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 2023 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. 2-3. 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. 1-2, 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.
- 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 $15 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.
- The Chicago Polar Express Experience is returning this year. Tickets are available for limited dates.
- 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.
- See the Polar Express on the big screen. This year, you can take in The Polar Express at Savoy 16 beginning Nov. 19.
- 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.
*affiliate link. We make a small commission when you purchase from these links. Thank you for supporting our small business.
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