Arctic Express in Lower Alabama

Starting Friday, November 25, you and your little ones can leave Lower Alabama on a magical train ride to see Santa at the North Pole.

Wales West Light Railway, Arctic Express, Christmas, Santa, holiday, children, family

Experience the magic of a ride on the Arctic Express, straight to Santa! Departure from Wales West in Silverhill, Alabama.

The mile-long ride begins at Wales West on America’s only steam-powered, Welsh narrow-gauge railway. The train, Dame Ann, has been transformed into the Arctic Express to help fulfill Santa’s wish to visit with as many children as possible. Families ride past decorated Victorian-style buildings, gardens, woodlands and Lake Victoria, marveling at the million-plus lights that sparkle along the way.

Meeting, visiting and taking pictures with Santa (don’t forget your camera!) is only part of the North Pole experience. Santa’s elves will be busy handing out collectible wooden toy locomotives that can be taken home as is or decorated at the arts and crafts table. The kids may wish to make Christmas cards or an ornament, too, while they are there.

Once the train arrives back in Lower Alabama, everyone gets hot cocoa, a cookie and a candy cane to enjoy—plus on the weekends other special activities will be presented. But that’s not the end of the evening! Jump on a miniature train for a free ride past festive decorations, let the kids go shopping at the Elf Emporium, work off some steam at the playground, and take advantage of even more photo opps at the locomotive wall. Light lunch, dinner and snack foods are served at the café, and many train-related gifts—including Thomas the Tank Engine items—may be purchased at the gift shop.

North Pole transportation is available Fridays 4–9 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays 1–9 p.m., and as of December 14, a nightly schedule of 4–9 p.m. is added. It’s a tremendous amount of fun for just $12 per person (no charge for ages 13 months and younger). You’ll find Wales West on County Road 9 in Silverhill—take Highway 59 north to County Road 32 west, then turn north onto County Road 9; the railway is two miles ahead.

Make it an extra-special excursion by bringing your family to the beach for a long weekend! You may find the perfect place for your small family to be a 3-bedroom condo in Fort Morgan. Your larger family will be thrilled with a roomy 4-bedroom house or condo in Orange Beach. For true bonding time, you and your extended family can enjoy staying under one roof with a 6-bedroom house in Gulf Shores.

Stay informed of Gulf Shores/Orange Beach area activities, vacation rental specials and more by subscribing to this Discover Alabama Beaches blog and Meyer Muse, and by following Meyer Vacation Rentals on Facebook and Twitter.

Ride Thomas the Tank Engine

Mention the word “choo-choo” and the older generations may smile with memories of the upbeat 1940s song “Chattanooga Choo-Choo.” But the younger generations will likely become excited about a particular blue locomotive named Thomas.

Wales West Light Railway welcome Thomas the Train. Enjoy a full day of family fun Saturdays and Sundays through May 9.

Regardless of which generation you are part of, there is no denying the appeal of Thomas the Tank Engine and the wildly popular, internationally televised series Thomas and Friends.

Over the course of three spring weekends, your children or grandchildren, nieces or nephews can let their imaginations soar as they ride on the beloved train. But the fun doesn’t stop there.

The $18 admission fee for ages 2 and older includes a 25-minute train ride, videos of the television show, a chance to meet and take pictures with Sir Topham Hatt (head of Thomas’s railway), storytelling, building with Mega Bloks, live music, temporary tattoos of Thomas and his friends from the Island of Sodor, the Imagination Station with coloring and art projects, and a model train club demonstration.

Plan now to attend Day Out with Thomas—The Celebration Tour in Silverhill, Alabama at Wales West Light Railway, America’s only authentic Welsh narrow gauge railway.

To reach Wales West from our Gulf Shores area beaches, follow Highway 59 north to County Road 32. Turn left (west) and continue 5.6 miles to County Road 9. Turn right to travel north 2.3 miles to the park entrance on the right.

Advance ticket purchase is encouraged due to assigned train departures (every 45 minutes), but you may also purchase at the door. The first train departs at 9:45 a.m. and the final train at 4:15 on Saturdays and Sundays through May 9. Cameras and strollers are welcome for this family event.

Stay informed of local activities, vacation rental specials and more by subscribing to this Discover Alabama Beaches blog and Meyer Muse, and by following Meyer Real Estate on Twitter, Facebook and MySpace.

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