Monday, September 27, 2010

Day Out with Thomas!

I have been gone for two days and I have been too busy to do any blog updates. I wanted to share with you the great fun we had and the ways I used to save our green so we were able to make this fantastic trip.

First of all I want to thank the wonderful folks at Colorado Parent Magazine for providing us with four FREE tickets to see Thomas the Train at the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden Colorado. I was so excited when I found out I would be able tom take my three year old son to see Thomas the Train.

I have been wanting to attend this for about a year now and was just waiting for a chance like this to save a bit of money to do it.

This is where I cannot stress to you enough how important it is to not jump into things that you want to do. Like I said I have been wanting to do this for a long time. So when I noticed that Colorado Parent was offering a give away to win four tickets to see the show I entered right away! Secondly if we had not won the tickets Colorado Parent Magazine was also offering discounted tickets to purchase and that was plan B.

When I received the email stating that we had won four FREE tickets to see Thomas I was so excited! I told everyone, but my three year old. Every mama knows that three year olds have no idea about time and waiting is not one of their strong skills. I knew if I told him all I would hear for the next month would be, is it time to go see Thomas yet, over and over so we waited to spring it on him.
Our trip was going to be 6 hours away so I wanted to get a Hotel. This is where we saved some money too. I checked online for the best prices and used all of the discounts I could IE; AAA, or military. If I had some miles built up I would have used those too, but I used those recently.
Now here is where you might think that I splurged. I purchased a nice room with two queen sized beds, mini, fridge, microwave, coffee pot, nice free breakfast and the kicker was an indoor pool with spa. The cost was $168 for four people close to the big city of Denver where let me tell you the rooms are not cheap.

I had to weigh my options as anyone would who was smart about their money. The free breakfast was a no brainer. If we went out for breakfast that could easily cost $40, not including gas to drive there. Even if we chose the cheap option of a fast food breakfast we are still looking at about $25, but that breakfast never sits well with my stomach. At the hotel we were treated with basicly the same items we have at home and that is smart eating when you are traveling.

We ate yogurt, bagels, waffles, bacon-egg-cheese biscuits, fruit, and pancakes with sausage on a stick. I also got to replenish my three year old's addiction to chocolate milk. And it was an never ending supply so we ate until we were full. So I take $40 off the cost of our Hotel and I am left with $148.

Factor in some safety. I know that you are not ever completely safe but some big cities like Denver has their share of bad parts of town so I will take off $50 for a higher standard of safety~ that is putting it nice, and we are left with $98.

Next we have the indoor pool and spa. I chose a higher priced Hotel because they had an indoor pool and spa. While this might not be something you would choose for your family we did for a couple reasons. I knew we would be arriving at the hotel very tired and stiff from our long, long drive, and a nice dip in the pool to re-energize or a soak in the hot tub to relax our muscles makes all the difference in the world. Secondly everyone in my family loves to swim so that is like built in entertainment. My three year old loved the time in the pool and had so much fun. We all enjoyed it. If we had to pay for entertainment we are looking at $12 per person and that is putting it cheap, let's factor that in...we are left with $48 for the cost of the Hotel alone. I think that is a good deal.

Then we went to the Day out with Thomas and had bunches and bunches of fun. The look on my three year old's face was priceless when he got to see Thomas. The nice folks at Colorado Parent Magazine were also nice enough to throw in a free 8x10 photo for us to take home. It was a bunch of fun and I was surprised how much more there was to the event.

We toured tons and tons of different trains that my son could hop on and explore. They had tents set up with Free Thomas Tattoos and tables and tables of Thomas the Train Sets for him to play with. We did splurge on some ice cream cones, and enjoyed those walking through the museum. My son enjoyed turning a train himself at the "round house" and all the volunteers that worked at the Colorado Train Museum were so fabulously friendly, helpful and awesome. Also there was a petting zoo, and a big HUGE set up of running model trains.

We came back to the Hotel after that and walked over to the steakhouse that was next door and ate some fabulous steak dinners. I could have checked online to see what restaurants were near by and got some coupons for our dinner, but I have been accused over planning the fun out of things so we just enjoyed our dinner.

It was a beautiful experience. I know my son will remember it for a long time. We all enjoyed ourselves. If you have a chance to enter a contest to go to an event I would suggest you take it. It is worth it.

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