Where to experience the magic of the Polar Express in Champaign-Urbana if you missed getting tickets for the Polar Express train rides in Monticello
Do you have a Polar Express fan in your life? The Monticello Railway Museum Polar Express train has sold out for 2021 but Champaign-Urbana families have other options for recreating this experience outside of the train itself.
If you’re still looking for ways to experience the magic of Polar Express this holiday season, don’t worry. There are plenty of other ways to enjoy the movie’s magic in the Champaign-Urbana area, some more budget-friendly than others.
- Drive in at Harvest Moon. On Nov. 26-27, Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In Theatre in Gibson City will host “Hot Chocolate and Holiday Movies” featuring “The Polar Express” on one of the screens. Santa will be there and you can drive through its “Lighted Lane” on your way in. Get your tickets in advance to secure a spot.
- Throw your own Polar Express party at home.
- Check out the movie or book from the library, or buy them (if you have Amazon Prime, the DVD was available as low as $6.89* and the hardcover book was selling for $11.78 when we last checked).
- You can buy a photo backdrop* or a wooden train set* (think Thomas style).
- The Polar Express website has its own printable party kit, and there are also plenty of ideas on Pinterest.
- Take a road trip to enjoy a Polar Express train (kind of) near you. OK, so it’s a lot further away, but there are still tickets to be had (last we checked) at the Polar Express experience in Chicago that leaves from Union Station. You can even take the train there from Champaign-Urbana. If you’re willing to go after Christmas, plenty of seats available. We know there’s a Polar Express experience in St. Louis, too.
- See the Polar Express on the big screen. This year, it seems like the closest movie theater to be showing the Polar Express as of right now is the Bloomington Cinema & IMAX in Bloomington. There’s a launch date of Dec. 10 for this year’s showings. Get your tickets early!
- Tune in to a special Polar Express storytime.
- The Barnes and Noble special Storytime Pajama Party is an annual favorite, but we just don’t know if that’ll be happening this year (no word yet).
- However, we’re anxiously awaiting the area libraries as they post their story times for the holidays and our fingers are crossed that the popular story will be part of at least one of them this year!
- There are multiple versions on YouTube, including this one read by Liam Neeson.
Did we miss a Polar Express-themed event in Champaign-Urbana? Let us know or add it to our calendar.
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