As a blogger, I may be compensated in some way (either pay, product, or experience) for sharing the post below All opinions are my own. ~Heidi
One of my family’s favorite places to visit is Lancaster, PA (and the surrounding area). We head that direction several times each year. There is so much to see and do (and lots of places to stay and shop). Sometimes we spend the night – other times we just make a day trip. Last week, we had opportunity to visit the area and spend A Day Out with Thomas at the Strasburg Railroad.
I had often heard about this experience, but we had just never been able to fit it into our budget or our schedule to be able to go. So, I was very much looking forward to taking Ian to experience this event.
The Railroad goes all out for their very special visitor. Entry is rerouted, the parking area is expanded, and tents are set up to house a special gift shop with lots of Thomas merchandise, food vendors, and special activities for little ones.
We arrived just in time to pick up our tickets and get in line for our ride on Thomas himself. Here he is pulling into the station to pick us up:
I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting, but Thomas basically replaces the “regular” engine and pulls the train cars that you normally ride at the Strasburg Railroad. We set out for our trip down the tracks, and were enjoying seeing the fields and farmlands go by. Apparently everyone wants to see Thomas because cars were parked along the side of the tracks and people were getting out to take his picture.
We have ridden the Strasburg Railroad before, so we are familiar with its normal route. We were surprised when the train came to a sudden stop, not even 1/2 way to it’s normal destination/turn-around spot. It was then that we realized that the rides on Thomas are very much abbreviated. And I was disappointed. A normal trip on the railroad takes about 45 minutes and costs $14 for adults and $8 for children. A trip on Thomas is only about 20 minutes and costs $27 per person (ages 3 and up). I felt like we were getting 1/2 the value for twice the price.
I didn’t see anywhere that described what was included in the price of the ticket. Upon checking the website after our trip, I did find this:
Apparently, with our tickets, we could have also ridden the regular train as well. We had no idea, or we would have totally taken them up on that! As it was, we were slightly disappointed.
Upon arrival back at the station, you can proceed to a line to have your picture taken with Thomas. This is a very efficient process as they actually have three stations set up in front of Thomas (one directly in front of him, and one off to the left and the right). You get a slip of paper with a number on it and can go and check out your picture and purchase it. (They also take family pictures on the train, using the same pick-up method.) My kids were hot and tired so we decided not to check out our pictures – instead, we opted for some refreshing gelato at the snack bar!) But, here’s a quick picture of Ian with Thomas that I snapped with my own camera:
The activities in the tents are more geared toward toddlers and preschoolers.
I did manage to get them to cooperate for one last picture though. Gracie’s still smiling, which just goes to prove that even a 13-year-old can enjoy A Day Out with Thomas!
I don’t know that we will be in a big hurry to go back. However, I would recommend it to someone with younger children – especially if they are enamored with Thomas the Train! Make sure that you take some time before you go to learn exactly what the ticket prices include, as it’s a bit misleading (or hard to figure out) when you are actually there! Visit the website and be informed! Maybe Thomas is coming to a railroad near you. Check out his schedule and use code GOFAM for $2 off your tickets.
Special thanks to US Family Guide and HIT Entertainment for providing the tickets so that we could experience A Day Out with Thomas.