Choo Choo Choosing a Holiday Train

‘Tis the season for special train rides.

If you have a locomotive-crazy kid, here are some not-to-miss events as well as some fun anytime rides …

A Day Out With Thomas

Thomas photo by Randy Doss

Just a quick 1.5 hour drive from San Diego, the Orange Empire Railway Museum’s annual Day Out with Thomas is extra special for fans of the classic story book and television series. Thomas can be found each November in Perris, CA where children and their grownups can take a 25-minute ride with and meet Sir Topham Hatt. Tickets start at $19 for ages 2 and older. For more information, visit


The North Pole Limited

My family with Santa on the North Pole Limited 🙂


Hurry! The Pacific Southwest Railway Museum Association’s annual North Pole Limited ride with Santa is about to sell out. Volunteers help bring The Polar Express alive, complete with hot chocolate and cookies, storybook characters and lots and lots of elves. Hop aboard the train in Campo and travel to Santa’s Workshop to pick up Mr. & Mrs. Claus. Every child gets to share his holiday wishes with Santa. Tickets start at $30 for children and $40 for adults. Visit for more information.


Coaster Holiday Express

Photo Credit: North County Transit District

Photo Credit: North County Transit District

The North County Transit District operates the Coaster commuter train, which runs between Oceanside and downtown San Diego. Families can take the Coaster to Padres games and the fair, students can take advantage of a classroom day pass program, and each December hundreds take the 65-minute Holiday Express train ride, mingling and singing with Santa, Mrs. Claus and even The Grinch! Tickets for this year’s event cost $8 per person and go on sale November 12th. For more information visit


San Diego Trolley


Our city’s red trolley is a great way to reach family-friendly destinations like Qualcomm Stadium for Chargers games and Petco Park for Padres games, but it’s also fun for kids to simply ride the trolley to nowhere in particular. Children 5 and younger are free with any paid passenger. Visit to find out more.



Poway Midland Railroad

Photo Credit: Poway-Midland

The Poway-Midland Railroad is a full-size, narrow-gauge railroad in Old Poway Park that carries passengers aboard vintage and antique railroad equipment. The railroad is owned by the City of Poway, and operated as a non-profit. The trains run on Saturdays and Sundays. Fairs range from .50 for kids and $2.50 for adults.Visit for more information. 


Balboa Park Miniature Train

Take a 3-minute, ½-mile trip through four acres of Balboa Park on the San Diego Zoo’s model G16    – a rare antique with as few as fifty currently remaining. The train runs on Saturdays, Sundays and school holidays. Tickets are $3 for anyone over age 1.


Lee’s Kiddie Train

It’s fun to make a trip to the mall with mom when you get to climb aboard the adorable train at Westfield UTC. Lee’s Kiddie Train has been a long time partner of the Mom’s Guide, handing out lots of free tickets to our readers over the years. Want one? Just comment below with the age of your child for a chance to win! 

3 thoughts on “Choo Choo Choosing a Holiday Train

  1. Stacey says:

    Age 2!

  2. L K says:

    My daughter would love to experience Lee’s Kiddie Train for the first time. Daughter is 4 yrs old.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *