Crying Baby and the Santa Train

This weekend, we took the Dashing Daughter to see Santa for the first time.  Last year, she had just born a few weeks before Christmas and we figured it wasn’t the best idea to take a newborn baby to sit on a strange guy’s lap that has been infested with the germs of all the other kids.  This year, we took both kids to the Santa train at a park along my regular running trail.

Now, there this is a train museum in Old Sacramento, and they have a Santa train that is a real train.  But we went to a park that has a 1/8th scale set of train tracks and trains.  It is a non-profit organization by volunteers (mostly old guys), that build and maintain the trains. They have diesel trains (that run on lawnmower engines)

 

A 1/8 scale Union Pacific diesel engine

A 1/8 scale Union Pacific diesel engine

 

Another diesel engine, from the Sacramento Valley RR, a line that ran from Sacramento up through Placerville in the 1800s

Another diesel engine, from the Sacramento Valley RR, a line that ran from Sacramento up through Placerville in the 1800s.

and steam trains (that run on actual steam). 

 

A 1/8th scale steam engine, (it tows a propane car behind it)

A 1/8th scale steam engine, (it tows a propane car behind it)

These trains pull bench cars that you can ride on.  They have a big maintenance yard, with a transfer station, much like a real rail yard. They have over a mile of track, and every year they take folks on a ride, stop at “Santa’s workshop” have cookies and hot chocolate, see Santa, and then take a ride back. 

 

The Dashing Family on the train to see Santa.

The Dashing Family on the train to see Santa.

They also do a Halloween train, Fourth of July, celebration, and they run during summer weekends.  They also do birthday parties ($125 for as many people as you want – $75 extra for the steam engine). They have some real train cars, and they have some nice decorations around the tracks.

We showed up to the train tracks right when the Santa train started, and there was already a huge line.  We waited for our turn (realized how much better behaved our son is than other kids), and much to my excitement, we got to ride on the steam train.  We sat in the very last car, and I chatted with one of the old guys about trains and stuff.

When we got to Santa, we realized that the Dashing Daughter was not all that happy about the fat guy in the red suit.  It was definitely stranger-danger.  We managed to get some cute photos, of course, she is crying during the session, but they are still cute.

 

The Dashing Daughter was not happy with Santa.

The Dashing Daughter was not happy with Santa.

We rode back to the main station, again, sitting in the back and talking to the old guy.  I got a brief history of their 40 years of operation, including the story about how they had to fight for a section of property.  All neat stuff. 

All in all, it was a great experience.  We didn’t wait in line nearly as long as if we had gone to a mall Santa.  The picture we got was a CD and it cost us $10.  And that money helped out a nice little gem of a resource. It is one of those things that most people don’t even realize they have near their house. 

Not quite Christmas Card material, but funny nonetheless.

Not quite Christmas Card material, but funny nonetheless.

What cool hidden resources do you have in your area?

9 thoughts on “Crying Baby and the Santa Train

  1. We love anything trains as well. There is a really cool train museum near us in savannah, ga. Also we have been to fairs and such where they have the ride on type trains like you mention here. Wish I had the room (and money) for one in the back yard. Great post !

    • I used to live in Jacksonville, FL and often worked in Richmond Hill, GA. I wanted to get to the train museum in Savannah, but never made it there. I did go to the Mighty 8th Air Force museum, which is just an amazing place. Thanks for checking out my blog!

  2. Haha, I love the pictures. Your son looks like he had a grand ol’ time!

  3. We have a city park that is a block from our house. They have a small train with about 8 or so cars that they run on the weekends. The tracks go all around the park. Good news is my kiddo loves it. Bad news is, when they run the train, he can hear the whistle from our house and WANTS to go ride it every time he hears it. Starting to rethink this whole living a block away from city park as a good thing. At least in the winter time it doesn’t run!

  4. They have a great train set up in Tilden Park similar to the one you experienced. Of course there is the touriste site, Sonoma Train Town.

  5. My dad and I helped build one of these near Fresno when I was in high school. My dad’s buddy owned a Christmas Tree farm and got into trains, so he set up an entire track, etc. around his property. Kind of a cool experience (I don’t think I helped that much, but I worked for two Saturdays. My dad, who is more of a handyman, was there all the time helping them build it).

    Anyways … glad you and the family could enjoy the experience!

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