Last year, I kept hearing the Steam Railroading Institute commercials and wondered what it was all about. Not long after, I spoke to my friend Chad. He had taken his kids to this event. They had a wonderful family experience and made some great memories.
He warned me, you have to buy your tickets early before they sell out. Mrs. Pants and I thought it could be a great family experience so we got our tickets. Earlier this year, my father in-law suffered a mini stroke and we were grateful to have him go with us. If you see the pictures, it's evident that he was enjoying himself.
You get on the train in Owosso at the Steam Railroading Institute and take the train to Ashley. When you get to Ashley, there are many things to do. Like 15 different shops posing as "Santa's Village" where you can do crafts, have soup and bread in the "Hobo Kitchen" and do some Christmas shopping in the small town atmosphere. Ashley is open to the public and it's not just for the train folk.
The train experience is very similar to the "Polar Express" movie. As you walk to the train, you see a Hobo on top of one of the spare train cars talking Hobo smack to the kids. You board the train, take your seat, before too long refreshment is dispensed in the form of HOT CHOCOLATE!

After you arrive in Ashley, they back the train up in the middle of town so you can access both sides of the town. I shot a little video of that process. If the train sounds familiar, some of this train's sounds were used in the "Polar Express" movie

When you arrive in Ashley, you are greeted by Frosty the Snowman. You can take a horse pulled wagon ride and kids can make their own toys in Santa's workshop. Before you get back on the train, Santa stops by to hand off the first gift of Christmas.
It was a great family experience, and I could see the child in my 73 year-old father in-law awakened. He was smiling from ear to ear as we went down the tracks. It was also the first real train ride for my niece Breeana and me. We made some great family memories.

Get up with Deb and Joey weekdays 6-10 am. Find Joey on Facebook here.