KC's Christmas Trains



KCS Holiday Express at Union Station, Kansas City, MO.

Roy Inman

This holiday season, create family memories with a fun mixture of whimsy and nostalgia as you enjoy one of these magical Christmas Train experiences in Kansas City. From train rides, to the beloved Polar Express, to marvelous model train displays from classic collections to villages made of gingerbread... we have everything for Kansas City's Train Fans! First stop? Why, Union Station of course! .

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Trains at Union Station

Celebrate the holidays at Kansas City's own Union Station with Train Rides, Exhibits, and shows! Union Station, 30 W. Pershing, Kansas City, MO

  • Model Train Exhibit Located in Union Station's Kansas City Power & Light Gallery enjoy the all new Model Railroad Experience. This is one of the largest model railroad displays in America with trains of all sizes running through scenes of a festive Winter Wonderland. Next to the display, guests will learn about Kansas City’s Holiday History with a special Holiday Memories exhibit. FREE. Donations accepted.
  • Canadian Pacific Christmas Train Dec. 3 from 7:45 PM 8:00 PM - 8:45 PM with performances by The Trews and Willy Porte, The CP Holiday Train will set out once again to entertain hundreds of thousands of people, celebrating 20 years of collecting food and raising funds for food banks across North America
  • KCS Holiday Express Dec. 14 – 18. Back for its 18th annual run, the Kansas City Southern Holiday Express train brings Santa Claus and his elves back to Union Station. The Kansas City Southern Holiday Express is unlike any other train in the world! One of Kansas City s favorite holiday traditions, the Kansas City Southern Holiday Express Train brings Santa to Union Station just before Christmas. Guests can visit with Santa and tour the train for free.  Led by Kansas City Southern, Southern Belle business train, the Holiday Express train includes a smiling tank car Rudy; a flatcar carrying Santa’s sleigh, reindeer and a miniature village; a gingerbread boxcar; the elves’ workshop; the reindeer stable; and a little red caboose.
  • Polar Express in your PJs Dec. 7-18 Your favorite holiday classic movies are back at Union Station’s GIANT 5-story Extreme Screen. Tickets are $3/ea. Polar Express will be shown Dec. 7-18 and you're invited to enjoy the film in your PJs! PLEASE NOTE: Polar Express shows typically sell out and advance ticket purchase is highly recommended to avoid disappointment. Complete $3 Holiday Classics Film Schedule: Nov 16 to Nov 21- Christmas Vacation. Nov 23 to Nov 29 - Elf. Nov 30 to Dec 6 - Home Alone. Dec 7 to Dec 18 - Polar Express in Your PJs.
  • Kansas City Southern Rudy Replica Union Station's Christmas Tree in the Grand Hall will feature a replica of Kansas City Southern’s Rudy Holiday Express circling the tree. 
  • Ride the Historic Jones Store Train Take a ride on our miniature train! Often referred to as the Jones Store Train and beloved by generations at the holidays, it was once a popular attraction at the Jones Store downtown. Riders must be under 48" tall (approximately 5-6 years of age and under).
    Union Station Members FREE | Non-members $5
  • KC Rail Experience Visit Union Station's permanent exhibit portraying the history of the American railroad. Experience a hands-on journey through the fascinating history of the American railroad. Rail travel has united Americans from coast to coast, shaping the destiny of the Kansas City region and the nation. This exhibit shares the sights and sounds from the golden age of rail travel, including a locomotive simulator that offers an engineer's view of the rails. Personal histories and unique artifacts bring to life a great American tradition. Included in Science City admission.

Trains at Crown Center

  • Santa's Gingerbread Station Nov. 23- Dec. 31. Nov. 23 – Dec. 31. All aboard for a favorite holiday tradition at Crown Center! Kids and families can explore this interactive exhibit, meet and have their photo taken with Santa Claus (through December 24), climb aboard the Crown Center Express Train Engine, and enjoy Gingerbread Village. No admission fee. Photos with Santa are available for a fee, or you may take your own. Open during Crown Center Shops holiday hours.
  • Mayor's Christmas Tree The centerpiece of the city's Christmas is the 100-foot-tall Mayor's Christmas Tree,in Crown Center Square. During the day, enjoy the wooden playground beneath the tree's base where you'll find beautiful giant wooden toys where children play and family's take photos. You'll find wooden soldiers, cars, planes, animals, and of course... a Christmas train!
  • Fritz’s Railroad Restaurant Level 1 Crown Center Shops. This casual restaurant is one your children will not forget! Model Trains travel around the perimeter of the restaurant delivering burgers and fries to your table. Little Engineers love the train decor and delight in the novelty! Fritz's Restaurants

2018 Mayor's Christmas Tree Ornament

This year, the Mayor's Christmas Tree Ornament features Santa aboard a train! On Nov. 28 from Noon -2pm, Hallmark Keepsake Artist Matt Johnson will be signing All Aboard, the 2018 Mayor's Christmas Tree Ornament he designed in the Crown Center Atrium. Ornaments will be available for purchase at the event or at Crown Center Customer Service beginning Friday, November 23, 2018.  Matt will only be signing the 2018 Mayor's Christmas Tree Ornament at this event.  Limit of 5 2018 Mayor's Christmas Tree ornaments per person to be signed during this special event. You may purchase ornaments at Crown Center.

Santa Train Rides

Dec. 1 & 8, Belton, Grandview & Kansas City Railroad 502 E Walnut St, Belton, MO. Santa will join us for a 40 minute train ride, will visit with guests, and will stop for photos if you wish, all while the train moves down the track. Be sure to bring a camera! We will sing songs and talk to Santa about activities at the North Pole. After the train, the Railroad will serve hot chocolate and a cookie for each passenger. The Gift Shop will be open too! Did we mention to bring a camera? Only 46 seats are available per train and they sell quickly. The cost is $17 per passenger three years and older, $5.00 for children under the age of 3. All tickets will be handled on a "will call" basis, and can be picked up on the day of the train ride.

Overland Park Arboretum

The Overland Park Arboretum is home to a beautiful train garden and depot. This holiday season, children may visit Santa there during the Luminary Walk, held from 5 to 9 p.m., three weekends, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 23-24, Nov. 30-Dec.1, and Dec. 7-8. This Arboretum fundraiser features a mile of candles, holiday lights, live musical entertainment, Santa Claus in the Depot, horse-dawn wagon rides, hot cider around a campfire and mystical Gnome and Fairy Villages. Volunteers and staff members are transforming the Arboretum into a wonderland of candles and lights, music and holiday fun. Thousands of candles line the walkways and trails. Holiday lights will be on display from trees, buildings and bridges. Children will be thrilled to see Santa's Woodland Depot in the Train Garden and chat with him nightly from 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.

Kansas City Zoo Train 

The Kansas City Zoo (6800 Zoo Dr., Kansas City, MO) is home to an open air, large-scale train. A highlight of the ride is a trip through the tunnel. Season: year-round; operates daily if the weather is above 50 degrees. While you're at the zoo, enjoy their holiday events! Every weekend, Santa dives with the penguins. Get a one-of-a-kind photo of Santa as penguins torpedo around him. Watch the penguin bubbles trail the man in the red suit and hear the children giggle. Dives are at 2 p.m on Saturdays and Sundays.

Lee's Summit Historical Society Museum

The Lee's Summit Historical Society Museum (220 SW Main) is housed in a 1905 train depot in the heart of Downtown Lee's Summit. The museum is free (donations accepted) and open to the public Thursdays and Fridays from 10:00 pm - 2:00 pm and Saturdays from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm. Explore maps and artifacts of the area’s early history. Take photos with Santa at the museum on December 8 from 3-4 p.m. and December 15 from 2-3 p.m. 

Santa Express & Country Christmas

Dec. 8 & 9, Ag Hall of Fame 630 N 126th St. Bonner Springs, KS. $5/car. Join Santa in the Train Depot! Ride the Union Pacific train and take in the Christmas on the Farm decorations. Have a cookie and make sure Santa knows exactly what you want for Christmas! Get your picture with Santa and help support Farm Town USA at the Ag Hall of Fame! 

MEET THE EXPERTS: THE TOYS OF JERRY SMITH

Dec. 9 from 2-3pm at the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures (5235 Oak St., Kansas City, MO). Get to know the experts at The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures through this monthly exploration of special topics. On December 9, discover the story behind the museum’s special exhibit, Going Places: The Toy Collection of Jerry Smith. Relive Christmases past while exploring the toy trains, airplanes, and automobiles collected by one Kansas City man.

For more holiday events, see our guide to Christmas in Kansas City.

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