Our Day Out With Thomas

by Shannan on October 2, 2011

The past two weeks have been a whirlwind! Starting with our weekend away in Lancaster, PA for the Day Out With Thomas event and other fun local attractions (a whole series of posts about that bunch of awesome coming this week) and continuing through the SheStreams conference last weekend, I’ve been an on-the-go gal. Finally this weekend I’m finally getting a few minutes to digest all of the excitement and settle back into routine.

On Friday afternoon, A came home a little early from work and we set off on our adventure. It’s only about a 2 ½ to 3 hour drive to the Lancaster area for us, so unlike our Disney road trips, there was no need for an early start. The boys could barely contain their excitement, as they knew we were headed off to visit an old and dear friend – Thomas the Tank Engine.

We checked into the hotel for the evening (more coming about that later) and grabbed a bite to eat. I was bribed into taking the kids for a short swim in the indoor pool/water playground and then brought them back for bed. We needed to get some rest before our big day!

They were up with the sun, as usual, and we headed toward Strasburg, ready for an exciting Day Out with Thomas.  Our first stop was the Choo-Choo Barn, which was a perfect warm up for our upcoming train rides. It was too cool for just a paragraph, so it’s getting its own post tomorrow.

After spending some time marveling over the awesome model train layouts and popping into the Thomas store there, it was time to head up the road for our turn to ride the True Blue Engine! While the boys have seen and ridden Thomas once before, the excitement level when they first laid eyes on him this trip was the same. “There he is! It’s the REAL Thomas!”

He's a really useful engine!

We arrived on site around 11:30, but weren’t scheduled for our turn on the train until 1:45. We picked up our tickets and decided to venture across the street to the Train Museum as our first stop. If you attend a Day Out with Thomas event in Strasburg, DO NOT skip this museum. While it is not part of the event itself and is an additional cost, it is well worth the expense if you’ve got train lovers in your family.

After checking out all the engines, coaches and train cars on display at the museum, we strolled back outside to spend some time enjoying the Day Out with Thomas extras. The hand cars are probably our #1 favorite thing to do, beyond riding the train itself. The best thing about the cars if you ask the boys? Bumping each other. Go figure.

Catch me if you can, big bro!

Once they had their turn there, it was almost time for the train! We walked around for a couple more minutes while we waited for the line to open up for our session, deciding what we were hitting next and then got in line for Thomas, just in time for the sky to open up and pour on us.

A little rain couldn’t dampen our spirits though! We still climbed aboard with a spring in our step and settled in to a coach that the boys decided was “Clarabel”. If you attend a Day Out with Thomas event, be sure to take advantage of the photographers who wander through the train snapping family pictures. While the prints are a little pricey($20 for 2 4×6 prints with novelty cardboard display frames), if you’re like me, pictures that include everyone are few and far between.

Excuse my drowned rat look...like I said, the sky opened up on us right before we boarded.

Once we finished our Thomas ride, we had about an hour left to take advantage of the other events that were offered on site as part of our tickets. We took a spin on the mini steam engine (so cool!!), got Thomas tattoos, spent a little time playing on the train and Mega Blocks tables that were set up under the big tent, and of course, did a little souvenir shopping. There were other train rides, plus photo opps with Thomas and Sir Topham Hatt, however we choose to skip these due to lines and the time crunch.

D's getting inked!

Coolest little mini steam engine!

We finished our day with a second train ride on the regular Strasburg Railroad steam train (not included in our Thomas ticket), which was the perfect way to relax for a few minutes before heading back to the hotel to change for dinner.

Told you someone needed a little downtime before we went back to change...

The Day Out with Thomas events are definitely a crowd-pleaser for families whose children love Thomas or any kind of train. There is plenty to do that is included in the ticket price, plus lots of other extras at-cost. My only complaint was that the free offerings closed at around 3:30. I wish we’d had more time to squeeze in a little more! I hadn’t realized that when I decided to do other things first. I am so happy that we had another chance to spend a day with Thomas. Once again, we made memories that our boys will treasure forever.

Interested in attending a Day Out with Thomas Event yourself? Visit the Day Out with Thomas website to see dates through the end of the year (it will return to Strasburg in November) and keep checking back for information about next year’s tour!

Disclosure: We received free tickets to the Day Out with Thomas event in Strasburg, PA in exchange for this post. All opinions are our own.

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