The Polar Express Returns to Union Station 2018

Today is the day! The Polar Express Returns to St. Louis Union Station! As usual the folks at The Polar Express have showed that this event is worth checking out year after year. Each character has their own style and entertaining ways of keeping kids AND adults having fun during your entire visit. Whether it’s the Hobo cracking jokes, or the chefs passing out some hot chocolate, there is always something going on that will keep your attention. Check out my social media pages to see some exclusive photos from our ride on The Polar Express this year.

THE POLAR EXPRESS TRAIN RIDE
AT ST. LOUIS UNION STATION
KICKS OFF THE HOLIDAY SEASON TONIGHT
WITH TRAINS TO THE “NORTH POLE”
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2018
3:30 P.M. TO 8:30 P.M.

 

WHAT: The Polar Express Train Ride at St. Louis Union Station begins the 2018 season tonight. Kids and their families — dressed in their Christmas pajamas — meet with Santa and his elves, sing with the Polar Express chefs and learn the story of The Polar Express on their journey to the North Pole.

WHEN: Tonight, Friday, November 16. Riders begin arriving as early as 3:30 p.m. to take part in a variety of holiday activities and pre-boarding fun. The first train departs for the North Pole at 4:30 p.m. Trains also depart at 6, 7:15 and 8:30 p.m.

WHERE: St. Louis Union Station. Enter the parking lot from 18th St. south of Clark.

ABOUT THE POLAR EXPRESS TRAIN RIDE AT ST. LOUIS UNION STATION:

The Polar Express Train Ride at St. Louis Union Station is returning for the 2018 holiday season. Trains begin running from St. Louis Union Station to the North Pole tonight — Friday, November 16 — and continue on selected dates through December 30, 2018.

Tickets are on sale at www.STLPolarExpressRide.com.

The Polar Express Train Ride’s magical story of a boy’s search for the meaning of Christmas comes to life when real trains departs St. Louis Union Station for a round-trip journey to the North Pole.

Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, passengers will relive the magic of the story as they are whisked away on The Polar Express. Once on board, passengers are served hot chocolate and cookies by the Polar Express chefs as they read along with the classic children’s book, The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg.

Santa and his helpers greet passengers at the North Pole and then board the train. Santa interacts with each child and gives them the first gift of Christmas — a silver sleigh bell. Chefs and Santa’s elves lead passengers in singing Christmas carols on the ride back to St. Louis Union Station.

Trains depart St. Louis Union Station at 4:30, 6:00, and 7:15 p.m. Trains also will run at 8:30 p.m. on selected dates. Passengers are encouraged to arrive at least 30 minutes before departure to enjoy holiday activities and photo opportunities in the boarding area.

Riders may choose from two classes of service on The Polar Express — Coach and First-Class. Coach tickets start at $39. First-class ticket holders will receive a Polar Ex- press mug and will be seated at four-top tables on the train.

Guests can save 20 per- cent on The Polar Express Train Ride when they purchase their tickets along with a hotel package at the St. Louis Union Station Hotel, a Curio Collection by Hilton. Hotel rooms decorated with Christmas trees are available for a special holiday treat.

More information about dates, fares and excursion times is available by calling 314-942- 6942, or by visiting www.STLPolarExpressRide.com. Families are encouraged to wear their holiday pajamas for the ride.

In addition to the train ride, St. Louis Union Station will continue its popular holiday fire and light show set to Christmas music on the train shed lake each evening during the holiday season.

St. Louis Union Station also will host a series of Magical Meals — holiday character dinners in the beautiful Grand Hall of the historic train station during the Polar Express season. Featuring 3-D light shows projected on the ceiling and visits with Santa’s elves chefs and The Polar Express Conductor, the dinner sessions are available on selected days when the Polar Express Train Ride is in operation. Dinners are served buffet style with separate adult and children’s selections priced between $20 and $25. Children ages two and under are complimentary. An elaborate holiday dessert buffet accompanies the dinners. Reservations for the 5:45 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. dinners may be purchased online at www.STLPolarExpressRide.com. Tip: Select dates for the Magical Meal first, then purchase train tickets for the same date.

This year, a Build-A-Bear pop up shop will be located in the activities tent for the first time. An event-themed bear will be available for children to create on site. For more in- formation, visit buildabear.com.

St. Louis Union Station is located at 1820 Market Street in downtown St. Louis. Parking is available in the Union Station lot at 18th and Clark for just $5 for all Polar Express ticket holders.

St. Louis Dad was compensated tickets to ride The Polar Express in exchange for an honest review.

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The Inner Image: Taking The Best Family Pictures

Do you find that family outings are not visually captured as well as you’d like them to be? If you’re an amateur photographer, or you like a selfie or two with your kids, taking a good family photo is a fine art. After all, people have dedicated their entire lives to the endeavor of the perfect photograph. And while you don’t need to be Robert Capa, are there any fundamentals you can take on board to ensure that you don’t, at the very least, have your thumb over the lens?

Get The Focus Locked

Either you need to have the steadiest of arms, or you can go for the simpler option and get a tripod. You might consider this to be a bit bulky, but when you’re looking at capturing the perfect family photo, what have all the great portraits got in common? The camera has focus, and the subjects are still. So, making sure that the focus on the camera is locked, either by using the back button focus or manual focus, it will take a lot of the guesswork out of it.

Getting Action Shots

It all depends on the subject, but it’s much easier when you’ve got kids that are more than willing to mess around for the camera. You can get an abundance of action shots, but don’t feel that you’ve got to be static in these situations. In fact, if you’re looking to get various types of family photos, not just the still portraits, you may want to go a bit left-field and get a drone. On myrctopia.com there is a list of the best selfie drones, which adds another angle to your experience. And, if you want to get those really fantastic aerial shots of you and the family running on a massive beach, a drone is the best way to do it.

Get The Light Right

One of the most difficult tasks for any photographer is to get the light right because we can’t control it. And if you can’t drag piles of lighting equipment around with you, the simplest approach is to choose the right time to take these photos. Lighting is such an expansive topic, but the golden rule when getting a family portrait is that you get light into the subject’s eyes.

Undertake Your Own Education

Who are your favorite photographers? Do you admire anyone at all? For any budding photographer, getting into the work of one specific artist, whether it’s Pulitzer prize winner Kevin Carter or Vivian Maier, finding the right people to inspire your work and to go beyond the usual family portraits means you can create some amazing photographs that remain true to the subject. Your own education can begin right now, and sites like creativelive.com show some of the most common photography terms, so this can get you started.

We can all take a photograph, but the greatest photographs take the subject and show them in an honest and human light. When taking pictures of your family, you may know them inside out, but you can always benefit from learning how to get the camera to reveal their inner self.

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

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Great Ideas for Your Kids’ Midweeks Rewards

As a parent, you know very well that the best way to encourage good behavior is to give them rewards for good deeds rather than punishments for when they’re acting out. Children tend to learn when they get incentives – and we all need something to motivate us, after all.

The only problem is that children want the one thing they can’t always have in the middle of the week: candy, chocolates, waffles, pancakes – the list goes on. Anything sweet is a great reward, in your kids’ eyes, but not always the best choice of reward according to parents.

Luckily, there are a few other ideas which you can both agree about. Show your kids that you care about their hobbies and interests, first of all, and you should be able to come up with a ton of ideas for rewards. Here are a few just to get you started.

Movie night with popcorn

Sure, this one does include some snacks but popcorn is considered to be quite healthy, in any way. Just don’t drench it in salt and butter and your conscience should be clear. A movie night with mom and dad might just be the perfect way to end a gray and gloomy Wednesday.

Let your kid know before a big test or something challenging that, if they do good, you can all watch a movie of their choice together over dinner. Naturally, you’re not going to deprive them of this if they come home crying about not doing as well as they thought, though, as any effort should be good enough.

The trick is to give them an incentive to do their very best and make it clear that their best is always good enough for you.

Boost their gaming goals

Do you have children who would sit in front of their computer games all evening if they could? While your role may be to tell them to get off the computer, in general, you could always take advantage of their interest and make them work a bit for it.

Let your kid know that they can be allowed to buy osrs gold, for example, as long as they put in a bit of extra effort with their homework and chores this week. It’s a great way for your kids to see that you’re not always working against them, and that they can enjoy their hobbies undisturbed as long as they take care of their responsibilities first.

You could use it as a surprise reward as well, by the way, to encourage good behavior. Seen your kid being extra sweet to their siblings lately or helping our mom and dad with something without even being asked? Treat them to a little something as a surprise – you’re guaranteed to see the same kind of behavior again and again.

The best kind of gifts come after hard work or good behavior. You want your kids to understand that as long as they try their best and their intentions are right, they may be rewarded – not every time but at least once in a while.

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

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5 Fun Family Outings for Free in Your Community

Raising children is undeniably expensive. The worst bit about this is that, after paying the bills, there is hardly enough money left for taking part in some family fun. Nevertheless, there are numerous awesome, yet free community resources out there, which you can take advantage of with your children or family. From free puppet shows to local festivals, all can entertain you at little or no cost.

Since locating such events can be challenging unless you know where to search, you may want to start by checking various places like the library, city hall, and local newspaper to see whether you can spot some free community resources that you and your family can enjoy. Here are some five options to get you started on your journey to fun family outings as follows:

  1. The Local Library

City libraries or even your nearby local community college library can be a source of fun for you and your kids. In fact, you could enjoy various activities including story time, puppet shows and many others.   Most libraries often boast kids’ areas and offer information and flyers relating to more fun events around that area.

Quick tip: Ensure that all kids have a library card. The best way to make kids feel excited about reading is to make them feel all grown up about it. In this case, you can allow them to pick out their own books and check them out once they are done without your help. Doing so plays a role in teaching them how to be responsible people.

  1. Community Recycling

If you want your kids to get involved in your local community and teach them about caring for the environment, the ideal way you to do so is by taking them to the local recycling center. It will give you a good feeling when you see them sorting and organizing various things. Aside from cleaning and recycling, most recycling centers offer exciting information and advice, particularly to kids, to ensure that the entire process is not only educative but also enjoyable for them.

  1. Free Concerts

If you live in a city in the United States, you are lucky since most of the nation’s big cities offer numerous venues with free concerts where you and your beloved family can hang out instead of staying bored at home. Houston, for instance, has several outdoor venues where you can go to listen and watch the Houston Symphony or even cover bands playing pop music. Since such events are often held regularly around the city, it would be wise to keep yourself informed about such gatherings by checking out your city news website in a bid to spot listings.

  1. Free Parades and Festivals

Festivals and parades mostly keep a town lively and are mostly held at the town center. In case you want to find out whether such events take place in your local area or town, you can begin by looking for listings from your local community newspaper. You can find this useful information tool on your community’s Facebook page or even your mailbox

The beauty of attending parades or festivals is that most of them are not only free to attend but also boast awesome live music. What ’s more, these events can mainly last a single day to an entire weekend, which makes them an ideal weekend plan for fun bonding with your family. Aside from being affordable and close to your home, they offer a wide array of games, drinks, and drinks, not forgetting a wonderful opportunity to interact with other community members.

  1. Local Parks

More often than not, your mind and body may be so confined to your home and work that you tend to forget the beauty that surrounds you including the amazing parks. However, just by walking or moving around your neighborhood, you can spot several spots such as neighborhood parks, hiking trails and many other resources that make up potential outdoor venues for having fun with your loved ones. 

Parks can serve as memorable destinations for you, as you can play there with your kids, hold a picnic with your spouse or even just sit there and relax after a long day at work. They serve as wonderful relaxation zones. To spot such locations near you, all you have to do is either check the maps and guides in your local library or even search online.

Instead of waiting till you get time and money to take your kids out for expensive outings, for instance, at huge water parks, you can opt for the above cheap or free and fun options. Simply check out several places such as the library and city hall for various events and resources in your local town.

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

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