This year in an effort to avoid the usual frenetic pace of holiday happenings, I decided to pick one special adventure and leave the others for another year.
Not only do you get to ride on a real steamer (with Santa making a guest appearance!), but the destination can’t be beat: A Christmas tree farm where you can cut down your own tree!
Insider tip: Even if you have pre-purchased tickets, arrive early and expect to wait in lines for ticket pick up and boarding.
Riding on a train is pretty exciting stuff for little kids. Even so, the 30 minute-ride to the farm was just the right length for The Explorers.
We had about 1.5-hours to explore the farm before we needed to be back on the train. Of course, we had no intention of cutting down a tree on this particular adventure (ours was already proudly on display at home). But there was still plenty of fun to be had.
This being our first trip to a Christmas tree farm, we enjoyed just walking through the fields. There were lots of interesting things to discover – like the stumps left behind by already picked trees.
All of the trees at the Santa Paula Christmas Tree Farm are Monterey Pines, whose claim to fame is that it is the longest lasting and most fragrant tree available. We tried to imagine where huge trees like these might fit (certainly not in our house, the kids agreed).
Insider tip: You don’t need to cut down your own tree to get something out of this adventure. Explore the farm, bring along a picnic & enjoy the time outside.
After perusing the fields, we headed back toward the train. The kids were lucky enough to be able to hop aboard the engine for a quick look-see & photo op, then take a photo with Santa.
There were lots of other for-fee activities, too – like camel and pony rides and a petting zoo. We skipped it all in favor of shaved ice and a warm, soft pretzel.
Insider tip: Bring cash! The food and activities are cash-only, with no ATM in sight.
Later that night, The Big Explorer proclaimed our outing one of his “best days ever.” He’s already dreaming up next years’ adventure – a ride in our pjs to the “North Pole.”
- The Christmas Tree Train runs Sat. & Sun. from Nov. 26-Dec. 18, 2011; departs at 10 a.m. & 2 p.m. (runs at noon only on Dec. 17 & 18)
- The Christmas Tree Train ride from the station to the Santa Paula Christmas Tree Farm takes about 30 minutes; guests have 1.5+ hours to explore the farm before heading back
- Tickets are $24 for adults, $14 for kids 4-12, $10 for kids 2-3, kids under 2 are FREE on lap
- Even if you have pre-purchased tickets, arrive early and expect to wait in lines for ticket pick up & boarding
- No food or beverage allowed on the train
- Drinks & snacks are available for purchase on the train & at the Santa Paula Christmas Tree Farm
- Portable potties are provided at the farm
- Tree prices are not included in your ticket price; U-cut Monterey Pines start at about $30
- Fillmore & Western Railway Co. offers two other fun holiday adventures: the North Pole Express & Dinner with Santa
- Visit Santa’s Village next to the tracks at the station – it’s home to a carousel, bounce house & more
- Free parking available
Fillmore & Western Railway Co. is located at:
364 Main St.
Fillmore, CA 93015