The Showcase Magazine - Articles

New York Botanical Garden’s Holiday Train Show®


2900 Southern Boulevard

Bronx, NY 10458-5126



By Lauren Holstein











New York City can be larger than life and overwhelming at times, even for seasoned veterans. So, if you’re trying to see the city sights but hoping to avoid the holiday hustle and bustle, The New York Botanical Garden is the perfect day trip for you! Their annual Holiday Train Show® features charming model trains that ride through a display of over 150 landmarks. On nearly a half-mile of track, staple architectural pieces such as the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, and Rockefeller Center are placed throughout various seasonally decorated rooms. This year’s show will last from Saturday, November 17, 2018, to Monday, January 21, 2019.

New York City can be larger than life and overwhelming at times, even for seasoned veterans. So, if you’re trying to see the city sights but hoping to avoid the holiday hustle and bustle, The New York Botanical Garden is the perfect day trip for you! Their annual Holiday Train Show® features charming model trains that ride through a display of over 150 landmarks. On nearly a half-mile of track, staple architectural pieces such as the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, and Rockefeller Center are placed throughout various seasonally decorated rooms. This year’s show will last from Saturday, November 17, 2018, to Monday, January 21, 2019.

The first Holiday Train Show® was held in 1992 and has grown ever since. Each year, the show’s creator Paul Busse uses bark, leaves, and other natural materials to make the exhibits. Last year’s exhibits showcased “Midtown Manhattan’s iconic skyscrapers,” including replicas of the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, General Electric Building, and St. Bartholomew’s Church. The displays are placed throughout the tracks as guests can walk and look at their leisure.

I attended last year with two friends who enjoy doing seasonal activities as much as I do. For my one friend Kelly Picciurro, 27, the displays reminded her of Christmases past. “There was definitely holiday magic! Growing up during the holidays my dad and I would set up our own, smaller train show in our house, so it brought back good memories. I liked all the small replicas of places/buildings in New York. Being a New Yorker I recognized all the exhibits. There were many replicas of popular buildings so even those not from the area would have appreciated it." In addition to the tracks running at ground level, the bridges also created an aerial display and travelled overhead as well. "The gardens were also beautiful, and it made it extra special that the trains were running through all the luscious plants and flowers ahead.”

Prior to stepping into the mini-NYC made of architecture and trains, The New York Botanical Garden has all guests watch an educational video. This lets everyone know how delicate each structure is, basically giving a major 'do not touch' pep talk! Staff also takes a picture of guests in front of a green screen and you can claim your group shot later.

"They also decorated the gardens with holiday decorations, lights, and Christmas trees," explained Picciurro, 27. This ties into the variety of dining options at the New York Botanical Garden! The closest to The Holiday Train Show® was their Gingerbread Café. The cafe offered a festive setting with pop up snowmen and gingerbread men featured outside. Inside they served hot chocolate, soups, sandwiches, salads, pretzels, nachos, coffee drinks, and other holiday treats. “I also enjoyed the hot chocolate at the end, it gave the day a real holiday/winter feel!” says Picciurro.

If you’re traveling by public transportation, we took Metro North from Grand Central to the Botanical Gardens stop. The train ride was about 25-minutes and drops you off across from the venue.

Tickets are $30 for adults during weekends and specific holiday times. Reduced pricing per ticket is available for students, seniors, children (2–12), children, members, or if you are to attend on a weekday. Access to the Holiday Train Show® did also give ticket holders access to the rainforest and desert rooms!

The New York Botanical Garden is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday to Sunday. Their extended hours are 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Saturdays, November 24–January 19; Friday, November 23 (the day after Thanksgiving); and December 26–January 1. Please check their website at www.nybg.org before planning a trip to make sure there are no holiday closures!