Nickel Plate Express Railroad Train Ride
The Nickel Plate Express in Hamilton County, Indiana offers special themed train excursions for children and families and even some fun adults only rides. Visit during the holidays for the Reindeer Ride Express or hop aboard for a Halloween experience while you Trick or Treat on the Rails. Purchase tickets for your next date night and enjoy a scenic train ride aboard one of the themed dinner trains. Although the train now leaves from a depot near downtown Noblesville instead of Atlanta, it’s a short drive to this small town to extend your train-themed day of fun! Stop in and see the train layout at Mr. Muffin’s Trains, purchase your very own train gear at the shop, and have a warm, delicious meal at the Choo Choo Café.
Whitewater Valley Railroad Train Ride
The Whitewater Valley Rail Road offers a lot of trains with holiday themed excursions: Easter Bunny Express, Pumpkinliner, Ghost Express, Polar Express and Santa Claus Express. Scenic excursions from Connersville to Metamora to view the changing fall leaves are popular! Train rides at WVRR are designed to fit a variety of budgets, some train rides start at $10 per person. You can also participate in other year round train fun! Rent a caboose for a train ride, learn how to and actually operate a locomotive, take a family friendly ghost train ride, go on shopping excursions, and more.
French Lick Scenic Railway Train Rides
The French Lick Scenic Railway gives you the chance to take a train excursion through the Hoosier National Forest. Take a ride and hear a little bit of narration during your trip. Snacks, beverages, beer, and wine are available for purchase from the snack/dinning car. Before the train reverses and returns back to the train station in French Lick, riders will have the opportunity to get out and stretch their legs.
Plan to purchase your tickets in advance, especially during the fall when people love to ride the train to see the fall scenery. The Polar Express Holiday Train Ride generally is sold out months in advance. Other special events are also popular, such as the Easter Bunny Express, Wild West Hold-ups (also known as train robbery excursions, where “robbers” ride up to the train on horseback.) and Tasting Train Rides (chocolate, bourbon, scotch and rum.)
Lark Ranch Train Rides
Lark Ranch in Greenfield and Lark Ranch in Loogootee have quickly become a hot spot for kids who love trains. This is a favorite fall fun destination for Indianapolis families but there’s something at Lark Ranch that you won’t find at other Indianapolis fall farm experiences — a train with open-air cars that travels around the farm on tracks! Kids love it, parents love it, grandparents love it!
Polar Express Train Ride
The Polar Express is a fantastic book and movie from many of our childhoods. Getting to introduce our children to the magic via a hands-on, experiential train ride is what dreams are made of! Children and their parents can enjoy the Christmas themed Polar Express train ride in several Central Indiana locations this holiday season. The Polar Express train ride in French Lick seems to be the most popular. Whitewater Valley Railroad also offers this themed experience and The Nickel Plate Express in Hamilton County has a similar Reindeer Ride. You can find other holiday themed train rides that fit within many budgets.
Indiana Live Steamers Train Rides
The Indiana Live Steamers are a group of train enthusiasts that operate trains that are small scale but run on real track! Visiting the Indiana Live Steamers miniature trains that you can really ride on is a favorite for all train loving kids and their parents. They even offer really cool birthday parties for kids! Admission is only $3 per person to ride and you’ll go over bridges and through the woods. It’s a very unique experience.
Thomas the Tank Engine Train Ride
If your kiddo loves trains, there’s no doubt that they’ve tuned in to Thomas & Friends television series, books and toys. Once a year there’s an opportunity for Thomas the Tank Engine fans to ride aboard a train that’s pulled by Thomas! This small festival-like event takes place at the train station throughout the weekends that Thomas is in town. Fans young and old gather and have a great time. You can find more information about the Thomas and Friends Day Out at the Whitewater Valley Railroad – a little more than an hour from Indianapolis. Sadly, Thomas is not making a stop at the Whitewater Valley Railroad in 2022.
The Hesston Steam Museum & Train Rides
The Hesston Steam Museum is located three hours north of Indianapolis. Museum admission is free, train rides start at $9. Check the schedule for themed train rides; Santa Train, Civil War Train, Ghost Train and more. Trains run most Saturdays and Sundays, May – October with special Christmas themed train rides in November and December.