What is it about trains? They are a source of fascination for young and old alike and there is nothing so pure as the look of delight when a child is face to face with the object of their obsession. Case in point, this lovely video of Madeline who is getting to ride a train for her third birthday.
Like Madeline, Huntsvillians are lucky not only because we live close to a resource like the North Alabama Railroad Museum but because through the museum we have numerous opportunities to enjoy a leisurely train ride with fellow train enthusiasts. Riding the rails is even more fun when your conductor and other workers are dressed up in historically accurate fashion. These folks and their fellow museum members, all volunteers and identified by NARM shirts or name tags, are filled with train knowledge and can answer almost any question a little one (or adult) can think of about this wonderful piece of local history.
There are plenty of opportunities throughout the year to enjoy this local attraction. In October you can enjoy one of the shorter rides, the Punkin’ Pickin’ Extravaganza which takes riders through the woods to Normal, AL (be sure to look out the windows for the animals). All passengers will then disembark the train to visit a small pumpkin patch and every child will be able to choose his or her very own pumpkin to take home! The Fall Color Special runs in October & November where you can take a longer ride and view all the fall colors from the peaceful picture windows on the train.
And of course, for two weekends in December there are the very popular Christmas Trains:
- The day-time Christmas Train option is the Santa Train. Santa will visit each child at the seat during these rides. Each child will receive a gift from Santa. All riders on coach 4679 and 2006 will receive a drink and cookie. The Santa Trains are about thirty minutes in length.
- The North Star Limited is a night-time ride and is a little longer than the day-time Santa Train. Every coach is first-class, and children are encouraged to wear their pajamas while enjoying milk and cookies on board. New in 2020, Santa will visit each child at the seat during these rides. Each child will receive a gift from Santa.
Tickets for the Christmas Trains sell out in November, so if you’ve missed it in past years, do not delay. See descriptions and details for all the rides currently on sale here
- Masks are required for all passengers over the age of 2 while on the train or in close proximity to others while off the train.
- Tickets will be available outside the depot for social distancing.
- All tickets are general admission for the coach you choose (with the exception of the Sleeper Coach #2006 which has private suites and roomettes) so families can sit together and stay separated from other groups of passengers.
- The train will be disinfected between rides.
- Passengers should remain in their seats for the duration of the ride.
- The gift shop will be open after the train ride. It will be one-way traffic only and we will be limiting the number of guests on board at a time.
What: Chase Depot and Railroad Museum
Where: 694 Chase Road, Huntsville, AL
Cost: $15 for adults/$10 for children ages 2-12 for regular rides; $15 all passengers for special trips (Peter Cottontail, Punkin’ Pickin’ Extravaganza); Santa Train-tickets start at $20 for regular coach; North Star Limited- tickets start at $35 ; “Special Rides” require a ticket for all ages, regardless of age
More Info: www.northalabamarailroadmuseum.com
Jennifer is the creator and co-editor of Rocket City Mom. She is also a compulsive writer, avid reader, occasional singer and former communications wizard turned toddler wrangler. You can often spot her and her little ones cruising the kiddie hot-spots in their "Rocket Van".