Get Onboard the Holiday Train Show® at the Botanical Garden

The Holiday Train Show® at the New York Botanical Garden
Story and Photos* by Lynne Perrella

(*unless otherwise noted)


Photo from NY Botanical Garden website


We live in a region replete with unique cultural destinations.  It’s hard to keep up, right?  Especially at this time of year.  But my suggestion is: Gather the whole family (all ages!) and see the Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx.

No matter what the weather is outside, the atmosphere inside the exquisite Enid A. Haupt Conservatory (built in 1902 and fully restored in 1997) is welcoming and full of surprises. If you think you know a thing or two about “holiday train shows”, this one will blow your doors off!

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Within the 6,000-square foot exhibit, you’ll experience historic miniature homes/mansions/landmarks, trains, lights, and music.  And did I mention? – All of the structures are made of natural materials.  After all, this is the Botanical Garden, and Mother Nature is wearing her holiday robes.


Large-gauge trains pass overhead on trestles, wind around corners, pass through cunning archways (the Washington Square Arch, for instance) and zoom past waterfalls. You’ll see familiar landmarks, like the NY Public Library (complete with lions) and Yankee Stadium; and you’ll also get an appreciation of structures that are long-gone…like the old Penn Station and Follies Bergere Theatre.  And they’ve thought of everything:  the latest addition is a proud rendition of the Freedom Tower, in Lower Manhattan.


The familiar bridges of the City are faithfully rendered in willow, bark, and grapevine, complete in every detail.  Lady Liberty? She’s there too, stationed in a serene water feature near the Staten Island Ferry Terminal (with in-coming ferry), and iconic Ellis Island Immigration Center.  The exhibit takes us uptown to the Apollo Theatre, downtown to the Seaport, and tips its Santa hat to Coney Island with whimsical amusement structures like the Luna Park Ticket Booth and Ferris Wheel.


And Columbia County locals will be happy to know that our region is magnificently represented by an exquisite model of Olana!  Small details abound – like the meticulous rendition of Prometheus at the Rockefeller Center Skating Rink, and intricate turrets/towers/lintels in a row of Greenwich Village brownstones.

Olana (Photo from

This show literally has “something for everyone” – making it the ideal feel-good holiday experience.  History buffs will take joy in the New York-centric landmarks.  Makers and artists will marvel at the ingenious transformation of natural materials.  Gardeners will be wowed by this miniature metropolis tucked into the lush flora of the glass Conservatory.  And kids-of-all-ages will applaud the chugging, zooming, looping trains, navigating over 1,200 feet of track.


Brownstones and Row Houses

Pure magic is a car ride away. Head to the Bronx and be enchanted by the NY Botanical Gardens and the Holiday Train Show!  I suggest booking tickets online, for a lickety-split entry to the exhibit.  Make a day of it.

Delicious casual dining options are on-site, and you’ll find lots of temptations in the gift shop.

NY Botanical Gardens
2900 Southern Blvd.
Bronx, NY 10458


Here’s a wonderful video of one of the creators of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory model