Today's Idea
Sunday, December 8, 2019

26th Annual Holiday Train Show

The Connecticut River Museum isn’t large, but it’s proof that good things come in small packages. (Or smaller display cases, where things like the Museum’s fabulously detailed ship models fascinate absolutely everyone.) And for the holidays, for the past 26 years, the highlight of the museum in December hasn’t been just been boat models – but model trains.


The annual holiday train show is 26 feet of train-lover wonderland, created by train artist Steve Cryan. Trains run every which way, and there’s more scenery than you can actually take in, as evidenced by an I SPY Scavenger Hunt, where visitors are challenged to find various objects hidden within the layout.  Younger visitors will also like the American Flyer and Lionel Train layout designed for toddler size viewing. Show is on display Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am- 5 pm, through February 23. Admission: $10 adults; $8 seniors; $7 students; $6 children age 6-12, free for kids under age 6.


Before or after you visit the model trains, you can move onto something more life size without leaving Essex. Essex Steam Train (One Railroad Avenue, Essex; (860) 767-0103; is hosting their Santa Special train rides mornings and early afternoons on December weekends. Essex Steam Train’s usual cars are decked out with vintage decorations, Rudolph and Pablo the Penguin are on board, and kids are trained to become “Santa’s Elves” (main qualifications are eating cookies, playing with toys, and drinking cocoa.) As you’d expect, Santa and Mrs. Claus pay a visit to every young rider, and kids are given a small holiday gift. Coach tickets are $26 for a 60-minute ride. Book early, as popular departures do sell out.