Looking for Polar Express types of holiday trains in Indy for the 2021 holiday season? We’ve been trying all of the holidays trains in the state of Indiana for some time, and we’re not even done yet! If we missed your favorite, let us know in the comments at the end. There are also a lot of other Indiana train rides and train activities near Indianapolis.
2021 Christmas Train Rides in Indiana
Our favorite time of year is winter and Christmas time! We live for bundled up walks in the snow, hot chocolate, making memories, and feeling all the holiday love in the air. One of our favorite things to do during Christmas in Indy is to take a special ride on a train! There are tons of trains running through Central Indiana, and if you’re lucky, you’ll get to ride a train with the big guy in the red suit! Oh, and because we know how important the details are for our readers, we’ve included the important stuff below. For more info, be sure to click the link to be taken to information about our visit, the event website and photos and videos!
The Sullivan Santa Express (small, trackless train) will take you and your family on a memorable trip to see Santa at the North Pole! Travel through the outdoor garden center at Sullivan’s Hardware store. It’s been set up to be the perfect winter wonderland.
When the train arrives, your family will be seated together in one car. The short train ride is open-air, so be sure to dress for the weather! After leaving the station, the narrated train ride will travel through bear country, where you’ll encounter some friendly bears doing some rather unusual things. Upon your arrival at the North Pole, the kids can play in Santa’s workshop as your family takes turns visiting with Kris Kringle himself. More about the Sullivan Train Ride and their changes for COVID.
Seating is limited. The cost is a reasonable $60-70 per family. A family ticket includes the whole family, including grandparents! Tickets should be purchased in advance. If you miss out on the main ride or just want another go-round the North Pole, there will be walk-up train rides available on Christmas Eve, (Friday, December 24th) from 9 am until 1 pm for only $5 per person. (This particular ride is non-stop and does not meet with Santa,
Missed the Sullivan Express or want to take another spin around the North Pole? We will have walk-up train rides on Friday, Christmas Eve from 9am-1pm! $5/person
*This is a non-stop train ride, no meet and greet with Santa, but is sure to be lots of fun!)
Reindeer Ride Express at Nickel Plate Express
Hop aboard the Nickel Plate Express Christmas Reindeer Ride, departing Forest Park in Noblesville, Indiana! Guests will take a cozy 75-minute ride in the caboose to see Santa’s North Pole, while enjoying a cookie, listening to a holiday story, and singing carols! Kids will also be able to visit with Santa and receive photos from a safe distance. Beverages and snacks ae available to purchase on the train. There will also be a brief stop at Santa’s Workshop to enjoy. Tickets are available for full benches, seating two, three or up to five people. Tickets start at $25 per bench and should be purchased in-advance.
2021 event dates: The Nickel Plate Holiday Train Excursion, the Reindeer Ride, runs every weekend from November 20th through December 19th from 3pm- 8 pm, with an additional event available at those times on December 23rd.
Board the train at Grand Central Station in Connersville to pick up Santa Claus at the North Pole. Once on board, Santa will come and visit with each child on the train to give them the special first gift of Christmas. Hot chocolate and cookies are served on board by dancing chefs, and the sounds from the hit movie Polar Express will be heard. Your golden tickets will also be punched, for some added Christmas spirit, just like in the story.
2021 event dates will be November 12-14, 19-21, 26-28; December 3-5, 10-12, 17, and 18, 2021.
The train ride is 1 1/2 – 2 hours long.
Tickets are on sale now online or by calling the Whitewater Valley Railroad Grand Central Station. Tickets are $37.50 per person, ages 2 and up. You’ll also find information about the $10 Santa Claus Limited Train Rides.
The French Lick Polar Express train ride is canceled for 2020. Tickets for 2020 will go on sale in spring/summer 2021.
The Indiana Rail Road Santa Train
The Santa Train is back for 2021, running December 3rd through the 5th! This volunteer-run event is a crowd favorite for those who have been coming for years. You will get to watch the decorated train roll into the station, after visiting with Santa’s helpers ahead of time. You will also have the opportunity to mail your letter to Santa through the North Pole’s Express Mailbox. You will not be able to board the train this year and visit Santa for safety reasons. The stops on December 3rd include Bargersville, Morgantown, and Helmsburg. On December 4th, the train will be stopping in Solsberry, Bloomfield, Linton, Dugger, and Jasonville. Final stops on December 6th will mainly be in Illinois, with the final stop of the day in Sullivan, Indiana. This is a FREE event for all, but I highly recommend getting in line early! It’s a crowd favorite!
This event appears to be canceled for 2020.
Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum
The Santa Trains are back this year, operating on three times daily November 27, December 4, December 11, and December 18. Times are 10 am, 12:30 pm, and 2:30pm. Tickets are free for ages 2 and under, $14 for ages 3-15, and $20 for adults (ages 16 and up.)