My Life Parenting

A Day Out With Thomas

We recently drove out to Union, Illinois, to the Illinois Railway Museum for a Day Out with Thomas. It was a little odd to see a full-sized Thomas the Tank Engine. His eyes moved, he whistled, and he puffed steam. (And while he was putting on a good show at the front of the train, an engine at the other end did the hard work of moving the passenger cars.)

Full-Sized Thomas the Tank Engine, Pulling Passenger Cars

We took one twenty-minute ride, soon after we arrived. Eleanor then spent the rest of the day asking when we could go again. Every time Thomas passed by, she was equally excited. “Hi, Thomas!” she yelled, waving her little arms at him. August was into it too, though his enthusiasm is more expressed through grunts and gestures. (Dude, learn some new words already.)

My sister, Ashley, came with us for the day.

The old trains were amazing. I felt so small next to them. Barn number 9 housed all of the big steam engines, and Eleanor was afraid to go in. Too scary, she said. (They were imposing.) Ashley and I took August in while E hung back with Brandon.

Old Trains

Aunt Ashley got a little bonding time in with August, and an arm workout.

Cool old signs. (Climax! Tee hee! I’m twelve.)

Cool Old Railroad Signs

The day was train-centric (obviously), but there were a few other things to do. Eleanor and Brandon played a round of mini golf. (Bran was proud of his hole-in-one shot.) There was a fire engine there, which is August’s OMG favorite thing in the world, and I thought the kids would have been more into trying on the firefighters’ hats. Don’t they look thrilled?

Also, Eleanor met Sir Topham Hatt. (Or “The Fat Controller”, depending on which Thomas story you’re reading and how flattering it is toward him.) E carried a rock.

Eleanor Meets Sir Topham Hatt

They really did have a great time though! The grown-ups, too. I imagine we’ll be attending for the next few years.

A Day Out with Thomas

Me and Eleanor

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  • Lisa
    August 28, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    What a fun day! Your photos are super sweet. I know so many kids who would love that outing!

  • Rachel
    August 28, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    I have been debating buying tickets to Day Out With Thomas when it comes to southern ca….totally going to it now!! Thanks for this post, I can’t wait now!!!

  • Sonia
    August 28, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    We were there too! My sister took my two year old nephew, Diego, who LOVES Thomas and his friends :) I tagged along and we all had a great time, especially Diego. We can’t wait to go next year.

  • Jenn
    August 28, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    Eleanor’s dress is adorable! Where is it from?

    • Making it Lovely
      August 28, 2012 at 10:27 pm
      • Jenn
        August 28, 2012 at 11:15 pm

        For some reason, I’ve never heard of this company. Wow, I’ve been majorly missing out! You just cost me 135.00 with your great style. Thank you!

  • Eugenia
    August 28, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    Nora’s dress is KILLER.

  • Lilis
    August 28, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    I’m green with envy !! My son loves thomas too but it’s too far away, I’m living in Jakarta…..wish someday we can have something similar here :)

  • Carla
    August 28, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    My son adores fire engines, that would have been his favorite part too! I adore E’s dress, but then she’s always rockin the cutest clothes!

  • spark
    August 29, 2012 at 12:34 am

    What a fun day!!! Forgive the personal observation but I am undergoing a bit of weight loss myself at the moment and it is always nice when someone compliments me so here goes…. BRANDON LOOKS FANTASTIC!!!! He has always looked awesome and I always have loved the way he dresses (my husband needs some serious liberation of his blue striped polo shirts – think french male blogger! (without the blog). Anyways Brandon, you look like you’ve been working out or doing something because you look really healthy and very cute – raar:) Thank goodness I live in Australia hey Nicole? ;)

    • Making it Lovely
      August 29, 2012 at 9:02 am

      Haha! I think you’ll have made his day when he sees this. ;)

  • Christina W.
    August 29, 2012 at 1:09 am

    Your photography just gets better and better, seriously. That little montage up there of train related images looks frame worthy!

  • HelloDoorSeven
    August 29, 2012 at 2:30 am

    You are such a cute family!!

  • Christian T
    August 29, 2012 at 6:46 am

    Your husband looks so much like one of the guys on the show Top Gear (I was watching it lastnight with my husband)… They could be twins.

    • Christina W.
      August 29, 2012 at 7:17 am


    • Making it Lovely
      August 29, 2012 at 9:00 am

      Wow, you’re right!

  • Catherine
    August 29, 2012 at 7:07 am

    What a fun day! Was it absolutely packed when you went? It’s coming to our area in a month, and we are debating going, since our boys are currently in love with all things Thomas. Just wondering if you had to wait in line a long time to ride.

    • Making it Lovely
      August 29, 2012 at 9:01 am

      It wasn’t too bad. There were a LOT of people there, but the Thomas rides happen every half hour and your ticket will guarantee you a spot in your time slot. There were other trains to ride too, no lines.

      • Catherine
        August 29, 2012 at 1:57 pm

        Great! Thank you so much! :)

  • kimberly
    August 29, 2012 at 8:54 am

    We went to this train museum when I was little (there was no Thomas then) and all I remember is being bored out of my mind (oh, my poor parents!) & similar to Eleanor, scared of the big old steam engines! I was older, so I went in, but they were quite intimidating!

  • Kat
    August 29, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    Any tips to make the most out of your day there? My daughter was asking us about wanting to see Thomas and the closest is Pennsylvania for us (we’re in Northern Virginia/DC area). We’re debating on going the last day it’s there.

  • Brittany
    August 29, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    Hey, I was there too! The homeless shelter I work at volunteers every year. I was on the train handing out certificates to all the cute little kids. The museum is amazing with all of those great vintage trains. I look forward to it every summer!

  • Jessie {My Mod Style}
    August 29, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    So cute!! August & Eleanor look so much alike. Adorable.

  • Julia
    August 29, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    So cute! We took our daughter in June for a Day Out With Thomas. Oh she had the best time and rode the train twice. She is still talking about it.

  • Christie
    August 30, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    I took my little one to see Thomas earlier this summer. It was so sweet seeing her squeal with delight at the site of him. I loved the relaxation of riding an old train. It has inspired us to take a train trip in the near future!

  • MarthaB
    August 30, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    We were in Union last weekend to see Thomas and our daughter loved it! It was even worth the residual crankiness from a missed nap to make our way out there :) We have lived in our house for 7 years and we never knew the railway museum was only 20 minutes from our house until we looked into the Thomas event…we will definitely make it an annual event as well!

  • Kayleigh
    September 6, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Oh, it warms my heart to see the old Michigan signs!! I need to snatch up the “Gd. Haven” piece…or replicate one of my own. Sweet West Michigan summers – love me some home <3

  • rebecca.k
    September 11, 2012 at 12:16 am

    I just loved seeing your photo of those old Grand Trunk signs! I grew up in Durand, Michigan, and both my grandfather and great-grandfather worked for Grand Trunk. Thank you for sharing!