Published: April 17, 2023
By: Adam Burns
Delaware is home to one of the finest heritage railroads in the country, the Wilmington & Western located in Wilmington's Greenbank Park. The organization offers one of just a few locations where the public can experience a train behind an authentic steam locomotive. During the holidays they host a few different Christmas-themed events, including steam powered rides! More information about their trips may be found further below.
The holiday season is a time for family, friends, and fun, and Delaware offers plenty of exciting events and activities to enjoy. From festive light displays to holiday markets, there's something for everyone to experience during this magical time of the year. If you are interested in enjoying the Christmas season in other ways besides just on the Wilmington & Western, here are some of the state's most popular events.
Winter WonderFEST at Cape Henlopen State Park
Winter WonderFEST is a spectacular light display that takes place at Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes. Visitors can drive through a mile-long trail of illuminated holiday scenes and displays, including a Christmas tree forest, a pirate's cove, and a winter wonderland. The event also features an outdoor ice rink, a Christmas village, and live entertainment.
Longwood Gardens Christmas Display
Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA, just over the state line from Delaware, puts on one of the most spectacular Christmas displays in the region. Visitors can explore acres of indoor and outdoor gardens decorated with more than 500,000 twinkling lights, illuminated fountains, and a grand tree in the Conservatory. The event also features concerts, carolers, and festive performances.
Winter Wonderfest at Hudson Fields
Winter Wonderfest at Hudson Fields in Milton is a fun and festive event that features an ice skating rink, carnival rides, a holiday market, and a light display. Families can enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride, visit Santa's Workshop, and enjoy food and drink vendors. The event is perfect for families with kids of all ages.
Christmas Light Show at Killens Pond State Park
The Christmas Light Show at Killens Pond State Park in Felton is a magical drive-through experience featuring thousands of holiday lights, animated displays, and a synchronized light and music show. Families can enjoy the holiday scenes from the comfort of their own car, or take a walk through the festive light display.
Christmas at Hagley Museum and Library
Christmas at Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington is a fun and festive event that features a variety of holiday activities and attractions. Visitors can enjoy holiday tours of the museum and the DuPont family's ancestral home, as well as a gingerbread house contest, holiday crafts, and a visit from Santa Claus.
A Longwood Christmas
A Longwood Christmas is a beloved holiday tradition at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA, just over the state line from Delaware. Visitors can explore acres of indoor and outdoor gardens decorated with more than 500,000 twinkling lights, illuminated fountains, and a grand tree in the Conservatory. The event also features concerts, carolers, and festive performances.
In conclusion, Delaware offers a variety of exciting Christmas events and activities for families to enjoy. Whether you're looking to drive through a spectacular light display or visit a festive holiday market, there's something for everyone to experience during this magical time of the year. So, gather your loved ones and get ready to celebrate the season in Delaware.
(Wilmington): Today's Wilmington & Western is a nod to history as a former company by the same name built the 10.2 miles currently operated as a tourist attraction between Wilmington and Hockessin.
This line originally opened in 1872, reaching as far as Landenberg, Pennsylvania and a connection with the Pennsylvania Railroad.
For many years the property was owned by the Baltimore & Ohio, our nation's first common-carrier. The first excursions were hosted by Historic Red Clay Valley, Inc. during the mid-1960's.
These continued for more than a decade until the then-Chessie System elected to abandon the branch. The group managed to acquire the property in 1982, establishing today's Wilmington & Western.
While the scenery alone and many special trips continue to draw in visitors, the railroad's two operating steam locomotives do as well; former Atlanta, Birmingham & Atlantic 0-6-0 #58 and Mississippi Central 4-4-0 #98.
The W&W's Santa Claus Express offers an 1.5-hour trip from late-November through December. The railroad also offers the uniqueness of steam-powered trains. The event features chocolate and, of course, a meet-and-greet with Santa.
The railroad also hosts the Holiday Lights Express, using their restored Doodlebug railcar. The car is aglow in lights and a 45-minute trip allows passengers to see the decorated private homes near the railroad. Finally, as an early celebration of the holiday season they also host "Christmas In July" specials.
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Wes Barris's SteamLocomotive.com is simply the best web resource on the study of steam locomotives.
It is difficult to truly articulate just how much material can be found at this website.
It is quite staggering and a must visit!