7 Best Holiday Train Rides in Indiana

All Aboard! Calling all train lovers. The holiday season is here, and so are Holiday Train Rides. 

Picture this: Your family all dressed in pajamas snuggled together, covered in blankets, with a fire crackling in the fireplace. Next to you sit bowls filled with buttery popcorn and mugs of steaming hot cocoa covered with melted marshmallows. Your children watch wide-eyed as The Polar Express zooms across the screen headed for the North Pole. As they hear the roar of the engine and sound of the whistle blow, they wonder what it would be like to be aboard the train.

Related Article: The Ultimate Guide to Holiday Fun around Indianapolis

Whether it’s a scene like that, a train track assembled carefully under the Christmas tree or a train ride destined for a holiday shopping spree, trains and Christmas go hand-in-hand. And now your child won’t just have to wonder what it’s like to be a passenger.

Holiday Trains Rides near Indianapolis:

Sullivan Express

Location: Sullivan Hardware | Indianapolis 
Dates: Nov. 26 – Dec. 30, 2021
Price: $30 for a train ride only; $60-$75 for train ride and stop to see Santa
Purchase Tickets Here

The Sullivan Express is ready to take you and your family on a memorable trip to see Santa at the North Pole! Your family will check in at Central Station at our Keystone location. After leaving the station the narrated train ride will travel to the North Pole with lots of surprise visitors along the way!

Non-stop ticket: Enjoy a non-stop train ride through the North Pole. This train does not include a meet-and-greet with Santa, but it will surely get you in the holiday spirit! Tickets $30.

sullivan santa express | Indianapolis Holiday Train Ride

Snowfall Express Train at the Indiana State Museum

Location: Indiana State Museum | Indianapolis 
Dates: Nov. 26, 2021 – Jan. 2, 2022
Price: Included with general addmissin to the Indiana State Museum. $8/child; $11/adult; kids under 3 are free. 
Purchase Tickets Here

The Snowfall Express Train is a 5-minute train ride part of the Indiana State Museum’s Celebration Crossing. Head up to Level Three to hop on the Snowfall Express! Journey through the forest populated by animals celebrating the coming winter and first snowfall. Late autumn and winter scenes come alive with charming, whimsical characters, movement and music. You’ll encounter critters putting on their warm winter clothes, baking cozy meals and enjoying winter sports. The new, ADA-accessible train will allow everyone in the family to enjoy the nearly five-minute trip together.

Indiana State Museum Train Ride | Holiday Train Ride Indianapolis

Reindeer Ride Express

Location: Nickel Plate Express | Noblesville | The excursion boards in Forest Park, Noblesville. (825 Forest Park Drive, Noblesville).
Dates: Sat-Sun: November 20th – December 19, Nov. 26, Dec. 23
Price: $42-$45; Kids 3 and under are free when seated on a parents lap
Purchase Tickets Here

All Aboard for a magical Christmas experience! Take an hour and fifteen-minute ride with Santa himself! See Santa’s workshop and cross over beautiful Morse Reservoir while singing Christmas carols and sipping hot chocolate. The ride includes a cookie and gift from Santa. Adult beverages are available for purchase onboard. Kids 3 and under ride free on a parent’s lap.

Reindeer Ride Express | Holiday Train near Indianapolis
Reindeer Ride Express | Holiday Train near Indianapolis

Holiday Train Rides in Indiana:

Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society Santa Train

Location: Fort Wayne Railroad | Fort Wayne, IN 
Dates: Saturdays & Sundays – Nov. 27 – Dec. 19
Price: $8, children 3 and under are free
Purchase Tickets Here Tickets go on sale Nov. 3

Explore Santa’s railroad workshop, enjoy a cup of hot chocolate and climb aboard his red caboose during the 19th Annual Santa Train, snow or shine! Tickets are $8.00 each and children under 3 are free. Each trip is operated by a vintage diesel locomotive and lasts approximately 20 minutes. All food and drink sold separately. 

19th Annual Santa Train | Fort Wayne Train Ride | Holiday Trains

The Polar Express Train Ride in French Lick

Location: French Lick Scenic Railway | French Lick, IN 
Dates: Fri-Sun: Nov. 5 – Dec. 19, 2021; Dec. 20-23, 27-29, 2021
Price: Tickets range from $35-$90. Children 2 and under are free. 
Purchase Tickets Here – *LIMITED AVAILABILITY*

Set to the sounds of the beloved movie soundtrack, passengers will relive the magic of the classic story as they are whisked away on THE POLAR EXPRESS™ for a magical 80-minute trip through a rail yard, neighborhoods, and through a tunnel on the way to The North Pole. The conductor will come through to punch your ticket, and Santa and his helpers board the train to greet passengers and each guest is given the first gift of Christmas – a silver sleigh bell (to take home!). On the return trip from the North Pole, elves on each car lead passengers in caroling and onboard entertainment. Kids under 2 are free. 

The Polar Express Train Ride | Indiana Holiday Train | Indiana Polar Express

The Whitewater Valley Railroad Polar Express

Location: Whitewater Valley Railroad | Connersville, IN 
Dates: Nov. 12-14, 19-21, 26-28; December 3-5, 10-12, 17-18, 2021.
Price: Tickets are $37.50 per person ages 2 and up.
Purchase Tickets Here 

The Polar Express comes to life when the train departs Connersville’s Grand Central Station for a journey through the quiet countryside for a special stop at the “North Pole” to allow Santa Claus to board the Polar Express. Guests on board will enjoy hot chocolate and a cookie while listening and reading along with the magical story.

THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride is a magical re-creation of the classic children’s story. Passengers are served hot chocolate and a treat by dancing chefs, enjoy a reading of the book by Chris Van Allsburg, and receive the first gift of Christmas (a silver sleigh bell) after Santa and his elves board the train at the North Pole.  During the trip, the conductor will punch everyone’s golden ticket and Santa will briefly visit with each family.

The Indiana Railroad Company – Santa Train

Location: 12 Stops (Click here for schedule)
Dates: Dec. 3-5, 2021
Price: Free (Not a train ride)

Returning from the pandemic hiatus, Santa Claus will once again be coming to town by train. Children living in communities in southern Indiana and eastern Illinois served by The Indiana Rail Road Company (INRD) will get a chance to see Santa and Mrs. Claus on December 3, 4, and 5. The Santa Train will make 12 stops over three busy days, and INRD invites families to the festively decorated train to see Santa and Mrs. Claus. 

Families are invited to come and watch Santa and Mrs. Claus come to town in style on the newly restored INRD caboose car and mail letters directly to Santa via the INRD Northpole Express Mailbox. The opportunity to come aboard the train and visit with Santa will not be available this year as the health, security, and safety of our employees and community must be our first priority. The event is free and open to children and grownups of all ages. .

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