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 most recent 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 5 year old, Eli, asked if we actually were in the North Pole!
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 $3 and children ride for $2 – 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.
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!
Before we took our train ride, we then headed to the storage building where NWORRP has over 160 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 Grant’s favorite part – he kept going from one tree to another, exclaiming “WOW!” before moving on to the next.
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.
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”.
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.
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 first visit to the North Pole Express, and I’m sure we will be back before they take the last ride of 2018 on December 30!