December 13, 2013 in Features

Santa’s workshop a short trip away

Our Weekly Pick For Families

The North Pole Express embarks for the first time Saturday from the Looff Carrousel at Riverfront Park in downtown Spokane.
(Full-size photo)

This train to the Santa’s workshop will be wearing studded tires.

Riverfront Park’s North Pole Express, embarking for the first time Saturday from the Looff Carrousel, puts the park’s tour train to work – after dressing it up for Christmas and wintry conditions.

The train rides will transport passengers to and from the downtown park’s version of the North Pole. While the destination holds its own attractions, the journey will have its perks, too.

An “elf” on board will read “The Night Before Christmas” to passengers en route to the North Pole, otherwise known as the Forestry Shelter, amid the trees and meadows on the park’s east side, said Barbara Ackermann. Ackermann, Riverfront Park’s training supervisor, is in charge of the new program.

Guests can warm up next to a fire and will be greeted by Santa Claus, who’ll be available for photos (passengers should bring their own cameras). Hot chocolate and cookies will be served.

“They’ll all get a chance to sit on Santa’s lap and take pictures and get candy canes,” Ackermann said.

With the return trip featuring a Christmas carol singalong, the whole trip will take about an hour, Ackermann said.

The train seats about 45 people at a time.

“It is an all-outdoor event, so they could bring blankets to stay warm for the train ride,” she said. “We’ve been telling people to make sure they’re bundled up.”

Adrian Rogers

Where: The train leaves from Riverfront Park’s Looff Carrousel, east of the Rotary Riverfront Fountain near Spokane Falls Boulevard and Stevens Street downtown.

When: Noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday and Dec. 21. Noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Sunday and Dec. 22.

Tickets: $12 covers everything, with one child 5 and younger riding free per paid ticket holder. Buy tickets at Riverfront Park Ice Palace or through (509) 625-6600. The park recommends buying tickets in advance.

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