Bits & Bites / PSAs

PSA: The Train Show at the Botanical Gardens

Sometimes I think there’s a place you’ve just got to know about and my Public Service Announcements (PSAs) will give you the full skinny.


The holiday train show at the Botanical Gardens is a major attraction. During the season, it’s a bucket list thing. I finally got my chance to check it out – but with a twist: I went at night.

On Friday and Saturdays, the Botanical Gardens hosts Bar Car nights. (Get it? Bar car? Like on a train?) Your ticket gets you entry to the train show (which costs the same as it would during the day), but you also get to roam the area (from 7 pm-10 pm) before and after your train show time.

Our tickets for the train show were for 7:30 so we went straight there. Another great thing about this event? There’s booze. They had beer, $9 wine, an $8 specialty cocktail, and all the hard stuff. We each grabbed a drink before heading into the train show and it made the experience even more fun.

The train show is spectacular. Everything is made from natural materials and is painstakingly assembled. Acorns become the lions outside the library and pine bark becomes intricate stone work. It’s pretty incredible what they’re able to create.

After the train show, we wandered around the area, stopping at fire pits and an ice sculptor while admiring the grandeur of the gardens. There were also carolers snd other performers (hula hoopers and ballerinas) whose costumes were lit up so they really stood out. There were a few food vendors so we grabbed a bite before heading into a tent for our favorite portion if the evening: dueling pianos.

I am one to get very into the holiday season and this was an incredibly festive date night. If you have kids, the train show is definitely a cool thing to see, regardless. If everyone, however, is 21+ this is a really fun night out.

Something to remember: whether you go during the day or at night, you need to purchase a ticket in advance with a time to see the show. We actually tried to go a week prior with my parents since it’s such an easy trip on the train from our apartment. We got there only to find out we’d need to wait an hour and a half to get in and it was too cold to just walk around the gardens while we waited. Also – this is still happening! Just because Xmas is almost over doesn’t mean the train show is leaving town just yet. You’ve still got a couple weeks to squeeze in some holiday cheer.

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