The first American theme park devoted to Thomas the Tank Engine and his locomotive friends opened Saturday in Massachusetts, promising to be a popular attraction with the preschool set.
The $25 million theme park is situated on 11 acres within Edaville USA, an amusement park and railroad in Carver, Massachusetts. “Thomas Land” features 11 rides based on various Thomas characters, such as Bertie’s Bus Tours, Toby’s Tilting Tracks, as well as a 20-minute train ride around the Island of Sodor on a life-size Thomas train.
It’s the biggest Thomas Land in the world, joining similar attractions in the United Kingdom and Japan, according to park operators.
For the uninitiated, Thomas the Tank Engine is “a cheeky little engine who often gets into scrapes, usually by being over eager to do things best left to bigger and more sensible engines,” according to the park’s website.
Thomas and his friends turned 70 this year, but are still going strong with children. The Rev. W. Awdry, an Anglican priest and train enthusiast, created the children’s books in the 1940s based on a story he’d told to entertain his young son when he was in bed with the measles. The television series debuted in the UK in 1984 and has been carried by PBS affiliates in the United States since 1989.
The theme park will operate April 1 through January 1.