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Polar Express Michigan: 4 Magical Santa Train Rides To Take With Your Kids

Michigan’s Polar Express Train Ride (Plus More Magical Michigan Train Rides)

michigan polar express trains rides

Take a Magical Ride on a Michigan Polar Express

It’s one of the most popular kid-friendly holiday events in Michigan: a special ride on a Christmas train to ring in the holidays, the Polar Express Michigan.

Maybe you’ve seen The Polar Express movie, the story of a young boy beckoned on Christmas Eve to ride a secret express train to the north pole? Based on a book by Grand Rapids native Chris Van Allsburg, the story of a polar express train that has captivated both children and adults is more than make-believe.

It’s true: the steam engine featured in the book is real, and you can take a ride on this North Pole Express and other steam locomotives in Michigan to visit with Santa Claus this holiday season.

If you haven’t seen the Polar Express yet, why not experience it first hand with these four Christmas train rides in Michigan and make it part of your holiday tradition? So,get in your best holiday garb, strap on your Santa hats, and book your ticket now for the ride of your life.

If you’re looking for a ” polar express train ride near me”, or a “Christmas train ride near me “, read on: there are four of these special train tours in Michigan.

Michigan's polar express

Take a Polar Express Train Ride

Pere Marquette (The Polar Express)

405 S Washington St, Owosso, MI 48867

It would only make sense that the very train that The Polar Express was based on is still going strong every Saturday and Sunday throughout the Christmas season, running between Owosso and the town of Ashley MI. It’s also more popular than ever, so if you’re thinking about going, get your tickets soon.

This is the Christmas event of the season: a one-hour-and-fifteen-minute train ride on the North Pole Express, a world-famous Pere Marquette 1225, a 1941 steam engine. Board the train at the welcome center at the Railroading Institute in Owosso and head to the Village of Ashley Country Christmas, where passengers will disembark for a two-hour Christmas party, complete with hot cocoa and other treats.

Once the train stops, passengers can see pretty Christmas trees and participate in the numerous activities the village has to offer. This includes live entertainment, having their picture taken in front of the 1225, and meeting Santa Claus himself.

Please note that this is by far the longest Christmas train, at four-and-a-half hours round trip thanks to the stop in the Village of Ashley.

This may not be the option for you if your children get easily restless on long trips, however, the ambiance is quite unlike any other holiday train.

Located in Owosso, MI, just a short ride from metro Detroit or west Michigan, t’s a truly memorable experience: the train is decked out in Christmas decorations, and when the train reaches the Village of Ashley, the fun truly starts.

Again, be sure and book your tickets online asap: this is a very popular Michigan holiday attraction and sells out quickly.

Michigan's polar express
Photo from Coopersville & Marne Railway Company.

Santa Train at Coopersville & Marne Railway

306 Main St, Coopersville, MI 49404

This is one train trip you’ll want to make a holiday tradition. For the authentic north pole express experience, head to Coopersville and board the train from the steam era for one of the most popular Christmas train rides in MI.

Enjoy a 90-minute round-trip on a vintage 1950s era train, where kids can sit with Santa and get a present or sit with the storytelling princess to listen to her read the Polar Express.

Board this Santa Train every Saturday from the 27th of November to the 18th of December. Grab your kids and grab your Covid-friendly masks this winter: this Santa Train is back up and running for the 2021 season.

The train is fully decked out in Christmas decorations for anyone from ages nine to 90 to marvel at this holiday season. This is a fully heated train so don’t worry about bundling up for the ride, a bathroom is also open to any guests.

Be sure and check the website for ticket information.

Christmas in Michigan

Little River Railroad’s Christmas/Holiday Express

Little River Railroad, 29 W. Park Ave. Coldwater, MI 49036

Looking to experience a real country Christmas? Take a scenic ride through Coldwater in southern Michigan on the Holiday Express.

Help keep steam-powered trains up and running by grabbing tickets to Little River’s Railroad Christmas/Holiday Express, which is running only four days this year: on December 4th, 5th,11th, and 13th.

Tickets are in high demand, so make sure to purchase your tickets before they sell out. Kids can visit with Santa himself on the train, which runs about an hour round-trip. Don’t miss out on all of the other kid-friendly special events this railroad runs, including Easter Train where kids can hang out with the Easter Bunny, and the Fall Pumpkin Train.

Holiday Magic at Crossroads Village & Huckleberry Railroad

6140 N Bray Rd, Flint, MI 48505

Open November 26th to November 28th and December on 3-5, 10-12, 17-19, 21-23, 26, and 28-30, this is one of the easier Holiday Trains to get on as there is more availability. Enjoy not only the locomotive ride but the Village as well as Crossroads is decorated each year in a plethora of Christmas Lights.

If you happen to be in the village on select dates, perhaps try out the Christmas Dinner Buffet to warm those bellies with ham or chicken before braving the cold blustery Winter. If you are going on the train, be sure to bring your mask as well as your good cheer.

Train rides aren’t the only fun holiday event going on at the Crossroads Village Holiday Magic event: they have a spectacular Christmas light show, too.

12 Top Michigan Train Rides

Want More Train Rides in Michigan?

We have a fabulous guide to 12 Top Train Rides in Michigan that you can take almost any time of the year! Discover the Toonerville Trolley at Soo Junction in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and many more!

About The Author- Charlotte Dennison is a Content Creator at My Michigan Beach. She grew up in Vermont and has summertime family ties to the great state of Michigan in both Ann Arbor and Lake Hamlin. In addition to content creation, she spends her time studying writing, editing, and publishing at Emmanuel College in Boston. Writing has been her dream since the start of high school, and she hopes to turn content creating into a life-long career. Charlotte is jazzed to be interning at MyMichiganBeach.com. Outside of writing Charlotte enjoys curling up with a Stephen King novel and her cat on rainy city days.

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Judi little

Thursday 17th of November 2022

I am interested in the dates, times and cost of the polar express train ride in owosso snd coppersville for the 2022 season.

Jaime Crawford

Tuesday 1st of November 2022

I'm interested in tickets for the Polar Express in Owosso Michigan for 2022

Kathy Van Der Meulen

Tuesday 6th of September 2022

I’m interested in information and tickets for the Polar Express train in Marne /Coopersville Mi for this season 2022. Thank you. Kathy VanDerMeulen

My Michigan Beach Team

Sunday 11th of September 2022

Hi Kathy, Thanks for reaching out. You can find information about tickets for the Polat Express train here: https://mitrain.net/train-rides/ .