Who is Thomas the Tank engine?

The imaginary world of Thomas the tank engine began over 50 years ago as a father’s attempt to entertain his son during his recovery from scarlet fever.  Rev. Wilber Awdry began fabricating story after story about the adventures of a tank engine named Thomas as a way to distract his son from his illness. His son Christopher immediately fell in love with the stories and demanded they be repeated. Unfortunately, because they were created off the top of his head there were many inconsistencies when Rev. Awdry retold the story much to Christopher’s dismay. To solve this problem, Rev Awdry began to write down the stories about the train and included pictures too; The world of Thomas and Friends was born.
Thomas5 Collage
My DS5 has always loved Thomas the Train.  When he was little, Thomas seemed to be apart of our everyday life. He wore Thomas clothing, ate from a Thomas bowl, and slept in Thomas sheets. If he wasn’t watching a Thomas movie or reading a story about Thomas, he was playing with wooden versions of the trains on his train table. To say he was obsessed with Thomas would be an understatement. If your child is going to have an idol, Thomas is not a bad one to have. The stories provide lessons on how to be a good friend and person and fulfill the promises you make to others. They are good, wholesome stories.

Nine years ago a brand new Thomas tradition began in Saint Thomas, ON; A Day Out with Thomas. For two weeks every July, Thomas, a retro fitted steam engine, pulls into Saint Thomas’ station and is greeted by Thomas fans big and small. This fun-filled adventure provides children of all ages the opportunity to meet Sir Topham Hat, engage in Thomas related activities and take a twenty-five minute ride on a real, full size Thomas. I knew that DS5 had to ride Thomas to bring his fascination of Thomas to real life. It was an experience of a lifetime and every little boy’s dream!

I loved the way a Day out with Thomas was laid out. It was well organized, presented many different activities to keep the children entertained and of course it was all Thomas themed. Upon arrival, we were presented with a map and goal of collecting four stamps with the promise of a prize if we did. The stamps represented the four major areas of the adventure and they ensure that we saw the best parts of the tour.

Stop #1:  Imagination Station:

We began our adventure in the imagination station. It was a huge indoor area set up with a Thomas bouncing castle, play train tables with every Thomas friend you could imagine and model railway displays. The kids were speechless. They didn`t know where to start. After sitting on the long drive, we agreed that the bouncing castle and Thomas play area was the perfect place to start. There were no line ups and you didn`t feel like you were being jostled around by a mob.

What engineer is complete without their conductors hat! The next area we moved on to was the art area. There we created conductor hats, train puppets, participated in train stamping, and colouring activities.

Thomas3 collage

Stop#2 – Story telling

Next we moved on to the story telling section. It was a large room that was set up with a television and rows of chairs. On the television, was or course, Thomas stories. This was a great section to calm down, cool down (it was HOT!) and enjoy some of your favourite Thomas shows.

#3 – Gift Shop

The gift shop was every Thomas fan’s dream! They had t-shirts, lunch bags, umbrellas, knickknacks and of course Thomas and Friends wooden trains. My favourite souvenir that they offered was a Thomas the train caboose with the words “A Day out with Thomas 2013” on it! What a great way to remember your special day!

#4 – Meet and Greet with Sir Topham Hat

No Thomas story is complete without the lovable conductor who keeps the trains inline! DS5 was very excited to meet him and DD1, who is usually shy, ran up to him and gave him a high five!

Thomas4 Collage

The grand finale!

The grand finale for the day was our ride on Thomas the train! All three kids were excited about this aspect of the day. When Thomas pulled in to the station, it was amazing to see him in real life. The detail and accuracy of him was outstanding. We boarded old fashion passenger cars and rode Thomas for 25 minutes! On board, we got to meet the conductor, listen to Thomas songs and wave to the pedestrians walking by. Upon completion of our ride, we were presented with official conductor certificates and had our picture taken with Thomas himself!

If you have a Thomas fan in your life, this is an adventure you don’t want to miss.

A Day out with Thomas is a magic day of family fun!

There is still time to take your family to see Thomas

WHO:   Thomas the Tank Engine


·       A 25-minute (approximate) ride with Thomas the Tank Engine

·       Meet Sir Topham Hatt, Controller of the Railway

·       A Thomas & Friends Imagination Station; featuring stamps, temporary tattoos, hands-on arts & crafts, train tables, and coloring sheets.

·       Storytelling, video viewing, live music, children’s entertainers, bubbles, Island of Sodor hay bale maze, Misty Island cool mist tents, inflatable bouncers, and model railway displays.

·       Event tickets also include free admission to the Elgin County Railway Museum.


WHEN:    Friday, Saturday and Sunday –  26-28, 2013

TIME:      Grounds open 8 am – 6 pm

WHERE:  St. Thomas-Elgin Memorial Centre – 80 Wilson Avenue, St. Thomas, ON

Jennifer, is a  31 years old, married to her University sweetheart and working mother of 3. She blogs over at 1 Heart, 1 Family which was born of her love of sharing parenting advice to her mommy friends.


  1. Hello I tweeted info at https://twitter.com/ColvinPepsi4me/status/3600703… I would love to take my son Rex Jr. Colvin,my husband and my daughter Stacey. We live sleep eat play with Thomas trains.Thomas and many other trains from The Thomas shows are played with and put on different tracks everyday. Shows are watched so often automatically sing all the songs.

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  1. […] What did your family do this summer? One our favourite family adventures is when we spend the day in Saint Thomas, Ontario, where we heard, saw, meet and rode on everything Thomas the train! Read all about our amazing adventures at A Day Out with Thomas on Tales of Ranting Ginger. […]

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