Fun Day Trip With Kids, Thomas The Tank Engine Style

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2007-09-2018

Family day trips are as much fun as a kid’s birthday party!

One of our favorite affordable leisure activities is to take day trips with the entire family. We went on a family excursion a few weeks ago which was of the “back-to-nature” variety. It wasn’t Walt Disney World, but it was equally fun (if not nicer), with two kids and three adults at the outing. It was a typical day trip for us, where we drive to a place, bring our own food and snacks and just enjoy the scenery and the simple activities they have on the premises. Price-wise, it beats any theme park package, running us around $75 total for parking and admission for five people.

Our kids were very excited about this trip because they were going to see Thomas the Tank Engine in action. The Roaring Camp Railroads over at Felton, CA (near Santa Cruz) around 50 miles away from where we lived, features a steam train that winds its way through the forests. For one extended weekend, the park turned the place into a Thomas the Tank Engine kid zone, where they’d disguise their existing steam engine with some kind of Thomas costume (okay, they converted one of the cars into the character’s likeness), have their station speakers blare out the Thomas theme tunes, plant some kiddie diversions around the camp and set up a warehouse full of Thomas toys, merchandise and souvenirs. We were tempted to pick up a few puzzles, books and so forth but we resisted. We used the common parental tactic that involves diverting a child’s attention elsewhere, and it worked beautifully — there were lots of other things to catch their eye!

Instead, we spent our time on the free activities and entertainment, and proceeded to look but not buy the souvenirs that were offered.

Free face painting.

Face Painting Booth

Face Painting Baby


Meet Sir Topham Hat – the guy in that suit must’ve been boiling! It was a pretty warm day.

Sir Topham Hat


Marvel at the large train set.

Toy Train Set


Cap it off with a fun train ride through the woods on a steam train disguised as Thomas, singing familiar theme melodies.

Train Ride


For $70 we got some ruddy complexions and a bunch of delightful photographs; what more could we ask. With the summer still in full swing, we’re getting ready for the next expedition!

Copyright © 2007 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Chief Family Officer September 20, 2007 at 8:40 am

Every year I think about it but decide it’s not worth the drive or messing up naptime – but now I’m seriously considering it!

My Trader's Journal September 20, 2007 at 11:58 am

We went with our 3 1/2 year old son and my cousin’s family a couple of months ago in North Carolina, about 3 hours from our house in Atlanta, GA. We spent about two hours with Thomas, et al and had the rest of the weekend to enjoy the mountains. Our son loved it, but pointed out that Sir Topham Hat wasn’t the “real one” because he didn’t talk.
It’s been two months and he still talks about seeing Thomas all the time. It was well worth the cheap trip plus we had a great break from the city.

david September 20, 2007 at 2:40 pm

I haven’t been on a trip this summer =(.

Silicon Valley Blogger September 20, 2007 at 3:29 pm

David — you haven’t gotten out this summer at all? But you must’ve had some leisure trips around your general area I would presume. I haven’t been anywhere much myself, but we try to go to near enough places to where we live during the weekends for family time. I find that it’s less stressful to do this since we don’t have to worry about overnight arrangements or anything like that. Plus it’s cheaper :).

Brip Blap September 20, 2007 at 8:17 pm

One of the guilty pleasures of parenthood has to be the excuse to take silly day trips that you wouldn’t take if you were a sophisticated childless couple. I never could’ve been dragged to anything Thomas or Wiggles or Disney related before our son arrived, but now I actually enjoy it. We hit a family farm with sheep and bunnies and roosters and goats last weekend – the usual suspects – and it was a lot of fun! And my son liked it too!

The Financial Blogger September 21, 2007 at 3:55 am

I agree with Brip Blap. I am so happy to be a father, it gives me the right to jump into these small trains again and take a ride with my son. Those moments are priceless (and a lot cheaper than going to Disney!).

Silicon Valley Blogger September 22, 2007 at 3:07 pm

I wasn’t fond of kids before I had kids and yes, I would never think this sort of thing was “fun”. But dang, seeing your kids so delighted and enjoying themselves to no end is absolutely contagious! I agree that these are moments that will live with us indefinitely, and that we’ll keep reminiscing over way into our old age.

Dan March 1, 2008 at 9:24 pm

My kids are too old to be interested in Thomas, but I can always find time to volunteer to take a kid to see Thomas. I travel for business, and this site has an easy page for finding a day out with thomas.

Daesha and Hannah September 12, 2008 at 1:46 pm

im so excited for this lovely event!!!!

Diane Duggan January 31, 2009 at 12:50 pm

we need thomas the tank engine day out in England

Silicon Valley Blogger January 31, 2009 at 1:03 pm

Absolutely! I agree with you Diane. 🙂 I just love their theme song.

Bowers April 20, 2009 at 8:56 am

My kid LOVES Thomas! I wish they had something like that here in our home town. We’ll have to check it out next time were in the Silicon Valley area.

marina k. villatoro May 6, 2009 at 9:14 am

That is a great deal, $75 for 5 plus parking. That’s cheaper then some places in Costa Rica, really! I’m a sucker for these things, even before I had my son.

Shirt October 1, 2010 at 8:42 am

I wonder if they have anything like this in Colorado. My kids love Thomas the train 🙂 .

shane September 20, 2011 at 5:07 am

@Diane Duggan, Day Out With Thomas can be found at most preserved steam railways up and down the country (uk). My local steam railway ( holds one event in April (9 days) and one event in Aug (9 days). It’s brilliant fun. Just look up your local steam railway to see if they’ve got this event!

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