A Day Out with Thomas
By Stephanie D. Litz
© 2011 – Muscogee Moms LLC, muscogeemoms.com
All aboard! Thomas the Train is coming to a train depot near you!
Thomas the Train is hoping that his friends from all over Georgia will make the trip to meet him when he pulls into the station in October at Georgia Veterans State Park, just outside Cordele, Ga.
It was a crisp, cool morning in 2011 — the kind of day that makes you want to stay outdoors all day. My family and I piled into the car and hit the road for an autumn drive. We were on a mission to spend a Day Out with Thomas!
Two hours later, we arrived at Georgia Veterans State Park in Cordele, where we were greeted by friendly park volunteer staff. We paid the $5 parking donation to support our beautiful state parks. Parking was well coordinated with ushers guiding us straight into our parking place for the day. (Tip: Take all the items you need (cameras, diaper bags, strollers, etc) before leaving your vehicle.)
After a short walk to the end of the parking field, we boarded the open air trolleys and were whisked further into the park and dropped off at the top of the hill above the S.A.M Shortline Excursion Train boarding area. There were plenty of activities for little Thomas fans here — covered dining, face painting, live music and storytelling, Imagination Station, and more!
The smell of funnel cakes lured us down the hill where we had the chance to meet Sir Topham Hatt, play with bubbles, take a turn at the pumpkin toss and putt-putt, bounce in the bouncy houses, shop in the Thomas gift shop, and most importantly… board the train!
As Thomas pulled into the station and announced his arrival with the peep-peep of his whistle a little boy nearby waved and exclaimed with delight “Hi Thomas!” We boarded train car Plains 154 to the sound of Thomas music playing throughout and friendly volunteers ready to help us find our seat. They even took our photo using our camera. We felt right at home and settled in. Seated across from us was a family of three that made the 5-hour trip from central Florida so their five-year-old could experience a Day out with Thomas.
Promptly at 11:30, the conductor came over the loud speaker to announce our departure from the station but that Thomas needed a little encouragement from everyone. “Push Thomas, push!” could be heard coming from excited children over and over until Thomas started up the track, and he was rewarded with a round of applause.
Our 25-minute round trip took us across the waters of Lake Blackshear, past immense Cyprus trees in the water and pecan trees back on land. Each child can easily enjoy the sights from their large window seat. Near the end of our ride, each child is given a Jr. Engineer Certificate that parents can complete with their child’s name.
After pulling into the station, friends of Thomas are welcome to pose for photos with him at the top platform and then venture through the large souvenir shop filled with Thomas books, games, puzzles, motorized and wooden train sets, and apparel. With the exception of any food or items purchased from the gift shop, all activities are included in your ticket price.
A Day Out With Thomas™ is the must-attend event if your child is a fan of Thomas the Train. You’ll leave finding that it is truly a fun-filled, day out with family event. My girls had a blast!
If you and your family find yourself with the itch to take in a few more sights before heading home, explore Georgia Veterans State Park or travel just up the road to Jimmy Carter National Historic Site in Plains, Andersonville National Historic site and National POW Museum in Andersonville, or even the Georgia Rural Telephone Museum in Leslie, Ga.
Location: Georgia Veterans State Park
2459 U.S. Highway 280 W
Cordele , GA 31015
Tickets: $18 per person
Ages 2 and under are free.
Dates: Last two weekends in October
Departure times: 10:00 a.m. | 10:45 a.m. | 11:30 a.m. | 12:45 p.m. | 1:30 p.m. | 2:15 p.m.
Order Tickets Online or call 1-866-468-7630