of kid-friendly activities.  When they find Bing’s Bone at the end of the Scavenger Hunt, they will get a special treat!

Visit our Gift Shops!

Don’t leave without taking a memory home to remember your Polar Express Adventure for years with one of our Polar Express souvenirs.  Gift Shops are located in the Museum’s Whistle Stop Railway Gift Shop and across the street in the Masonic Temple.

Local Vendors will also be available at the Masonic Temple directly across the street from the Depot with a variety of goodies including sweet treats, wooden trains, ornaments, beverages, and snacks.

Visit Operation Lifesaver!

A favorite with kids: Stop by the Genesee & Wyoming Railroad’s Operation Lifesaver Table to talk to a real railroader, learn about railroad safety through fun activities, and get a free souvenir.

Get elferized at the Elf Yourself Shoppe!

Have some fun before your ride! Visit our Elf Yourself Shoppe across the street from the Depot to get elferized before your train trip!  Children can pick their Holiday Face Painting design and choose a treat to wear on the train such as Holiday hats, glasses, reindeer noses, jewelry, and more!


Enjoy a meal with your family at one of our local restaurants.  The Over the Rail Diner in the Depot is happy to take your reservation: 740.673.4077.  We also suggest locally family-owned restaurants, the Dennison Yard, and Pangrazios. For Saturday morning breakfast, Holy Grounds. All restaurant info will come in your Ticket Letter.

Visit our Roling Stock!

Have you ever climbed into a caboose?  Stood next to a large Steam Engine?  Explore the Museum outside for these fun activities.

Photo Opportunities!

You can never take enough Polar Express Photos! Before you even get on the train, take a photo at these Photo Opportunity Spots: The Business Car Observation Deck, our Sleigh, Our Christmas Characters, our Soldiers at the Depot Entrance, our baggage cart full presents, Bing’s House decorated for Christmas and more!

Other Important Things To Note:

Tickets go on sale May 1st for Museum Members and July 1st for the public.  CLICK HERE FOR MEMBERSHIP INFO

*All tickets are sold by phone.  To make reservations, call our Ticket Agents at 740-922-6776 and purchase with a MasterCard, Visa, Discover or American Express.  You are also welcome to stop into the Depot’s front office Tuesday through Friday 10-5, Saturday 11-4 and Sunday11-3.  Call early! Tickets are first come first serve and they go fast. 

*Suggested Arrival:  We strongly suggest you arrive one hour prior to departure.                Passengers board one-half hour before departure.   You will need to give yourself plenty of time to park. If you are picking up tickets, we suggest allowing additional time.                                                       

*IMPORTANT:  Gates close 5 minutes before departure.  So if you arrive exactly on time, you will miss your train.  We are not obligated to refund or exchange your tickets at that time.                                                

*Any parties that wish to sit together, must purchase all tickets at the same time in one order with a single form of payment.

* It is strongly suggested that all parties arrive at least 45 minutes before the departure time and boarding WILL end 5 minutes before the departure time.

* Tickets must be purchased for children 1 year and older.  For safety purposes and in regards to space in seats, you want to have space for your child to sit.

* Once your order has been placed, you will not be able to subtract people from your party, nor change the date or time of the order.  If you would like to ADD a person to your party, please call our Ticket Agents and we will try to accommodate you based upon availability.  Since we cannot guarantee additions, we suggest you have your correct number of tickets when ordering.

* Tickets will be mailed out beginning in November.  Orders placed one week prior to the train rides will be available at the Depot’s Ticket Window for pick-up.

*We strongly suggest upon receiving your Ticket Packet, you double-check for accuracy.  It is easier to correct errors in advance.

* We encourage you to purchase a Polar Express book with your order. They come pre-autographed by the Polar Conductor and add to the experience when you pick them up at the Ticket Window.  You will want to make sure to pick them up BEFORE your train ride.

* All Railroad Cars are different!  For example, some First Class cars have tables, some do not. Some First Class cars have couches, some do not.  Please see the seating descriptions above. We fill seats on a first-come, first-serve basis and do not make any promises or guarantees as to what seating you will receive other than the correct classification of ticket you purchases.

* In most cases, groups will be seating facing each other.  However, for groups of 5, there will be 4 seats facing each other, and the 5th seat will be across the aisle.  For groups of 9, you will receive 2 sets of 4 seats facing each other side by side, and the 9th person in the row in front of you or behind you.  As we approach the train ride dates, instances of passengers facing each other may decrease as we begin to use the only remaining seats available, so there is a chance you will NOT be facing each other.  The key is to order early.

*These are period railroad coaches, and they do not have seat belts.   To bring a baby carrier on board, there will be no way to anchor them on the seat.  Carriers are permitted, but you must purchase an additional ticket in order to place the carrier on a seat.

* Strollers can be left for safekeeping by the Depot in designated Stroller Parking.  No strollers are permitted inside the Depot.

* For your safety, we strongly DO NOT RECOMMEND wearing open-toed shoes, high heeled shoes,  slippers, or curly elf shoes on the train.  They can be dangerous when boarding and unboarding.

* All elves on board and at the North Pole are local children who donate their time and costumes.  They are not professional actors.

* All Storytellers on board are also volunteers.

* IMPORTANT:  If you have walking difficulty, a passenger in a wheelchair or other special needs, please notify us when placing your order.  This will make a big difference when seating your group. 

Note: The Polar Express® passenger train cars are vintage cars,  not ADA compliant and have limited wheelchair accessibility for wheelchairs and persons with walking difficulty, both in terms of the number of wheelchair-bound persons that can be lifted onto a Polar Express® passenger train car and the number of wheelchairs that can be accommodated within these vintage railroad cars.  Prior to booking any tickets, kindly call 740-922-6776 in order to confirm whether we can accommodate the needs of such a person.

Special Tips from us to you!

Here are some secret tips most people don’t know about!

*Elf Parade!  If you are riding trips on Fridays at 6, Saturdays at 2 or 6, Sundays at 2 or 6 – be sure to watch for the Elf Parade! Approximately 45 minutes before departure, the elves board the train and you can wave to them as they march by you!

*Lobby Scavenger Hunt!  While waiting to board, you can do a short, fun Polar Express Themed Scavenger Hunt inside the Depot Lobby if there is room. Don’t wait to do it right before departure as the Lobby is very crowded!

* The Best Polar Snack!  The all-time favorite  Polar Express Snack of museum staff and volunteers is White Wonder Popcorn, made by Mandies Candies and available in the Masonic Temple at the Santa’s Sweet Treats Booth.

*Pre-ordered Polar Books! You can bring YOUR Polar Express Book, or you can Pre-order OUR Polar Express book that already has been autographed by our Polar Express Conductor.  Something you may not know – elves LOVE to autograph these books.  Your family can date it for your trip, and turn the book into a special Polar Express Autograph Book.

*Look for Mrs. Claus!  Mrs. Claus will be available for photographs also at the Masonic Temple.

We can’t wait to see you!

Santa Signing The Polar Express Storybook