By TARA ALATORRE
CLARKDALE – The Verde Canyon Railroad is offering Christmas train rides that takes the family on a magical journey to the North Pole every Saturday and Sunday from now until December 23, departing at 5:30 and 7 p.m. from the railroad depot in Clarkdale.
The uniquely Arizonan, holiday journey begins at the Clarkdale railroad station with a festive light display and activities for all ages. Then the train takes passengers for a one-hour round trip through red rock country featuring an electric light show that lights the way to the North Pole to Santa, Mrs. Claus and the elves.
Upon arriving at the Clarkdale train depot, passengers will be greeted by festive luminarias light display on the Southwestern-style train depot’s roof. Then families can tour a miniature Christmas village featuring 10 tiny houses. Liberty Wildlife will also be present with a bald eagle giving “wing-flapping lessons” for children that can take the “flight path” of the village display while wearing eagle wings.
“This unique flight is inspired by Verde Canyon Railroad’s relationship with Liberty Wildlife of Arizona,” stated the railroad’s website. “An educational bald eagle that visits Verde Canyon Railroad regularly will be at the depot to greet the children.”
Kids can also drop their letters off to Santa in a mailbag that will be delivered to the North Pole during the train ride. The Christmas Princess, Noel, will also be at the station before the train departs greeting children and taking photographs. There will also be festive music and holiday refreshments available.
The Verde Canyon Railroad’s train cars and open-air viewing cars are festively ornamented for the one-hour train ride on Santa’s private tracks to the North Pole and back. The passengers will travel through a magical tunnel where an electric light show featuring desert animals will light the way to Santa.
Out of the train window a village comes alive for passengers that can watch festively lit and decorated buildings from Santa’s Village pass by while aboard. A coal mine, elf school and the ugly sweater factory are among some of the buildings passengers will see on the way to the North Pole.
Santa, Mrs. Claus and the elves will greet the train at the whimsical North Pole Village, and they will be interacting with families.
The excitement will build for the kids as Santa boards the train back to Clarkdale and gives each child a small gift.
“Remember, after his sleigh, Santa’s preferred mode of transportation is a train!” the Verde Canyon Railroad stated about this magical Christmas journey.
Tickets for the Christmas train start at $23 for children, and $33 for adults, with caboose packages available for groups. There are also engineer for a day, ride-along experiences that start at $150.
For more information, questions or to purchase tickets visit verdecanyonrr.com or call 1-800-582-7245.