The Holiday Train Show is one of New York's most popular and magical annual holiday attractions, drawing nearly 160,000 people each year. Since 1992, guest of all ages have been charmed by trains running through intricately detailed historic New York landmarks made entirely of plant materials.
Using leaves, twigs, bark,berries, pinecones, cinnamon sticks, and other plant parts, Paul Busse and his team at Applied Imagination handcraft replicas of more than 140 New York landmarks—from the Statue of Liberty to the Apollo Theater to winter scenes from Central Park.
Model railway trains and trolleys enliven this landscape, chugging across rustic bridges, including a 25-foot-long overhead trestle, passing waterfalls that cascade into flowing creeks, and disappearing into forest tunnels.
Throughout the Holiday Train Show, the Botanical Garden holds several major events designed to appeal to a variety of different audiences, including the Holiday Tree Lighting, Holiday Open House, Winter Wonderland Ball, and Members Weekend. To complete the holiday experience, children’s programming includes, Gingerbread Adventures in the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden, The Little Engine That Could in the Arthur and Janet Ross Lecture Hall performed by master puppeteer Ralph Lee, and the opportunity to meet Thomas the Tank Engine and Sir Topham Hatt while enjoying storytelling, stickers, and temporary tattoos. Additionally, every weekend, a variety of musical groups entertains visitors waiting to enter the Holiday Train Show on Conservatory Plaza.