Tweetsie Railroad in Blowing Rock is gearing up for another season of train rides, cowboys and special events.
The state's first theme park, which is about three hours from Raleigh, opens for the season April 8. The park features a Western town, a historic train, gold panning, an amusement park and the Deer Park Zoo, which is home to more than 90 animals.
It also offers a calendar of special events, which feature a Day Out With Thomas, the Halloween Ghost Train and more.
Here are some highlights from the 2016 schedule:
Day Out With Thomas: The Ready, Set, Go 2016 Tour — June 10 to June 19
Take a ride aboard Thomas The Tank Engine, all the way from the Island of Sodor. Sir Topham Hatt will be managing the station to make sure Thomas the Tank Engine is Right on Time and available to meet and take photographs with all his guest. Advanced tickets recommended.
Fireworks Extravaganza — July 4
Celebrate America’s birthday with the High Country’s most spectacular fireworks display at Tweetsie Railroad. Enjoy and evening of entertainment and park rides until 9 p.m. before preparing for the big show at 9:30 p.m.
Cool Summer Nights — July 9, 16, 23, 30
Beat the heat and enjoy the cool mountain nights at Tweetsie Railroad with Wild West entertainment and park rides open until 9:00 p.m.
Dora the Explorer and Go, Diego, Go – July 15 to July 17
Explore the park with costumed characters from the hit Nickelodeon shows Dora the Explorer and Go, Diego,Go.
K-9s in Flight Frisbee Dogs — July 23 to July 31
Be ready to be amazed and entertained by this one-of-a-kind performance by a team of dynamic dogs doing acrobatic freestyle routines. Three shows daily, including a special evening show at 7 p.m., July 23 and 30.
Riders In The Sky — Aug. 6 to Aug. 7
Sing along with America’s favorite cowboys, Riders In The Sky, as they perform their well-known blend of Western music and comedy, at noon and 3 p.m. The quartet has been together for over 30 years and won Grammy Awards for “Best Musical Album for Children” with the production of “Woody’s Round Up,” from “Toy Story 2” and the companion album for “Monsters Inc.”
Railroad Heritage Weekend — Aug. 27 and Aug. 28
Celebrate the history of steam locomotives and heritage of the Blue Ridge Mountains with special train rides, tours of the Steam Locomotive Repair Shop, performances by the Cherokee dancers and crafts from the Tsa-La-Gi Touring Program.
Ghost Train Halloween Festival — Friday and Saturday nights, Sept. 23 to Oct. 29
Hop aboard the Ghost Train for a haunting ride through the Blue Ridge Mountains. Tweetsie Railroad hosts a Halloween celebration for the whole family including trick-or-treating, the Freaky Forest, a Haunted House and more. Ghost Train Halloween Festival has been named one of the “Top 20 Events in the Southeast” by the Southeast Tourism Society. Advanced tickets required.
Daily admission to Tweetsie Railroad is $44 for adults and $28 for children ages 3 through 12. Children 2 and under are admitted free. The Ghost Train Halloween Festival has an admission price of $36 for adults and children.