Frequently Asked Questions
What is Day Out With Thomas™?
Day Out With Thomas™ is a family event that offers aspiring engineers and their families the unique opportunity to take a ride with the classic storybook engine, Thomas the Tank Engine™ at regional heritage railroads across the country.
Who is Thomas the Tank Engine?
Since Thomas the Tank Engine left the depot more than 70 years ago, this Really Useful Engine and his Island of Sodor friends have chugged their way into the hearts of preschoolers and grownups worldwide. Based on The Railway Series of classic stories authored by a father who loved trains and wanted a shared experience with his son, Thomas & Friends™ is a rite of passage that inspires the imagination while teaching the life lessons of friendship, exploration and cooperation.
What are the appropriate ages for Day Out With Thomas™?
Day Out With Thomas™ is a family event that welcomes passengers of all ages.
Where is the event?
The event is held at the N.C. Transportation Museum, at 1 Samuel Spencer Drive, Spencer, NC.
When is the event?
Sept. 22-24, Sept. 29 – Oct. 1. The event runs from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day, though train ride times and performance schedules vary each day. Be aware of this as you plan your visit to have enough time for the train ride(s) and all activities you’d like to see. We encourage you to enjoy the activities and the museum all day long, or as long as you like during operating hours. It will take several hours to see and do everything.
When do tickets go on sale?
Tickets will go on sale March 31, 2023, at 9 a.m. for museum members and April 1, 2023, at 9 a.m. for everyone. You must be a museum member by March 29 to be guaranteed early buying opportunity.
How much are tickets?
Tickets are $20 on Fridays, $22 on weekends, ages 1 and up. Members receive a $2 discount per Day Out with Thomas event ticket; “All Day Passes” not discounted. Event tickets include all site activities and one train ride with Thomas. Percy train tickets can be purchased for an additional $8 on Fridays or for an additional $10 on weekends. Percy Train tickets are only available as an add-on after purchasing your Day Out With Thomas™ ticket.
Friday visitors can also purchase an “All Day Pass” that allows for unlimited train rides aboard the Thomas train for $32. The Percy train can be added to a Thomas Train “All Day Pass” for an additional $8 and will allow unlimited rides on the Percy Train on Fridays only, subject to seating availability. Unlimited ride passes are offered only on the Friday event dates while supplies last. All unlimited passes must be purchased in advance; no walk-ups.
How do I purchase tickets?
Tickets go on sale to museum members on March 31, 2023 at 9 a.m., and to everyone on April 1, 2023 at 9 a.m. Tickets can be purchased online, by clicking the pink “Purchase Tickets” box on the Day Out With Thomas™ page or by calling 1-866-468-7630. Hours are 9 a.m.-9 p.m. EST/7 days a week. The call center will not be active until March 31, so please do not attempt to call before that date. Ticketing questions can be emailed to email@example.com. If you call the museum (704-636-2889), we’ll be happy to answer any questions, but we CANNOT take ticket orders over the phone. Tickets can also be purchased in person at the museum before the event, with cash or check payment only. Tickets may be available for purchase on site the day of the event with cash or credit card, but some dates or ride times may sell out. We advise to purchase tickets in advance.
Who needs tickets?
Tickets are required for guests ages one and up. The Day Out With Thomas™ (DOWT) ticket is inclusive of the train ride, DOWT activities and museum activities (see below). No guests will be admitted to museum exhibits or DOWT activity areas without the purchase of a DOWT ticket, regardless of whether they plan to ride the train or not. All minor children must have a ticketed adult accompanying them for all event activities, including the train ride.
What is included in the ticket price?
A ticket for Day Out With Thomas™ includes the train ride with Thomas the Tank Engine, the option to purchase a Percy Train ticket (extra fee required), and a variety of Thomas & Friends themed entertainment and activities. Guests will also have the opportunity to meet Sir Topham Hatt, the Controller of the Railway on the Island of Sodor. A site map and schedule of activities will be available on site during the event.
How will I receive my tickets?
Our system offers “Print at Home” or “Mobile Ticket” options, which allow you to either print your tickets from your home printer or have them sent to your phone. ALL GUESTS will need to pick up armbands at ticket/information booths upon arrival. Those booths will be stationed at all museum entry points.
Are there any refunds?
There are no refunds or exchanges unless the event is canceled by the event venue. By purchasing tickets, you are agreeing to all stated terms and conditions including “no refunds or exchanges.” Your method of payment will not be charged until you have indicated your agreement with those terms by checking the required box. If at any point you determine that you are unable to use your tickets for any reason, you are welcome to transfer them to another party. We will not be able to honor requests for refunds or exchanges.
What is the Sir Topham Hatt Breakfast?
Join the Controller of the Railway for a delicious breakfast aboard stationary train cars. Breakfast will be at 8:15 and 9:15 a.m. on all days. Guests will get the chance to eat a delicious pancake breakfast (pancakes, sausage, fruit cocktail, and juice) then visit Sir Topham Hatt and have the opportunity to take a picture with him. Seating is limited. Tickets are $12 per person. Everyone must have a ticket to enter the breakfast area, and breakfast tickets are only available to those who have purchased Day Out With Thomas ™ event tickets.
Will Thomas the Tank Engine be there?
Thomas the Tank Engine has traveled all the way from the Island of Sodor and has arrived Right on Time to take a ride with you and your family.
Will Percy be there?
Yes! Percy will be joining Thomas at the N.C. Transportation Museum. He will be pulling the Percy train, running on the same schedule as the regular Thomas train. Those wishing to ride the Percy train can add that option as part of their Day Out With Thomas™ purchase for an additional $8 per ticket (Fridays) or $10 per ticket (weekends.) Purchasers of the Friday “All Day Pass” unlimited Thomas ride tickets can enjoy unlimited Percy rides for an additional $8, subject to seating availability. (“All Day Pass” unlimited rides are available in limited quantities on Fridays only and must be purchased in advance. No walk-up sales of unlimited rides are available.)
PERCY TICKETS ARE EXTREMELY LIMITED. VISITORS ARE ADVISED TO PURCHASE IN ADVANCE, THOUGH LIMITED ADD-ON TICKETS WILL BE AVAILABLE ON EVENT DAYS FOR SINGLE PERCY RIDES.
Will Sir Topham Hatt be there?
Yes, Sir Topham Hatt will take time away from his busy schedule as Controller of the Railway on the Island of Sodor to meet and take pictures with guests. You will also have the opportunity to purchase tickets to a breakfast with Sir Topham Hatt, available as an add-on to your DOWT event admission ticket.
Do you recommend purchasing tickets in advance?
Due to the popularity of Day Out With Thomas™, advance ticket purchase is highly recommended. It is not uncommon for events to sell out. When purchasing tickets you will be asked to select a specific date and time for your ride with Thomas. If you purchase a ticket for the Percy train, you will also be asked to choose a separate time for your Percy ride. Your ticket is valid only for that date and the times listed. However, please feel free to arrive at the museum earlier than your train ride time, because there are many other activities your family can enjoy. We encourage you to allow 90 minutes between your Thomas train and Percy train to give you time to get from one train to the other without rushing.
Friday train rides depart at 10, 10:45, and 11:30 a.m. 12:45, 1:30, 2:15, 3, and 3:45 p.m. Additional Percy rides are available at 4:30 and 5:15 p.m.
Saturday train rides depart at 9:15, 10, 10:45, and 11:30 a.m. 12:45, 1:30, 2:15, 3, 3:45, 4:30, and 5:15 p.m.
Sunday train rides depart at 9:15, 10, 10:45, and 11:30 a.m. 12:45, 1:30, 2:15, 3, 3:45, and 4:30 p.m. An additional Percy ride will be available at 5:15 p.m.
Do you sell official Thomas and Friends™ merchandise?
Day Out With Thomas™ will feature a variety of themed merchandise. Cash and all major credit cards are accepted. An extensive selection of railroad and transportation related merchandise is also available at the N.C. Transportation Museum’s Gift Station. The Gift Station will be open throughout your Day Out With Thomas™ experience.
What if the event is cancelled? Is ticket insurance available or will refunds be processed?
Ticket insurance is not offered as a part of the ticket purchasing process. If the event is canceled by the North Carolina Transportation Museum as a result of weather, health-related concerns including those related to COVID-19, equipment failure, or any other reason that would prevent it from operating, customers will be contacted regarding their options for refunds or rescheduling.
What if the event is not cancelled, but we want to cancel our tickets?
There are no refunds unless the event is cancelled by the event venue. By purchasing tickets, you are agreeing to all stated terms and conditions including “no refunds or exchanges.” Your method of payment will not be charged until you have indicated your agreement with those terms by checking the required box. If at any point you determine that you are unable to use your tickets for any reason, you are welcome to transfer them to another party. We will not be able to honor requests for refunds or exchanges.
Are you limited to just one train ride?
Those purchasing Friday tickets (Sept. 22 and 29) have the option of an All-Day Pass which allows for unlimited Thomas train rides and all Day Out With Thomas™ activities for $32/ticket. Percy add-on tickets are $8 when added to a Friday unlimited Thomas ride “All Day Pass” purchased in advance and will allow unlimited Percy rides, subject to seating availability. Unlimited ride “All Day Passes” for Thomas and Percy trains are available only in advance; no walk-up unlimited tickets will be available. Event tickets include the ride, activities, and museum exhibits. The event takes place from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. and you are welcome to enjoy the full day at the event regardless of your ride times.
Day of Event Information
What times do trains depart?
Friday train rides depart at 10, 10:45, 11:30 a.m. 12:45, 1:30, 2:15, 3, 3:45 p.m. Additional Percy rides are available at 4:30 and 5:15 p.m.
Saturday train rides depart at 9:15, 10, 10:45, 11:30 a.m. 12:45, 1:30, 2:15, 3, 3:45, 4:30 and 5:15 p.m.
Sunday train rides depart at 9:15, 10, 10:45, 11:30 a.m. 12:45, 1:30, 2:15, 3, 3:45, 4:30 p.m. An additional Percy ride will be available at 5:15 p.m.
How should I plan my visit?
Your ticket is for a day of Thomas fun and activities. The time specified on your ticket is for the Thomas train ride (and Percy ride, if applicable) and that is the only activity for which you are locked in to a particular time. Other activities and entertainment have designated times throughout the event day. Make sure that you’ve planned enough time before or after your train ride(s) to experience each activity.
When should we arrive for our train ride with Thomas?
It is recommended that guests arrive at the event at least one hour before their scheduled train ride departure. Arriving early also allows plenty of time for finding parking, bathroom stops and getting in line. Arriving early will help us get the train boarded on time to keep Thomas on schedule, and will help make sure we don’t have disappointed passengers who have missed their train. We recommend being in line for the train ride 20 minutes before your departure time.
There are lots of activities in addition to train rides during Day Out With Thomas™. Those with train departures scheduled later in the day may wish to arrive early enough to experience other event activities prior to the train ride. The site is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on each event day.
Is there assigned seating on the train?
Seating is assigned as guests board the train. Guests must be together during boarding if they wish to sit together on the train. We encourage larger groups to be in line early to be seated together. We cannot always guarantee that parties can be seated together, especially when boarding at the last minute.
How long is the train ride?
Both the Thomas train ride and the Percy train ride are about 3 miles long and take about 25 minutes, occurring on the museum’s 60-acre site.
Are you limited to just one train ride?
Regular Day Out With Thomas™ tickets ($20 Fridays, $22 Saturdays) allows for one train ride aboard Thomas. Combination Thomas and Percy tickets include a ride aboard each of those trains. Percy train tickets can only be purchased as an add-on to your Day Out With Thomas™ ticket.
Those purchasing Friday tickets (Sept. 22 and 29) have the option of an All-Day Pass which allows for unlimited Thomas train rides and all Day Out With Thomas™ activities for $32/ticket. Those wishing to add the Percy train can do so for an additional charge. Percy add-on tickets are $8 when added to a Friday unlimited Thomas ride “All Day Pass” purchased in advance, $8 when added to a regular Friday “Day Out With Thomas ™ ticket or any Friday walk-up Percy ticket purchase, or $10 when added to a Saturday-Sunday “Day Out With Thomas ™ ticket.
How do I get to the N.C. Transportation Museum?
The N.C. Transportation Museum is conveniently located just minutes from I-85 in Spencer, N.C., about an hour’s drive from Charlotte, Greensboro, or Winston Salem. From I-85, take Exit 79 and follow the brown Historic Sites directional signs.
You can also take North Carolina’s Amtrak trains to get to the Salisbury Station located approximately three miles from the NC Transportation Museum. Finding transportation from the train station to the event and back is the guests’ responsibility. For train schedules and pricing, visit www.ncbytrain.org.
CLICK HERE for more information.
Is there parking available on site?
There is parking available on site, with no charge. Additional parking may be available in town near the museum, however, this is not museum property and there may be a parking fee.
Is there an ATM available?
There is not an ATM on the museum property. The nearest is approximately a half mile north of the museum in the Food Lion shopping center.
What if there is inclement weather?
Day Out With Thomas™ events take place rain or shine. Please plan to bring an umbrella or raincoat if inclement weather is expected. The Day Out With Thomas™ event takes place across our 60 acre historic site and there will be times spent outdoors walking between buildings and activities.
Are cameras allowed?
Absolutely! Guests are encouraged to capture their Day Out With Thomas™ memories for their photo album. Professional photographers are also available to take photos with Thomas and Percy for an additional charge.
Will there be food available?
Food vendors will be on site. Most food vendors accept cash and credit/debit cards but there are some that only accept cash. The museum has three picnic shelters, or if you prefer, you are permitted to leave the site and return the same day. There are some restaurants in Spencer and Salisbury (about three miles away) which have a wide selection of options.
Are strollers permitted?
Day Out With Thomas™ is a family event that welcomes guests of all ages. There is even a designated area for “stroller parking” during the train ride. Strollers will not be permitted on the train.
Are diaper changing facilities available?
A diaper changing room is available at no charge during Day Out With Thomas™. It will be easily found on the event map. Please limit this area to one child and one adult.
Is the event handicap accessible?
The Thomas train and the Percy train both have a wheelchair lift and the N.C. Transportation Museum’s 60 acre site is handicap accessible.
If you have specific requests, simply ask a staff person who will do their best to accommodate your needs.
The N.C. Transportation Museum is both a working railroad and a former industrial site. As such, please be aware that there may be areas of the site with rough footing and track crossings that may present an additional challenge for visitors in wheelchairs or with mobility issues.
Are pets allowed?
Animals are not allowed in visitor centers, museums or historic structures, unless the animal qualifies as a service animal under federal or State law. Therefore, only service animals are allowed on board the train.
Is there available lodging in the area?
Yes, and if you are staying overnight, there are special benefits available for Day Out With Thomas™ ticket holders, with your choice of free tickets included with your hotel stay or gift certificates to the museum’s Gift Station. To take part in this, you must first book your lodging and then call the Rowan Convention and Visitors Bureau at (800)332-2343 to reserve your tickets or gift certificate. CLICK HERE for more information.
In Salisbury/Rowan County, there are a variety of lodging establishments just a few miles from the museum. For more information on lodging options, please visit the Rowan Convention and Visitors Bureau. CLICK HERE for the website.
How do I find out about other Day Out With Thomas™ events?
You can find the complete Day Out With Thomas™ 2023 schedule. CLICK HERE for the website.