There’s more to the Day out with Thomas the Tank EngineTM at Crossroads Village and Huckleberry Railroad in Flint, Mich., than just a cheeky blue engine, although he is the main draw. The event also includes a bit of history and tradition – and some mystery.
Thomas the Tank Engine Mystery on the Rails
This year’s event has a new theme: Mystery on the Rails. As part of the 40-minute train ride, passengers help to solve a mystery by following clues that the conductor announces. They can then piece them together to solve the mystery. As each clue was announced, kids would make guesses, and then find out toward the end of the ride what they mystery was all about.
Adding to the fun was a scavenger hunt, in which kids had to get a page stamped at different locations to earn a prize at the end. Our three- and five-year-old loved looking out for stamp locations and finishing the page to receive their prize.
Family Fun with Temporary Tattoos, Mega Bloks
Crossroads Village may have well been renamed the Island of Sodor, as Thomas the Tank Engine and his Really Useful Crew were everywhere. Our kids enjoyed exploring the area, finding Thomas and his friends in both hidden and off-the-beaten-path locations, such as a flag bearing three of the diesel engines and an inflated Percy. They also met Sir Topham Hatt and shared hugs and high-fives with the controller of Thomas’s railway.
One of their favorites was the temporary tattoo tent, in which they could choose two engines to have tattooed to their skin. Unfortunately, we had just come from the Bubbles Galore area and the tattoo artists had to work hard to make the tattoos stick to the kids’ skin.
Another favorite was the train set and Mega Bloks set up in the Imagination Station tent, where kids could put together their own engines or run them around the tracks. Fortunately, there were also folding chairs in the tent for tired parents to sit in while they waited for their kids to be done playing.
A History Lesson
Crossroads Village is set up as an authentic Great Lakes town from the turn of the last century, with more than 34 historic structures and a bustling community. The train activities were set up among the permanent structures of the village, including a Blacksmith shop, a cider mill with press, and the Stanley School House, a one-room schoolhouse that was used by students from 1883 to 1963.
My three-year-old and I wandered over to the blacksmith to watch him shape horseshoes, then to the Salter Log House next door, where two ladies were singing and playing music on a washboard. They invited us to sing along and, before long, my son was learning old-time dance moves from them and singing along. It was a welcome break from the train-themed music and activities of the day.
More information: Day out with Thomas.
Disclosure: My family of four was provided tickets for the Day out with Thomas event. All opinions expressed are my own (and my children’s).