Our family headed to Duluth this weekend for the Day Out With Thomas®: The Celebration Tour 2015!
Thomas the Train is visiting Duluth the first two weekends in August – that means you still have time to go! The Celebration Tour continues this weekend, August 7 – 9. I shared more info in a previous post here. Tickets are $19 per person and can be purchased online or in person.
When we arrived, we picked up our tickets and wanted to make our train reservation, but learned that all the train rides for the weekend were FULL! I should have made a reservation in advance, but thankfully, we got on a train regardless. However, if you go – I recommend making a reservation beforehand!
Before our train ride, we decided to explore the many activities going on outside and inside. Like last year, there was live music, concessions (hot dogs, hamburgers, kids’ meals, smoothies, etc), a bouncy house and slide, face painting, imagination stations with interactive activity tables, bubble machines, and even a bubble foam play area where kids took their shoes off and played with foamy bubbles! And of course, between train rides, Thomas the Train was there for pictures! Staff photographers took posed pictures of kids on alternating sides of Thomas (while parents like me took their own!). The photos that the staff took could be purchased inside.
We bought some meals, and the food was good, though I wasn’t crazy about the prices. It cost $27 for the four of us, and the only drink we bought was a smoothie that we shared (we brought water and juice drinks). Note that the prices don’t include fries or a drink.
The activities outside were fun, but for some reason, I didn’t think they were as good as last year. Maybe the arrangement of the activities wasn’t as attractive as last year, but it felt a bit disorganized. Like when we went to the Imagination Station to get our map stamped (get four stamps and get a prize), there was a line of people waiting for a team member to find the stamp, and he eventually had to initial maps including ours.
However, there was still a lot of fun for the kids, who loved everything from building a lego train to the face painting and the bubbles!
We did the train ride at 2:00pm, which was narrated from beginning to end. The train had some party decorations inside to celebrate Thomas’ birthday, otherwise it was a no-frills, 30-minute train ride. All the kids got “junior engineer” certificates at the end of the ride.
After the train ride you re-enter the building through – the gift shop! Of course, there were lots of fun things to buy…but be prepared for a case of the Gimmies from your kids when they see all the fun toys!
The prize your kids get when they fill up their map with 4 stamps is a cheap party blower. Last year the prizes were better – the kids got little, quality Thomas the Train toys and snacks. The party blowers this year were loud and annoying and fell apart within a few minutes. We were not impressed.
Unfortunately, it was a hot day, which made lots of kids cranky including ours. We cooled off in the theater inside, where they had storytelling and Thomas cartoons.
Indoors, there were other activities like a magic show, arts and crafts, and photo opportunities with Sir Topham Hat (whom we never saw).
Overall, we spent about 3 hours here. Not as long as last year, and it was fun, but we left feeling disappointed compared with last year. I think it’s worth it for the kids, though I have some tips to make it as enjoyable as possible!
If you go, here are my tips:
1) To save money, eat before you come and bring water and snacks.
2) If it’s warm and sunny, wear a sun hat, sunscreen and sunglasses – you’ll spend a good amount of time outside.
3) Consider bringing a small fold-up chair (easy to stick under a stroller). There were NO chairs anywhere outside, and few places to sit inside.
4) Cool off and take a break in the theater inside.
5) Be prepared for crowds and bring your camera!
6) Buy your tickets in advance. Train rides do sell out!