The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad runs a "Polar Express" each winter between Thanksgiving and Christmas. We went a couple of times when Grace was really little but haven't gone the last few years. Last year, she asked about it and I felt bad that I couldn't get tickets at that point since they always sell out.
Each Christmas we hang this photo on the refrigerator of our first Polar Express ride.
Grace wasn't too happy to meet Santa that year. It was 2008 and she was about 1 1/2 years old. We went that year and the next couple of years with Kellie and Dawson. Look how cute those two babies were!
And look at their little diapered, baby butts taking a peek over the seats.
This year I bought a membership to the CVSR so we didn't miss the opportunity to choose our night and the tickets we wanted. The train leaves Akron's Northside Station for about a 30 minute drive to the "North Pole". During the ride the elves lead the children in singing Christmas carols, the conductor punches their name in their ticket, and everyone enjoys some hot, hot chocolate and cookies. When the train arrives at the North Pole riders are greeted by lots of Christmas lights, elves, Mr. and Mrs. Winter and their dog, and Santa and Mrs. Claus who drive by in their own little train and wave. The woods past the town are even illuminated by the Aurora Borealis! No one gets off the train at any point and there wasn't any snow this year, but no one seemed to notice.
Grace was SO excited to go on the train ride and had a lot of energy during the trip. It made Kyle and me really happy to see that innocent belief in the magic of Christmas.
She was much better with Santa this time....but, she has talked to him dozens of times since that first encounter in 2008. And, Grace knows he will bring her presents if she is NICE!