All aboard! It's time to ride the rails with Thomas & Friends! The 2014 Day Out with Thomas Tour is making its way across the country, and for the past two weekends, he has been stationed at The NC Transportation Museum in Spencer, NC. We love heading to the NC Transportation Museum, because it is such a cool place, filled with lots of history and so many unique train cars, engines and old vehicles which have been restored over the years.
The NC Transportation Museum has quickly become one of our favorite places to visit. The museum, located in Spencer, NC, opened in 1982, located on the site of what was once Southern Railway Company's largest steam locomotive servicing facility. J.P. Morgan, Southern's owner, chose the site because of its location midway between the railroad's major terminal points of Washington, D.C., and Atlanta, Ga. Construction of the Shops began in 1896, and they were named in honor of the first president of Southern Railway, Samuel Spencer.
Today, the museum grounds and shop areas have mostly been restored, and are open to the public. The museum hosts all sorts of gatherings and special event though out the year, including the annual Day Out with Thomas Tour.
When we arrived at the NC Transportation Museum, we picked up our tickets at Will Call. We were given a map of the grounds, as well as a map of activities planned through out the day. Unfortunately, we arrived near the end of the day, and it was raining. Many of the food vendors had already shut down and left, and several of the activities were shut down, as well. We have been to the NC Transportation Museum numerous times, and each time, we discover or learn something new! We couldn't wait to catch a ride on our favorite No. 1 Blue Engine, Thomas!
Sacha and B, checking out the steam engine that Percy was part of for the DOWT Event.
This is the first year that the Day Out With Thomas Tour has also included special guest, Percy! The happy green engine was hooked up the the steam engine, and for some extra bucks, you could purchase a ride on 'Percy.'
The steam engine, rolling through...
...and there's Percy!
We had some time before our train ride on Thomas, so we popped into the Gift Shop and looked around. The gift shop is filled with all sorts of toys, games, model trains, train apparel and more! As we walked through what we thought was an exit to part of the museum, we noticed that it had been turned into the Day Out With Thomas merchandise area. There were so many Thomas toys, etc., it was like a Thomas fan's dream land! We didn't stay in there for too long, because there were so many cool things for kiddos, and we knew it wouldn't be long before B started asking for some of them.
Sacha and B, posing beside the tracks...
B and me, taking a break outside the gift shop.
It wasn't long after that, that it was time for us to get in line for our ride on Thomas! We climbed aboard and B chose our seats for the ride. We love riding on the old trains at the NC Transportation Museum! It was so much fun to sit in the train, and open up the windows, letting the breeze blow in as we took a gentle 20 minute ride from one end of the Transportation Museum, back to our starting point. The train was decorated in Thomas decor, our favorite Thomas and Friends songs were playing through the speakers, and we had fun singing along. One of the engineers came around and presented each child with a Jr. Engineer Certificate and a Thomas sticker!
B, ready for our train ride to begin. Go, go, Thomas!
B and his daddy aboard Thomas the Train!
Me and my sweet little engineer.
Tickle fun and silliness on the train.
Go, Percy, go!
We peered out our window and saw Percy on the other side of the train tracks!
We also got to take a look at some train cars and engines that were being worked on/restored.
B loved this one!
We had a great train ride, and for the rides to last 20-25 minutes, makes it well worth the ticket price. It's such a nice, quiet ride, and you really get to see all that there is on the ground of the NC Transportation Museum, which is truly huge!
After our ride on Thomas, we decided to take advantage of the fact that a lot of folks had stepped away from the activity areas, due to the rainy weather. We just put our hoods up, and played through it! There were putt-putt courses set up, a hay maze, a bounce house, and a big bouncy slide (which was too wet to play on), and we did all of these fun activities while the rain held off.
B couldn't wait to show off his putting skills!
Bob the Builder made an appearance at the putt-putt stations, too!
Sacha and B, playing in the hay maze. 'Hey, how do we get out of here?'
After we did a few of the outdoor activities, it began to rain again, so we made our way down to the area where there were lots of Thomas the Train tables and play tracks set up for the kiddos to play with. We then moved over to the area that had some very big, cool and fancy model train sets set up. Some of them had buttons all the way around for the kids to press, and make the model sets move!
B had fun playing engineer in this Thomas inspired train...
He even got to blow the horn!
We ended our day at the NC Transportation Museum in the Roundhouse, which just so happens to be our favorite part of the museum. This is where all of the trains are kept, and you can get an up close look at them. A couple of the train cars are actually set up for you to walk through, including the US mail train, and a fully restored US Army Medical Train. You can also walk through the back shop, and watch train cars and engines being worked on and restored, live! It's so cool to see how they restore those beautiful cars!
There's much, much more to the museum than what I just mentioned, and there were quite a lot of Day Out With Thomas activities that we missed, because it was so late in the day, and because of the rain. There was also a magic show, live music, a MEGA Blocks area, Thomas tattoo stations, Coloring and Craft areas, a Bubble Station, and more. We did get to see Sir Topham Hat from the train when we took our ride. He was available for photo opps at certain times.
We had a fantastic time with Thomas and his Friends, and can't wait to catch the tour the next time it stops in our area!
Want to See Thomas and Friends?
Check here for the 2014 Day Out With Thomas official tour schedule. For more information regarding the NC Transportation Museum, click here.
Special thanks to the NC Transportation Museum for allowing us to visit and share about our Day Out with Thomas experience! We won't soon forget it, and can't wait for our next visit!
Disclosure: This post was made possible through our affiliation with US Family Guide. My family and I were provided tickets to this event, free of charge, and asked to share our honest opinions. All thoughts and opinions shared are solely my own.