Wondering what to do in Vancouver (or nearby) for your little train lover this holiday season? Contributor Gwen Floyd has a great suggestion.
The Polar Express
The first Christmas movie we watched last year – and probably this year, too – was The Polar Express. Based on the book by Chris Van Allsburg, the movie expands the story of a boy who is not sure he believes in Santa Claus, though he really wants to. Both my boys well and truly believe in Santa Claus, they love trains and they love the movie The Polar Express. When we had the chance to go up to Squamish and ride the Polar Express it was an exciting prospect for all.
A Ride on a Real Train
The Polar Express is an almost hour long train ride up to the Estuary in Squamish. During the ride in a real train there is a real conductor who will punch your ticket, and cookies and hot chocolate served. Most of the kids and some of the adults are dressed in their jammies, and the air is festive and excited. Whether your kids love the book or the movie, you have a budding train buff, or you’re just looking for family fun, this is worth adding to your list of what to do in Vancouver this Christmas.
A Trip to the North Pole
I let the boys know that we were going to the Polar Express on the morning of, and the whole day they were very excited. We packed up their jammies and robes and headed up to the West Coast Railway Heritage Park. We arrived, got our tickets and went to the waiting room. First Class was seated first and then coach, where we were, was seated next. We went on the 4:00pm train ride just as it was starting to get dark. I am not sure who was more excited – my youngest or oldest. They chatted with the conductor, ate cookies and drank hot chocolate, and had fun pretending to go back to the North Pole. The line to see Santa and Mrs. Claus was a little long, but the joy on their faces when they got their sleigh-bell was worth it.
What to do in Vancouver: Ride the Polar Express
There is still time to have your own Polar Express experience this weekend on Saturday, December 8, 2012 and Sunday, December 9, 2012 at 10:00am, 12:00pm, 2:00pm and 4:00pm. Buy your tickets online – Coach costs $24, First Class costs $39, and the Caboose clocks in at $50. Be sure to arrive an hour before your departure time, as trains board about 20 minutes in advance and run on time. The Roundhouse has lots of crafts, a miniature train and Santa and Mrs. Claus on hand.
How to Get to The West Coast Heritage Railway Park
If you’re thinking that riding the Polar Express fits the bill when it comes to what to do in Vancouver this weekend, you’ll want to know how to get there. From Vancouver it is about an hour drive north on Highway 99 along the spectacular Howe Sound to Squamish. Go approximately two kilometers past the McDonald’s stop, until you come to Industrial Way. There is a traffic light at the intersection. Turn left and go to the stop sign at Queens Way. Turn right and follow the signs. After the BC Rail tracks, you will see the entrance sign on the right.