New England Museum offering autism-friendly holiday train excursion
THOMASTON, Conn. – For the sixth consecutive year, the Railroad Museum of New England and the Naugatuck Railroad are teaming up with Watertown, Conn.-based nonprofit Sun, Moon & Stars to offer a holiday train ride designed for children on the autism spectrum. Naugatuck Railroad is the operational branch of the Railroad Museum of New England, founded in 1968
The Sun, Moon & Stars Santa Express will depart at noon Nov. 28 from RMNE in Thomaston. It is a specialized version of their Santa Express excursions where parents and children can visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus and his elves for a train ride through the Naugatuck River Valley. Each child on board also receives a special gift from Santa’s toy bag.
“This special excursion is a judgement-free time for families with children on the autism spectrum to enjoy time with Santa and Mrs. Claus while riding the train,” Sun, Moon & Stars Founder Christine Faressa said. “Alterations are made to the original program to accommodate those with sensory sensitivities, such as keeping the music at a much lower volume. The staff and cast are also extra diligent to make all riders feel welcome and comfortable.” Sun, Moon & Stars is a nonprofit agency that promotes activities, services, and education to families with children on the autism spectrum.
“This has been a great partnership over the years, one with the common goal to provide a wonderful, judgement-free experience, and inclusive experience,” RMNE Marketing Manager Matthew Sniffen says.
Tickets are available on the RMNE website. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Sun, Moon & Stars.