When I was growing up a child of a single, immigrant mother, special outings – especially those that cost money – were few and far between. So when I first heard about Heritage Park’s “A Day Out with Thomas,” I felt it might be a little indulgent for my two-and-a-half year old daughter, Chantal, who probably wouldn’t even remember it. But I’m glad I changed my mind.
My daughter has liked Thomas and Friends for well over a year. We took her and her brand new baby sister, just 7 weeks old, to Heritage Park’s Thomas themed day in Calgary on May 14, 2011. Maybe it’s the left over pregnancy hormones, but when Chantal shrieked with delight upon seeing Thomas pull up to the station, I had tears in my eyes. There is nothing quite like the sound of a child’s laughter and surprise. It’s pure joy.
After riding Thomas around the park, we debarked, took the obligatory family photo that captured one child screaming (Chantal) and one parent telling her to calm down (me) , and visited various locations around the park for activities and treats. She had only popcorn for lunch, of course. We skipped a visit to see Sir Topham Hat, though, because Chantal was afraid of him.
Despite the tornado-like winds, the day was very enjoyable. There were lots of families in the park, but neither the activity areas nor the train ride seemed crowded. The staff and volunteers were extremely cheerful and helpful. The atmosphere was fun and completely stress-free. Kudos to Heritage Park for setting aside areas for mothers to nurse and change their babies. I took advantage of the one in the Opera House basement. We finished our afternoon by buying expensive but smile-inducing Thomas gifts from the gift shop.
So, in the end, it doesn’t matter that Chantal may not remember anything from her day out with Thomas. We had a great time. Her daddy and I will always remember it as an outing that helped us focus on each other and our family. And that’s what really matters.
Marcelina is the mother of two beautiful daughters. She is currently on her second maternity leave from a communications position at a local university college and blogs at www.marcelinajohanson.com