Santa Express

Santa Express


November 27, 2022    
10:30 am - 3:30 pm


Boone and Scenic Valley Railroad and Museum
225 10th Street, Boone, IA, 50036

Event Type

Map Unavailable

All aboard the Santa Express!

Bring the family, and enjoy a ride from the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad’s depot to the North Pole (and return). En route, you will hear the story of Santa’s Scenic Valley Ride, and take part in other fun, family activities. Experience what has become a tradition for families from across Iowa, and beyond. Seating is assigned by party. If you would like to be seated with another party you must let us know at the time you make your reservation. All sales are final — no refunds or exchanges.

Santa’s Scenic Valley Ride

There’s a blizzard so fierce that reindeer can’t fly in it. How will Santa deliver gifts to children on the Iowa frontier?  Santa’s Scenic Valley Ride takes little ones on a winter adventure with Santa on his first-ever train ride to old-time Iowa. The book was written and illustrated by Misty McNally, whose mother was born in Boone and whose grandparents once owned the historic Lincoln Restaurant on the old Lincoln Highway.  Get the book and follow along during your journey aboard the Santa Express train ride!

Paperback, 30 pages

The book may be purchased along with your tickets, or purchase it separately by clicking here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the event?

The event is located at 225 10th Street in Boone, Iowa.

When is the event?

Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from November 25 through December 18

When do tickets go on sale?

Tickets go on sale November 1

How much are tickets?

Classic Coach Class: To Be Announced     First Class Coach: To Be Announced

How do I purchase tickets?

WHEN THEY GO ON SALE, tickets may be purchased at, or by calling (515) 432-4249.

Will my tickets be mailed to me?

No.  All tickets will be held for pick-up at the depot ticket window on the day of your ride.

Who needs tickets?

Tickets are required for guests ages two and up. At least one adult is required to ride with the child (or children).

What are the differences between basic coach and first class coach?

Our first class coach car has on board heating, and is constantly heated. Basic coach class cars are preheated before boarding. Depending on outdoor temperature, wind speed, and direction, cars can cool off before we get back to the station.  Our best advice is to dress in layers.  The floors are concrete, so wear warm footwear.

First class coach passengers receive a commemorative ceramic mug, while basic coach class passengers do not.

Santa will pass through the first class section first.

Sleigh bells given to children in first class coach are larger than those given to children in basic coach class.

A note about bench seating…

The purchase of a ticket does not entitle you to an entire bench seat.  Bench seats are designed to hold two adults.  The purchase of a ticket entitles you to half of a bench seat.  Coats and/or jackets must be worn, held in your lap, or placed in overhead luggage racks.  Please be considerate of other passengers — do not take up seating space by filling empty seats with coats or jackets. Strollers or car seats are not allowed on the train.

When do I need to arrive at the depot?

We request that you arrive 45 to 60 minutes before the departure time printed on your confirmation or tickets.  That will give you time to get parked, pick up your tickets at the ticket window, and use restrooms before boarding. You can browse our gift shop and museum while waiting to board. These are winter trains, so expect and allow for winter driving conditions.  Trains do depart on time, and are not held for late arrivals.

Are the cars heated?

Basic coach class cars are preheated before boarding. Cars can be very warm when you first get on.  Depending on outdoor temperature, wind speed, and direction, cars can cool off before we get back to the station.  Our best advice is to dress in layers.  The floors are concrete, so wear warm footwear.  Our first class coach cars are constantly heated.

Will the “Polar Express” book be read?

The “Polar Express” book is not read. Instead, “Santa’s Scenic Valley Ride”, a book written especially for us, is read during the journey.

How long does the ride last?

The ride usually takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes, but can vary a bit depending on how long it takes Santa, and the servers, to get through the train.

The weather man says we might get snow.  Is the train going to run?

Typical winter weather does not stop the train from operating. Check our website, Facebook, or Twitter feed for the latest status updates.  If we cancel the train (usually due to ice or a blizzard), we may try to reschedule, or a gift card will be issued.  Ticket holders will be required to call us to make arrangements to reschedule or to receive the gift card.

Does the steam engine pull the Santa Express train?

The Santa Express trains are pulled by a diesel locomotive.

Will we be getting off of the train?

No.  All activities take place on board the train.

Are there any refunds?

There will be no refunds or exchanges.  In the event of the cancellation of a train, a gift card will be issued.

Do you recommend purchasing tickets in advance?

Prepaid reservations are required.

What times do trains depart?

Fridays:  6:00 PM

Saturdays: 10:30 AM, 1:00 PM, 3:30 PM, 6:00 PM

Sundays: 10:30 AM, 1:00 PM, 3:30 PM

Is there assigned seating on the train?

Seating on the Santa Express trains is assigned by party. When ordering, indicate if you would like to be seated with a specific party.

Are you limited to just one train ride?

There is one train ride per ticket. At least one adult is required to ride with the child (or children).

Please keep in mind that freight trains frequently block crossings in the city of Boone

In the event a Union Pacific train is blocking the street you are on, proceed east to Benton Street, turn left & proceed north through the underpass, turn left & proceed west on 11th Street, turn left & proceed south on Harrison Street until you reach our parking lot.

Is there parking available on site?

On-site parking is available.  Street parking is also available.  There is no additional cost for parking.

Are strollers permitted?

Strollers and/or car seats are not permitted on the train.  An area for stroller storage is available in our ticket office.  Toddlers must be held/seated on your lap.

Is the event handicap accessible?

Handicap access is available.  Call 1-515-432-4249 to confirm availability.

Are pets allowed?

Unfortunately, pets are not allowed.