Every November, for as long as I can remember, I have driven past a huge billboard in Perris, CA that featured Thomas the Train. A day out with Thomas at Orange Empire Railway Museum it read. I was intrigued but always had plans for those weekends.
Recently my son has picked up a liking for Thomas the Train and I figured it was the perfect time to look into going. So I purchased our tickets for the second train of the day which was at 9:30. Tickets cost 25$ per person, including children 2 and up. For that amount of money, my standards were set pretty high.
We arrived an hour early, which is suggested on the website. The parking lot was already starting to fill up at that point which was very surprising. I didn’t realize it was such a popular event. There were plenty of signs pointing you to where you needed to be which helped eliminate confusion. After our tickets were scanned and we entered, I could see Thomas. I watched as my son’s eyes spotted him as well and I could see the wonderment and excitement on his face.
There was quite a few activities to do and my children wasted no time getting into them. We followed the map to earn stamps, once all stamps were collected you were given a prize. Walked through a hay maze. Jumped in Thomas the Train bounce houses. Watched a Thomas episode. Took a picture with Sir Topham Hatt and drank some delicious lemonade.
Then the time came to ride on Thomas the Train. We got our boarding pass and jumped aboard. The children were given an Junior Engineer Certificate and the Conductor announced over the intercom where we were headed. A quick trip to the edge of Perris and back. My children and most the children aboard were so filled with joy. My son told me “Mommy we are riding on Thomas the Train!”
Once we got off the train it seemed like the crowd size had tripled and there were lines everywhere. We headed over to take a picture with Thomas and had to wait 30 minutes. The volunteers rushed us through, snapping a quick picture and leading us away from the Train docking area.
I suggest picking the first train departure time of the day to beat the crowds and to get parking. When we left, they were parking cars pretty far away from the entrance. In order to do everything they offer with the event, you should allow yourself at least a couple of hours. There are plenty of picnic benches and food vendors to choose from if you need a break for lunch.
Overall the experience was wonderful for my children, it was an experience they will not soon forget and worth the money. Orange Empire Railway Museum also offers other seasonal activities, including Easter Train, Halloween Train and a Santa Train. You can check their website for more information on these events and more. http://www.oerm.org/