By Harley Nefe
Guests can celebrate the 2020 holiday season at Tweetsie Railroad, as the attraction will transform into a winter wonderland for Tweetsie Christmas.
Tweetsie Railroad will be opening to host Tweetsie Christmas beginning Nov. 13, and the event will take place every Friday and Saturday and select weekday evenings through Dec. 31.
During these days, the park will open at 5 p.m., and the train will depart every 40 minutes beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Guests will be able to enjoy a nighttime 3-mile ride in the Blue Ridge Mountains among thousands of dazzling light displays and scenes while being in an open-air train car pulled by a historic narrow-gauge steam locomotive for about 20 minutes.
Tickets for Tweetsie Christmas will go on sale beginning tomorrow, Oct. 13 at 9 a.m.
The tickets will be for a specific date and scheduled train ride time.
The cost of tickets is $44.00 for an adult, $38.00 for a child (ages 3-12) and free for children ages 2 and under.
There will be reduced capacity, as a limited number of guests will be admitted nightly. Buying tickets in advance is strongly encouraged, and individuals can buy their tickets online or call 877-TWEETSIE (893-3874).
Tweetsie Railroad recommends purchasing tickets online, as they expect a high call volume for the event, and there is an additional $2 fee for tickets purchased by phone.
However, groups of 15 or more should call 877-TWEETSIE (893-3874) to ensure that they can reserve the same train ride time.
Also, if people have purchased a 2020 General Admission or Day Out With Thomas ticket, they can be credited toward a Tweetsie Christmas ticket by calling.
Once a guest’s reservation has been confirmed, there will be a $10.00 per order exchange fee to change dates or a $5.00 per ticket refund fee.
In addition to the train ride, families and friends will be able to tour Santa’s Gingerbread House that is filled with candied furnishings and visit with Santa until Christmas.
Groups will be socially distanced and a protective plexiglass barrier will be between guests and Santa at all times. Guests will be able to speak with and pose for a photo in front of the plexiglass with Santa.
Children are also encouraged to bring a letter to Santa to place in the mailbox.
Other activities include classic amusement rides, like the Little Drummer boy, Bikes & Buggies, F-80s and the Himalaya.
Guests can also warm up to a campfire and toast s’mores at the Hacienda, enjoy the lights on Main Street and the Christmas trees and visit the shops. For 2020, there is a special Christmas sale of 50% off select merchandise in the retail shops.
Due to health and safety restrictions, attractions and activities that will not be available this year include the Snowglobes and Tweetsie Christmas Place Show.
Other precautions Tweetsie Railroad will be taking to keep guests and staff safe include:
- Managing reduced park capacity through an online reservation system.
- Requiring mask or face coverings to be worn by all employees and guests, over age 5, unless exempt under NC Executive Order 169.
- Using digital maps and allergy menus, downloadable by scanning a QR code.
- Adjusting ride seating to comply with physical distancing.
- Placing plexiglass or other types of barriers between guests and staff making transactions.
- Removing self-serve condiments and utensils from public access (guests must ask a cashier or server)
- Enhancing already stringent cleaning protocols and treating rides and high touch areas with an antimicrobial solution that is effective in killing viruses, mold, fungus, and bacteria content.
- Conducting employee temperature screenings and health surveys, prior to reporting to work areas.
For more information about Tweetsie Christmas, visit Tweetsie.com.