St Louis, MO, USA —The happiest season of the year is going to be bigger and better than ever at St. Louis Union Station. This year 14 new attractions and experiences will make Holidays at Union Station the biggest holiday hot spot in the Midwest.
The Santa Express Train Ride is the centerpiece of this expanded holiday event. Real trains pull out of St. Louis Union Station – the 1894 National Historic Landmark terminal – beginning November 18 and continuing through December 30, 2016.
Trains will leave the station at 4:45, 6:15, 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays.
Hotel ticket packages for The Santa Express and Holidays at Union Station activities go on sale on August 25 at 9 a.m.
Individual Santa Express tickets go on sale Tuesday, August 30 at 9 a.m.
“We will have guests coming from all over the midwest to experience the holidays right here in St. Louis,” said Tom Lyons president of Rail Hospitality and Entertainment (RHE). “The Holiday train rides in the past have been very successful, selling out in less than 48 hours. Adding these new attractions, activities, and more train rides will give more families the opportunity to experience the greatest gift of Christmas – memories with family and friends.”
During the train ride to Santa’s house, passengers will hear the classic bedtime story of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and interact with the characters, elves and Santa Claus himself. Passengers are encouraged to wear their cozy pajamas for the train ride and events. Santa’s Master Elves will board the train at his house and ride with passengers back to the North Pole at St. Louis Union Station.
Train tickets range in price from $39 to $89. Ticket protection plans are available for purchase.
Magical and castle-like St. Louis Union Station will stand in for The North Pole throughout the holiday season with fun indoor and outdoor holiday activities for everyone. The station will be decorated with elaborate seasonal displays and twinkling with holiday decor designed to rival the biggest holiday celebrations in the nation. A new Fire & Light Show under the outdoor train shed will create a spectacular backdrop for family activities and photos.
Before and after the Santa Express train ride, visitors can enjoy the Glacier Park outdoor ice skating rink at Union Station. The rink will be open starting November 18, seven days a week. Next to the rink, guests can whoosh down an ice slide on a snow tube, do battle in a snowball fight arena, and sip a cocktail or drink hot chocolate on Glacier Park’s Winter Deck.
Inside St. Louis Union Station’s North Pole Village, visitors can follow the smell of fresh gingerbread to Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen where Christmas goodies will be available for purchase and train passengers will receive complimentary gingerbread cookies and hot chocolate. Good girls and boys can enjoy a storybook time featuring cookies and milk with Mrs. Claus on Saturdays at 3, 5 and 7 p.m. throughout the season. They will leave the experience with a Mrs. Claus-autographed copy of Twas the Night Before Christmas.
Other indoor activities at the North Pole include a visit with the elves from The Fudgery who will be singing and creating delicious fudge treats in their classic Union Station location. Kids can get a sneak peek at Santa’s sleigh and his future space program. They can see the North Pole mini-aquarium, watch model trains, write letters to Santa in the North Pole Post Office and check in on the forecast at Santa’s Weather Station.
Santa’s Workshop Experience is another special activity inside the North Pole at Union Station. This family activity is a complete hands-on experience for children and their parents. Families will work side by side with Elfin and his master toymaker elves, building train cars for boys and girls of all ages using Santa’s workshop secrets. Moms and dads also can help their little ones decorate gingerbread houses at Gingerbread Junction inside the station.
Families that join the Elf’s Clubhouse during their time at Union Station will get a premium VIP experience that includes the chance to spend time playing games with Santa’s elves. They also will have priority line access for all attractions, elf ears of their own, a meet and greet session with one of Santa’s master elves, a hot chocolate and gingerbread cookie snack, a personalized email from an elf and a 20 percent discount at Santa’s Toy Shop.
Santa’s personal office will be open for visitors and will feature his famous sleigh and his weather radar station. A scavenger hunt – Santa’s Reindeer Roundup – gives kids a chance to help the elves find all the reindeer by solving puzzles and locating clues around the North Pole. Everyone who fulfills the mission will receive a special prize.
An elaborate model train layout, horse-drawn carriage rides, Santa’s Toy Shop and an opportunity to get photos with Santa round out the exciting North Pole Village activities at Union Station.
All North Pole Village activities will be open from 3 p.m. until 9:30 p.m., Wednesdays through Fridays and from noon until 9:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Holiday hours will extend the fun from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m., December 18 – 24 and December 26 –January 2. The attraction will be closed Thanksgiving and Christmas days.
The following Santa Express overnight packages are available at the St. Louis Union Station Hotel, a DoubleTree by Hilton:
Santa’s Sleepover Package includes an overnight hotel stay at North Pole Lodge at St. Louis Union Station, Santa Express train ride tickets in standard or first-class, access to all pre- and post-train ride events and Santa’s Reindeer Roundup, plus a wake-up call from Santa.
‘Twas the Night to Stay, Play and Feast Package includes an overnight hotel stay at the North Pole Lodge at Union Station, access to all non-train ride events, Santa’s Workshop Experience, Elf’s Club membership, Santa’s Reindeer Roundup and the ‘TWAS Festive Dinner Feast in the beautiful Grand Hall plus a wake up call from Santa.
The Good List Holiday Suites Package is for those children who have been on Santa’s Good List. The special room – named after one of Santa’s reindeer – comes with a Christmas tree, special holiday decor and a Santa camping tent to sleep in and take home as a special gift.Weekend overnight packages will include the Reindeer Rise-n-Shine Breakfast where guests will meet Santa’s reindeer friends and elves. Children of all ages will enjoy a delicious breakfast buffet, play reindeer games, and sing along to the favorite music of Santa’s reindeer. It’s an experience sure to make you shout out with glee, Saturdays and Sundays from November 19 through December 25, 9 a.m. until noon.Families can extend the fun of the Santa Express and the holiday activities at Union Station with the ‘Twas Festive Dinner Feast in The Grand Hall at at 5, 6 and 7 p.m. from November 18 – 24 and December 26 – January 2. Price per adult is $29 and per child is $24. The award-winning 3-D light show will play Christmas-themed shows and indoor snowflakes will drift overhead on the soaring ceiling of the Grand Hall.
The Glacier Park outdoor experiences at St. Louis Union Station, 1820 Market Street, St. Louis, Missouri 63103, will be open daily from November 18 through December 30 except for Thanksgiving, November 24 and Christmas, December 25, when Santa’s crew will be resting.
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