New York City, New York
One of New York City’s newest holiday traditions, and one of its fastest growing in terms of popularity, is the New York Botanical Garden Train Show. This show, which features enormous displays of toy trains winding their way among model replicas of New York City landmarks, is enhanced by the lush foliage of the gardens, which of course is beautifully decorated for Christmas. The New York Botanical Garden Train Show is one of the most innovative holiday exhibits of its kind, drawing over a hundred thousand visitors every year.
The New York Botanical Garden is one of the city’s most important nature preserves. Founded in 1891 on what was formerly the Belmont Estate, it is the premier urban botanical garden complex in the United States. Among the garden’s exhibits are two hundred and fifty acres of lush foliage and landscaping including New York City’s last patch of virgin forest, a major botany research facility, and the Crystal Palace, a 19th century architectural masterpiece where the train show is held every year.
The gardens introduced the Train Show in the early 1990s in an effort to boost attendance during the colder winter months. From its humble beginnings the show has grown in just two decades into an extravagant affair, with dozens of trains running on thousands of feet of track amid hundreds of miniature buildings and city landmarks. These miniatures, which include everything from brownstone neighborhoods to towering skyscrapers to breathtaking bridges, are constructed almost exclusively of recovered wood and other naturally materials.
The New York Botanical Gardens is located in the burough of the Bronx, about five miles north of Midtown Manhattan. They are open year-round Tuesdays through Sundays from 10:00am-6:00pm, while the Holiday Train Show usually runs from the last week in November through the first week in January (dates and times may vary annually). The coast of admission is $20.00. Web: www.nybg.org (official website of the New York Botanical Garden)