Additional date added to Children's Christmas Express train ride schedule

Wednesday, December 7, 2011 | 4:11 p.m. CST; updated 9:06 p.m. CST, Wednesday, December 7, 2011

COLUMBIA — Mid-Missouri children have one more chance this year to meet Santa Claus on a train ride to the North Pole.

The Columbia Star Dinner Train is offering a new ride. The train had Children's Christmas Express trips on Dec. 10, 18 and 19 from Columbia to Hallsville. Organizers added a 5 p.m. Dec. 19 ride because the first three sold out.

One hundred tickets are left. More train dates will not be added, said Amando Garcia, office manager and car captain for the train.

“You’d be surprised how many kids will be on the train,” Garcia said. “We have over 400 right now, and there are people out of the area coming over here to share this experience.”

From 5 to 6:30 p.m., children and their parents can enjoy arts and crafts, hot cocoa, coffee and cookies. They will meet Mr. and Mrs. Claus on a stop at a mock North Pole with elves and vintage carolers. Children can talk to Santa and get a small gift.

Each train car will feature a different Christmas theme, including a Victorian car and a red and green themed car. Garcia will wear a vintage conductor's suit.

“Little boys and girls alike love trains, and trains are especially popular during the holiday season,” Garcia said. “I think some of it is because of cartoons, and some of it is 'The Polar Express.'”

Tickets are $28 for children under 12 and $52 for adults and children over 12. To purchase, call 474-2223 or make reservations online.

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