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ST. LOUIS - After a year as a stationary walk-through experience during COVID-19 restrictions, THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride real train rides are rolling at St. Louis Union Station again at the popular holiday attraction for 2021. Tickets are on sale now.

The magical story of a boy's search for the meaning of Christmas begins at St. Louis Union Station on November 19 and continues through December 30, 2021.

Coach tickets for this St. Louis holiday tradition begin at $35 and may be purchased online at www.stlpolarexpressride.com. First Class and Premium tickets also are available. Prices vary by day and time.

Passengers can also book holiday rides on the St. Louis Wheel and an adventure at the St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station where Scuba Claus will dive in Shark Canyon on selected dates.

Trains will depart St. Louis Union Station at 4:30, 6:00, and 7:15 p.m. every night during the season. Trains also run at 8:30 p.m. on selected dates.

The adventure comes to life when the real train departs for a round-trip journey to the North Pole led by a cast of talented characters. Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, passengers will relive the magic of the classic story as they are whisked away on THE POLAR EXPRESS™ for a one-hour trip to meet Santa.

Once onboard, the Conductor will work his way through the coach and punch golden tickets before hot chocolate and a delicious cookie are served by dancing chefs. Passengers then read along with the classic children’s book, The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg. Santa and his helpers board the train to greet passengers and each guest is given the first gift of Christmas.

During the trip, characters on each car lead fantastic onboard entertainment – just like in the film. Each guest will take home a keepsake sleigh bell and souvenir golden ticket in addition to the wonderful memories made on this magical trip. Just like the kids in the book, families are encouraged to wear their pajamas for the ride! This immersive family-oriented experience has hosted over 1.4 million riders at 54 locations in the US, Canada, and the UK in 2019 when the read trains last rolled.

Passengers also can enhance the magic by staying overnight at the St. Louis Union Station Hotel in a special holiday suite complete with a decorated Christmas Tree.

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Tickets are now on sale now for at St. Louis Union Station at www.stlpolarexpressride.com.


BEYOND THE POLAR EXPRESS -- MORE ACTIVITIES AT ST. LOUIS UNION STATION

In 2021, all of St. Louis Union Station's holiday events are gathered under the name Joy at Union Station.

Inside the massive Joy at Union Station tent on the Purina Performance Plaza, guests will find the Jolly Old Elf himself ready for family pictures with Santa, steaming hot chocolate and snacks, holiday carnival games, and a variety of other activities including holiday crafts for children. In addition to posing with families, Santa will be available for Puppy Pics on Friday, November 19 from 5 to 7 p.m., Saturday, November 20 from 2 to 7 p.m., and Sunday, November 21 from 2 to 7 p.m.

The St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station will welcome Scuba Claus to Shark Canyon on Saturdays and Sundays at 1:15 p.m. Guests can talk with Santa as he and his elf dive with sharks, rays, and the other fish in the 250,000-gallon habitat. The diving Santa experience is free with Aquarium admission Friday, November 26, Saturdays and Sundays at 1:15 p.m November 27 through December 19, and again on Christmas Eve, December 24.

Soda Fountain at Union Station, the retro diner restaurant at Union Station, has introduced a new holiday Freak Shake for 2021. "You'll Shoot Your Eye Out," starts with an Ovaltine chocolate malt shake, served in a Leg Lamp-inspired glass. The shake is topped with a La Bonne Bouche Ralphie Bunny sugar cookie, a Kit Kat Oh Fudge bar, and a candy cane. Whipped cream, a cherry, and a sprinkle of Ovaltine dust complete the treat.

The St. Louis Wheel at Union Station will be lighted in holiday colors throughout the season. The 200-foot-tall observation Wheel's 42 gondolas are kept at a comfortable 72 degrees year-round. Union Station's outdoor Fire & Light shows on the lake will be set to popular Christmas carols. Shows take place on the hour. Union Station’s carousel, mini-golf course, ropes course, and mirror maze add to the fun.

Guests can meet Mr. Claus and enjoy a delicious Santa face pancake breakfast during the popular Pancakes With Santa annual event in the beautifully decorated Grand Hall at St. Louis Union Station, Saturdays, and Sundays in November and December. The 3-D holiday light show will play on the Grand Hall ceiling during breakfast. Seatings are available at 8:30 and 10 a.m.

A family entertainment destination today, St. Louis Union Station first opened in 1894 and was the biggest and busiest train terminal in the country with 22 railroads moving passengers across the nation. The St. Louis Union Station Hotel has been called one of the world's top railroad-themed hotels.

St. Louis Union Station is located at 201 S. 18th Street, St. Louis, MO 63103.

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