Dear Diary,

Before Santa Claus climbs aboard his sleigh, he’s climbing aboard trains across the commonwealth. Santa, Mrs. Claus and their helpers are inviting children and families to join them on fun, festive train trips. The stations are a short road trip away, and the holiday activity gives families an opportunity to get in some quality time on the Turnpike. Along the way, play The Polar Express on your DVD player or tablet to keep the kids occupied during the drive and build anticipation for what’s in store. Here are our four holiday train rides for families.

New Hope: North Pole Express
Climb aboard the North Pole Express for a 60-minute train ride to the North Pole. Joining you on your journey-Santa and Mrs. Claus. Along the way, you can listen to Christmas carols, sip hot chocolate and munch on cookies. And the best part for kids-The Claus couple delivers presents, to those who are nice of course.

New Freedom: Steam Into History
Steam into history aboard the William H. Simpson #17, a replica of the Civil War steam locomotive that carried Abraham Lincoln to deliver the Gettysburg Address. The train offers Santa sing-a-longs. A storyteller will read the Night Before Christmas. Carolers will sing favorite holiday tunes. And Santa Claus will join in the festivities.

Click here for more train trips throughout Pennsylvania.

About The Author

Vlog Mom/DFTM Creator

Not long ago, Heather Hopson hosted a television show in the Cayman Islands. Today, she's back home writing a different kind of story as a new mom. In her 15 years working as a professional journalist, this by far is her best assignment! Growing up, she dreamed of becoming Oprah Winfrey. She was the features editor for her school’s newspaper and a teen talk show host for her city’s most popular radio station. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Michigan State University. After graduation, she worked as a television producer and reporter at CBS, NBC and Fox affiliates throughout the U.S. Instead of heading to Chicago to join Ms. Winfrey on her set, she bought a plane ticket to the Cayman Islands instead. She arrived five days before a category five hurricane! She lived in paradise for seven years, hosted an award-winning television show and traveled the globe with a government delegation. She also served on the board of directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters and spearheaded a Send a Kid to Camp campaign. Then, she relocated to Washington, D.C. to obtain a teaching certification and instruct 8th grade reading at a high needs middle school. She later returned to her hometown of Pittsburgh, PA to raise her daughter Caitlynn, now 4-years-old. During her 10-month-stint as a stay-at-home mom, Caitlynn inspired her to create this blog, and Diary of a First Time Mom was born on Mother’s Day 2012. Two years later, she expanded the family to include 20+ writers. Currently, Heather serves as the communications director at Allies for Children. In addition, she is the owner of Motor Mouth Multimedia, which ranked #49 in Startup Nation’s Home-Based 100 Competition sponsored by Discover Card and Sam’s Club. Recently, The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments selected Heather to receive an Emerging Black Artist award to develop Diary of a First Time Mom.

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