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Texas State Railsroad in Holiday Fashion

Christmas in the Parks 2006

Texas State Parks Gearing Up For Christmas Events

AUSTIN — Santa Claus forsakes his reindeer-pulled sleigh in favor of an aerial tramway in El Paso and a Texas State Railroad steam train in Palestine in just a couple of the unusual twists to holiday season celebrations in state parks throughout Texas.

Jolly ol' Saint Nick will be on Ranger Peak in El Paso's awaiting children riding the Wyler Aerial Tramway high above the Franklin Mountains. Santa will receive letters from the children and pose with them for photographs from noon to 5 p.m. Dec. 17-18 and Dec. 21-22.

A four-minute ascent in a Swiss-made cable car takes riders almost 1,000 feet up, over a yawning Franklin Mountains canyon, to an observation deck affording a 360-degree view of 7,000 square miles of El Paso-Juarez (Mexico), New Mexico and West Texas. The cost for the special event is $7 for adults, $4 for kids 4 to 12 and free for children 3 and younger. Call (915) 562-9899 for more information.

Take a Victorian Train Ride on the Texas State Railroad Dec. 2, 9, and 16 to experience a Christmas of yesteryear aboard vintage rail cars pulled by a steam locomotive through the Piney Woods of East Texas. Costumed strolling carolers and Santa will add to the festive event. Brownies, cookies, lemonade, eggnog and hot cider will be served.

The steam train departs the Victorian-style depot in Palestine at 3 p.m. for the 26-mile trip to Rusk. The cost is $30 for adults, $10 for children 3 to 12, and free for those 2 and younger. Reservations are required and can be made by calling (903) 683-2561 or (800) 442-8951.

Santa will be on hand, as well, on Dec. 17 in Stonewall for the 37th annual Tree Lighting at Lyndon B. Johnson State Parks & Historic Site in the Texas Hill Country. Carolers, a live nativity and tours of the early 1900s Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm illuminated by candles and old-time lamps add to the festive holiday spirit.

A special nighttime holiday tour of the LBJ National Historical Park and Texas White House of the late President Lyndon B. Johnson and Lady Bird will be offered. Light refreshments will be served after the 6 p.m. tree-lighting ceremony.


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