Thomas the Tank Engine is chugging into Oklahoma City and tickets are on sale for this very fun event. According to the event website, Day Out with Thomas is in its 15th year, and as always, the Oklahoma Railway Museum will be hosting Thomas’ arrival.
Besides getting a train ride with Thomas, children can enjoy other activities such as arts and crafts, storytelling, playing with toy trains, meeting characters and getting a look at the history of Thomas, who is turning 65 this year.
Get tickets soon, as this tends to sell out. Dates of the event are Sept. 24-26 and Oct. 1-3. Tickets cost $14 to $18 each. When you order tickets online, you can choose which train you’d like to sit in. Pay extra attention to which train car you choose. Some are air conditioned, some only have sliding windows, and others are completely open. Also, I suggest picking an early morning ride to avoid high temperatures.
Two years ago, I mistakenly chose the 2 p.m. time slot and the car with only the sliding windows. Since some of the cars are so old, some windows won’t open. That was our window. September was especially hot that year, and my then-2-year-old son was completely decked out in his Thomas overalls, Thomas polo shirt, Thomas conductor hat, socks and shoes. We couldn’t bring our drinks on board, but it’s a 30-minute ride. No big deal.
About two minutes after we pull out of the station, my son starts screaming and crying. He’s sweating, he’s red in the face, he’s hot as can be. I didn’t know what to do and we couldn’t get off the train. We were starting to get some mean looks from other paying passengers. He cried the entire ride. People were upset with us, asking employees for their money back and just generally being more than annoyed.
About a year later, I was talking to some parents at my son’s day care about how Thomas the Train was back in town. All of a sudden, one parent starts talking about this screaming child on her train car last year … decked out in Thomas overalls, polo and conductor cap. She described my son to a T - an entire year later. She was on that car. She was one of the parents demanding a refund. Yikes.
Me: ”Oh, we didn’t get to go last year … how awful … why would his mom dress him in such hot clothes in the middle of summer? … “
So please take my advice. Choose the air conditioned car. Get an early time and don’t dress your child like a conductor. After all, it’s September in Oklahoma.
For a schedule and tickets, click here.
Here’s another chance for families to get out of town for a day or two and enjoy some of Oklahoma’s natural beauty …
I think this might be something I’d consider taking my son to this summer. Any chance to expose kids to nature is a chance every parent should take. If you go, tell me all about it here or by e-mail.
Bass Pro Shops in Bricktown is offering all kinds of free workshops, crafts, photo opportunities and even s’mores made over a campfire this summer.
From noon to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, through July 11, children and adults alike can attend seminars on archery, bird watching, plants & insects, camping basics, animal identification, hiking basics, pet safety, fishing basics and shooting basics. And for every workshop you attend, you earn a pin.
There are also craft sessions for children on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 to 5 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 2 p.m. They include:
Paint a Wiggle Fish: June 22 and 24
Make a Camping Photo Frame: June 26-27, 29 and July 1
Paint an Animal Track: July 3-4, 6 and 8
Design Your Own Birdhouse: July 10-11
On Saturdays and Sundays, get a free photo of yourself or your kids on the cover of Field & Stream magazine.
And make some free s’mores over a campfire from 5 to 6 p.m. Yum.
Other free activities include the shooting gallery, shooting range and casting pond.
On June 26-27, the NASCAR Sprint Cup race car also will be pulling into the Bricktown Bass Pro so bring the kids out for an up-close look at a real race car.
And while you’re there, pick up a free copy of the Summer Fun 2010 guide to get tons of ideas, tips and product checklists to make the most fun out of your summer.
To find out more, check out our outdoor blogger’s post:
Sounds like a fun time!
Most U.S. airlines have the following age-based unaccompanied minor qualifications (but call your airline to get all the information):
Age 5 and younger: Cannot travel alone.
Age 5 to 7: Can travel alone on nonstop and through flights.
Age 8 to 11: Can usually travel alone on any flight.
Age 12 to 17: For domestic flights, can travel alone on any flight without restrictions. For international flights, can travel alone on any flight but many carriers require unaccompanied minor procedures.
For ages 5 to 11, unaccompanied minor procedures are required on all flights.
Booking a flight
When booking flights for children, always try to book a nonstop flight, or if no nonstop flight exists, then try for a direct or “through” flight, where children won’t have to change planes.
If the flight has meal service, ask about reserving a child’s meal if available, because these have to be arranged in advance.
Ask the airline about “electronic ticketing” where no paper ticket is issued (and therefore, no ticket is lost).
Check all itinerary and ticket information to make sure names, destinations and other information are correct.
Ask the airline about getting a gate pass so that you may accompany your children through security to the departure gate.
Preparing for the flight
If your child hasn’t flown, visit the airport before the trip to have them be familiar with their surroundings. Be sure they know where assistance can be found.
Have your child dress in comfortable clothes. Put their first initial and last name on any article of clothing, like a jacket, that may be taken off during the flight.
Get to the airport at least one to two hours before departure for a domestic flight and two or more hours for an international flight. Don’t plan to just drop your child off at the entrance or ticket counter.
Bring to the airport the address and phone number of the person meeting your child. The airline will request this information.
Have your child use the bathroom in the gate area before boarding.
Stay in the gate area until the flight has taken off.
What to pack
Consider having your child bring a small carry-on bag. It could include books, small toys, games, crayons, and even a surprise or two. Also include a light snack and any essentials your child may need for the next 24 hours, in case of delays. Be sure to pack a copy of the child’s complete itinerary, including the names and cell phone numbers of the person meeting them. Make sure your child knows this is in their carry-on bag.
Things to tell your child
The most important to tell them is NOT to leave the airport unaccompanied or with a stranger.
Tell them if the flight will have a stop or connection.
Let them know there will be pressure changes in take-off and landing, that can bother their ears. Tell them they can yawn or chew gum or swallow a few times to help with this.
If it’s their first flight, explain the different sounds they’ll hear and that there may be some patches of bumpy air that pose no threat to the aircraft.
Advise your child to keep their seat belt fastened at all times.
To see all of their tips and procedures, go to http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/pubs.htm and click on “When Kids Fly Alone” under “Other Publications.”
Discovery Cove Nature Center at Lake Thunderbird State Park has many activities for children planned this month. I took my 4-year-old son to the nature center for a class on Memorial Day and he loved it. There’s plenty to see and do there, and even some trails if you want to take a stroll. The lake is right past the nature center so go have a cookout at the campground while you’re there.
All activites are FREE unless otherwise noted.
10 a.m. – Tree Walk. Learn what kinds of trees grow around the Nature Center. Ages 4 and older.
11 a.m. – Trees Through the Year. Learn about seasonal changes in the lives of trees. Ages 4 and older.
1 p.m. – Paint a Rock. Kids make their very own pet rock. This activity is 50 cents. Ages 4 and older.
10 a.m. – What’s a Solstice, Anyway? Learn about the solstice and how some celebrate it. Ages 5 and older. This program is also on June 21 at 1:00 p.m.
11 a.m. – Aliens Among Us. Check out small animals and plants under a microscope. Ages 6 and older.
7:30 p.m. – Summer Solstice Celebration at the Park. Hear about solstice observances around the world, past and present. Watch the sun to set over the lake on the (almost) longest day of the year.
2 p.m. – Oklahoma Insects. Learn about insects and see many of the kinds found in Oklahoma. Ages 4 and older.
3:30 p.m. – How Many Legs? Get to Know Arthropods. Learn about the other “bugs” besides insects. Ages 4 and older.
Discovery Cove Nature Center is located off State Highway 9, almost a mile down Clear Bay Ave. For more information, call 321-4633 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about happenings at Lake Thunderbird, go to http://friendsoflakethunderbird.org/.
If you’re like me, you may be trying to find somewhere to put your preschooler this summer if their day care is closed for a week or you have a sitter going on summer vacation. Believe it or not, there are actually some pretty interesting camp options for the 3- to 4-year-old set.
Here are some of the camps being offered this summer (costs vary-click on websites or call for more information):
Oklahoma Children’s Theatre, Oklahoma City
Dates: June 1 – Aug. 13
Preschoolers travel through time and learn performing arts basics. Camps conclude with a performance. Other camps available for up to age 12.
Casady School Summer by the Lake, Oklahoma City
Dates: June 7 – Aug. 13
Over 100 programs are available from pre-K to high school.
Fine Arts Institute of Edmond
Dates: June 7-Aug. 13
All types of artistic camp classes for age 2 through 8th grade.
Oklahoma City Zoo, Oklahoma City
Dates: June 7-Aug. 6
43 themed camps offered for ages 4 to 15.
Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, Norman
Dates: June 7 – Aug. 6
Summer Explorers program is for ages 4 to 14.
Ginger’s Kindermusik, Oklahoma City
Dates: June 21-25 or July 19-23
Themed camps for children from birth to age 7 and piano keyboard camps for ages 7-8.
Mad Science of Central Oklahoma, various locations
Dates: June 21 – Aug. 6
Camps for kids age 4 to 12 include Secret Agent Lab, Science AdventureQuest and Little Agents Academy.
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
Dates: June 1 – Aug. 6
Themed camps for ages 4 to 16 focus on permanent exhibits and special exhibits.
Heritage Hall Day Camp, Oklahoma City
Dates: June 1-July 23
Camps for ages 3 and older include enrichment, creativity, technology and sports options.
Victory School of the Arts, Warr Acres
Dates: June 21 – Aug. 7
Classes offered for age 3 and older in all types of dance, tumbling and guitar.
Unpluggits Playstudio, Edmond
Dates: June and July
Camp sessions have a superhero or dinosaur theme.
If you know of any other fun summer camps available for preschoolers, comment here or email me.
Ready to get some new ideas for summer fun? Then head down to the Sheraton Hotel downtown from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 18, for the annual Oklahoma Summer Adventure Expo.
There will be engaging hands-on activities for kids, visits from Rumble the Thunder mascot and the Thunder Girls, door prizes, discounts from vendors, a performance by the Sugar Free All Stars, and plenty more to see and do. The entertainment stage schedule will be posted on the site soon.
For more information, click here.
Then how about a mountain adventure? For kids a little bit older (my 3-year-old is probably still too young) there is an area to go mountain climbing that’s easy and fun for families.
Check out this blog if you are up for hitting the trails:
If you’d rather save your adventures for the movie theater, then you might want to catch a showing of “How to Train Your Dragon.” Our reviewer says it is one of Dreamworks Animation’s best films, and she gives it 3 1/2 out of 4 stars.
Read the full review here:
Bass Pro Shops is offering Easter fun for children this year. Kids can do free crafts, such as sun catchers and Easter decorations this weekend and next (March 27-28 and April 3-4), beginning at noon, while supplies last. And from 2 to 3 p.m. (same days) there will be an Easter egg hunt at the store for kids age 8 and younger.
Also, children can get a free picture taken with the Easter bunny. Instead of dropping big bucks at the mall this year, get a free 4X6. Pictures will be taken 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, and 6 to 8 p.m. on weekdays from March 27 through April 4.
For more information, click here.