Thomas the Tank Engine stays busy shunting coal and hauling freight, but did you know he also he takes a vacation from the Isle of Sodor every year to hang out with his biggest fans? He’ll be making a stop in the lush hills of the Santa Cruz mountains ready to give your tiny train lovers a ride at Roaring Camp Railroad’s 20th Annual Day Out with Thomas. This year’s theme, The Celebration Tour, will give the whole family something to celebrate! Read on for our tips on making this awesome day a success.

Thomas pulling into the station_HIGH Photo credit: A Day Out with Thomas

Along with the 25 minute train ride (with Talking Thomas), Sir Topham Hatt will take time out of his busy schedule as the Controller of the Railway to pose for photos (holiday card shot anyone?). Kids can also check out the Thomas & Friends Imagination Station which includes stamps, temporary tattoos, face painting, coloring, and, of course, train tables! Roaring Camp will also be alive with music, and performances by a magician and a juggler. And if that’s not enough, there will be a bouncy house and storytelling for up and down time. Kid-friendly food will be for sale (including snow cones) but you can also pack a picnic lunch. Roaring Camp has lovely grounds and is surrounded by redwood trees, so there’s plenty of room to explore while waiting for the train.

kid and thomasPhoto credit: A Day Out with Thomas

What You Need to Know
Purchase your tickets now. Arrive an hour early, minimum. If at all possible, try to get tickets for Friday, as it will be less crowded. Plan to hang out most of the day before or after your ride.

Once you’re on the train you can’t actually see Thomas (he’s pulling the cars) unless you are in one of the first cars. If you can’t snag one of these spots, try for an open-air car so you can absorb the stunning redwood forest the train passes through. Seats are not pre-assigned: it’s first come first served.

The ride is mostly through the shaded forest, but the grounds of Roaring Camp are sunny so be sure to pack sunscreen and sun hats for the other activities (some are indoor).

There is a gift shop on site and they do sell Thomas and other train swag so consider yourself warned.

Do not forget your camera! You can pose for pics with Thomas before or after the ride, and of course Topham Hatt. There’s also a covered wagon, a blacksmith shop, old engine cars, and other generally awesome spots for photo-ops.

There is room for strollers on the grounds, but the walkways are on the bumpy side. You can’t bring strollers on the train. Opt for a baby carrier if possible. The parking lot is a short walk from the actual station, so you’ll want you main supplies on hand. A wagon or jogging stroller loaded up would do fine.

kid-with-sir-topham-hattPhoto credit: A Day Out with Thomas

Hop On Board
Tickets are on sale now and are available for July 24, 25, 26, 31 and Aug. 1 & 2. Each ticket includes the 25-minute train ride, and all the activities listed above. Advance tickets are highly recommended and can be purchased by clicking here or calling 1-866-468-7630.

Cost: $20; $24 for peak times (Sat. & Sun., 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.)
Parking is $8/vehicle.

Times: Fridays the train runs every hour starting at 10:30 a.m. and ending at 2:30 p.m.
Saturdays and Sundays, the train rides begin at 9:30 a.m. and continue every hour, last ride is at 3:30 p.m.

Roaring Camp Railroads
5401 Graham Hill Rd.
Felton, Ca 95018

Do you have any advice to share with other parents visiting Roaring Camp? Share the love below!

– Amber Guetebier