Take part in a range of events and activities during New York City’s favorite train show. Enjoy live music and poetry, and activities for kids; take a class or tour; and explore a 250-acre winter wonderland.

The 2016-17 Holiday Train Show has concluded. Stay tuned for 2017-18 details.

Programs | Music | For Families | For Members | Classes

Poetry for Every Season: Billy Collins

Poetry Walk

On grounds near the Conservatory

The Leon Levy Visitor Center and Perennial Garden Way are home to train-inspired poems by former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins. Enjoy listening to the free cell phone audio tour while you stroll through the collection.

About Billy Collins

Poetry Reading with Billy Collins and Eamon Grennan

December 10; 2 p.m.
In Ross Hall
Included with your
All-Garden Pass. Seating is first-come, first-served.

Two great friends—Billy Collins, former US Poet Laureate and Poet Laureate of the NYBG whose poems are on the grounds of the Garden this winter, and beloved Irish poet and former Vassar College Professor Eamon Grennan—read their own poems and have a dialogue, moderated by Poetry Society of America’s Executive Director Alice Quinn, on their experience of writing poetry.

The NYBG shop will have copies of Billy Collins’s new book Rain in Portugal along with Eamon Grennan’s most recent book There Now for sale before and after the event. Both Billy Collins and Eamon Grennan will sign copies after the event.

Co-presented with the Poetry Society of America

Winter Harmonies Concerts

December 18
Family concert, 2 p.m.
General audience concert, 4 p.m.
In Ross Hall

These widely accessible yet sophisticated programs provide a warm respite from the winter cold, and lovely musical interludes during your visit to the Garden and the Holiday Train Show®. The series continues this season as a new multidisciplinary experience. The acclaimed ensemble, the Cassatt String Quartet, perform along with visual artist Rebecca Allan in this stunning display of music for your eyes.


As the quartet performs seasonal classics, Ms. Allan captures the music in her art, which will be projected as it is being created for the musicians’ backdrop. Stay for a post-performance conversation with the artists, moderated by series curator, composer Laura Kaminsky, for unique insights into the music and the music-making process.

Families can enjoy a special concert just for kids, offering a chance to learn about the different instruments that make their unique sounds. Kids will also use the music as their muse and create a work of art to take home.

Special tickets required.
Non-Member Adult: $35 / Child: $23 (also includes All-Garden Pass admission to the Holiday Train Show, a $30/$18 value)
Member Adult: $15 / Child: $10

Holiday Guides

Daily; 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
In the Conservatory

Learn more about the exhibition and its model trains from our knowledgeable guides who will share special insights.


Meets at the Reflecting Pool

Join us for tours of the Garden’s landmarks and find the beauty in the winter landscape.

Holiday Tree Lighting

Sunday, November 20; 4–5:15 p.m. 
In the Leon Levy Visitor Center

Kick off the holiday season! View the lighting of a stunning conifer display by special guests, and join in an old-fashioned sing-along with the Westchester Chordsmen featuring carols from many traditions.

Holiday Film Screenings

Daily, November 25–27 and December 24–29
In Ross Hall

Cap off your Holiday Train Show® visit with a trip to the movies. Enjoy some of the most cherished holiday film classics as they were meant to be seen—on the big screen. And it's included in the price your Garden admission! Click here for the full listing of screenings.

Holiday A Cappella

Saturdays and Sundays, December 3-31, plus daily December 26–January 1
1, 2, & 3 p.m.
In the Visitor Center

Celebrate the holiday spirit and listen to a varied mix of holiday music, both familiar and new, and other fresh, popular, and alternative music sung by a cappella musicians. While you are in the Visitor Center, do some holiday shopping and enjoy refreshments.

Annual Bird Count

December 24; 11 a.m.
Meets at the Reflecting Pool

Collect data on resident bird populations and migratory species that help to assess the health of bird populations and to guide conservation action.


Featured Documentaries

Tintes y Colorantes de la Costa (Dyes and Colors of the Coast) portrays the life of 74-year-old Habacuc Avendaño as he travels to the rocky Oaxacan coastline to milk the purple dye tixinda from an endangered species of snail that lives in the seaside precipices. He describes the endangerment of tixinda due to poaching, which also threatens the traditional weavings created by the village women, prized by museums and collectors worldwide.

Los Posohuancos follows the Mixtec weaver Margarita Avendaño, the oldest weaver in her group, whose huipiles were featured in an exhibition at the Museum of Textiles in Oaxaca. She tells of her history and how she learned to hand-spin the natural brown cotton called coyuchi, as well as how to weave posohuancos, a traditional long skirt worn by the Mixtec women.

About Billy Collins

Billy Collins is an American phenomenon. No poet since Robert Frost has managed to combine high critical acclaim with such broad popular appeal. His work has appeared in a variety of periodicals including The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and The American Scholar, and he is a Guggenheim fellow and a New York Public Library “Literary Lion.” His last three collections of poems have broken sales records for poetry. The typical Collins poem opens on a clear and hospitable note but soon takes an unexpected turn; poems that begin in irony may end in a moment of lyric surprise. No wonder Collins sees his poetry as “a form of travel writing” and considers humor “a door into the serious.”

Billy Collins has published eight collections of poetry, including Questions About Angels, The Art of Drowning, Picnic, Lightning, Taking Off Emily Dickinson’s Clothes, Sailing Alone Around the Room: New & Selected Poems, Nine Horses, The Trouble With Poetry and Other Poems, Ballistics, and most recently, Horoscopes for the Dead. Included among the honors Billy Collins has received are fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation. In June 2001, Billy Collins was appointed United States Poet Laureate 2001–2003. In January 2004, he was named New York State Poet Laureate 2004–06. Billy Collins is a Distinguished Professor of English at Lehman College of the City University of New York, as well as a Senior Distinguished Fellow of the Winter Park Institute at Rollins College.