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Family Travel Files Ezine Family Vacations Resource
Best Santa Trains and Holiday Lights in Florida - Create Your Own Holiday Traditions. Even with sunshine and palm trees swaying in the breeze storybook travel is pure fun and during the winter months Florida destinations adorn trees with twinkling lights and excursion trains run just for fun. St. Augustine Lightener Museum Nights of Lights

Here's the scoop.
Pretend journeys to the North Pole and miles of magical lights this season will be more fun than ever. From twinkling lights in St. Augustine and Orlando to festive boats on the Gulf Coast, the holiday season offers rewarding ways to celebrate together. Featured below you will find our favorite train excursions for families.

Ride the Polar Express from Miami
(November 27 to December 27, 2015). The Gold Coast Railroad Museum is located adjacent to Zoo Miami is the starting point for an awesome Polar Express experience. Each year the museum, home to Edwin Link Children's Railroad, celebrates the season with a Polar Express is a 60-minute round trip excursion. The magical train ride comes to life as it departs the depot and travels though the wilderness to a fictional North Pole. Little passengers will enjoy warm coco and a treat while listening and reading along about the classic Christmas tale. (Gold Coast Railroad Museum 12450 S.W. 152nd Street Miami, Florida 33177. (305) 253 – 0063 or Gold Coast Polar Express)
Seminole Gulf Railway - Christmas Eve Murder Mystery Dinner Train and a Christmas Rail/Boat Train (Mid December). During the holiday season the Seminole Gulf Railway runs a Christmas Eve - Murder Mystery Dinner Train, based on their popular Murder Mystery Dinner train series, but with a jolly holiday twist. In addition, Seminole Gulf Railway is featuring its annual Christmas rail/ boat train experience which will transport passengers to the old Punta Gorda Train Depot fo rholiday lights and dinner. Bonus points: Ride the Plymoth Rock Special and enjoy a traditional New England Thanksgiving Feast on the train.  Daytime Excursion travels north through Fort Myers and then across Caloosahatchee River via the railroad drawbridge and into Northern Lee County, with views only accessible by rail. (Seminole Gulf Railway, Ft. Myers, FL. Toll-free 1-800-SEM-GULF or Coast Railway Santa Train in Florida
Florida Gulf Coast Railroad – Hop Aboard North Pole Express & Santa Claus Special (December). The Florida Gulf Coast Railroad is the home of Florida’s railroad history and this holiday season it celebrates that history with holiday-themed events on board their trains. The North Pole Express invites passengers on a journey to visit with the jolly old elf himself at the North Pole including time for a special gift from Old St. Nick. Along the way carolers regale passengers with songs full of holiday spirit, and everyone enjoys complimentary hot chocolate. In addition to the North Pole Express there is also the Santa Claus Special train which allows passengers to ride the rails with Santa Claus himself – a true holiday treat. Bonus Points: This rolling rail museum hosts a variety of unique rail experiences throughout the year including a great train robbery. Ride in the caboose or if you are daring rent a locomotive complete with and engineer and learn what it takes to drive the train. (Florida Gulf Coast Railroad, 12210 83rd Street East, Parrish 34219. Toll- free 1-877-869-0800 toll-free or Augustine Florida Nights of lights t. A

St. Augustine Celebrates Nights of Lights (Mid November to end of January). The Nation’s oldest (continuously settled) city is alive with the holiday spirit during the Nights of Lights with millions of white lights throughout the historic downtown area. The event has its origins in the Spanish tradition of displaying lighted white candles during the Christmas holidays, and ties in to the city’s 433-year history. In addition to the stunning light displays, the city hosts a dazzling array of special events and activities including nighttime tours led by costumed storytellers, train and trolley tours, art walks, Florida ice skating, holiday concerts, a parade and much more. (Nights of Lights St. Augustine, 32084. Toll-free 1-800-653-2489 or

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights (Early November to January). The Streets of America back lot area of Disney-MGM Studios will sparkle with millions of lights during this year’s Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. Features of the presentation include choreographed “dancing” lights which swirl and soar to an exhilarating medley of holiday music and “Florida snow” flurries. In addition to the lights, the back lot will host three-dimensional and motion-based displays which celebrate the spirit of the season. Share the magic: There are omore than 40 hidden Mickey Mouses present in the display, so be sure to keep your eyes open for the little rascal. (Spectacle of Dancing Lights (407) 824-4321 or

Content researched and posted by Nancy Nelson-Duac, Curator of the Good Stuff for the Family Travel Files. Images courtesy Florida Gulf Coast Railroad and St Augutine Nights of Lights. Copyright updated 2015.
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