CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – Zip Trip is a series where we pick a zipcode out of a hat and search for hidden gems in that area. For this special holiday episode, we’ll be going back to some of the places we visited and featuring the best Christmas experiences in North Central West Virginia.

The first place we went was to Elkins for the Polar Express train ride. The Dublin and Greenbrier Valley Railroad put on this event and it’s fun for the whole family.

The ride ends with a visit from Santa in the North Pole and features the hot chocolate song and a comedy routine as entertainment. The actors are local children from The Old Brick Playhouse, a non-profit theatre that offers after school acting classes and programs.

WBOY reporter Shayla Klein with actor Eddie Deezen at the Polar Express Train Ride

Each guest receives a souvenir mug, hot chocolate and a cookie while on the train. The day we visited, we met Eddie Deezen who was one of the cast members in the Polar Express movie. 

He said, “I’m getting paid to do the greatest thing in the world, to meet the nicest people in the world. I met the joist, the most beautiful people. I swear they’re just so beautiful I want to hug all of these kids they’re so great. It’s been such a pleasure. Elkins is such a wonderful city and the people have been wonderful.”

Next, we visited the Marion county Celebration of Lights. Morris Park lights up on weekends up until the weekend after Christmas. With nearly 500 displays, the event is an annual fundraiser for the United Way. A suggested donation of $10 per car applies. 

Another fun tradition at Christmas time is getting your picture taken with Santa. Santa is available at the Meadowbrook Mall seven days a week until Christmas Eve.

The Santa picture stand at the Meadowbrook Mall has several Christmas cards you can purchase.

While there is a fee for the picture, each child visiting Santa will receive a free gift courtesy of Chick-Fil-A while supplies last. 

What better way to end the day than with a heartwarming Christmas story. West Virginia Public Theatre performs A Charlie Brown Christmas this season. The play starts with a short documentary on Charles Schulz, the Peanuts creator, and then goes into the Christmas special. 

Snoopy sits on top of his dog house eating dog treats as Charlie Brown looks on.

“Holidays and Christmas are just for everybody and all ages, so it’s only appropriate that we’re doing a show for all ages. Anybody can come see and enjoy Charlie Brown, and that’s the cool part about it is that it doesn’t have an age limit.”

Lacey Alexander,
Lucy in A Charlie Brown Christmas

West Virginia Public Theatre is a non-profit that strives to educate using theatre. The organization partners with Tickets for Kids Charities to give free tickets to low-income and at-risk youth in West Virginia.