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 2022 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.
- Have lunch with Santa on the train. While tickets for the Polar Express train ride in Monticello are sold out, tickets are available for Lunch with Santa on the train on Dec. 3 and 4. Families love this holiday favorite! Enjoy a train ride, an individual visit with Santa, and kid-friendly sack lunch. Get your tickets here.
- Drive in at Harvest Moon. On Dec. 2 and 3, Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In Theatre in Gibson City will host its third “Hot Chocolate and Holiday Movies” weekend of the season, this weekend featuring “The Polar Express.” 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.
- Enjoy the movie as part of Sidney Hometown Christmas. The Polar Express will be shown at Sidney United Church on Dec. 3 for free. Wear your pajamas and enjoy the provided cookies and cocoa!
- Throw your own Polar Express party at home.
- Check out the movie or book from the library, or buy them (rent the film on Amazon Prime Video for $3.99 and the hardcover book was selling for less than $10 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.
- Unfortunately, the Chicago Polar Express Experience is not running this year due to a railroad staff shortage. But if you’re willing to go to St. Louis (or if you’ll be traveling that way anyway), there’s a Polar Express experience in St. Louis with seats still available.
- Head to Effingham, where, as part of CASA Day of Giving on Nov. 29, kiddos can sit in a real train car an enjoy holiday music and a visit from Santa!
- See the Polar Express on the big screen. This year, you can take in The Polar Express at Savoy 16 on Nov. 20 and 23. It will also be showing at the Bloomington Galaxy 14 from Dec. 9 – 15.
- Tune in to a special Polar Express storytime.
- Our area libraries have incredible story times, and whether or not this classic book is included in any of them this holiday season, we know you and your kiddos will enjoy a wealth of winter- and holiday-themed books should you choose to attend!
- 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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Looking for more? Subscribe to our Home for the Holidays Newsletter. Want more ideas for holiday (or everyday) fun? Check out our Event Calendar.
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