Event Review: Irvine Park Railroad Christmas Train

What It is:

A ride on the Irvine Park Railroad to see Santa Claus. There are also a bunch of decorations, games, activities, and a bounce house.

What We Did:

Our train tickets were from 7-8 PM so we figured we would get there a little early and walk around the village and activities they had set up. The parking lot has no lights so it is REALLY dark. Make sure you have some sort of light you can use!


There were a bunch of photo areas set up in the village and none had any lines. People were really nice abut helping to take family pictures too! Lots of lights and fun things to look at which I really liked. There was even an area with Christmas trees set up that you could take pictures around.

Tons of lights!

When we were there none of the games or activities had any lines. They looked pretty fun, but there was nothing for C to do so we just enjoyed the lights and let him run around for a bit. They had cookie decorating, an ice fishing game, little car rides, a bounce house, and a few other carnival type games.

Around 6:45 we figured we should out where to line up for our 7 PM train. That is when we found out that people were already lining up. We were not even close to the front of the line. No big deal. I’d rather not spend all night waiting in line. They checked tickets and I really liked that they required your entire party to be there when you checked in since you were getting in line for the train. We didn’t make the first train which wasn’t an issue with us. Until one of the employees loading the train found a lost kid. They couldn’t let the first train go until the little girl was reunited with her family (totally understandable!) But it look 15 minutes because her family didn’t know she was missing. We were in line for probably about 30-40 minutes, after checking in which means you can’t get out of line, before we got on the train. So bring snacks and/or something to amuse the kids in case this happens to you!

The set up for Santa.

The train stops halfway through the normal route to see Santa. They have a huge area set up where Santa is and everything is decorated amazingly. What we didn’t know is that people run off the train to get in line for Santa. It honestly didn’t take that long in line though so I don’t know why people ran. Maybe other times were longer wait times. They also have a small snack booth set up. The great part about Santa pictures is that they take some, but they also allow you to take some with your camera and will take group ones with your camera too!

Nice Santa area!

Then the train ride back to the starting area! The tunnel they go through is lined with lights and looks really cool. The older kids on the train really loved it. It was really well done!


  • Very nice set up. They know how to keep things moving!
  • The decorations. There are so many lights and it looks really good!
  • Lots of activities before or after the train ride. (Or even if you don’t have train tickets!)


Not So Good:

  • Long lines which can mean long wait times.
  • Lines were way more competitive than I thought!
  • Not a ton for those that can’t play carnival games.



$15 per person over age 2 for the train. Activity tickets cost $5 each. And parking costs $3 on weekdays and $5 on weekends, but after 5 PM is free.

Our Verdict:

This was fun. I knew that we wouldn’t be able to do much with C so we mostly paid for the train ride. And that is exactly what we did. I think that this is a fun family activity and we were surrounded by people that did this every year. It seems like something great to do with kids that are a little older. It is pretty hard to get tickets to the time you want so you have to be ready to buy and fairly open with your schedule! If we can get tickets again, we will go!

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