Marlo is 3


For parents that aren’t quite sure about when a child ‘gets’ birthdays. Here’s a quick guide:

  • 1 (absolutely not)
  • 2 (not even close)
  • 3 (they know what to associate with a birthday, but not quite what the concept is)
  • 4 (YES!)
  • 5 (something they’ll have been talking about months ahead of time)

So yeah – Marlo’s at the nearly stage. When we mentioned ‘birthday’ in the lead-up, he knew that it meant cake and balloons. The big advantage of him not quite getting it is that we could make it stretch out. His birthday fell on a Saturday but we kicked off celebrations with a party room on the Friday. He got all the balloons, cake and presents he needed a day early – and we set up for the main event that afternoon.

“Daddy, I’m gonna mash you up”

We made sure that his third birthday would be one to remember by deciding to celebrate it at Drayton Manor. It’s somewhere that the two of them have been to before, so we had a lot more of an idea of what to expect and how to make the experience even more fun for him. On the Friday afternoon we drove down to Drayton to stay at the on-site hotel.

As the home to Thomas Land, Thomas & Friends paraphernalia is all over the place. They properly make it special for the little ones. We added on a Thomas pack to our room, so the boys had something to keep them entertained with when they arrived.

In the morning, the actual factual Fat Controller greeted them in the restaurant, welcoming them to the place and giving them a taste of what was to come later on in the day.

Drayton Manor Hotel with Fat Controller
Who is Dusty?

Thomas Land is designed for kids ages 1.5 to 6 and the both of them were thrilled that they could go on pretty much everything they fancied the look of.

The birthday boy

Their highlights for this trip were:

  • Toby’s Tram Express
  • Harold’s Helicopter Tours
  • Cranky’s Tower Drop
  • Jeremy Jet’s Flying Academy

Just outside Thomas Land, Cameo noticed the Stormforce log flume and was desperate to have a go. Unfortunately he was well below the height requirement (and will be for years to come) so we know we’re going to have to let him down a few more times before he has a go. Besides that, both he and his little brother got so much out of it.

Hollie on Ride at Thomas Land with Cameo and Marlo

We were treated to great weather and it meant that the boys could enjoy every last drop. We got there when the place opened at 10.30am, lunched at some point and stayed for another couple of hours. Once they were done with the rides, they had a great time collecting tickets in the arcade, then settling down with an ice cream waffle before we headed off. Their energy levels had depleted far too much to consider heading to the zoo this time around, but we know we’ve got so much more to explore for when we go next time.

Marlo at the Arcade
Far too early for gambling

The boys both fell asleep within four minutes of leaving the car park for on the drive home.

Whether or not your kids are really into Thomas, Drayton Manor offers a great theme park experience for under 6s. It’s the reason we know that we’re going to end up back there next year again.

We now have two preschoolers!


*Listen to Jah Cure*