The state has two lovely trolley museums — in East Haven and East Windsor — that know how to evoke an old-time holiday atmosphere, even in a novel coronavirus-dominated year.
At the Shoreline Trolley Museum on River Street in East Haven, the child-oriented Santa Claus visits will begin Friday, Nov. 27, and run Saturdays and Sundays after that through Dec. 20, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The facility notes that “Santa is doing things a little differently this year but he is still spending time with us... on his special trolley car which he’s set up for social distancing.” Santa’s elves will make sure the little ones get a free gift and a photo op. Visitors, meanwhile can walk through the decorated trolley barns and take a ride on a real antique trolley car.
All visitors over 2 are required to wear face coverings and the museum will be following state and federal guidelines regarding social distancing and cleaning. Tickets are $7-$10 online at Shorelinetrolley.org. The phone is 203-467-6927.
The ride up to East Windsor, meanwhile, will bring a few special treats at the Connecticut Trolley Museum.
Winterfest 2020 and the “Tunnel of Lights” begin Friday, Nov. 27, from 5-9 p.m. weekends through Dec 20. And the museum will be open from Dec 26-30, too, for the celebration in its 42nd year. Halls are decked both inside and outside with some 15,000 lights. Outside, closed trolley cars transport guests down the aforementioned tunnel of lights as they sing traditional Christmas Carols with their trolley car operators.
For an open-air view of the lighted tunnel, an open sleigh car will be lit up entirely with holiday lights. (Bundle up for that.) Inside, the Visitor Center features multiple model train layouts and other lights. Admission is $15-$20 per person and all ticket sales must be made in advance.
Another option, if you want to combine tree hunting with a visit, is the Christmas Tree Trolley at the CT. Trolley Museum on Nov. 28 and 29. (A family package of up to six people includes a ride by antique trolley car to Skylark Place, a pre-cut tree and ride back with the tree for $150.)
Come Dec 12-13, the Connecticut Trolley Museum at 58 North Road (Route 140) will have a storytime trolley for young visitors with Santa and Elf. There will also be a holiday craft for each child while on board. Admission is $25 per person. The phone number is 860-627-6540 and the website is ct-trolley.org.