Tickets had been ordered (3 months ago!) and outfits were complete with train conductor hats. The day my two-year-old had been waiting for had finally arrived – our Day Out With Thomas was here! We were more than ready to ride Thomas at the Illinois Railway Museum!
The tickets were $19 each person anyone over 2 years old. I bought the tickets by phone and saved money (by not paying extra fees) than if I’d purchase them online. (More info here) The Illinois Railway Museum is in Union, Illinois.
“Riding Thomas” Tips
Since it was our first Thomas ride, I didn’t know what to expect. I couldn’t find too much information anywhere
These are tips that would have been helpful to know beforehand.
- The rides are only about 20 minutes. Perfect for the always-moving toddler.
- The earlier time slotted rides are definitely more packed than the later ones.
- For a great picture or view of Thomas, sit in the rear 2 or 3 cars and sit on the left-hand side of the train.
- Strollers aren’t allowed on the Thomas train or any other train. You’ll have to park your stroller somewhere on the grass.
- There are plenty of picnic tables so if you want to save money and bring your own food. We actually brought our foldable picnic blanket and sat in the grassy area by the Thomas boarding. We were able to watch Thomas chug back and forth while we were getting our grub on.
- Definitely plan to stay the entire day to check out the Thomas activities AND also the IRM’s offerings. We definitely did not expect the grounds to be this huge!
Other Thomas activities to enjoy:
- Imagination Station – Here you’ll find coloring stations, Thomas and Friends tattoos, train tables, mega blocks
- Storytelling – Watch Thomas videos or have someone read you a Thomas story
- Thomas Gift Shop – Find your cool new Thomas souvenir. Our favorite purchases was a “Day Out With Thomas 2012” Quarry car. Each year, they make a different type of “Day Out with Thomas” car.
- Magic Show
- Meet Sir Topham Hatt – You could actually take a picture with him and then purchase the photo is you wanted. With specific times only available, we couldn’t nail down the perfect time to meet him. But we were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of him as he was leaving the grounds.
- Model Railroad with favorites like James and Thomas chugging around
- Take a picture in front of the Thomas train. There was a crazy long line to take a photo in front of Thomas, so we opted for the side view. The lil man didn’t seem to mind. If you are lucky enough to get a photo in front of Thomas, there are risers for the kiddos to stand on.
- See a firetruck
Illinois Railway Museum’s highlights
- 9 barns that houses trains, trains, and more trains! (We only had time to check out one barn)
- Kids can tire themselves out at the awesome railroad-themed playground by the gift shop
- Finding the perfect souvenir is fun when the gift shop is set up in actual train cars.
- Cafeteria-style restaurant attached to an old rail car
- Ride more trains!! You can ride an electric streetcar or the main train. We jumped on the streetcar right by the Thomas boarding.
Bottom Line: Are you kidding? I would recommend this to everyone, especially if you have a train fan. My son cannot stop talking about it. Every day he asks to “Ride Thomas again!”. I only wish Thomas came around more than once a year!
See other train-related activities.