Imagination Abounds on the Garden Railway

The U.S. Botanic Garden's Garden Railway holiday exhibit is a refreshing and manageable family excursion.

The holidays really are fun. However, with family and friends and cooking and wrapping, even the most die-hard elf can get a little stir crazy. 

If you’re craving a festive-yet-Santa-free excursion that will appeal to both kids and grownups, check out the U.S. Botanic Garden. Running until Jan. 2, the Garden Railway truly is magical.

On a tip from another savvy Warwick mom, I took my family to the Botanic Garden this past week. While I expected the pretty tree and poinsettia displays, I was particularly awe-struck by the creativity of the Garden Railway exhibit in the East Gallery. 

Miniature rails weave model trains from floor to ceiling through a magical forest, full of tiny critter houses and fairy castles. Completely constructed from organic materials, both the imaginative railway wonderland and the impressive replicas of iconic DC structures found in the Garden Court were designed by Paul Busse of Applied Imagination in Alexandria, Ky.

I’ve heard that the weekend lines can be unappealing. However, we went in the early afternoon on a weekday and walked right in. With four adults, two toddlers, a double stroller, diaper bag and jackets, the crowd was totally manageable. 

I also found that the length of time needed to adequately roam through the Botanic Garden was perfect for our crew. We took our time, and the girls had enough space to explore without getting out of hand. Within an hour and a half, we made our way through the entire garden (both inside and out) without feeling rushed or over-taxed. 

Ultimately, I left feeling inspired and relatively relaxed. With tiny tots around, I consider that quite a feat.

Have you seen the Garden Railway this year? What did you think? Tell us in the comments.


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