All aboard the Holiday Express at Blackberry Farm
The Holiday Express train at Blackberry Farm in Aurora is welcoming all aboard throughout the month of December.
Blackberry Farm will be transformed into a winter wonderland, featuring thousands of twinkling lights, festive holiday decorations and holiday music.
New this year is the expanded schedule, which now includes Thursdays, beginning Dec. 5.
"Holiday Express has sold out the last two years, and we want to provide more families an opportunity to experience all the magic that this popular event has to offer," said Holly Wiggins, facility manager at Blackberry Farm.
Tickets -- $7 for ages 2 and older -- can be purchased beginning at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12, at www.foxvalleyparkdistrict.org. All ticket sales are final.
Here is the complete lineup of dates:
• Thursdays: 5 to 8 p.m. Dec. 5, 12 and 19
• Friday, Dec. 6, Special Needs Night: 5 to 8 p.m. Enjoy all the fun of Holiday Express in a low-sensory environment. Registration is required.
• Fridays: 5 to 8 p.m. Dec. 13 and 20
• Saturdays and Sundays: 2 to 7 p.m. Dec. 7-8, Dec. 14-15 and Dec. 21-22.
Santa and his elves will be at Blackberry Farm each weekend collecting children's wish lists at the Early Streets Museum. There's a sleigh full of other activities, including:
• Gift Shop: Find antique vintage toys and stocking stuffers.
• A Huntoon Christmas: Visit holiday displays and get a holiday themed tattoo.
• North Pole Oasis (Carriage Museum): Warm up with indoor crafts and Christmas music. Concessions are available for purchase. Stop by the Reindeer Food Bar and create a feed bag to put out on Christmas Eve.
• Candy Cane Village (Adventure Playground): Enjoy Blackberry's beautifully lit playground, weather permitting.
• North Pole Depot: All aboard the Holiday Express train.
• Winter Sleigh Ride: Dash through the snow on a cozy hayride.
• Reindeer Training Facility (Pony Ring): Santa's reindeer are training for the big day -- come see ponies trying to join his team.
• Little Elf Hobby Shoppe (Weaver's Cabin): Create a bird feeder to keep birds fed throughout the winter.
• Sugar Plum Playland: Explore the winter-themed sensory table. This attraction closes at dusk.
• Gingerbread School House: Listen to classic holiday stories while keeping warm by the real wood burning stove.
• Kringle's Café: Stop by Santa's favorite cafe for some hot cocoa and treats.
"Each family probably has a special spot within Holiday Express that makes it magical for them," Wiggins said. "For many, it's the train ride around Lake Gregory; for others it's listening to holiday music as they admire the thousands of twinkling lights throughout the park; and, for some, it's the special stop to visit with Santa and find out if you've made the naughty or nice list this year."
Also featured is a lineup of special guests, including:
• Dec. 8 and 22: Mrs. Claus Story Time, 2 to 6 p.m.
• Dec. 15: World's Tallest Toy Soldier, 2:30 to 5:30 p.m.
• Dec. 21: Ice Carving Demonstration, 4 to 5:30 p.m.