On the Third Day of Christmas, My Daughter Gave to Me…Fun Times with Santa on the Christmas Train

On the Third Day of Christmas, My Daughter Gave to Me…Fun Times with Santa on the Christmas Train!

If you live near Ronks, PA or are willing to drive, Strasburg Railroad is a must-do attraction for the family. For the past few years, my family has made the hour and a half trek for some memorable holiday moments. Though it it’s a totally different experience than my six year old had riding the regional rail train into the city for the first time last week, it’s definitely something we all look forward to, and this year was no different.

They have train rides with Santa, train rides to select your own Christmas tree and train rides for “The Night Before Christmas” where children are even encouraged to wear their pajamas. We always opt for the train ride where we get greeted Santa as we check out the local sites on the steam locomotive. This year, the weather was perfect: not to warm and not too cold. We were able to dine at then railroad restaurant, went to the shops and did some of the activities before our train departed.

Quinn loves getting a seat next to the window to take in the sites during our 45 minute train ride, but all eyes were on Santa as he made his way up the aisle stopping for pictures and giving each child a Strasburg Railroad ornament gift. I too was eager to take our annual train ride photo with Santa. There’s just something so magical about that train ride. I truly do love this tine of year as we enjoy each other’s company.

All the best,


Derailing the “Train” for a Fun Journey with My Daughter

Yesterday, my daughter and I, along with my sister and her daughter, had a fun-filled outing in downtown Philadelphia. We went to the Candytopia exhibit, had lunch and just walked around and explored. We tend to go on many fun outings. Sometimes we walk, but most times we drive. What made yesterday even more exciting was that we derailed our usual routine of driving and took the train.

Believe it or not, it was my six year old’s very first time taking the SEPTA regional rail train, with the exception of the Strausburg Railroad for train rides with Thomas the Tank Engine and with Santa. As we waited on the platform in the 30 degrees Fahrenheit weather, Quinn exclaimed, “I’m excited but a little nervous.” Then, she noticed the words on the ground in front of the yellow safety zone. “Watch the Gap,” she read. Then she took a few steps back and said, “I’m nervous because I don’t want to fall down on the tracks.” I reassured her that I’d hold her hand and that she’d be fine. When the train approached, she was beaming with excitement and asked to sit by the window.

I enjoyed sharing stories with her about when I would take the train to college, and I was reminded of when I was younger always loving to look out the window on the train and just observe people coming and going. She was amazed at how fast we were going and even observed how it was “speedier than the train ride with Santa.”

After enjoying our time downtown, we hurried back to our regional rail stop from Reading Terminal Market, and Quinn was eagerly looking forward to her train ride back home. Even though we were greeted by a sign that said our train was delayed by 18 minutes, she was a good sport and actually like the environment of just sitting on the bench and seeing people go by.

I remember always being on the bus and train when I was younger, especially since my mother did not drive, so it was not as big a deal for me. When I saw Quinn’s excitement, I realized that I need to occasionally derail my routine a bit. While it’s great to have the luxury of getting in a car and driving to our destination, I want Quinn to have the fun experiences she may not normally do. It helps to make her well-rounded and to even appreciate what she has. We both agreed that it would be nice to take the train downtown and to other places more often, and my plan is to make sure that happens.

All the best,


A Fun Day Out With Thomas the Tank Engine

“Look, Mommy! It’s Thomas! He’s pulling into the train station!” my daughter excitedly informed me. I must admit that I was just as eager as she was to hop aboard and take a train ride on Thomas the Tank Engine. Yesterday, my husband and I took my little three year old along with my mom to the Strasburg Railroad Station in Gap, PA (not too far from Lancaster, PA) for this all day adventure.

It was a lovely, sunny day, and there were so many happy children wearing their Thomas shirts and cute little conductor hats. Since I had the feeling that Quinn would thoroughly enjoy the train ride, I opted for the $32 package that included a ride on Thomas (about a 18 minute ride), his best friend Percy (about a ten minute ride), the tour train (about a 45 minute ride) along with many free activities and photo opportunities with the Thomas and Percy as well as Sir Topham Hatt.

I was pleased with how well-organized the event was. There was on-site and off-site parking with adequate shuttle buses that ran quite frequently. There was one waiting when we arrived and one waiting when we were ready to go back to our car, and there was no fee for this service. Also, there were plenty of restrooms available, some standard and some port-o-potty with outdoor stations for hand washing. I also found the food to be tasty and reasonably priced considering how much they usually cost at these type of events. The kids meal, for $6.99, came with either chicken or a hotdog, fries, a juice, apple sauce and a whoopee pie for dessert. Even better, we were permitted to bring our own little lunch bag with snacks and drinks to save a little money.

While were were in line waiting to get on Percy, my mother and I were conversing with the family behind us. The grandmother was telling us that she’s been bringing her grandson every year since he was a year old. Now he’s six. This event is a wonderful tradition for both kids and families alike.

Though Quinn was all tuckered out from all of the fun and activities and dozed off on our third train ride, she had a ton of fun and was so excited when she saw Thomas and Percy actually talking (Yes, they actually talk!) She even said, “I can’t wait to come back!” Now that I know Thomas and Percy will be visiting again in late August through September then again in November, we just might have to have another Day Out with Thomas the Tank Engine very soon.

All the best,