Thank you to my friend Alex S for reviewing her families experience at Day Out With Thomas in Squamish!
I blame my Tia Cecilia for the obsession. Before my son was a year old my aunt had gifted him his first Thomas the Train. And a whole series of books. Three and a half years later I now know all the characters. Even the most obscure, by name and number. Don’t call yourself a fan if you don’t know who is engine No. 7.
So, of course, when the West Coast Railway Association brought our favourite tank engine to Squamish my family and I enthusiastically set out on the hour-long journey from Vancouver to experience a “Day out with Thomas.”
Unfortunately, just as we were arriving to Squamish at 2:30 p.m., I realized – in horror – that our tickets to ride with Thomas were for 2 not 3 p.m. Panic began to set in as we tried to think up ways we could explain to our passionate junior engineer why he would not be riding with the rest of the kids (cue sad train whistle). Luckily, the cheerful WCRA event staff didn’t bat an eye when we sheepishly admitted our mistake and promptly gave us tickets for the 4 p.m. Thankful does not even begin to describe how we felt!
TRY TO ARRIVE EARLY.
Still, I would advise wiser parents reading this post that they actually show up on time – and the whole hour ahead that’s recommended. There is so much more to the experience than just the train ride. Though we only had an hour before our ride, you could easily fill two or more trying the various activity stations including a bouncy castle, train tables, mini putt and watching children’s entertainers. Not to mention riding the mini-rail (a whole other train featured at the heritage park). One of our favourite stations was the interactive model railway where kids and parents could play with electric Thomas toy trains. Meeting Sir Topham Hatt for a photo was also a hit! And if, you’re in need of more Thomas souvenirs, there’s a gift shop filled with clothing, toys, and much more.
The 20-minute train ride with Thomas was a blast and featured more entertainment for the kids – bubble blowing and balloon animals. However, if you’re thinking this ride will be like the Stanley Park train – it’s much less of a tour than a ride. There isn’t much to see on the actual trip but it was really fun nonetheless. If nothing else than to see my son’s face light up when the animatronic Thomas the tank engine smiled back at him. Photos are a must so do bring a camera. And if you don’t have one there are professional photographers on site and photos are available to order).
As we were leaving the park we were reminded to get our tickets for the Christmastime Polar Express! Can’t wait!
Day Out with Thomas was held for two weekends – May 20 to 22 and May 27 to 28, 2017. It’s an annual event held by the West Coast Railway Association in Squamish, B.C.