(The Day Out With Thomas is currently at the Strasburg Rail Road outside of Lancaster, PA, through Sunday, September 21. Buy tickets here.)
The Day Out With Thomas events have been a staple at train museums for many years now. The first such event in the United States was back in 1996, and they’ve been going strong ever since. If you have a kid who likes Thomas or is a train fanatic, then you’ve very likely heard of or been to this event.
There are about a half dozen different Thomas engines making the circuit, and I was surprised to learn that they were all built by the Strasburg Rail Road.
Well, Thomas now has a new friend on the rails! The good people at the Strasburg Rail Road decided to expand the fleet, so they designed and built a working Percy engine!
To coincide with my post about the Choo Choo Barn, I thought I’d just talk about the National Toy Train Museum at the same time. Both are located in Strasburg, PA, which is just a short drive from Lancaster and is filled to the brim with train-related goodies.
The two museums share a common enthusiasm (they’re both lovingly devoted to the world of model railroading), but they have different missions. Whereas the Choo Choo Barn is a presentation of what model railroading looks like, the National Toy Train Museum is dedicated to sharing how the hobby was born, presenting the history of its growth, and reveling in the obvious joy its curators take from this pastime.
Bonus: they’re only about a mile apart, so there’s really no reason not to visit both of them.
The area around Lancaster, PA, has no shortage of stuff to do with the little ones. We recently spent a weekend in the area and devoted most of a day to the wonderful world of trains. Strasburg, PA, about 15 minutes to the southeast of Lancaster, is also known as Traintown, USA.
And for good reason. It’s home to the Strasburg Railroad, the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, the National Toy Train Museum, the Choo Choo Barn, and the incredible Red Caboose Motel.
The adorably named Choo Choo Barn certainly lives up to the cuteness of its name. Located just down the street from the Strasburg Railroad, the Choo Choo Barn is essentially an enormous model train layout.
It’s every little boy’s fantasy. At 1,700 square feet and with 22 operating trains, it certainly puts my childhood model train layout to shame.