THE SANTA TRAIN -- Today at 1:20 p.m. Santa's Holiday Express travels from Alexandria to Manassas and back, with stories and other activities along the way. The trip takes about two hours. Tickets: Whistle Stop Hobbies, 130 S. Royal St., Alexandria. Train: Virginia Railway Express, 110 Callahan Dr., Alexandria. $10. 703-549-4912.

FLIGHTS OF FANCY -- Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Ages 3-7. Readings of aviation-related books are followed by hands-on activities. National Air and Space Museum, Udvar-Hazy Center, 14390 Air and Space Museum Pkwy., Chantilly. Free. 202-633-1000.

A CHRISTMAS CAROL: A GHOST STORY OF CHRISTMAS -- Opens Wednesday. Through Dec. 31. A family tradition continues at one of the city's oldest theaters. Matt August's adaptation of the classic is specifically set in Ford's Theatre at the time of one of Dickens's visits to the United States. Ford's Theatre, 511 10th St. NW. $30-$55. 202-347-4833.

A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD -- Opens Wednesday. Through Dec. 11. Based on the classic books by Arnold Lobel. A jazzy score highlights the adventures of the unlikely friends. Round House Theatre, East-West Highway and Waverly Street, Bethesda. $40-$50. 240-644-1100.

CHILDREN'S BOOK WEEK -- Thursday at 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. Saturday at 10 a.m. Some favorite kids' tales are told in a storytelling circle. Followed by a book-making activity. Green Spring Gardens Park, 4603 Green Spring Rd., Alexandria. $5. For reservations, call 703-642-5173.

THE EMPEROR'S NIGHTINGALE -- Opens Saturday. Through Dec. 18. Madge Miller's play is based on the traditional Chinese tale of a singing bird that is replaced by a machine. Glen Echo Park, 7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo. $7. 301-320-5331.