CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Grab your hot chocolate, true believers, the Polar Express is coming back to North Carolina.
Both the North Carolina Transportation Museum and the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad will host officially licensed Polar Express events. Other venues, like Tweetsie Railroad, will host their own Christmas holiday train events.
North Carolina Transportation Museum
The N.C. Transportation Museum event runs on select dates in November and December: Nov. 10, 11, 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, and 26; and in December: 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12 through 23.
Inspired by the hit movie, the event features hot chocolate, a cookie, a silver sleigh bell, and a golden ticket for all passengers. The journey lasts 70 minutes.
In previous years, prices ranges from $34 person to $90 a person with trains running at select times between 4 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Upgraded tickets include a keepsake ceramic mug and first-class coaches.
All riders aged 2 and older will need a ticket.
Ticket sales begin June 6 for museum members with the higher tiers of membership: lifetime, family platinum, and family premium. All other museum members are eligible to purchase tickets beginning June 7. The general public can purchase tickets beginning June 8.
Tickets for the Polar Express at the North Carolina Transportation Museum can be purchased on their website or by calling 704-469-5231.
The museum is located at 1 Samuel Spencer Drive in Spencer, NC, which is located just north of Salisbury along Interstate 85 between Charlotte and Greensboro.
Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
Located in the western North Carolina mountains, the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad is also hosting an official Polar Express experience.
The trips last 75 minutes and depart from the railroad's Bryson City depot, which is located at 45 Mitchell Street, Bryson City, North Carolina 28713. Bryson City is located 65 miles west of Asheville.
In previous years, coach class tickets on trains pulled by diesel locomotives begin at $29 during off-peak hours and climb to $45 during peak hours. Expect to pay $52 on trips pulled by a steam engine. This is the only tier where children under the age of 2 rides for free.
Three upgraded experiences are also available with the top tier, a first-class ticket, starting at $47 and climbing to $69.
Polar Express trains are offered most days in November starting Nov. 10. Trains run every day in December except Christmas.
While the Polar Express does not make a stop at Tweestie Railroad in Blowing Rock, that does not mean that Santa doesn't stop there.
"Enjoy thousands of dazzling Christmas lights and scenes, as you ride in an open-air train car pulled by one of our historic narrow-gauge steam locomotives," Tweestie Railroad says of their annual Tweetsie Christmas event.
The event also features Santa Claus, Christmas performances, amusement park rides, and outdoor fire pits.