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I went to the Day Out with Thomas event at the Tennessee Central Railway Museum with my 2-year-old son.
He loves Thomas the Tank Engine and we couldn’t miss this. The big draw is the 25-minute train ride pulled by Thomas himself.
All in all, it was worth the $18 a ticket because my son had a good time.
We arrived at the Tennessee Central Railway Museum around 11 a.m. and noticed that the parking situation was a little crazy since most of the lot was dedicated to the event, not cars.
So we had to find a spot on the grass up a hill from the event. This was not too difficult since there were some helpful people directing traffic.
Once we were back down the hill, we could feel the excitement. Many kids like my son were wearing their Thomas t-shirts and were yelling that they could see him already and started to walk even faster.
Through the gate, we could see that the Thomas train (a dummy train) was attached in front of many real passenger trains. We saw several activity tents set up in the parking lot, along with very large bouncy houses. It looked a little like a carnival.
Plenty To See & Do
Inside the event, there was plenty to do. The Day Out With Thomas event was jam-packed with fun things for the entire family.
Since we had an hour before the ride at noon, we decided to get some lunch first. There was one food tent with the typical hot dogs and hamburgers.
While we sat at a picnic table and ate, we watched a live magic show that was happening on the small stage inside the tent. Then we got our son’s picture taken in front of Thomas, which was about the only time we were really near the famous train.
Next, my son rode a small scale motorized train that did about 3 laps around a small fenced-in area. We didn’t have time to do all of the other activities which included:
- Thomas video viewing
- playing in the bouncy houses and slides
- getting creative with the Legos Imagination Station
- petting the goats at the petting zoo
- meeting Sir Topham Hatt, the controller of Thomas’ railway
On Board The Train
Finally, it was time to get on the train — my son’s favorite part.
We were greeted by men dressed in traditional railroad conductor suits, and we boarded the train. We were able to choose our seats and my son, of course, sat by the window.
The ride was very slow and smooth which allowed for easy viewing of the landscape around us. We rode past many trains on the tracks at the museum and then under some bridges towards Nashville and back again.
If You Go To A Thomas The Tank Event…
Give yourself plenty of time. That way, you will have time to check out all the activities before or after your ride on Thomas. The Thomas ride will take about an hour total — since the ride itself is 25 minutes, and you need to be in line for the ride 30 minutes before that.
Be prepared for a large crowd. There will be lines to wait in for each of the activities. If you have a younger child (3 and under) they may not understand this.
Bring cash. The food vendors do not take credit or debit cards.
Be prepared for heat if the event is held in the summer. This event is located on cement and there are few shaded areas.
Be prepared to see homeless people under the bridges during the train ride. And be able to explain to little ones what they are seeing.
More pre-event information here: Day Out With Thomas FAQ
What I Liked Most About The Event
- There were several train ride times available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and I could work it into my son’s schedule.
- The staff at the event seemed genuinely excited for the kids and were in great spirits.
- There were plenty of activities for the kids to do while waiting for the Thomas ride.
- There was a magician doing a show in the food tent.
- My son got to ride on a real train!
See Thomas The Tank Engine In Nashville
Thomas will be in Nashville again on Saturday, September 12th and Sunday, September 13th.
Get tickets for Day Out With Thomas.
If you miss him that weekend, he will be back next year. (Keep checking back for dates and times.)
The Tennessee Central Railway Museum is located at 220 Willow St. Nashville, TN 37210. Phone: (615) 244-9001.
I live in Franklin with my husband and our toddler son. I enjoy writing about our experiences visiting places in Franklin, Cool Springs, and the Brentwood area.