Polar Express 2021 North Carolina Transportation Museum Details:
The 2021 Polar Express runs November 12-13, 19-21, and 26-28 and December 3-5, 9-12, and14-23. Train rides on Fridays are 4:45 pm, 6:15 pm, and 7:45 pm. Train rides on Saturdays are at 4 pm, 5:30 pm, 7 pm, and 8:30 pm. And rides on Sundays are at 4 pm, 5:30 pm, and 7 pm. Prices begin at $32 for children and $38 for adults. Check the website for available dates and times. Trains sell out fast. If you want to go, dont wait to get your tickets.
Face masks are required onboard the trains and rides are about 70 minutes long. Lodging packages are available as well.
Note: If you want to head to the museum and dont plan to ride on the Polar Express, know that the museum offers an admission package that includes a 25 minutes train ride on-site that is narrated tour of the 60 acres museum site. Admission with train ride: Adults $12, Children $8, Seniors and military $10.
Has your family ever taken a ride on the Polar Express?
About the Author
Sign up for our email newsletter.
Southern Railway’s Spencer Shops
|Spencer Shops service facility. Amtrak F40PH 307, can be seen on the left side of the screen, next to Southern Railway 2-8-0 No. 542.
|Show map of North CarolinaShow map of the United States
|Added to NRHP
Southern Railway’s Spencer Shops was once a major steam locomotive repair facility between and in . The service facility was once ‘s largest steam locomotive repair center. The period of greatest prosperity and productivity for the facility was in the first half of the twentieth century. These type of repair service facilities for the railroads were called “back shops”. They were located in every division of a railroad system and centralized for the most extensive kinds of repairs.
The Spencer Shops “back shops” were named in honor of the first president of the Southern Railway, , as was the name of the new town developed for these facilities. The Spencer Shops were located near . The conversion from steam locomotives to diesel locomotives caused the demise of the Spencer Shops. They were phased out from the 1950s to the 1970s. The former Spencer Shops complex is now part of the .
The Polar Express Train Ride
The Magic Returns!November 12-13, 19-21, & 26-28 and December 3-5, 9-12, & 14-23
Well, are you coming? Inspired by the hit movie, this holiday favorite comes to life as you and your family take a magical trip on THE POLAR EXPRESS Train Ride! Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, families are sure to enjoy their trip to the North Pole, complete with hot chocolate and cookies served on board the train. Passengers are entertained by a reading of Chris Van Allsburgs classic, The Polar Express. Upon arrival at the North Pole, passengers deboard to watch Santa present the first gift of Christmas. Before exiting the train at Candy Cane Lane, all passengers who BELIEVE will receive their own sleigh bell. Experience the joy of caroling and holiday entertainment that will surely become an annual family tradition. Children of all ages are encouraged to wear their pajamas for the ride and join in on the magic of Christmas!
Read Also: The Jewish Museum Gift Shop
Where Is The Nc Transportation Museum
Address: 1 Samuel Spencer Dr, Spencer, NC 28159
The NC Transportation Museum is located in the town of Spencer in Rowan County, Central North Carolina. Its closest to Salisbury and Charlotte and perfect for day trips, even from Greensboro and Winston-Salem.
If youre traveling on I-85, its in a good spot right off Exit 79. From Statesville, youll use I-77 before getting off at Exit 152 and following US-70 for most of the way.
Read More: The NC Tripping North Carolina Travel Map
Exhibits And Train Ride Ticket Prices
- Adults: $12
- Seniors/Military: $10
- Children : $8
Additionally, if youre a frequent visitor of this Museum or a lover of all things transportation, then you might consider investing in a membership! The membership, available at varying prices, includes free admission, free train rides, discounts at the gift shop, and more!
The Museum also accepts membership cards from participating members of the Association of Science and Technology Centers within a 90-mile radius.
Read more: Museums in Greensboro
Read Also: Field Museum Chicago Special Exhibits
The Polar Express Train Ridecasting Call
THE POLAR EXPRESS Train Ride needs you to bring the magic to life! On October 24, audition to be a part of this 70-minute live production that happens aboard a moving train! There will be scripted scenes, live singing, and a lot of passenger interaction. Most actors will be performing in a hot chocolate number that includes serving hot chocolate to the passengers as well as passing out cookies. In addition, there are two other movement numbers and hand signals for our Christmas Carols. These roles will also include light maintenance of the car in the way of trash pick-up, etc. Actors become ambassadors for the train, for the North Carolina Transportation Museum, Warner Brothers Consumer Products, Rail Events Inc., and most importantly YOU, all while ensuring that our audience has a wonderful experience.
Proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 7 days of any performance date is required for all performers and staff ages 12 and up. Face masks are required for performers, staff, and passengers while on the train and in buildings, except when actively eating or drinking. Masks are recommended outdoors when social distancing is not possible. ADA exemptions apply. Train cars will be sanitized between runs. High-touch surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected regularly. Hand sanitizer will be available on trains and throughout the venue. COVID protocols will be updated and implemented as needed.
Special Events At The Nc Transportation Museum
The NC Transportation Museum hosts special themed events and exhibits depending on the season. In honor of spooky season, the Museum has many Halloween-themed events.
and are also magical times at the NC Transportation Museum!
- Easter Bunny Train: Typically held over four days around Easter, the Easter Bunny Train is a fun time for everyone, especially the kids.
- Legends by Lantern Tours: Open on a select number of days, this lantern tour celebrates the many railroad-centric lore and legends.
- Halloween Train: Wear your Halloween costumes for a train ride full of tricks and treats! Kids can have fun with a costume contest, a Halloween Scavenger Hunt, temporary tattoos, and a treat bag!
- Polar Express: The Polar Express Train Ride is offered on select weekends in November and December. Get in the holiday spirit with this train ride, complete with hot chocolate, cookies, book readings, a Santa cameo, and more!
Read More: Winter in North Carolina
Don’t Miss: O Museum In The Mansion
North Carolina Transportation Museum
The N.C. Transportation Museum is a historic site, once home to Southern Railways largest steam locomotive repair facility in the southeast, and a museum featuring all types of transportation history railroading, automotive, aviation, and more.
Historic structures include Barber Junction Depot, an authentic train station built in 1898 that serves as the museums Visitor Center. The Bob Julian Roundhouse is the largest remaining roundhouse in North America, and is home to locomotives, passenger rail cars, and a full-size replica Wright Flyer. The massive Back Shop, where steam locomotives were once completely overhauled, now houses rail cars of the past, antique automobiles, fire trucks, and the restoration of the Piedmont Airlines Potomac Pacemaker DC-3. The Flue Shop houses the museums Bumper to Bumper automotive exhibit.
Plan your visit today for a trip into the past at the museum that moves you!
Polar Express At North Carolina Transportation Museum
The North Carolina Transportation Museum, at 1 Samuel Spencer Drive, Spencer, is bringing back its popular holiday attraction, the Polar Express train ride, for 2021, after a years hiatus.
We wouldnt call this activity cheap, because coach tickets are $38 for adults and $32 for kids, but its such a treasured and iconic Christmas activity for North Carolina families, that we think its something that should be included in our holiday coverage.
The train ride is set to the sounds of the movie soundtrack as you travel to the North Pole. Along the way, listen to a reading of Chris Van Allsburgs classic, The Polar Express, and enjoy hot chocolate and cookies. At the North Pole, families will leave the train and watch Santa present the first gift of Christmas. Back at Candy Cane Lane, all passengers who believe will receive their own sleigh ball.
Don’t Miss: West Hartford Children’s Museum
Christmas Trains And Santa Trains In North Carolina
Sadly, Raleigh Parks has made the difficult decision to cancel Holiday Express for 2021, due to staffing issues.
So weve put together a list of Christmas trains throughout North Carolina, and the 2021 status for each
For attractions outside of the Triangle, weve indicated the number of miles it is from Raleigh. Please adjust the distance from your own starting point.
We have put together a huge list of holiday events in the Triangle, including parades, festivals, markets, Santa visits, and more. Check out our growing day by day list of holiday events in the Triangle!
Caveat: Not all of these train rides are cheap. Some of these are pretty pricey. But were including them anyway, because they are so popular.
Also, please note that some of these rides are on actual, full-size trains, some are on smaller models, and one is sort of a train-like ride, not actually a train on tracks.
Please make sure to follow the links below for the official information and to buy tickets.
And at the end of this post, theres be a day-by-day list of holiday events in the Charlotte area.
Please note that were still awaiting information on some of these train rides for 2021.
Tickets On Sale For Polar Express At Nc Transportation Museum
SPENCER, N.C. – Summer days are here but the N.C. Transportation Museum is already counting down the return of THE POLAR EXPRESS Train Ride in Spencer, N.C.
This immersive family-oriented experience hosted over 1.4 million riders at 54 locations in the US, Canada, and the UK in 2019. Popular dates and times are expected to fill quickly, but seats are now available for departures beginning November 12 and continuing on select dates through December 23. Tickets are on sale now at www.nctransportationmuseum.org and guests are encouraged to book soon as this beloved holiday tradition is expected to sell out.
The adventure comes to life when the train departs for a round-trip journey to the North Pole led by a cast of talented actors. Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, passengers will relive the magic of the classic story as they are whisked away on THE POLAR EXPRESS for a 70-minute trip to meet Santa.
Once on board, the conductor will work his way through the coach and punch golden tickets before hot chocolate and a delicious cookie are served by dancing chefs. Passengers then read along with the classic childrens book, The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg. Santa and his helpers board the train to greet passengers and each guest is given the first gift of Christmas.
You May Like: El Paso Museum Of Art
Preserved North Carolina Transportation Museum Locomotives
Atlantic Coast Line 4-6-0 #1031
Carolina Power & Light “Fireless” 0-4-0F #3
Duke Power 0-4-0T #111
Graham County Railroad 3-Truck Shay #1925
Seaboard Air Line 2-10-0 #544
Southern Railway 2-8-0 #542
W. R. Bonsal Company 0-6-0T #7
Amtrak F40PH #307
Atlantic Coast Line E3A #501
Beaufort & Morehead H12-44 #1860
Duke Power 25-Ton Switcher #5951
Norfolk & Western GP9 #620
Norfolk Southern AS416 #1616
North Carolina State Ports Authority 45-Ton Switcher #L-3
Southern Railway GP30 #2601
Southern Railway/Cincinnati, New Orleans & Texas Pacific FP7 #6133
Southern Railway E8A #6900
U.S. Army 44-Ton Switcher #7497
U.S. Navy 44-Ton Switcher #65-00556
Piedmont & Northern Boxcab #5103
In last few years NCTM’s stature has risen immensely with several notable events and activities taking place there.
First, during the July 4th holiday in 2012, in conjunction with Norfolk Southern the museum held a large celebration 20 heritage locomotives adorned in liveries of predecessor railroads which make up the current NS system.
Two years later in the late spring of 2014 NCTM held the “Streamliners At Spencer” event with several pieces of historic equipment celebrating the sleek designs common during the last great age of passenger rail travel.
The train trips are not long, traveling about a mile or so around the 57-acre site and lasting for about 25 minutes.
Celebrate A Special Occasion
Did you know the North Carolina Transportation Museum has a Birthday Caboose? You can reserve the authentic, operating train caboose to celebrate the birthday of the train-lover in your life in a memorable way.
The museum also hosts festive holiday and special events such as the Easter Bunny Express, Fire Truck Festival, Tractors and Trains Festival and the highly anticipated Day Out With Thomas. One of the museums biggest events, Day Out With Thomas happens in September and October and allows fans of Thomas the Tank Engine to ride on Thomas the No. 1 blue engine and meet Sir Topham Hatt, participate in crafts, storytelling, train play tables and more.
Don’t Miss: Virtual Art Museum Tours Online
Polar Express Train Ride
It had been years since I had visited and my distant relatives had never visited. This museum has so much potential. It could really be a gem with a little bit more funding. We visited the day before Halloween and there were no trains in operation. I understand the difficulty and expense of running trains during low attendance times, but an actual train is why people go. Because of the historic nature of some of the train cars, obviously there would be a lot of wear and tear if the public were allowed to board each one. However, at least provide a platform to be able to look through the windows and provide some low energy LED light strips so visitors can see inside these cars. The staff members we ran into were super and eager to tell us “stories” of the heyday. It’s a reminder people who used to work at this place really “WORKED.” In this modern world, we really don’t know what “work” is.
The North Pole Train Ride In North Carolina That Will Take You On An Unforgettable Adventure
Christmas is just around the corner and with that comes years of tradition for celebrating. One such tradition we all know and love is reading the Polar Express on Christmas Eve. As a child I remember being completely caught up in the fantasy, almost believing the train would arrive at my doorstep and Id hop on to go to the North Pole. While that was never a possibility, one such way to create that magic for the little ones is taking them on the North Pole Train Ride offered through North Carolina Transportation Museum.
If youre looking for more of a reason to hop on board, watch this video belowHow fun is this! Its truly not Christmas without the magic of the Polar Express. For tickets, dates and more information
We might be talking Christmas, but dont forget its still fall. Here are 10 things you must do before the fall season ends.
You May Like: Monet Metropolitan Museum Of Art
Tar Heel Treasures: Polar Express Train Ride
SPENCER, N.C. â A magical train is back this holiday season with round trip tickets to the North Pole.
What You Need To Know
- The Polar Express train ride stops by the North Carolina Museum of Transportation in Spencer between November and December
- The event runs through December 23
- Anyone 12 and older must show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to boarding the train
Each year, the Polar Express stops by the North Carolina Museum of Transportation in Spencer to transport families right into the classic Christmas movie and childrenâs book.
Catawba College student Trey Germano has been part of the production since he was in high school.
âI wanted to have a creative outlet, I saw they were doing this, my friend dragged me to auditions, and it was a great time ever since,â Germano said.
During the hour-long ride, Germano collects golden tickets, dances, serves hot chocolate to guests and sings along to classic Christmas carols.
âIt makes me feel fulfilled,â Germano said. âI get a fulfillment out of making the Christmas magic happen for everybody.â
Germano said he wants each train ride between North Carolina and the North Pole to be âunforgettableâ for kids and their parents.
âThey have so much fun in this one hour that we do and the memory that we make with them and the connections,â Germano said. âSo itâs kind of sad whenever I see them leave.â
Ride The Polar Express
The museum hosts more than 30 events each year, and the largest is the Polar Express Train Ride, which runs for 23 nights in November and December. Inspired by the well-loved holiday movie, it draws visitors from all over North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.
Weve been lucky enough to partner with the Rowan County Convention and Visitors Bureau to offer hotel packages during this event to make it an even more affordable family getaway, Brown says.
Pajama-clad families board the Polar Express and embark on a trip to the North Pole, with hot chocolate and cookies served on board the train. The experience is set to the music of The Polar Express movie soundtrack, and passengers sing, dance and listen to a reading of the companion story. Santa makes an appearance at the North Pole and passengers receive a souvenir silver bell on the ride back to the museum.
Recommended Reading: Tickets For Museum Of African American History