When Thomas comes back to the Colorado Railroad Museum this year, it’s likely that grandparents who read the book as a child will bring their children, who watched the show on television growing …
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The Polar Express, a theatrical re-creation of the 1985 book by Chris Van Allsburg put on by the Colorado Railroad Museum, is a magical experience for families.
It has become a holiday tradition for many and tickets sold out in record time this year — 23 days in August, three months before the first performance. Only a few are remaining, and all are single-passenger tickets. These may be good for a person wanting to join a group that already has tickets, or for one parent or guardian to bring one child under two years of age who can sit on the adult ticket holder’s lap.
13,000 — approximate number of total ticket sales this year.
1,800 — tickets sold as presale on Aug. 1 for Colorado Railroad Museum members. A total of about 2,000 were sold before they went on sale to the general public.
8,000 — tickets sold on the first day they were available to the general public, which was Aug. 22. It sold out of the remaining approximate 3,000 tickets the next day.
130 — capacity of attendees for each performance. The Polar Express is performed three times a night for 31 nights, beginning Nov. 10 on select dates through Dec. 23.
70 — minutes of each performance.
5 — 2018 is the fifth annual year for the Colorado Railroad Museum to perform The Polar Express.
When Thomas comes back to the Colorado Railroad Museum this year, it’s likely that grandparents who read the book as a child will bring their children, who watched the show on television growing up.
“And now their kids are getting to ride on a real train pulled by Thomas,” said Danielle Ghear, the event and volunteer manager at the Colorado Railroad Museum. A Day Out With Thomas “really brings Thomas to life for kids and families.”
After visiting Golden in the middle of summer last year, Thomas the Tank Engine is back to his regular fall visit this year — The A Day Out With Thomas event returns to the Colorado Railroad Museum for three weekends in September — Sept. 8 and 9, 15 and 16, and 22 and 23.
“Thomas’ stories have a timeless quality to them,” said the museum’s director Donald Tallman. “He’s a hero to these little kids.”
This year, a diesel locomotive will help Thomas pull the train around the 15-acre railyard, encircling the A Day Out With Thomas festival taking place on the grounds.
Festival activities include visiting with the character Sir Topham Hatt and photo ops with an inflatable Toby, also a character in the stories. More activities include the Imagination Station where children can play with Thomas toy trains, a petting zoo, a magician and many other Thomas-related festivities. New this year is a hay bale maze on the grounds, Tallman added.
Tallman recommends to plan about two-to-three hours to experience all that A Day Out With Thomas offers.
A train ride lasts 20 minutes, and rides depart about every 45 minutes. Attendees should arrive at least an hour prior to their train’s departure. Tickets cost $20 each during off-peak ride times, 8:30-9:15 a.m. and 1:45-4:45 p.m. Tickets for peak ride times, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., cost $25 each.
A train ride ticket is required for all attendees age 2 and older. General admission is not available during A Day Out With Thomas dates. Tickets are available online or can be purchased as walk up onsite.
A ticket also includes access to the museum’s exhibits and model trains, Tallman said.
As Thomas is introducing the next generation of rail fans to the museum, he added, their families have an opportunity to learn about what else is available at the museum. In addition to access to more than 100 railcars on the grounds that children get to interact with, Tallman said, the museum regularly features fun exhibits, educational programs and special events.
Families enjoy the railroad museum in general, Ghear said, but at A Day Out With Thomas, kids can barely control their excitement because they can’t wait to experience all of the additional fun stuff going on.
“Be prepared to have a whole day of fun hanging out with your kiddos,” Ghear said, “just watching them have a blast.”
A Day out with Thomas
Hours: The museum opens at 8 a.m. Activities will shut down at 5 p.m. and the grounds will close by 6 p.m. Riders should plan on arriving at least one hour before their train departs, as it is sometimes difficult to reschedule a missed train ride. Families may stay afterward for as long as they would like to enjoy the activities.Food: A variety of food vendors will be available for lunch, snack or dessert purchases. Families may also bring a picnic lunch but there are no lockers or storage facilities on-site. Both alcohol and cooking are prohibited.Parking: Free parking is available off-site at two locations where a shuttle bus will transport event goers. One lot is located one half-mile east of the Colorado Railroad Museum, just off 44th Avenue at Table Mountain Parkway. Handicap parking is available in this lot.Additional free parking is located two miles west of the museum, just off West 44th Avenue — which changes to 10th Street in downtown Golden — just north of the main Coors building.For those who prefer not to use the shuttle service, new this year, valet parking will be available for $20. Vehicles will be parked in the south lot across the street from the Colorado Railroad Museum.Contact: For details or to purchase tickets visit http://coloradorailroadmuseum.org/thomas.
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