Railroads & Locomotives Tourist Railroad Profiles 2023 Day Out With Thomas train rides

2023 Day Out With Thomas train rides

By Nastassia Putz, Production Editor | February 24, 2023

Mattel invites you on a colorful journey for the whole family

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Day Out With Thomas train rides

blue and white Thomas engine with paint splatter
Day Out With Thomas: The Color Tour. See Thomas like never before. The 2023 tour launches in March and runs through November. Mattel

Thomas & Friends

Thomas the Tank Engine is a fictional character living on the make-believe island of Sodor. With his human-like qualities and ability to talk, Thomas is a cute steam-powered locomotive that has mesmerized children for generations from within illustrated books and the long-running television series Thomas & Friends. Thomas is a small but vital, strong-willed engine that wants to be useful on the Sodor Railway. With railway manager Sir Topham Hatt and other engine friends to help him out, Thomas bravely maneuvers through risky situations and succeeds at completing his adventures safely. This shiny blue engine has become a role-model that has morphed into a common icon for today’s railroads and train museums to utilize for children’s events.

The tale begins

Wilbert Vere Awdry created this ever-so-popular character from stories he told his son, Christopher. The Three Railway Engines was published in 1945 with more books to follow until the early 1970s. In 1983, Christopher continued the story, transcending it into a television show that aired in the United Kingdom in 1984. It was introduced to the American audience in 1989 as part of the Public Broadcasting System series Shining Time Station.

Let’s get colorful event

As an endearing image for children, the Day Out With Thomas events — licensed by Mattel — have grown nationally and are conducted at many locations throughout the United States. Other countries host these events as well — some locations are listed below. This year’s theme is “The Color Tour.”

Thomas the train bouncy house and play options
Day Out With Thomas events offer hours of entertainment for the whole family. Mattel

Fun facts about Thomas

  • The first Day Out With Thomas event took place at Green Bay, Wis., at the National Railroad Museum in 1996.
  • Day Out With Thomas events may include interactive train rides, stage shows (live entertainment), scavenger hunts, bounce houses, mazes, lawn games, and more.
  • The Nene Valley Railway at Peterborough in England was the first railway to possess a full-scale replica of Thomas.
  • Some railroads, like Strasburg Rail Road, built a full-size, fully operational steam locomotive that is a Thomas the Tank Engine replica.
  • Strasburg built six traveling Thomas engines — only one is steam.
  • Thomas (globally) produces roughly $1 billion in retail sales annually.
  • In 2011, Mattel paid $680 million for Hit Entertainment, the British owner of Thomas.
  • Fisher-Price’s Thomas & Friends Day Out With Thomas 2020 is a specially decorated wooden train engine exclusive to the Day Out With Thomas live events.

U.S. Day Out With Thomas train rides
(Note: More countries below)

Where: Southern California Railway Museum (Perris)
Tickets: Coming soon — early bird sales in July
Dates: Nov. 4-5 & 10-12
Website: socalrailway.org

Where: Roaring Camp Railroads (Felton)
Tickets: On sale now
Dates: Oct. 14-15, 21-22, & 28-29
Website: www.roaringcamp.com

Where: Colorado Railroad Museum (Golden)
Tickets: Coming soon — on sale Aug. 1 (Walk-up sales will not be available)
Dates: Sept. 9-10, 16-17, & 23-24 (Saturdays & Sunday)
Website: coloradorailroadmuseum.org

Where: The Essex Steam Train & Riverboat (Essex)
Tickets: On sale now
Dates: April 22-23 & 29-30
Website: essexsteamtrain.com

Where: Florida Railroad Museum (Parrish)
Tickets: On sale now
Dates: March 10-12 & 18-19
Website: www.frrm.org

Where: SAM Shortline Railroad (Cordele)
Tickets: Coming soon
Dates: June 3-4, 10-11, & 17-18
Website: www.samshortline.com

Where: Illinois Railway Museum (Union)
Tickets: On sale now
Dates: July 15-16 & 22-23
Website: www.irm.org

Where: Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad (Boone)
Tickets: Coming soon
Dates: Sept. 9-10 & 15-17
Website: bsvrr.com/wp/

Where: Kentucky Railway Museum (New Haven)
Tickets: On sale now
Dates: June 10-11 & 17-18
Website: www.kyrail.org

Where: Crossroads Village & Huckleberry Railroad (Flint)
Tickets: On sale now
Dates: Aug. 18-20 & 25-27
Website: geneseecountyparks.org/crossroads-village-huckleberry-railroad-1a/

Where: The Henry Ford Museum — Greenfield Village (Dearborn)
Tickets: Coming soon
Dates: May 6-7, 13-14, & 20-21
Website: www.thehenryford.org

Where: North Shore Scenic Railroad (Duluth)
Tickets: On sale now
Dates: Aug. 4-6 & 11-13
Website: duluthtrains.com

New Jersey
Where: The Delaware River Railroad Excursions (Phillipsburg)
Tickets: On sale now
Dates: Aug. 11-13
Website: www.877trainride.com

New York
Where: Medina Railroad Museum (Medina)
Tickets: On sale now
Dates: May 20-21 & 27-28
Website: www.medinarailroadmuseum.org

North Carolina
Where: Tweetsie Railroad (Blowing Rock)
Tickets: On sale now
Dates: June 9-12 & 15-18
Website: tweetsie.com

Where: North Carolina Transportation Museum (Spencer)
Tickets: Coming soon — March 31 (member pre-sale) , April 1 (general public)
Dates: Sept. 22-24, & Sept. 29-Oct. 1
Website: www.nctransportationmuseum.org

Where: Strasburg Rail Road (Ronks)
Tickets: On sale now
Dates: June 17-18, 19-20, & 22-26
Website: www.strasburgrailroad.com

Where: Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum (Chattanooga)
Tickets: On sale now
Dates: April 22-23 & 29-30
Website: www.tvrail.com

Where: Grapevine Vintage Railroad (Grapevine)
Tickets: Coming soon
Dates: Oct. 13-15 & 20-22
Website: www.gvrr.com

Where: Northwest Railway Museum (Snoqualmie)
Tickets: On sale now
Dates: July 7-9, 14-16, & 22-23
Website: www.trainmuseum.org

To view a list of Thomas train rides click here.


Where: Heritage Park (Calgary)
Tickets: On sale now
Dates: May 6-7 & 12-14
Website: www.heritagepark.ca

British Columbia
Where: West Coast Railway (Squamish)
Tickets: Coming soon
Dates: May 27-28 & June 3-4
Website: www.wcra.org


Where: Puffing Billy Railway (Emerald Tourist Railway Board)
Tickets: SOLD OUT
Dates: March 4-5, 18-19, & 25-26, Nov. 11-12, 18-19, & 25-26
Website: puffingbilly.com.au

Where: Bellarina (Geelong Steam Preservation Society)
Tickets: On sale now
Dates: April 15-16 & Oct. 7-8
Website: bellarinerailway.com.au

Where: NSW  Rail Museum (Transport Heritage NSW Limited)
Tickets: On sale now
Dates: May 19-21, 26-28, & Sept. 1-3, 8-10
Website: www.thnsw.com.au

United Kingdom

Where: Buckinghamshire Railway Centre (Quainton)
Tickets: On sale now
Dates: April 7-9
Website: www.bucksrailcentre.org

Where: East Anglian Railway Museum (Colchester)
Tickets: On sale now
Dates: April 7-10
Website: www.earm.co.uk

To check out other events and/or reviews click here.

kids running through train
Each Day Out With Thomas ticket includes an interactive train ride pulled by Thomas. Mattel
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