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352. Santa Express Train the Hottest Ticket in Barrington

352. Santa Express Train the Hottest Ticket in Barrington

Home Newsroom 352. Santa Express Train the Hottest Ticket in Barrington

About 250 children & their families held one of the hottest tickets in Barrington this weekend as they boarded Metra train cars Saturday in two trips bound for “Santa’s Workshop” in Woodstock, Illinois.

Children Visit Santa's Workshop via Barrington Park District's "Santa Express" Metra Train Car
Children Visit Santa’s Workshop via Barrington Park District’s “Santa Express” Metra Train Car

Barrington’s annual Santa Express train ride happens in December and is one of the most popular activities hosted by the Barrington Park District.  So many families sign up for this trip, the tickets sell out within a week after they go on sale months before the actual event.  This year, I made sure to reserve tickets right away and we brought our three kids on the Park District’s Santa Express for the very firs time.

Children Visit Santa's Workshop via Barrington Park District's "Santa Express" Metra Train Car
Children Visit Santa’s Workshop via Barrington Park District’s “Santa Express” Metra Train Car

We’ve taken “Polar Express” trains to downtown Chicago before, but this one was different.  Heading west to Woodstock, there was just enough time on the train for our kids to watch the towns fly by outside the train window, a fun opportunity see them in awe of Metra’s northwest line scenery.

Children Visit Santa's Workshop via Barrington Park District's "Santa Express" Metra Train Car
Children Visit Santa’s Workshop via Barrington Park District’s “Santa Express” Metra Train Car

On the train, event organizers from the Barrington Park District took turns reading the book The Polar Express to Barrington’s young passengers.

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When we arrived at “Santa’s Workshop” (a.k.a. Woodstock’s Moose Family Center) we were greeted at the door by Buddy the elf.

Children Visit Santa's Workshop via Barrington Park District's "Santa Express" Metra Train Car
Children Visit Santa’s Workshop via Barrington Park District’s “Santa Express” Metra Train Car

Inside, families sat down at tables where cookies and crafts were delivered for each child to decorate.

Children Visit Santa's Workshop via Barrington Park District's "Santa Express" Metra Train Car
Children Visit Santa’s Workshop via Barrington Park District’s “Santa Express” Metra Train Car

Santa made his grand appearance, high-fiving children and their parents around the room before settling into his seat for visits with his guests.  Note for next year: Several kids thought ahead and brought their Christmas wish lists, delivering them in person to the man in red.

Children Visit Santa's Workshop via Barrington Park District's "Santa Express" Metra Train Car
Children Visit Santa’s Workshop via Barrington Park District’s “Santa Express” Metra Train Car

As we enjoyed a relaxed time surrounded by Barrington families we’d never met before, my husband Bill looked around the festively decorated room and remarked, “Visiting this Moose Lodge feels a little like stepping back in time.”  The community room felt like a place of many gatherings and there was a “retro vibe” that added a dose of rare nostalgic character.

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When there was no line left to see St Nick., we took our turn.  With no one waiting, each of our kids had the chance to take their time visiting with Santa and there was no rush to hurry up and take our pictures.

Children Visit Santa's Workshop via Barrington Park District's "Santa Express" Metra Train Car
Children Visit Santa’s Workshop via Barrington Park District’s “Santa Express” Metra Train Car

There was no navigating Ogilvy Transportation Center, no trekking across Chicago and waiting two hours to see Santa at Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza.  This was the most relaxing and easy Santa visit we’ve ever experienced and we’ll definitely be back for more fun at Santa’s Workshop next year.

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On the way home everyone sang Christmas Carols on the train and we ended up back in Barrington by lunchtime. Thank you, Barrington Park District, for creating opportunities to make so many family memories right here in Barrington. We’re looking forward to signing up for even more of your events in the new year!

The Barrington Park District seeks to enhance the quality of life and the environment; to acquire, conserve, and protect natural resources; and to provide health and recreational opportunities for people of all ages and abilities in our community. For more information about parks, facilities, events, fitness, athletic and aquatic programs, visit BarringtonParkDistrict.org.and you’ll find the facility at 235 Lions Drive in Barrington.

Children Visit Santa's Workshop via Barrington Park District's "Santa Express" Metra Train Car
Children Visit Santa’s Workshop via Barrington Park District’s “Santa Express” Metra Train Car

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