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This post was originally published on December 21, 2018 and has been updated to reflect 2019 information.

With two boys who love any type of vehicle – trucks, tractors, cars, trains, you name it – I always know a visit to Northwest Ohio Railroad Preservation will be fun.  But our first trip to NWORRP’s North Pole Express exceeded even my highest expectations.  It was truly magical.

From them moment you drive up the long drive to NWORRP, located off of CR 99 across from the Veterans Water Tower, you will feel like you’re being transported into a Christmas wonderland.  There are Christmas lights lining the driveway and as you approach the main display it is literally stunning.  My oldest, Eli, asked if we actually were in the North Pole!

Visit Findlay's Danielle shares her magical first trip to NWORRP's North Pole Express with train rides, elves, decorations and lights and Santa, of course! • VisitFindlay.com

Just a small portion of the beautiful lights that will greet you as you pull into NWORRP

Our first stop was to get tickets and, like all of NWORRP’s events and train rides, it was very affordable, especially for a family.  Adults ride the train for just $4 and children ride for $3 – which is good because we had to ride more than once!  When you purchase your tickets make sure you don’t rush out to ride the train at once, make sure to walk around and see all of the model trains.

Visit Findlay's Danielle shares her magical first trip to NWORRP's North Pole Express with train rides, elves, decorations and lights and Santa, of course! • VisitFindlay.com

Just one of the many model trains located at NWORRP (you may also spy an elf hiding!)

We also took part in the elf hunt, which I think was Eli’s favorite part!  We had a list with the elves names on them and had to find them – they were everywhere!  Hiding in the trees, in the displays – it really made the experience extra special.  It also forced my very excited boys to slow down and actually look, which is a feat in itself!

Visit Findlay's Danielle shares her magical first trip to NWORRP's North Pole Express with train rides, elves, decorations and lights and Santa, of course! • VisitFindlay.com

With nearly 200 decorated trees you feel like you are walking through a Christmas Tree forest

Before we took our train ride, we then headed to the storage building where NWORRP has nearly 200 fully decorated Christmas trees – it was like a fully decorated Christmas tree forest.  And that wasn’t it.  Throughout the holiday displays there were even more Christmas decorations, model trains, even play wooden tracks for the kids to play with.  This was definitely my youngest, Grant’s, favorite part – he kept going from one tree to another, exclaiming “WOW!” before moving on to the next.

Visit Findlay's Danielle shares her magical first trip to NWORRP's North Pole Express with train rides, elves, decorations and lights and Santa, of course! • VisitFindlay.com

Grant loved every bit of the decorations – and he kept asking to have his photo taken. I need NWORRP to assist with our family pictures!

As we weaved our way through, finding every elf, exclaiming at every tree, we made our way to the big man in red – Santa.  The boys had talked about Santa for weeks and we waited awhile to see him so this is what I thought they would be the most excited for.  And while Eli dove right into his well-rehearsed Top 3 Christmas list, Grant shyly went to Mrs. Claus and snuggled on her lap.  Luckily she was prepared to be the star of the show as both boys sat on her lap for our annual photo.

Visit Findlay's Danielle shares her magical first trip to NWORRP's North Pole Express with train rides, elves, decorations and lights and Santa, of course! • VisitFindlay.com

Finally – Santa and Mrs. Claus!

And then it was finally time for the train ride – the whole reason we came…but we had already been there for an hour!  We waited in line for our train ride, taking in all the outdoor Christmas lights and displays.  We laughed at some, Grant was thrilled to see Mickey Mouse, and Eli noted many times that it was “just beautiful”.

Visit Findlay's Danielle shares her magical first trip to NWORRP's North Pole Express with train rides, elves, decorations and lights and Santa, of course! • VisitFindlay.com

Mickey could be found in the decorations, much to my son’s excitement!

As we boarded the train (we found out you can cram a family of four into 1 train car!) and prepared to begin, the boys were already ooh-ing and ahh-ing.  As we took our two laps around the track they found new things to point at.  There was every type of Christmas decoration you could imagine, all arranged beautifully.  As soon as it was over we immediately wanted to ride again.  The boys each found new things to see and kept yelling at each other to look at the different characters.  Mickey is a favorite at our house so we found him immediately, but there was Rudolph, Santa, the reindeer, elves, and more.

Visit Findlay's Danielle shares her magical first trip to NWORRP's North Pole Express with train rides, elves, decorations and lights and Santa, of course! • VisitFindlay.com

Four people in one quarter-scale train car? We got it!

As we finally left, Grant crying for just one more ‘choo choo ride’, and buckled them into their car seats, Eli sighed and said “That place is amazing – they have trains, lights, toys, elves, AND Santa!”  We had a wonderful visit to the North Pole Express, and I’m sure we will be back!

In 2019 NWORRP’s North Pole Express will run Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings from November 29 to January 5, although Santa and Mrs. Claus will only be on-site December 7, 13, 14, 20, & 21 – they’re very busy this time of year!

This blog post is written by Visit Findlay Community Relations and Development Manager Danielle Wilkin.  Danielle is a reality TV aficionado, frequent Downtown diner, and a busy mom!  That isn’t much, is it?  See more about Danielle and read more from her here!

This post was originally published on December 21, 2018 and has been updated to reflect 2019 information.