Thomas Land Theme Park Rolls into Massachusetts
Preschoolers rejoice: The U.S. just welcomed its first Thomas the Tank Engine theme park and it's just a few hours away from the city, perfect for an ambitious day trip or kid-friendly weekend getaway.
Thomas Land opened August 15 at Edaville USA, a sweet Carver, Massachusetts, amusement park about 50 miles south of Boston that's aimed at younger kids, including preschoolers and toddlers. The park dedicated more than 11 acres to the loveable, irrepressible blue engine, including a 20-minute train ride featuring Thomas himself.
Read on for more about this new train-themed park that I visited with my two boys.
My 3-year-old son is a huge fan of the Thomas and Friends TV series that airs on PBS, so he was thrilled upon entering the park. Eleven rides, all based on Thomas and Friends characters like "Diesel Derby," "Toby's Tilting Tracks" and "Harold's Lift-Off" beckon at this pretend "Island of Sodor."
Some of our favorite rides included Bertie’s Bus Tour, which raises riders into the air 28-feet for a preschooler-level thrill, and the Firefighting Flynn where Thomas fans can try to put out the "flames" with shooting water. You're going to get wet on that last one, but it's only a minor drenching, so no need for a towel or bathing suit.
We also really enjoyed taking a ride on Thomas the Tank Engine, because the tour takes you across the park where you'll see animals, cranberry bogs, mini schoolhouses and other features. And parents, you get to finally sit down for 20 whole minutes! This was a welcome break for me after running from ride to ride in the heat of August. You'll also want to catch the live show featuring all of your kid's favorite Thomas characters. Check for show times when you enter the park.
Thomas Land plans to welcome several more rides in the coming months, including Troublesome Trucks Runaway Coaster and Winston’s Skyline Express, a monorail that looks like it'll be another relaxing, speedy tour around Sodor, er, Edaville.
While Thomas Land and the rest of Edaville is definitely geared toward kids under the age of six with carousels and ball pits, there were a few options that my 11-year-old enjoyed, too, like the bumper cars, arcade and Dinoland, a collection of around 20 life-size animatronic dinosaurs.
So I'm not going to lie: Thomas Land is about four hours away from NYC, a bit of a trek, but for those with Thomas fanatics at home, you'll know it's probably worth it. Just plan to stay the day there, or even make a weekend out of it. Hey, Cape Cod isn't far, nor is Boston, and we have plenty of Mommy Poppins' tips to do in either.
Besides, there are a number of special touches that really make Thomas Land a super cool place to visit, such as the Post Office where you’ll be able to have a brick engraved and added to the Thomas Land foundation. There is also a sweet shop with tons of candy and chocolate for sale by the pound. Consider visiting during one of Edaville's special seasonal events like October's Pumpkins Aglow or coming in the winter to ride the Polar Express or visit Santa's Village at the Christmas Festival.
Open: Hours vary, but the park will be open through the end of the year, including every day in September and October. Please check the Edaville website for updated information.
Cost: $29 for admission to all of Edaville and Thomas Land. Kids under 2 are free. Check the park's site for any changes or special ticket deals.
Things to know before you go:
- Strollers are allowed throughout the park.
- Be sure to check height requirements. Some rides will require your preschooler to ride with you.
- There is free and ample parking on the premises.
- Food options include several cafes with sandwiches, pizza and burgers, as well as a BBQ spot.
- Restrooms can be found in two areas, and seating is plentiful around the park.