OUR DAY OUT WITH THOMAS (A Review)

SHINING TIME STATION OR BUST

TOPHAM HATT AND HIS FUTURE TOP CONDUCTOR
TOPHAM HATT AND HIS FUTURE TOP CONDUCTOR

SHORT BUT FUN

We went to the "Day Out With Thomas" gig in Miami. I bought the tickets online ahead of time. I rented a car, packed snacks and two changes of clothes for each kid as well as overnight toiletries in case we decided to stay overnight. Miami is about 200 miles from here.

The trip down there was chaotic, as the kids were all excited. My youngest child is Thomas the Tank Engine's biggest fan ever (self-proclaimed). We always joke that we probably have enough track to go around the house three times. I don't know that it's true, but it might be! I can say that I have PERSONALLY spent THOUSANDS of dollars on Thomas paraphernalia. So I was thinking that this was going to be a very expensive trip. It really wasn't too expensive, though.

It was held at the Railroad Museum. They had a big area where the kids could do various activities, such as get tattoos, play mini-golf, shoot basketball hoops, write stuff about Thomas, etc. We bought ice cream and ate it at picnic tables. We didn't spend as much time in this area as I expected. It was hot outside anyway, so I was glad. I did pick up some free coloring pages they were giving away that helped keep the kids busy in the car on the way home. At the same stand, the kids colored paper train conductor hats that were stapled and given to the children to wear.

On the opposite side, they had a small store with train-related trinkets and clothing for sale. They didn't have a great deal of Thomas items there. Under a roofed area, they had a larger Thomas gift shop, a play area with all of the Thomas playsets and Legos, and real trains that you could walk through. One of the train cars had movies children could sit and watch, one had bunkbeds to climb on, and they were all air-conditioned which was a relief in the heat.

We also got pictures of the youngest two with Sir Topham Hatt, and they had these maps that each child would walk around with and get stamped. Once all of the stamps were received, we took the pages to a stand up front, where we were given a small poster.

The ride on Thomas was the best part. We waited in line to go early, since we had come extremely early and were already done with the rest of the attraction. When Thomas pulled into the station, there was a place for taking pictures next to him at the front. When we boarded the train, we could have gotten a seat closer to the front, but we chose to sit upstairs in the rear car instead. I think we had a better time there than we would have had in the regular cars. There were open storage compartments for baggage overhead, and the stairways to the upper level were very skinny.

First, the train went in reverse. This went on for quite some time. Finally, it turned around and went back to the station. The ride was fairly short, but long enough to let the kids enjoy the train. Before we pulled into the station, each child was given a certificate. We got off the train and left.

All in all, we had a good time. It was a short excursion that left a lifelong impression. My five year old had been waiting his whole life to go on that trip, and we all felt his happiness when he finally got to do it. The trip was short enough that I was able to get us all home before it even got dark. Definitely worth the money spent to buy a lifelong memory.

They do it every year, and you can find schedules and buy tickets online. They sell out fast, so buy them ahead. You can either have them mailed or waiting for you at will-call. A fun time was had by all.

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