Christmas Train Fun in Northwest Arkansas

Tomorrow morning, downtown Springdale will be full of excitement and wonder as the Children’s Christmas Train departs on a magical 30-minute excursion to Johnson and back. Those aboard the cozy 1940s era train will enjoy storytelling, Christmas carols, and a visit with the man in red. More fun is in store once the train returns to the Emma Street Train Depot, including rides on ponies masquerading as reindeer, operating a model train, live music, penning letters to Santa, and a cake walk. It is an extremely popular event year after year and the tickets sell out quickly.  If you want to be the first to know next year, be sure to like The Children’s Safety Center on Facebook. Proceeds from the event go to the organization to further their efforts in helping victims of child abuse. The tickets are usually available starting in September. I’m putting a reminder on my calendar for next year!

Photo by Children’s Christmas Train

 If you, like myself, are just now hearing about the Children’s Christmas Train, or if you just missed your chance to get tickets, don’t worry, there are plenty of other train-theme holiday events in the area to awe kids of any age!

Holiday Express departing from Springdale, Van Buren & Seligman {various dates and times}
The Holiday Express is a more low-key option offered by the Arkansas & Missouri Railroad. The Express is a 30-minute excursion like the Children’s Christmas Train, and you still get to see Santa Claus. Go read fellow Arkansas Women Blogger Rhonda Franz’s article about the Holiday Express on and then check back later this month for pictures and stories from our own ride!

Gardenland Express in Fayetteville {December 5 & 6, 12 & 13}
Gardenland Express is presented by the Botanical Garden of The Ozarks and features a model train display from the Northwest Arkansas Garden Railway Society. The train is sure to delight the train-obsessed kid and adult alike as it chugs around a winter village landscape. You can also participate in a holiday craft, visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, enjoy a hay ride and more! Here are some details on the particular events for each day:

December 5–Storytime with the the Little Sprouts Program Team
December 6–Making Ornaments out of Recycled Materials with Washington County Environmental Affairs
December 12–Stone Balancing with Gravity Whispers
December 13–Making Ornaments out of Recycled Materials with Washington County Environmental Affairs

Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for children 5-12, and free for kids under 5. 

Santa on the Caboose in Rogers {Saturdays, December 5, 12, & 19}
A Christmas wish come true for boys and girls of Northwest Arkansas! Hosted by Main Street Rogers, Santa on the Caboose is just that, a chance to visit with Santa Claus and get a photo inside a Frisco caboose in Downtown Rogers! You can find Santa on the corner of Walnut and 1st Street each Saturday in December before Christmas, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. There is no charge to visit with Santa, bring your own camera for photos!

Photo by Main Street Rogers

Did I miss any Christmas train activities that your child loves? I know Young Master Gray is looking forward to our Holiday Express train ride, and I know he’ll enjoy Gardenland Express. However, judging from last year’s visit with Santa at Northwest Arkansas Mall, I have a feeling we may have to settle for a picture of him with the caboose sans Santa!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you!

A Visit with Santa at Northwest Arkansas Mall

I have been compensated for this
post by Northwest Arkansas Mall. All thoughts and opinions are my own
or, in this case, Young Master Gray’s (with his explicit permission, of

My little elf wants to tell you about his trip to see Santa Claus at Northwest Arkansas Mall in Fayetteville. I hope you enjoy his tale.

‘Twas two weeks before Christmas, when one and all
Stood in a line, at Northwest Arkansas Mall;
Mom dressed me up with the greatest of care,
I knew someone special just had to be there;
Right to Center Court, mom knew just where to go,
We followed the voice sounding, “HO, HO, HO;”
The set was filled with Christmas delights,
Festive trees, presents, snow globes and lights;
It was enough to make anyone happy and jolly,
From mom, to the little girl asking for a dolly;
Old Saint Nick was as sweet as can be,
But still, I did not want to sit on his knee;
Knowing Santa’s digs are the newest in 10 years,
Quite frankly, did nothing to calm my fears;
A tentative smile quickly dissolved into worry,
And that’s when mom said, “We’d better scurry.”
Come now, it’s your turn to sit at Santa’s side,
Even on the night before Christmas, you won’t be denied.
You can see Santa at Northwest Arkansas Mall between now and Christmas Eve.
Hours: Monday-Saturday 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
(Break from 3-4)
Sunday 12 p.m.-6 p.m.
(Break from 3-3:30)

Choose one of the photo packages and you’ll have your prints in your hands before you can say, “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!” If you want to share your photo, add a download to your package, or even have the photo texted directly to your phone.

Can you believe how close we are to Christmas already? What preparations do you still have to complete before the big day? Our tree is up, but still needs some final touches. Maybe the rest of the decorations will make it out of the box before the 25th! Merry Christmas!