Galveston— On the west side of the strand sits a tall building that’s been the site of the Sante Fe Railway for over 100 years.
This hallowed ground for train hobbyists was the hub for railcar riders coming to the island from 1887 to 1967. Today it’s a museum and during the most magical time of the year, it turns into the terminal for the Polar Express!
“Museums are here to be these connective tools and I think we’re just incredibly fortunate that we’ve got an opportunity to bring people in from far and wide, all ages,” said Jim Rosengren.
Jim is the Executive Director of the museum that makes a Christmas miracle come true of a multitude of merry children.
“So the idea of a theatrical recreation of the movie is that we have six passenger cars in our train set. Each one has about six actors in them. And so each one is simultaneously more or less recreating certain really iconic elements of the movie,” he explained.
The Galveston Railroad Museum is home to two Santa Fe Warbonnets and these beautiful trains take tons of good little girls and boys on a ride all the way to the North Pole.
“These are real locomotives. These are real train cars. The trains move, they smell like trains, they sound like trains. We’ve got professional actors who are engaging you in some of the best children’s theater you’ll ever see. There really are no equals. It’s just a fantastic event,” said Jim.
“It was awesome,” commented Brian Miller.
“It’s fantastic,” added Jeff Barnett.
Of course you can’t help but notice all the folks really getting into the experience wearing their finest sleepwear, sort of a tradition that started from the movie.
“You’re talking about kids dressing up in pajamas. It’s just a great date night. You’ll see two adults dressed in pajamas,” said Jim.
“My son Caleb, 15, who was drug here, forced to wear pajamas and then my daughter five who is thrilled with everything,” explained Jeff.
“I was forced… the whole family is in PJ’s, so it made it feel that much special,” said Brian.
The Polar Express experience all starts with eager riders getting their golden ticket and once you enter the terminal, the show begins.
The story of a child unsure of Santa’s status in the center of the story but as soon as the curious conductor comes in, it’s off to ride the rails.
“It felt maybe like a dream and a wish and just so cool. It was awesome,” said Blake Miller.
Once aboard, it’s off to the North Pole but of course the crazy caribous get in the way and you know the only way to get those things to move.
Once you do get past the reindeer, you pull into the North Pole and the big man boards the train.
His gift to all the girls and boys is a bell that symbolizes the spirit of Christmas—because if you can hear it, you believe.
Of course the experience wouldn’t be complete without some hot chocolate.
“I love this place. It’s so cool. You get to be on a train and have hot cocoa and ring bells. It’s so fun,” said Blake.
“I will not testify as to whether or not I heard the bell. I’m not going to give up that little part of it,” added Jeff.
Once you pull back into the Galveston Railroad Museum it doesn’t take long to realize that experiencing the joy, hope, and spirit of Christmas with family and friends is what makes this stop worth wishing for on The Texas Bucket List!
“It’s a way for family to get together and have fun,” said Ava Lyons.
“Great family time… Seeing all the little kids especially, they had smiles on their face for sure,” remarked Brian.
“You get to come together with all the people and the kids they come unglued. You know that’s what it’s all about,” said Jeff.
“Come down here and enjoy this moment with your family and have fun and the people are so nice here and you should always have fun,” concluded Blake.
“These kids are making memories, other people are being reminded of their good memories for the season… It’s a great time,” said Jim.