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The Polar Express

Nestled in the heart of Michigan, the small town of Owosso transforms into a magical winter wonderland each holiday season. A cherished annual tradition, the Polar Express comes to life here, captivating both young and old with its enchanting festivities. As the snowflakes gently fall and carols fill the air, families gather at the historic Steam Railroading Institute for an extraordinary adventure. Inspired by Chris Van Allsburg's beloved book and subsequent film adaptation, this immersive experience transports visitors into a world of imagination and holiday spirit. The journey begins as passengers don their pajamas and board a vintage steam locomotive, adorned with festive lights and decorations. Led by a lively cast of characters including Santa himself, travelers embark on a whimsical trip to the North Pole.

2024 Dates:

November 23, 24
November 29, 30, & December 1
December 7, 8
December 14, 15
December 20, 21, 22

Saturday and Sunday trip departure times are 10:00am and 5:00pm (trip duration is 4.5hrs)

*Friday, November 29, TBD
**Friday, December 20, TBD
***Sunday, December 22, 10:00am only, No evening trip

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History And Background of the Polar Express Experience

The Polar Express Experience in Owosso, Michigan, has become a beloved holiday tradition for families and train enthusiasts alike. This enchanting experience takes passengers on a magical journey inspired by Chris Van Allsburg's classic children's book, "The Polar Express." First introduced in 2007, the Polar Express Experience quickly gained popularity and has since become an annual event. Hosted by the Steam Railroading Institute (SRI), this immersive adventure offers visitors a chance to enter the storybook world of "The Polar Express."

Passengers board an authentic vintage steam locomotive adorned with festive decorations and are greeted by enthusiastic costumed characters. The train departs from the historic Durand Union Station and travels through picturesque landscapes, recreating scenes from the book. Along the way, guests enjoy hot cocoa, sing-alongs, and interactive storytelling.

Attractions And Activities

The Polar Express in Owosso, Michigan offers a magical experience for both children and adults alike. Step aboard the vintage train and immerse yourself in the enchanting world of this beloved Christmas tale. As you journey through the winter wonderland, a variety of attractions and activities await you. Firstly, passengers can enjoy a delightful reading of "The Polar Express" by Chris Van Allsburg, brought to life by talented storytellers.

The captivating storytelling will transport you into the heartwarming story of a young boy's adventure to the North Pole. Additionally, guests can savor delicious hot chocolate and freshly baked cookies, served by cheerful elves throughout the train ride. The aroma alone is enough to evoke feelings of holiday cheer. Furthermore, children can anticipate a visit from Santa Claus himself! Be ready to share your Christmas wishes with Santa as he makes his way through each carriage.

Tips For Planning Your Visit to The Polar Express

  • Book in Advance: The Polar Express in Owosso is a popular holiday attraction, so it's essential to secure your tickets early. Booking in advance ensures you won't miss out on this magical experience.
  • Dress Warmly: As the event takes place during winter, make sure to dress warmly and layer your clothing. Hats, gloves, scarves, and comfortable shoes are a must to stay cozy throughout the entire journey.
  • Arrive Early: To fully enjoy all that the Polar Express has to offer, arrive at least 30 minutes before your scheduled departure time. This will give you ample time to find parking, collect tickets, and explore the festive activities at the station. 4. Bring Snacks and Drinks: Although light refreshments are available onboard, consider bringing some snacks and drinks for children or those with specific dietary requirements.