Even the busiest engines on the Isle of Sodor need a break now and then. This summer, everyone’s favorite blue train, Thomas the Tank Engine, is chugging to stations around the country to say hi to his biggest fans. Tiny train lovers around the Bay Area will get a chance to ride the rails with Thomas at Roaring Camp Railroad’s annual Day Out with Thomas happening in July and August. The Big Adventures Tour 2018 through the Big Trees gives families around the country a chance to celebrate all things Thomas. Read on for our tips on making this awesome day a success.
photo : Day Out With Thomas
The highlight of Day Out With Thomas is a 25-minute train ride (pulled and narrated by none other than Thomas the Tank Engine) through towering redwoods of Bear Mountain; however, you’ll need several hours to experience everything the event has to offer. Grab a passbook when you enter to gather stamps along the way at all of the activities. Kids who complete their passbook get a special Thomas-themed prize!
photo: Sandra Lee
Kids can enjoy train-themed activities at multiple Thomas & Friends Imagination Stations, including face painting, temporary tattoos, coloring, a bubble machine, and, of course, train tables! Roaring Camp will come alive with music and entertainment such as storytelling, magicians, and juggling. A not-to-be-missed spot is the sing-along where all kids can join in the musical fun.
photo: Sandra Lee
You can also meet Sir Topham Hatt, the Isle of Sodor’s Railroad Controller, and pose for a photo. Pack a picnic lunch or purchase kid-friendly food on site. Roaring Camp has lovely grounds and is surrounded by redwood trees, so there’s plenty of room to explore while waiting for the train.
photo: Sandra Lee
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.
When reserving your tickets, you will need to indicate which car you’d like to sit in. Cars #1 thru #3 and Car #8 (wheelchair-accessible) are open air cars. Cars #4-7 are open air cars with canopy tops, and Car #10 is a fully-enclosed coach car with open windows. Thomas will be pulling the cars, so unless you’re in Car #1 or #2, you won’t be able to see him while riding the train. Seats within cars are not pre-assigned; it’s first come first served, so head to the train station early.
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.
The train table activity station is one of the most popular, so trains are in short supply. You can bring your own Thomas trains for your little ones to play with, but make sure they are clearly labeled, and keep a close eye on them!
Do not forget your camera! You can pose for pics with Thomas and Sir Topham Hatt before or after the ride. 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; strollers must be left at designated “stroller parking” areas at the station. 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.
photo: Day Out With Thomas
Hop On Board
Tickets are on sale now and are available for July 27-29 and Aug. 5-7. 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: Advance purchases are $21 and $25 for peak times (Sat. & Sun., 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.). Tickets are required for ages two and up, under two are free but will not have an assigned seat.
Times: The train runs every hour starting at 10:30 a.m. and ending at 3:30 p.m. Arrive at least one hour before your scheduled train ride.
Roaring Camp Railroads
5401 Graham Hill Rd.
—Ana Picazo and Amber Guetebier