Day Out with Thomas in Rowan County, NC
Day Out with Thomas is one of Rowan County’s largest original events! Happening the last weekend in September and first weekend in October each year, little engineers come from all over to join Thomas the Tank Engine and his good friend Percy at the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer, NC.
All aboard! Jump on board Thomas for an interactive train ride, pick up your Dream Pass, and head to the Play Pod or say Hello to Sir Topham Hatt. For the little engineers who want even more excitement, check out the Dream Big Corner for photos ops, lawn games & more. Don’t forget to head to the gift shop for toys and swag!
The event includes Thomas and Percy train rides, pictures with Sir Topham Hatt, a hay bale maze, temporary tattoos, a balloon artist, photo ops, character inflatables, giant lawn games, a music show, model train layouts, food vendors, picnic shelters, a large gift shop, plus three exhibit buildings featuring North Carolina’s transportation history with rail cars, antique automobiles, and a Wright Brothers flyer replica.
Rowan County Tourism offers complimentary tickets to Day Out with Thomas each year as part of our Overnight Stay & Play Packages. You can earn free tickets by booking your overnight stay in a Rowan County lodging property during the Day Out with Thomas event. Be sure to learn more about our this offer and others on our special offers page.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a ticket to attend the Day Out with Thomas?
Tickets are required for guests ages one and up. A ticket for Day Out With Thomas™ (DOWT) 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. 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. Tickets go on sale in early spring each year and can be found on the North Carolina Transportation Museum’s website. 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 purchasing tickets in advance.
Do I need to purchase tickets in advance?
Due to the popularity of Day Out With Thomas™, an 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 combination ticket, 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.
How much are the tickets for the big day out with Thomas?
Day Out with Thomas tickets range from $22-$32. In 2022, Thomas tickets were $20 on Friday and $22 on Saturday. Percy tickets could be added on for $8 on Friday or $10 on Saturday. There is also an All Day Pass for Thomas option available on Fridays only for $32, with the option to add a Percy ride for $8. These prices are subject to change from year to year.
How long is the train ride with Thomas?
Both the Thomas train ride and the Percy train ride are about 3 miles long and take about 25 minutes each, occurring on the museum’s 60-acre site.
What if my event is canceled or rescheduled?
If the event is canceled by the North Carolina Transportation Museum as a result of weather, health-related concerns, equipment failure, or any other reason that would prevent it from operating, customers will be contacted regarding their options for refunds or rescheduling.
Are there refunds for the Day Out with Thomas?
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.
Can I bring food on the train?
While food is not allowed on the train, 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) that have a wide selection of options.
Is it rain or shine?
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 the 60-acre historic site and there will be times spent outdoors walking between buildings and activities.
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.
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.
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.