Christmas Lights Scavenger Hunt

10:51 PM

 Christmas Lights Scavenger Hunt

One of our favorite Christmas traditions is driving around and looking at Christmas lights. Everyone gets in their jammies, we grab some hot chocolate and we bring a box of Little Debbies Christmas Tree cakes!

 The excitement can ebb & flow with kids so, I found a way to make it a little more fun & keep their attention! It's no secret I love a scavenger hunt. This makes looking at Christmas lights even more fun. You can make the game unique to your family. We only use the scavenger hunt when going out & looking at house displays, not the drive-thru pay-to-see light displays. We get very competitive & come up with a fun prize for whoever can find the most on their list!

Why simply admire the holiday lights when you can turn the experience into a festive treasure hunt?  Everyone will have a jolly time spotting Santa's sleigh and hunting for a Disney character. Get ready to make unforgettable memories this holiday season!

I recommend grabbing clipboards to use for ease of use in the car!

Fort Wayne Locals: click HERE for our family Christmas Lights Tour Guide if you have an iPhone !

Christmas Tree Scavenger Hunt

Everything you need to know about the Polar Express at St. Louis Union Station

3:54 PM

 St. Louis Station Polar Express

Going on the Polar Express has become one of our favorite traditions. We have been so excited to finally be able to take Bo, as he is crazy about trains! Instead of going to where we normally go, we made the trip to St. Louis to make a pre-Christmas getaway of it! We have been to St. Louis before {check out our trip HERE} & stayed at St. Louis Union Station, they had mentioned they wanted us to come back as they were undergoing a major renovation. It has changed SO much since we were there in 2019! It was already great but now there are a million things to do right on the property! Things like, an aquarium, more restaurants, a giant Ferris wheel, mirror maze, and during November & December they offer the Polar Express!

This Polar Express was Disney-level magic! It was so so well organized & the actors were amazing! We had the most magical time!

1. Get your tickets early!
You can sign up to get notifications at to be the first to know when tickets go on sale each year. You don't want to wait til after Thanksgiving for your tickets! Prime days & seats go fast!
2. Ticket Info
You buy your tickets right online at You can print out a novelty ticket like in the movie HERE or you can wait to get one when you arrive{free of charge}.

Currently{2023} rides start around mid-November til the End of December!

We did a hotel package for our stay & tickets! They offer tickets & hotel room packages & even packages where they decorate your hotel room for you! I highly recommend doing this especially if you are coming from out of town like us. This made it so magical & not rushed.

Ticket Prices:
Tickets starts at $40


COACH: Forward-facing (airline style) seating. Rows of 4, 2 seats on either side of the aisle.

FIRST CLASS: Pods of four seats facing each other with a small table in between. Sold in groups of four with a commemorative Polar Express mug (must purchase a seat for everyone in your party). Includes complimentary digital photo download.

PREMIUM UPPER DOME CAR: Mix of Booth Seating and set of Captain’s Chairs. Seats are located on the 2nd Level. Full 360-degree view with glass windows in the Dome area. Each seat comes with a commemorative Polar Express mug (must purchase a seat for everyone in your party. Includes complimentary digital photo download and Polar Express Gift Shop Retail Credit

PREMIUM DOME CAR: Lower Lounge: Lower-level premium seating with lounge-style seating in a spacious area. Each ticket comes with a commemorative Polar Express mug (must purchase a seat for everyone in your party). Includes complimentary digital photo download and Polar Express Gift Shop Retail Credit
Assigned Car selection: When you arrive you are given a wrist band & that band tells you what car you are in & how to line up accordingly.

Are Polar Express tickets refundable?
Really think about the dates when you book, as you more than likely are making them months or a year out. Tickets are non-refundable and not transferable to a different date.

3. What to wear

This is totally up to you! My kids always wear their PJ's in true Polar Express fashion. One year we had to layer as it was very chilly, another year it was very warm & were good to go with just PJ's. Us parents do not wear our PJ's, however, I would say 75% or more of parents DO dress in theirs as well. Wearing PJ's children or adults is not required at all. Go in whatever you would like!

4. What happens? Where do we go?
From their website :
THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride is a re-creation of the classic children’s story on board a real train. Passengers are served hot chocolate and a treat by dancing chefs, enjoy a reading of the book by Chris Van Allsburg, and receive the first gift of Christmas (a silver sleigh bell) after Santa boards the train to greet families. Elves lead passengers in caroling and fun holiday activities on the return trip to Union Station.
Where do we go:
Why the north pole of course! :)

How long is the ride:
The ride itself is about 45 mins long. 

Please please do arrive early. There is fun stuff to do ahead of time & plenty of photo ops. They depart promptly at your reserved time. They will not wait for you. If you are traveling to get here, like us, leave with ample time! We leave with wanting to get there a little over an hour early.

5. Extra Fun

-The ride itself is enough. But, after you pick Santa up at the North Pole he comes on board & you are able to grab a photo with him on the train. Then, he gives the first gift a Christmas. Just as he did in the Polar Express, it's a bell. It's great quality & engraved with the "Polar Express" on it.
-They have a gift shop full of amazing souvenirs. Like the conductor's hat, light-up wands, you can buy the actual book there, ornaments, etc.

-There are a few photo opportunities while you are there. In the gift shop, they have where you can buy prints on-site or buy them digitally. 

6. What else is there to do?
We didn't leave St. Louis station the few days we were there & had a ton of stuff to do! Here is all that is offered:

The Train Shed
This is a restaurant on property at St. Louis station, decked to the NINES in Christmas decor. I had some kind of decor hanging from every inch of this place. They even have a fun festive drink menu. No reservations are needed, first come first serve.

- Build A Bear Headquarters
Again, right at St. Louis Union Station they have the build a bear headquarters! You can make a bear {they even have a polar express one available}

- The Wheel & Carousel 
Take a ride on the giant Ferris wheel! The cars are climate-controlled so you don't have to worry about being cold! You get a great view of St. Louis Union Station & can even see the arch!

- Lobby projection show
This was one of our favorite things on our last visit, now for Christmas they have a Christmas Projection show. It is so much fun!

- St. Louis Station Aquarium
It sounds crazy but there is an actual aquarium here there on property to visit!

- Fire Show
This was another family favorite on our last visit! This time the pyrotechnics were set to Christmas music! Was so so cool!

There is STILL more to do, like a rope course, mini golf & mirror maze that was didn't even get to!
I can't remember the St. Louis Union Station enough it was the most magical time!