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Magical Ride: Join Thomas For A Day Out In Tennessee!

Last revised: December 4, 2023

By: Adam Burns

"Day Out With Thomas" events are popular family-friendly events that provide kids and adults with an opportunity to experience the magic of Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends in real life.  In Tennessee, one location hosts Thomas, the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum in Chattanooga.  More information about this event can be found further below.

In addition to train rides, these events often offer a variety of other activities and attractions. While each location offers its own unique style, here are some of the most common activities you can expect to find at a "Day Out With Thomas" event:

Train Rides

The train ride is the centerpiece of any "Day Out With Thomas" event. Visitors can climb aboard a real steam engine train, often decorated with Thomas-themed artwork, and enjoy a scenic ride through the countryside. The train ride typically lasts around 20-30 minutes and is accompanied by onboard entertainment and activities.

Meet and Greets

Kids will love the opportunity to meet and interact with their favorite characters from the Thomas universe. Thomas, Percy, James, and other characters often make appearances throughout the event, greeting visitors and posing for photos.

Storytelling and Sing-Alongs

Onboard the train or at other locations throughout the event, visitors can participate in storytelling and sing-alongs featuring songs and stories from the Thomas universe. These activities are often led by costumed characters or other performers.

Arts and Crafts

At many "Day Out With Thomas" events, visitors can participate in arts and crafts activities inspired by the Thomas universe. Kids can decorate their own conductor hats, create train-themed artwork, and more.

Games and Activities

Visitors can participate in a variety of interactive games and activities throughout the event. These might include train-themed obstacle courses, scavenger hunts, and other fun challenges.

Petting Zoos and Other Attractions

Some "Day Out With Thomas" events also feature petting zoos, bounce houses, carnival rides, and other attractions. These provide additional entertainment and fun for visitors of all ages.


A "Day Out With Thomas" event offers a wide range of activities and attractions for visitors of all ages. From train rides and meet-and-greets to storytelling, crafts, and games, there's something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you're a lifelong fan of Thomas the Tank Engine or experiencing the magic for the first time, a "Day Out With Thomas" event is a fun and exciting way to spend time with family and friends.

Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum

(Chattanooga): The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum is mainly a tourist railroad operating on ex-Southern Railway trackage.  Today, the railroad operates a six-mile round trip near Chattanooga and hosts numerous specials throughout the year. "A Day Out With Thomas" makes a visit.

2024 Dates

  • April 20 - April 21
  • April 27 - April 28

The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum in Chattanooga, Tennessee, is a popular attraction for train enthusiasts and families alike. The museum is home to a collection of vintage steam and diesel locomotives, passenger cars, and cabooses, as well as a variety of exhibits and events. 

Their star pieces are a pair of restored steam locomotives; Southern Railway 2-8-0 #630 (built in 1904 by the American Locomotive Company's Richmond Works) and Southern Railway 2-8-2 #4501 (built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1911).


The museum was established in 1961 as a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting the history of rail transportation in the southeastern United States. The museum operates on a stretch of track that was once part of the Southern Railway.


The museum features a collection of historic locomotives, passenger cars, and cabooses, many of which date back to the early 20th century. Visitors can explore the trains and learn about their history and significance in the development of the rail industry. The museum also features a collection of historic photographs and artifacts related to rail transportation in the southeast.

Train Rides

One of the main attractions at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum is the opportunity to take a train ride on one of their vintage locomotives. The museum operates a variety of different train rides throughout the year, including scenic excursions, dinner trains, and special event trains such as the Polar Express.

Scenic Excursions

The museum's most popular train ride is the "Missionary Ridge Local," is 65-minutes (15 min to East Chattanooga, 25 min layover, and 15 min back to Grand Junction) and includes a turntable demonstration and brief tour of the TVRM restoration shop.

The train features vintage passenger cars and is pulled by a historic steam or diesel locomotive. Along the way, visitors can take in stunning views of the Chattanooga Valley and the surrounding mountains.

Dinner Trains

The museum also offers a variety of dinner train experiences, including the "Chickamauga Turn" and the "Hiwassee River Rail Adventure." These trains offer a unique dining experience onboard historic passenger cars while enjoying the scenic beauty of the Tennessee Valley.

Special Event Trains

Throughout the year, the museum offers a variety of special event trains, including the popular "Polar Express" train ride during the holiday season. Other events include "Day Out With Thomas," "Easter Eggspress," and "Railfest," which features demonstrations, exhibits, and other activities related to rail transportation.


The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum offers visitors a unique opportunity to step back in time and experience the golden age of rail transportation. With a variety of train rides, exhibits, and special events, there's something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you're a train enthusiast or just looking for a fun and educational family outing, the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum is a must-visit attraction in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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