Phoenix With Kids

Marana Christmas Express

Add a little joy to your family’s world this Christmas season and visit the Marana Christmas Express! This event takes place about 30 minutes north of Tucson on a farm– a pumpkin farm in fact! The Marana Pumpkin Patch is also the location for the Marana Christmas Express and they’ve really decked the halls for this event!

Jana Tingom

Add a little joy to your family’s world this Christmas season and visit the Marana Christmas Express! This event takes place about 30 minutes north of Tucson on a farm– a pumpkin farm in fact! The Marana Pumpkin Patch is also the location for the Marana Christmas Express and they’ve really decked the halls for this event!

The short drive out to the farm is a great time for singing Christmas carols or thinking ahead about what you’ll ask Santa for this year. Parking is plentiful and strollers and wagons are welcome. It’s good to know ahead of time that there’s a good amount of walking at the Marana Christmas Express. As you check in to pay admission you’ll receive physical tickets for your family– be sure to hang on to these as you’ll use them to board the train!

We visited opening night and since there weren’t big crowds when we arrived, we decided to go straight to the train! (On a related note, strollers and wagons can be parked outside the train station). We each handed over our ticket to board the train and chose our car– it’s a tight squeeze but it’ll help keep you warm! We waved to the people watching as we left the train station and were on our journey around the perimeter of the farm. One of the cool aspects of the train ride is that you get a great view of all of the rides they have, including some carnival rides, a giant slide, jumping pillows, and the playground area! This year we even saw a ferris wheel but it was only open for a short time that evening.

As the train began to slow, we could see lots of Christmas lights up ahead and we began to hear Christmas music. Christmas trees and other lit structures lined each side of the train track, flashing to the beat of the music. There were a couple of really awesome archways that change color as you travel underneath. As we left the Christmas wonderland and headed back into darkness the train began to slow once again and we came to a stop. Just as we began to wonder why we stopped, six large Christmas tree shapes lit up and danced to the sounds of Little Drummer Boy. Once the light show was finished, we headed toward the North Pole! There were an impressive number of unique light displays– everything from Santa and his workshop, to a forest with reindeer, and even a pumpkin patch! The ride worked up our appetites, so as we arrived back at the station we decided it was time to find some food!

There are a few different food venue options, including snack stands with cotton candy, popcorn, and hot cocoa, in addition to a bakery and the Red Barn Grill. To get a meal, visit the Red Barn Grill where they have pizza, burgers, chili, a Mexican plate, and more. They also have kid’s meal options for $8, which include fries and a drink. After eating dinner our kids were ready for the jumping pillows and carnival rides but we talked them into visiting Santa first so we could let our food settle.

As we walked down the path, an elf hollered out to come meet Santa! We made our way into a smaller barn and took in the warm and inviting cabin-like atmosphere with various photo stations around the perimeter. As we reached the front of the line another elf offered to take our family’s photo at one of the cute North Pole photo set-ups. I love how that photo caught my kids’ excitement to see Santa. When it was our turn, both kids hopped up into his lap and had a great conversation about what they’d like this Christmas, and how they’ve been good this year. Santa even encouraged them to keep loving on their parents. Oh, and did I mention this is all included in the price of admission?! No extra costs for pictures with Santa!

After our magical visit with Santa, we played on the mini diggers and made our way over to the jumping pillows before grabbing cookies at the bakery on our way out. With event dates on the weekends only, the season passes quickly, so be sure to make your plans soon! The event happens from 5:00 – 9:00 PM on Dec. 8th – 10th, 15th – 17th & 22nd – 23rd and general admission is $20. It’s recommended to purchase tickets online here and you can read all about the event and what is included in the price of admission on their website.

The Marana Christmas Express is located at The Marana Pumpkin Patch and Farm Festival at 14950 N Trico Rd., Marana, AZ 85653.

We hope your Christmas is merry and bright!

More holiday events in Phoenix and Arizona can be found on the events calendar.

Author

  • Jana Tingom

    Jana is a homeschooling mother of three children, and lives in Scottsdale with her husband, Chris. She enjoys traveling, reading and coffee. Follow @phoenixwithkids on Instagram for daily photos around Phoenix!

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