Thomas-Tank-engine“Don’t tell the kids.” This is something that is said with some frequency at our house, most recently about a weekend family vacation we’ll soon be taking. We will be visiting Cleveland to spend a Day with Thomas the Tank Engine, including taking a ride along the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railway, reportedly one of the oldest, longest and most scenic railways for tourists in the country.

Mystery on the Rails with Thomas the Tank Engine
This year’s event, “Mystery On The Rails Tour 2012,” has children and parents look for clues that add up to solve a mystery. In addition, interactive displays, storytelling, live music, and photo ops with Sir Topham Hatt will keep the whole family busy all day.

Keeping Family Travel a Secret
But our kids don’t know anything about this. In fact, we’re telling them we’re visiting family (which we will also be doing) and don’t plan to breathe a word of Thomas and friends until we pull into the station ourselves. They’ll be beside themselves when they see Thomas, but if we tell them too soon before the fact, their questions of “When are we going?” won’t stop and, eventually, end up in disappointment when they decide that we’re not going at all. Plus, we think the surprise will be well worth keeping it a secret from them.

Day Out With Thomas will make stops in more than 45 cities in the United States and Canada and is expected to welcome more than one million passengers. For more information, visit


Disclosure: My family and I will be provided with four tickets to the event for the purpose of reviewing it. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Teresa J. Shaw write about work and travel for Traveling Mom. Visit her blog Working Traveling Mom and follow her on Twitter at @TeresaShaw