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3 ways to experience The Polar Express this season

Jennifer Jhon
Contact ReporterSouth Florida Parenting

There are now more ways to enjoy the magical journey portrayed in the hit film “The Polar Express.”

From Nov. 11 through Jan. 1, guests will be able to board a specially decorated Brightline train at the Fort Lauderdale station with their golden tickets, enjoy hot chocolate and cookies served by dancing chefs, and read along with Chris Van Allsburg’s children’s book about the magical train. Santa will then board the train to give each guest their first gift of Christmas — a keepsake silver sleigh bell — and guests can enjoy caroling and other holiday activities on the return trip. Brightline has activities inside the station for guests waiting to board the Polar Express, and it encourages guests to wear appropriate pajamas for the journey.

Gold Coast Railroad Museum in south Miami has a similar program, running Nov. 10 through Dec. 30. Guests can enjoy games, photo ops and activities inside the museum, including writing and mailing letters to Santa at the North Pole post office. Once aboard the full-scale, decorated Polar Express train, guests will enjoy the reading of the story, dancing chefs serving hot chocolate and cookies, a visit to the North Pole, a meeting with Santa and silver sleigh bells for each child. The hobo and other characters from the book will be on the train telling stories and leading the guests in holiday songs.

The Museum of Discovery and Science in Fort Lauderdale is joining the fun with North Pole Pajama Parties on Saturdays, Nov. 17 and 24 and Dec. 1 and 8. The specially priced parties start at 10 a.m. with a Holiday Science Show, cupcake decorating, hot chocolate, and holiday activity stations such as elf ice cream, edible train design and mapping the North Pole. The party includes “The Polar Express” in IMAX with Laser, then guests can enjoy the rest of the day at the museum.

IF YOU GO

Guests are encouraged to wear appropriate pajamas for all “The Polar Express” activities.

Brightline’s Polar Express trains depart at 10 a.m., 12, 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday beginning Nov. 11. Passengers should arrive one hour before departure to park, go through security and check in at Brightline’s Fort Lauderdale Station, 101 NW Second Ave. Guests can also take Brightline from West Palm Beach and Miami to the Fort Lauderdale station; they will receive a 25 percent discount on Smart rides to and from the station using the code BLPOLAR, and ages 12 and under ride free.

Most Polar Express seating is arranged in rows of two seats on each side, and each seat has a tray for hot chocolate and cookies. Table seats that face each other can be purchased in parties of two or four at an adult rate, just choose those seats during checkout. Tickets vary based on departure time: $55-$75 for adults and $50-$70 for children, plus fees and taxes. Use the promo code EARLYBIRD to save $10 per ticket on Nov. 11, 17 and 18. The experience is the same for each guest, regardless of ticket price. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit ftlthepolarexpressride.com or call 754-209-0214.

Gold Coast Railroad Museum’s Polar Express has three levels of tickets: Coach Class is $34.99 to $54.99. First Class is $59.99 to $79.99 and includes a table and an extra gift from Santa, but guests must purchase a full 4- or 6-person table. Diamond Dome Class is $79.99 to $99.99. Use the code MIAMI10 to get 10 percent off, while supplies last.

Exact dates and excursion times for Gold Coast Railroad Museum’s Polar Express are available by calling 305-253-0063 or visiting thefloridatrain.com. Gold Coast Railroad Museum is at 12450 SW 152nd St. by Zoo Miami.

Museum of Discovery and Science’s North Pole Pajama Parties are Saturdays, Nov. 17 and 24 and Dec. 1 and 8. Party prices are $25-$30. Guests can also skip the party and book “The Polar Express” in the IMAX theater for $12-$15. The Museum of Discovery and Science is at 401 SW 2nd St. in Fort Lauderdale. mods.org

editor@sfparenting.com, jjhon@sunsentinel.com, 954-574-5316 or Twitter @sfparenting

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