Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad’s North Pole Express isn’t just a train ride. It’s an experience.
From the moment you drive into Downtown Lebanon, you know it’s going to be an unforgettable afternoon. The town is decked to the nines with lights and wreaths. It feels like Christmas as soon as you get to LM&M — and that’s even before boarding the train!
Hot cocoa and cookies await as you stand in the chilly winter air at the depot. Twinkling lights and decor adorn the train lookout tour and station. There are lots of fun photo opportunities, so bring your camera!
We boarded the train, and the kids were absolutely delighted to see Christmas lights and gifts decorating the car. It felt very festive!
Of course, adding to the festivities were the elves. Straight from the North Pole, Santa’s elves walked around, mingled with guests, showed off their juggling skills and offered to make balloon animals. This was a huge hit with my kids!
Once the train departed, the fun continued. There was an epic Christmas carol singalong in our train car, led by the good-natured LM&M workers. They took requests from the kids and boldly led our car in song. These guys had a great rapport with the kids and adults, which made the whole experience really festive and fun. In fact, my two year old has been singing “Jingle Bells” ever since!
Speaking of bells… about 20 minutes into the ride, the door behind us opened and out walked Santa! Red cap, real beard and a jolly twinkle in his eyes. He handed my kids their own bells, then made his way through the car to say hello to everyone. I thought this little preview would help prepare the toddler for his visit with Santa… but that didn’t exactly happen:
My older two, however, absolutely adored Santa. Julian brought a hand-written list from home and eagerly gave Santa a rundown on its contents. Mary couldn’t stop giggling and gave Santa lots of hugs. Santa was super sweet and really great with all the kids. We actually got to ride with him for about 15 minutes at the end, since we were the last seats in the car. It was really delightful talking to him and something I know my kids will never forget!
Of course, a ride on LM&M always means lots of quality family time, and this ride was no different. My husband and I both got lots of one-on-one time with each of the kids. Lots of talking, lots of snuggling.
The nine-mile-round trip is also incredibly picturesque. Warren County is especially beautiful this time of year: bright blue skies, vibrant fall foliage, houses decorated with various holiday accents. Harvey loved looking out our window and really seemed to take it all in.
Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad is quickly becoming one of my very favorite places to go with my family. The old-fashioned train station, real rail cars, costumed ticket collectors and conductors and quaint Downtown Lebanon make for a really special afternoon. And the North Pole Express is pure magic. Take the family and start a new tradition this year!