It’s that time of year again! Thomas the Tank Engine has returned to Roaring Camp Railroads in Felton. Thomas is one of those characters and TV shows that kids just seem drawn to. My son used to be obsessed with the series and still loves playing with his Thomas wooden railway and Trackmaster sets.
Trains depart with Thomas on Friday-Sunday, July 29-31 and August 5-7, 2016, with varying boarding times. Thomas is pulled along on the first leg out, then he pulls the train back to the station at Roaring Camp. It’s a short trip, but the kids love it.
To catch some of the fun, you don’t actually have to ride the train. Anyone is welcome to park at either Roaring Camp’s parking lot or the lot at the end of the road from the main entrance to Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park (enter via Highway 9 – a state parks pass, such as the “poppy pass,” is also welcome here to pay for parking). From there, you can enter Roaring Camp for free and participate in various activities without paying anything more than the parking fee.
These photos are from last year’s event. My son was 3 at the time and had plenty of fun just exploring the train tables with Thomas & Friends engines, a MegaBloks table with characters including Sir Topham Hatt, a coloring station, and more.
In spite of our home being overrun with wooden tracks, most of which span the front of the house to the back and everywhere in between, my son spent a good deal of time at the wooden-track train tables.
There were characters he didn’t have, interesting bridges and hills, as well as other accessories to complete the Sodor Railway, so I don’t really blame him. It’s so his nature, too. Trains, trains, and more trains. We often joke that our son is part train.
By the way, I got this shirt for free from a clothing swap. It was more than appropriate attire for this outing.
We managed to wrangle him away from the train tables and headed over to some tables where staff were applying temporary tattoos. My son chose Percy.
There was also a table with various coloring pages filled with Thomas and Friends characters.
But my son also spent a good amount of time playing with these large dump trucks in an area that is supposed to be for throwing horseshoes. He played there until just before we went to take photos with Thomas (anyone can use their own camera to take photos — or, at least, we were able to in 2015), which is near the area to board the train.
While we were at the truck zone, there was also a bubble machine, and that was a hit with some other kids in the area.
We were late to board after waiting in line to take photos, so I suggest doing that when you first arrive or doing the activities after the train ride. So when we boarded, we pretty much got the last seats, which were on a bench at the center of the train. It was a little more challenging to see out the sides of the open cars, but it wasn’t like we were crammed in with people like on a subway car or anything. And my son totally didn’t care. He just observed and stared and really was pretty quiet during the short ride.
So if you have a little train enthusiast or wannabe conductor in your life, the annual Day Out With Thomas event (as well as the Halloween with Percy event) is a lot of fun! And you don’t have to break the bank if you are able to just enjoy the activities and not take the train ride. I think it’s worth it to go once, but you could pay just a little bit more and take the full train ride out to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and back. No, Thomas isn’t part of that excursion, but you’ll get much more of a ride for your buck.
Have fun! Peep, peep!