The Strasburg Railroad, a Day Out with Thomas, and the Choo Choo Barn [Grady’s 3rd Birthday]

44 Flares Made with Flare More Info'> 44 Flares ×

Grady just turned 3 last week! I can’t believe that I now have a 3 year old! He’s really been into trains and Thomas lately (aren’t all 3 year old boys?!), so for his birthday we took a trip to Strasburg, PA and spent an afternoon enjoying a Day Out with Thomas (we received complementary tickets – although we would have went regardless).

He had a blast even though he was just getting over being sick. I took a ton of photos, of course, so check them all out below and I’ll share how our day went. And if you’re looking to ride Thomas, too, there will be some info at the bottom of the post (dates, pricing, etc., for future events).

a day out with thomas - front of thomas

A Day out with Thomas at the Strasburg Railroad

We’re not super close to Strasburg – which is near Lancaster, PA – so we left midmorning to make it on time for our afternoon tickets. It’s a several hour drive, but completely doable and worth it. Grady watched a Thomas DVD the whole way there and Haley took her morning nap in the car, so it was a relatively easy drive.

We arrived at about lunch time and we found a spot nearby to eat our picnic lunch that we brought. There’s food at the event and even on the train – but we choose to pack a lunch since we’d be eating out for dinner. We ate lunch right next to the railroad tracks and Grady was super excited to see Thomas go by a few times! Honestly, he didn’t eat much because he was so excited. It was really a great preview of what was to come! The picture above is actually one I took while we were eating lunch. Pretty, right? I just love the farm in the background.

They have special event parking set up so you don’t have to worry about finding a spot close by. We parked in the designated Thomas parking and took the “school bus shuttle” over. It was quick and easy. We arrived just in time to pick up our tickets and hop on board Thomas!

a day out with thomas haley - baby girl on train

a day out with thomas Grady - little boy on train

We sat somewhere in the middle and Grady and Haley had so much fun looking out. It’s very open and breezy, and Haley was loving the wind blowing in her hair. It’s not a super long ride (only 22 minutes), but it was the perfect amount of time for a 1 and 3 year old. The train goes out and then reverses and brings you back in. The train conductor walks around and talks with you and another lady comes by to take your picture. You can purchase the photo back at the event along with other photo opportunities (with Thomas and Sir Topham Hatt). We choose not to purchase any photos since I had my own camera.

a day out with thomas - mom and baby on train

After our train ride, we spent another few hours walking around the event and checking out the Strasburg railroad. Grady enjoyed doing the cranky car thing a few times, and we rode several other small trains.

a day out with thomas little boy using cranky car ride


a day out with thomas father and son riding train

Along with the Thomas ride, there’s also another steam engine running that you can purchase tickets for. It goes for about 45 minutes – which was too long for us this time – but I think it would be fun in the future. Grady really enjoyed watching the trains come in and out of the station.

a day out with thomas steam engine

We got our picture taken in front of Thomas when he arrived at the station after one of the trips. He’s only at the station for about 10 minutes each time, so the line is pretty long, but it went so fast. I think we actually waited longer to get our picture with Sir Topham Hatt! And as you can see below – Haley did not know what to think of him!

a day out with thomas coming into the station

a day out with thomas sir topham hat

a day out with thomas family with sir topham hatt

They have a whole section of Thomas toys and activities set up. It’s like a little play area. Since Grady was just getting over being sick, we just skipped it. I didn’t want to spread any lingering germs or pick up any others – although I did see hand sanitizer stations! We did pick up a Thomas tattoo for him though!

We also didn’t even go near the Thomas merchandise tent either. Grady had just opened a few Thomas items for his birthday that morning, so he really didn’t need more! I think we spent about 2 hours walking around the event after our train ride, so plan the extra time either before or after if you go.

We took the bus shuttle back to our car and happened to see Thomas again on our way there. Doesn’t it look like he’s looking right at you?! Grady was excited to see him one more time.

a day out with thomas  - on the tracks

Choo Choo Barn

After spending the afternoon at the Thomas event, we drove down the road a few minutes and spent some time at the Choo Choo Barn – a huge model train display! It was the largest train display I’d ever seen – even Eric was impressed (1700 sq. ft.)! It’s crazy to imagine the detail that went into it. It’s mostly O-gauge trains – which is actually what we have for Grady that runs under our Christmas tree, so it was pretty familiar for him.

a day out with thomas choo choo barn  - little boy looking at model train display

Eric loved that the lights would go out periodically and then all the little house, street, and car lights would come on. It was interesting to see everything at night. Grady loved the one house that catches on fire – he watched the fire engine put it out a gazillion times. I loved that there were little live fish in the display. I’d never seen that before! And Thomas was even there, too!

a day out with thomas choo choo barn house fire

a day out with thomas choo choo barn fish

a day out with thomas choo choo barn thomas display

The one other thing I really liked, was that there were little clues placed around the perimeter so you could search for things in the display. I would have missed so much of the detail otherwise!

a day out with thomas choo choo barn train display

Have you ever been to a Day Out with Thomas? They’re held all over – not just at the Strasburg Railroad. And model trains – aren’t they neat?


You can purchase tickets for a Day Out with Thomas at the Strasburg Railroad, on the Strasburg Railroad Website for $19 per person ages 2 and up. If you’re not in PA – check to see if there’s a Thomas Event near you here. Admission at the Choo Choo Barn is $7 for adults and $4 for kids 3-12 and you can spend as much time there as you want!

The next dates for Thomas at the Strasburg Railroad are September 14-22 and November 22-24. I think it would be fun to go again in the fall!


Check out the Strasburg Railroad on Facebook and Twitter. And don’t forget about the Choo Choo Barn on Facebook – they show lots of how to videos!

Disclosure I

44 Flares Twitter 1 Facebook 28 Google+ 3 Pin It Share 11 StumbleUpon 1 Made with Flare More Info'> 44 Flares ×


  1. This looks like a great way to spend a birthday!

  2. That is a neat event! I know my son would love it as well. There is a train at our zoo, but it is 5 minutes through an “Enchanted Forest”. The kids love it though. We took him on his first train ride this summer. He really liked it.

  3. Dianna Thomas says:

    Thanks for sharing– and yes I have found the same thing about boys loving train–and planes–we can sit and watch for at least an hour–such are fun for them.We have a great set up at our fairground that you can enter all year long with trains and the set up–for the club that is here..thanks again

  4. This takes me back to when my boy was a serious Thomas fan. We had everything Thomas. Going to this event would have blown his mind! I think I still have his very first wooden Thomas train, barely any paint on it, that’s how well used it is lol.

  5. My 3 year old would go crazy for this!! We have been talking about going to a Day Out with Thomas but it is so far away from where we live. I could only imagine my little boy’s face if he saw Thomas. He loves everything about Thomas and has a million trains, tracks, and dvds. It looks you all had a great time. Wonderful post!

  6. This looks like so much fun! When my son gets a little older, we’ll have to check this out!

Speak Your Mind


44 Flares Twitter 1 Facebook 28 Google+ 3 Pin It Share 11 StumbleUpon 1 44 Flares ×
© Jennifer Krout 2010-2013. All content is original and may not be used without permission / Blog Design by Pearl Tree Designs