Thomas the Tank heading to Heart of Dixie Railroad

By EMILY REED / Special to the Reporter

CALERA – Thomas the Tank Engine will be rolling along to the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum’s Day Out With Thomas event May 12-14 and 20-21.

Children of all ages can spend a day with Thomas, as part of The Friendship Tour 2017, which is presented by Mattel.

“When children walk up to see Thomas, they are screaming and shouting in excitement,” said Jim Garnett , President of Heart of Dixie. “They want to admire Thomas, and they have such a sparkle in their eye.”

The event provides children the opportunity to climb aboard and take a ride with Thomas as well as participate in Thomas and Friends themed activities, according to a press release about the event. “The tour, will make 42 stops across the United States and Canada, and is expected to welcome nearly one million passengers in 2017. For two back-to-back weekends, little engineers and their families are invited to take a 25-minute ride on their favorite engine, meet Sir Topham Hatt, who is the controller of the railway, and enjoy a day of Thomas and Friends fun.”

The event has been held at HOD for more than 15 years, drawing in an average crowd of about 11,000 individuals, according to Garnett.

Garnett said the event is unique due to the fact it is one of the only events hosted by HOD that is largely kid oriented.

“Thomas has been around for a long time, so a lot of kids know who he is, and look forward to seeing him up close,” Garnett said. “When it is time for the kids to go home the parents are practically pulling them away.”

Thomas the Tank Engine rides depart every 45 minutes, rain or shine.

Departure times begin at 9:45 a.m. through 3:45 p.m. on Fridays and Sundays, and at 9 a.m. through 4:30 pm. on Saturdays.

Tickets for Day Out with Thomas are $22, including tax, for ages two and up.

Attendees will be able to participate in events that encourage and celebrate friendship including photo opportunities and a fun activity that invites kids to collect passport stamps throughout the day to receive a trio of Day Out With Thomas friendship bracelets.

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at www.ticketweb.com/dowt or by calling toll-free at (866) 468-7630. For more information and directions, contact The Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum at 668-3435 or visit www.hodrrm.org.

The HOD Railroad is located at 1919 Ninth St. in Calera.