A few weekends ago, Kyle and I got my parents to watch V so we could take P to Santa Cruz for a special day.
The entire bed to himself and he curls up in the corner like that…ha! So sweet. FYI that’s a blow up mattress he is now sleeping in at my parents’ house.
We didn’t tell him where we were going, but we did tell him we had fun plans. And because he randomly slept in super late, we had to basically shovel food down his throat in 30 minutes before hitting the road. And while 30 minutes may seem like plenty of time to eat breakfast, for my leisurely diner it was SUCH a s t r u g g l e.
But then we were off!
We stopped at the bux first (because COFFEE to my face thankyouverymuch), and then got out Thomas stickers and a engineer hat as hints…he guessed right away! We were going to meet Thomas!
He was thrilled. But then made the (very valid) argument that to get to Sodor we needed to go over a bridge because it is an island. So I explained that Thomas was coming here to California as a special visit…which he seemed cool with.
Right when we showed up, Thomas pulled up!
The way it works is you buy a ticket for a ride. We bought one for 10:30 factoring in the 1.5ish hour drive to get there. So aside from that, we had no agenda, no time constraints. Each boxcar has room for something like 50 people (big long benches), and there were maybe 5 or so cars behind Thomas.
They have professional photographers all over the place but you can take pics with your own camera and phones too. We looked up our pics afterwards, but they weren’t much better than any we took on our own.
Cute, but not worth the $$$$$.
We rode backwards up into the forest (those massive redwoods were gorgeous!) and then after a ways we came back.
P got a engineer certificate en route, which meant nothing to him, but he still thought it was cool.
Since we were in the middle it was hard to see much, but whatever, I was laser focused on the group next to us eating peanut butter baked goods. The only bummer about the ride was that the voice narrating Thomas related trivia and whatnot wasn’t loud enough so P couldn’t hear it (and I know he would have loved to).
After we pulled back into the station, we disembarked and set off to find the next thing. Sir Topham Hatt!
The stations were organized in such a way that you had the chance to do something every half hour. We had about 20 minutes to kill before meeting Sir Topham Hatt so P raced a tractor around and then just played on hay bails and ran around.
I thought they would nickel and dime us, but aside from the store, everything was pretty much free. You could probably go and have a good time without even buying anything provided you didn’t want to ride on Thomas. It’s not that ridiculous of a notion, because there was SO MUCH to do.
We only got through a portion of it in the few hours we were there…and Pacman probably would have stayed until he finished every single thing, but signs of fatigue and hunger reared their ugly heads around noon.
See?? He looks so tired here right?
They had bounce houses (separated by age groups – LOVE!), train tables, musicians, magic tricks, story telling, and heaps of food options and soooo much more I didn’t even see.
Ta-da! <– he learned that from gymnastics class and he and V both do it back and forth all day with each other (they are in gym classes at the same time)
After we left we took lots of winding roads through the mountains to downtown Santa Cruz. Patty-cakes was looking down the whole time (too into his Thomas “map”)….andddd…outfit change was necessary. Poor babe. This is the first time he’s gotten carsick. He gets that from his mama. 🙁
Let’s play a little game of +/-/+…
Fortunately I had a bag of hand-me-downs in the trunk.
Unfortunately, they were for V.
Fortunately, they are very close in size.
We went to a bomb lunch place called West End Tap & Kitchen, which was exactly what we were looking for. I did some research beforehand and had a few places ready for whatever we felt like (backup was Picnic Basket). They both focus on local and seasonal fare. I ordered the (above) roasted organic chicken salad at West End, swapping bleu cheese for feta. I hemmed and hawed over several dishes, because there’s so much good stuff on the menu, but let’s be honest, if I see a salad that has egg and avocado, it’s pretty impossible to pass up. Also, it was nice to get chicken while out at a restaurant, because I usually avoid meat (knowing that it’s not organic).
Kyle got a burger and fries.
I had packed a sunbutter and jelly on tortilla for P.
What a fun date. I’m so thankful that my parents could hang with V so we could get some solo time with P. I know he feels very loved, but it’s important to get extra one-on-one attention every once in a while – and not just from one parent at a time (because that’s easier to coordinate). And, naturally, my parents had a blast with their granddaughter…swimming and gardening and all that jazz.
For the rest of you who have Thomas obsessed kids, you should look into when this will be in your area. Price wise it is very reasonable if you can make it a day trip from where you live. Of course my sweet boy already said he wants to go back with V so she can see it all. <3