Each year at Christmas time, the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad is transformed, through the magic of Christmas, into the Polar Express. Children from all over the Akron and Cleveland area dawn their footie pajamas and board the train destined for the North Pole (aka Peninsula, OH).
While aboard, the kids listen to the magical story of the Polar Express, drink delicious hot chocolate, and take in the wondrous surroundings of Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Train volunteers do a remarkable job of making the story come alive for the kids.
Because we did not have a school on campus this week, and consequently did not have to work last night, the interns were able to get together and volunteer our time to help bring out the Christmas spirit. Since our time is usually spent just at the Environmental Education Center, it was great we had the opportunity to help out with other events going on in the park.
As the train approaches the North Pole, that’s where we come in. Volunteers dressed as elves, gingerbread men, snowmen, Christmas trees, and more, gather at the Peninsula train depot to present the illusion of a bustling, joyous North Pole wonderland. As the train passes, we spring into action as we dance, wave, jump around, and entertain the adorable little faces peering out of the train windows.
Santa rides in on his sleigh with his bag of presents and boards the train to pass out bells to the children as they ride back home to their cozy beds. Seeing the sparkle in the children’s eyes when Santa arrives makes the whole evening worth the effort. It’s such a heartwarming experience to see the children who truly believe in the spirit of Christmas.