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Trains delight my children any time of the year but when they are dressed up for the holidays is when they really shine. From festive displays of model trains to rides decked out in all their glory, there is a holiday train event for everyone coming up this season.
Holiday Train Events in McHenry County
Holiday Themed Model Train Displays in McHenry County
1st Friday Art Show at the Dole
December 7, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Lakeside Arts Park at the Dole, 401 Country Club Rd., Crystal Lake
The December art show will feature a train village children as well as photos with Santa. A suggested donation of $5 is requested at the door.
November 23 – December 21 from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
December 22– January 6, 2019 from 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe | (847) 835-5440
Wonderland Express is one of the Chicago area’s top holiday “must-sees,” and a family-friendly, made-for-memories experience. This indoor model-train exhibition delights children and parents, friends and families. Drop-in activities available on select days, don’t miss complimentary family photos on December 2 and 15. The Wonderland Express is a Holiday Tradition that our family, and many of our writer’s families, enjoy. Read our 2016 review of Wonderland Express.
Holiday Themed Train Rides around McHenry County
Note we did not include any of the Park District or City sponsored events. The majority of these sell out over the summer. Please check your local municipalities site to see if there are still openings.
A Very Merry Huntley
November 30 4:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Village of Huntley, 1087 Main Street Huntley
During the Very Merry Huntley event families can take a free train ride on the Huntley Holiday Express.
Happy Holiday Railway
November 24, 25, December 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16 , 22 and 23rd.; Saturday and Sunday trips take place at 1:30pm, 2:30pm, 3:30pm, and 5pm. (Rides at other times may be opened up at a later date based on demand).
7000 Olson Road, Union | (815) 923-4000
Embark on a magical 40-minute train ride through the winter countryside on your way to visit with Santa Claus himself! Treats will be served and gifts will be given to children on Santa’s “good list.” Everyone passed their first birthday must have a ticket. Display buildings and museum grounds will not be open for this event. Plan to arrive no earlier than 30 minutes before your scheduled trip.
Canadian Pacific Holiday Train
December 2, 10:00 a.m.
Pingree Grove Village Hall, 14N 042 Reinking Rd.
The Holiday Train is nearly 1,000 feet long with 14 rail cars, each decorated with hundreds of thousands of technology-leading LED lights and holiday designs. The Holiday Train raises awareness of local hunger issues by encouraging attendees to bring a non-perishable food item for donation to a local food pantry. All donations will benefit the Northern Illinois Food Bank. For more information, visit the Canadian Pacific Railway’s website. Wondering what it’s like? Read Little Lake County’s review.
2018 Christmas Train – East Troy Depot
November 24-25, December 1-2, 8-9, and 15-16; 9:00 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3:00 p.m. departures
East Troy Electric Railroad, 2002 Church St., East Troy, Wisconsin | (262) 642-3263
A magical ride takes you a half hour from the East Troy Depot to Santa’s workshop located at The Elegant Farmer. Here children can visit Santa and get a photo taken with the jolly elf himself! Craft projects and hot chocolate and cookies will be available. Advance reservations are required.
The Polar Express Train Ride at Chicago Union Station
November 30 – January 1, 2019
500 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago | (312) 471-2501
Grab a seat on THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride at historic Chicago Union Station this holiday season. The magical story comes to life when the train departs Union Station for a one-hour round-trip journey through downtown Chicago. Tickets range from $52-$75 for adults and $45-$65 for children ages 2 to 11. Each ticket includes a keepsake sleigh bell to bring home along with hot chocolate and a cookie. Families are encouraged to wear their pajamas for the ride!
Where will you be riding this season?
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