Wonderland Express at Chicago Botanic Garden

wonderland express 2013How cool are the model train sets at Chicago Botanic Gardens?

The Wonderland Express created by designer Paul Busse makes its triumphant return to the Glencoe sanctuary just in time for the holiday season.

I mean seriously, the Wonderland Express is a must-see holiday adventure. If you don’t take my word for it, gave it five stars and called a ‘Don’t Miss!’ Chicago Magazine called it “The warmest kind of holiday fun,” called it ‘A magical adventure’ and WMAQ-TV (otherwise known as NBC Chicago said it was “Fun for the whole family.”Christmas concert

So here’s the skinny: This is not only a model train set, it’s a family experience and tradition. Outside of the pristine gardens, as much as 750,000 bright lights sparkle and illuminate this Glencoe area.

When you walk inside the Regenstein Center, you see the main event: the miniature choo choo.

Busse creates a wonderful 10,000-square-foot exhibition that winds over bridges, under trestles, past waterfalls and through more than 80 mini-replicas of Chicago’s renowned landmarks. Every year this received additional legendary Chicago venues and location solely for the Botanic Garden’s Holiday festivities.

Hot Chocolate with Mrs. ClausFor all of you Thomas & Friends fans (or for people like me who watched Shining Time Station when they were younger), that little engine we all love will be there to flash a smile to you and the family.

Other new additions include the Maggie Daley Skating Ribbon, Glencoe’s Writers Theatre, Chicago El trains, and both Spike and Alice the Amorphophallus join the Express:

Here are some of the other highlights at the annual celebration:

  • Landmark lecturer Bonnie MacDonald compares the replicas to the originals with her architecture background.Wonderland Express 1
  • Caroling – December 5 @ 10 a.m. – noon.
  • Ice Sculpting – December 19 and 26 @ 11 a.m. – noon, 2 – 3 p.m.
  • Holiday Market

Make it a memorable Lake County Holiday season by chugging along over to the Wonderland Express at Chicago Botanic Garden. Check out the video below


Chicago Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Road
Glencoe, IL 60022

Miscellaneous Information
Adults – $10 members/$12 for nonmembers Seniors – $8 for members/$10 nonmembers, Children 3-12 – $8 members/$10 nonmembers Children 2 and under free 

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