Frequently Asked Questions

How can our large party sit together?Frequently Asked Questions


at the Colorado Railroad Museum

— 2021 —


  • Ticketing Questions
  • The Experience Itself
  • Day-Of Arrival and Timing


 What are the exact dates of THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride for 2021?
THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride at the Colorado Railroad Museum operates on November 11-12-13-14, 18-19-20-21, and 26-27-28. It continues December 1-2-3-4-5, 7-8-9-10-11-12, and 14-15-16-17-18-19-20-21-22-23. Performances each evening begin at 5 p.m., 6:30 p.m., and 8 p.m. (see below for more details about arriving on time for your performance!).

 Is THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride going to be canceled?
COVID-19 continues to be a concern in our community. However, we want to assure you that the show is still on! We continue to monitor current requirements and guidance related to COVID-19, and for 2021 masks are required aboard the actual train ride portion of the experience for everyone ages 2 and older. If anything changes on that front, including new guidance that may be issued, we’ll email all ticketed guests right away.

 When do tickets go on sale?
Tickets for THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride at the Colorado Railroad Museum go on sale to the General Public beginning at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, October 5. Museum members will have early access to purchase tickets, beginning one week prior (September 28) and continuing through Monday, October 4. A special Early Access code is required for members during this time, and it also provides a discount off every ticket purchased.

 Where can I purchase tickets?
Tickets are available online by visiting

 I am a Museum Member, how will I receive my “Early Access” code?
Colorado Railroad Museum Members receive the first opportunity to order THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride tickets each year! This year, the member pre-sale dates are September 28-October 4. All Members who have ACTIVE membership accounts will receive a special membership access code at the current email address we have on file before sales open. If you’re a member and don’t receive this code before September 28, please call us at (303) 279-4591 during business hours (we’re closed on Mondays), or email us at so we may update your email address and provide your code!

 How do I become a Museum Member?
The Colorado Railroad Museum offers a wide range of annual Membership options for individuals and families. Early access and discounts to tickets for themed events such as THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride are included. Year-round benefits are also included, such as free Museum Admission and Train Rides on weekends (except during Special Events). Benefits, costs and Membership levels are listed online here. Don’t wait, join or renew your membership online today!

Is access available for wheelchairs or persons with limited mobility?
For 2021, we’re pleased to announce that we do offer seating for wheelchairs, including aboard the moving train, during selected THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride performances. Our all-new First Class Car has been completely remodeled with a wide platform and end door to make this access possible at THE POLAR EXPRESS™ event. We also have introduced permanent, remodeled access to an onsite, accessible restroom here on the Museum grounds.

What if a member of my party is gluten intolerant or lactose intolerant?
During ticket purchase, you will be prompted to tell us if anyone in your party is gluten intolerant, so we may offer an appropriate cookie substitution. If any members of your party are lactose intolerant, please consider bringing a hot cocoa substitute of your choice.

Will I have to wear a mask?
Yes. Masks are required to be worn at all times during the train ride portion of your experience, for all guests ages 2 and older. This is a federal TSA requirement, and there are no exceptions.

Why are you selling First Class tickets only in groups of four this year?
We’ve reduced overall capacity for THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride 2021 for safety. For Standard Class seating, you are welcome to purchase the number of individual tickets required for your party. For First Class, however, seating aboard the train ride portion of your experience is at tables of four. If you have an odd size group, consider bringing along friends or neighbors to make the number work out to multiples of four!

Can I return my tickets for a refund?
Generally, we do not allow returns or offer refunds. However, for valid and urgent situations, we occasionally make exceptions. Please contact us directly, during business hours at (303) 279-4591, as soon as you are aware of an issue. If we allow your return/refund, our goal is to have at least 48 hours to then offer your tickets for sale to others looking to purchase them. Any returned tickets that become available for purchase will be announced on the Colorado Railroad Museum’s Facebook page. These are available only on a first-come, first-served basis. We do not maintain a waiting list.

Can I transfer my THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride tickets to a third party?
You may transfer your ticket block to a third party. However, you must immediately inform the Museum of the transfer, and provide the Museum with the name and email address of the new ticket owner. For First Class seating, you must transfer entire Tables of Four. Note: We strongly recommend against “purchasing” tickets from individuals with the intention of having them transferred to your name. In the past, FAKE tickets have been sold to unsuspecting individuals, and these cannot be honored. For 2021, there are NO physical tickets—only an electronic purchase record in the name of the original purchaser. If we do not have your name on our manifests, you may be denied entry to the event.

What if THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride is Canceled for Any Reason?
In the unlikely event that THE POLAR EXPRESS™ has to be canceled, including due to public health orders or other factors beyond the control of the event, we will endeavor to contact you and your tickets will be refunded.


Does THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train RIde take place aboard a real train?
THE POLAR EXPRESS™ experience here at the Colorado Railroad Museum is a multi-part experience. Starting in our brand-new THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Pavilion with a pre-show, once the clock strikes YOUR boarding time the show shifts into full throttle! The “Hot Chocolate” song and dance is performed live, followed by a dramatic reading and dramatization of The Polar Express story. Next, you’ll move outdoors to await the awe-inspiring arrival of THE POLAR EXPRESS™, featuring vintage railroad coaches pulled by an authentic, coal-burning steam locomotive! You’ll head for the North Pole, where you’ll watch from aboard the train as Santa and his Elves give out “the first gift of Christmas.” Once your train returns, you’ll have the opportunity to visit with Santa and pick up your very own Silver Bell.

Which side of the train has the “best” view?
THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride at the Colorado Railroad Museum is a multi-part experience that unfolds at several locations. The entire experience lasts approximately 1-1/2 hours. The experience begins in THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Pavilion, with a dazzling pre-show featuring cabaret-style holiday music. You’ll then move into the Main Show filled with song and dance, featuring “Hot Chocolate” and a dramatic retelling of The Polar Express™ story. The next stop is trackside, where you’ll await the dramatic arrival of The Polar Express™. Climb aboard and you’ll be whisked off to the magical North Pole, with entertainers aboard the train bringing the story to life during the journey. Upon your train’s return from the North Pole, you’ll have the opportunity to visit with Santa in his own workshop!

Which side of the train has the “best” view?
This year, the focus during the actual Train Ride part of your experience is on the performances taking place in the cars themselves! Characters from the movie will come alive inside your train car as you travel to the North Pole. Once the car has stopped at the North Pole, children will have the opportunity to stand and look out the window towards the North Pole for the best view.

Is there assigned seating aboard the train?
No. Standard Class seating is assigned by our staff after your purchase, in order to place different group sizes into appropriate seating arrangements for maximum room and comfort. This is because the capacity of all three of our Standard Class coaches varies. First Class seating is determined during boarding, with preference given to anyone requiring the assistance of a wheelchair or other assistive mobility device.

How can our large party sit together?
Parties wishing to be seated together should purchase seats together at the same time, for the same date and performance time. For groups larger than 24, your group may be separated into two groups for seating aboard the train ride portion of your experience. If you have already purchased tickets separately for the same exact performance date and time, and would like to be seated together, please contact Rob Kramer at (720) 274-5149.

Will I get to meet the Conductor of the train?
Yes, your conductor will call “All Aboard” when the train is ready to leave the station. He will also stop by to punch your ticket during the journey. There will be other storybook characters on board the train as well, so you won’t want to miss this exciting journey.

If I haven’t read the book or watched the movie, will I still have a good time?
We recommend that you take the time to watch the movie before you journey to the Museum for your THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride experience. Yes, you can read along or just listen as we dramatically re-enact the story of The Polar Express on its adventure to the North Pole. But if you have read the book or—better yet—watched the movie, you’ll feel as though you’ve just stepped into the memorable and timeless story of this magical train ride, with your child as a part of the cast. 

Should my children dress in their pajamas?
In the story, all the children taking this magical train ride are awakened from their beds on Christmas Eve. Join the fun by bringing your children in their pajamas. Adults are also welcome to join the PJ party fun. *It’s winter in Colorado! Guests will be outside as they wait for THE POLAR EXPRESS™ to arrive, so make sure to wear warm layers and appropriate footwear.

Where can I buy a copy of the movie or story book?
Both are pretty widely available! During THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train RIde event, please stop by the Museum’s Depot Store for books, videos, games, and other holiday gift ideas. Many items are also available from our online web store.

How long is the experience?
Each performance lasts about 1-1/2 hours, considering that most guests arrive early for THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Pavilion pre-show and many stay later to visit with Santa.

Will my child get to meet Santa personally?
Santa will make an appearance at the North Pole, where he will give out “The First Gift of Christmas!” as everyone aboard the train watches. Once your train returns from the North Pole, Santa will be available for your party to visit with and capture those special photos.


Arrival Time
The time listed for your performance is when the show actually BEGINS. Please plan to arrive 30 to 45 minutes in advance of the listed showtime. A pre-show will begin 30 minutes prior to your listed showtime to entertain you as guests assemble! Please DO NOT arrive too early – we cannot accommodate guests prior to 1 hour before to your listed performance showtime. Note: This arrival timing restriction is to ensure our check-in area is not overcrowded. If you do arrive early, we ask that you wait inside your car until 1 hour prior to your listed showtime.

Masks Are Required
All guests (ages 2 and older) will be required to wear a mask fully covering their nose and mouth at all times during the train ride portion of the experience. This is a federal TSA requirement and there are NO EXCEPTIONS to this requirement. Please bring your favorite mask for maximum comfort. Should additional masking or other health-related requirements be imposed by local, state, or federal authorities, you agree to comply. We will notify you via email of any such requirement and/or changes, as soon as we become aware of them. If someone in your party is unable to wear a mask for any reason, you will be denied entry to the train. For the safety of all our guests, cast and crew members, we will be strictly enforcing this requirement.

Dress for Winter Weather
Be sure to wear comfortable, warm shoes! Pajamas are encouraged, of course, but please make sure to have jackets and protective outerwear available. You’ll be outside for 10-15 minutes to await the arrival of THE POLAR EXPRESS™ after enjoying the cabaret-style show in THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Pavilion. NOTE: While our Polar Express Pavilion is heated with forced air heaters, windy, snowy or especially cold nights may mean that we cannot fully control environmental comfort levels. Train cars are individually heated but also subject to temperature variations during your ride to and from the North Pole.

Check-In Location has Changed
If you’ve attended THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride in previous years, you may have gotten used to checking in at the Museum’s Depot Store. For 2021, Check-In is located immediately opposite the main driveway entry gate to the Museum’s parking lot. The Depot Store is the Event Exit only, to help ensure a one-way flow for all guests as part of our continuing safety measures.

Where is the Colorado Railroad Museum Located?
We are located at 17155 W. 44th Avenue, in Golden, CO 80403. From Denver, take I-70 west to CO Hwy 58. Take the McIntyre Avenue exit, turn right, then immediately turn left onto W. 44th Avenue. The museum is a little over a mile to the west, on the right-hand (north) side of W. 44th Avenue.

Is parking free for the event?
Yes, parking for THE POLAR EXPRESS™ 2021 is free. It’s available on-site at the Colorado Railroad Museum, 17155 W. 44th Avenue, Golden, CO 80403.

Are there restrooms aboard the train?
There are NO restrooms aboard the actual moving train. However, restrooms will be available before and during THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Pavilion cabaret-style show, and prior to boarding of the train and after your return from the North Pole. Accessible restrooms are located near our Depot Store building.

Will the event be canceled because of weather conditions?
No. The Polar Express Train Ride is a seasonal winter event, and will operate in all weather conditions including rain or snow. Please dress appropriately—you’ll be outside a few minutes while waiting for the arrival of THE POLAR EXPRESS™. In case of inclement weather, please plan ahead and allow additional time to safely make your way to THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride event.

What is the Museum doing to ensure guest safety during the current COVID-19 surge?
The Colorado Railroad Museum was able to safely operate THE POLAR EXPRESS Train Ride event in 2020, at the height of the wintertime COVID surge. We are very proud of our track record, and THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride has once again been adjusted for 2021. All actors and performers, along with our staff team on duty, will be vaccinated. The Colorado Railroad Museum follows current health guidelines and performs regular facility cleanings for everyone’s safety. Some of the other measures in place for THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride include:
• Masks required aboard the Train Ride portion of your experience, for all guests ages 2 and older. These must be worn at all times during the train ride. There are NO EXCEPTIONS to this requirement. If someone in your party is unable to wear a mask for any reason, you will be denied entry to the train. For the safety of all our guests, cast and crew members, we will be strictly enforcing this requirement.
• Actors will perform behind Plexiglas while aboard trains.
• Limited capacity entry to the event.
• Advanced tickets required, sold at
• Hand sanitizing stations conveniently located.
• Masks encouraged, but not required, while in the Polar Express Pavilion and during your Visit With Santa after the return of your train from the North Pole.

Official THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Rides are licensed by Rail Events, Inc. on behalf of Warner Bros. Consumer Products, Inc. Since 2005, Rail Events, Inc. has held the exclusive license to operate THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Rides in the US, Canada, and the United Kingdom. THE POLAR EXPRESS and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Based on THE POLAR EXPRESS book and characters TM & © 1985 by Chris Van Allsburg. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


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