What could be more exciting for a Thomas-obsessed preschooler than riding on the real Thomas the Tank Engine? The "Day Out With Thomas" event at Rockhill Furnace on July 1 to 4 and July 9 and 10 will give them that opportunity.
A 15-ton replica of Thomas the Tank Engine will be rolling into East Broad Top Railroad in Rockhill Furnace, and children can enjoy a 25-minute train ride, meet Sir Topham Hatt and participate in Thomas-themed activities at the station.
Thomas and his friends have been captivating children for 66 years through books, movies and the TV series, but a "Day Out With Thomas" makes the story come to life.
Thomas the Tank Engine pulls into a station to pick up guests during his “Day Out With?Thomas”?Leader of the Track Tour 2011. The tour is coming to Huntingdon County in July.
HIT Entertainment has been organizing the ride on the rails events with Thomas for 16 years. This is the first time Thomas has visited the area. The Thomas-themed event, however, has visited Strasburg Railroad and the tour stops in 45 cities across the country with more than one million passengers riding Thomas the Tank Engine nationwide.
"We are thrilled to bring him to the area so that his fans have the opportunity to visit with him," Lucas Gonzalez, "Day Out With Thomas" coordinator for HIT Entertain-ment said in an email interview.
Sherry McCarthy, director of marketing for the Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum and Horseshoe Curve National Historic Site, said "Day out with Thomas" is an exciting opportunity.
If you go
What: "Day Out With Thomas," Leader of the Track Tour 2011
Where: East Broad Top Railroad, 421 Meadow St., Rockhill Furnace
When: Every 45 minutes from 10:15 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. July 1 to 4, and July 9 and 10, rain or shine
Price: Tickets are $18 a person (over 2 years) and can be purchased by calling 866-468-7630 or by visiting www.ticketweb.com/thomas.html
This year's event focuses on the differences between steam and diesel engines, to celebrate the release of "Day of the Diesels," the 2011 Thomas & Friends DVD.
"We feel that this is a significant step forward for the East Broad Top Railroad in now recognizing it as a national tourist attraction and providing special family events such as 'Day Out With Thomas,'" McCarthy said.
Gonzalez said the event targets toddlers, but all family members will enjoy the Thomas-themed fun.
"Kids get to read about Thomas the Tank Engine and watch him on TV, but this is a real-life opportunity for the littlest fans to take an actual ride with him. Families who come out for the 'Day Out With Thomas' will also be able to enjoy a bevy of other activities," Gonzalez said.
Along with riding on Thomas, there will be a Thomas & Friends Imagination Station featuring stamps, temporary tattoos and arts and crafts. Families can enjoy live music, a bubble station, speeder rides, face painting, a hay bale maze and hand cars.
Children can also enjoy storytelling and learn about steam engines and diesel engines in a video viewing area.
"We feel it is a perfect opportunity to bring children to the East Broad Top Railroad and to teach them about train history while also providing them with the opportunity to enjoy their favorite locomotive, Thomas the Tank Engine. We are extremely excited to host this internationally recognized event," McCarthy said.