Polar Express whisks into Nevada State Railroad Museum | NevadaAppeal.com

Polar Express whisks into Nevada State Railroad Museum

Maggie O'Neill
A group of Seeliger students visited the Nevada State Railroad Museum during the 'Polar Express Adventure.' The kids are, from right, Jared Sanders, 7, Justin Keith, 5, Kara Berggren, 6, and Onya Woodberry, 5. Rick Gunn Nevada Appeal

About half the children attending the Polar Express Reading and Riding Adventure on Thursday afternoon at the Nevada State Railroad Museum knew what tiny present Santa gives to a little boy in the story.

They had already seen Tom Hanks’ movie adaptation out in theaters.

But the other half of the 20 kindergartners were about to find out, as their teacher Lorie Schaefer, of Seeliger Elementary School, picked up Chris Van Allsburg’s “The Polar Express” and began to read the Caldecott Medal-winning book.

For the first time, the Nevada State Railroad Museum is hosting a two-hour children’s event based on Van Allsburg’s book and popularized by the movie. The $6.50 per-child charge covers the costs for the adventure and costs to run the museum.

Rich Reitnauer, sales and promotion manager for the museum for the past 14 years, welcomed parents and children to the museum Thursday afternoon.

“If (the Polar Express Reading and Riding Adventure) works well, we’ll do it again next year,” he said.

The program includes a reading of the book and craft projects like Polar Express buttons, bracelets with train decals, pasting cottonballs on a Santa head and coloring.

“The book has been out for 19 years or so and it’s had a life after all these years,” Reitnauer said.

Children take a ride on a railroad car and receive hot chocolate and snacks.

When they leave, they will receive the same little gift Santa gave to the boy in “The Polar Express.”

Contact reporter Maggie O’Neill at mo’neill@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1219.