It's "All Aboard!" at the U.S. Botanic Garden's Season's Greenings Holiday Train Exhibit in Washington, D.C.By Kim Humphrey
Posted Nov 21, 2018
The Season's Greenings exhibit at the United States Botanic Garden is always one of the highlights of our family's holiday season. The Botanic Garden is a beautiful space any time of year, but particularly so when all dressed up for the holidays. Our seasonal pilgrimage downtown from the Virginia 'burbs always starts right here.
Plant-Based Model of U.S. Supreme Court Building
There are two parts to this uniquely D.C. holiday display. The first is the Garden Court, a soaring, light-filled atrium that is adorned with thousands of poinsettias, Christmas trees, and 12 amazing models of D.C.'s iconic landmarks crafted from more than 70 different types of plant materials.
Every so often the Botanic Garden adds a new landmark to their collection. D.C.'s Union Station is this year's addition.
I also spied this adorable guy. He's new this year, too, and was getting quite a lot of attention from the little ones.
The second part of Season's Greenings is the model train exhibit, which features a new theme every year. This year's theme is "All Aboard!", which I know doesn't seem very creative for a train exhibit. However, the theme actually refers to the subject of the remarkable plant-based structures that the trains pass under, over, through and all around. This year, these structures are a showcase of historic railroad stations across the country, from bustling Grand Central Terminal in New York City to the sleepier Lahaina sugar cane train station in Maui, Hawaii.
There are 31 stations in all, representing all corners of the country, each with it's own unique history that ties into the development of the agricultural and produce industry in the U.S. There are brochures available at the exhibit that explain the history of each station, or you can also find it online.
Pike's Peak Cog Railway in Manitou Springs, CO
There are even a couple of imaginary stations that the kids will love, including Dino Depot with kid-favorite Thomas the Tank Engine chugging through!
There's also an adorable, quirky looking North Pole station. You can easily imagine Santa's elves busily scurrying around here making their final Christmas preparations.
I'm going to let you in on a few secrets. First, all of this is totally free! Okay, that's probably not a secret to those living in the D.C. area, but our out-of-town visitors are always surprised. There are also free holiday concerts most Tuesday and Thursday evenings in December at 6 p.m. in the Garden Court. You can view the schedule here.
And finally, this is a big one that I didn't learn until several years of visits to Season's Greenings (silly me), the line for the model train exhibit is separate from the conservatory entrance. If there is an insanely huge line for the trains (warning: there often is!), you can still enjoy the Garden Court and D.C.'s model landmarks without waiting in line for the trains.
New this year, the Botanic Garden also has a small outside model train display, so if you don't have the time (or patience!) to wait in line, at least you can get a small glimpse from outside.
Don't limit your visit to the Season's Greenings exhibit. The Botanic Garden has so much more to see both inside and out. From the tropics to the desert to the jungle, this is a great place for families to roam and explore all year round.
Happy Holidays from Team CertifiKID!
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