You know it's Christmas time at the Missouri Botanical Garden when the annual Gardenland Express Holiday Train Show opens. The show is one of the most popular Christmas events at the Garden for visitors of all ages. If you've never been, here's an easy guide for visitors.
When and Where
The Gardenland Express opens each year around Thanksgiving and closes in early January. This year's show runs from November 19, 2016, through January 1, 2017. It's open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Orthwein Floral Display Hall. Admission is $5 a person. Garden members get in free. The train show is also open in the evenings during the Garden Glow holiday light display. Evening admission is $4 a person.
What You'll See
The Gardenland Express is a fun holiday experience for anyone interested in miniature trains. G-scale trains of all kinds travel along 900 feet of track through a wintery display of plants, flowers and other Christmas decorations. Each year the show has a theme based on the types of plants and trains used, so you'll always see something a different from year to year. Gardenland Express is a great bet when you are looking for a nice way to enjoy the holidays in a relaxed and comfortable setting. As a bonus, you can also check out some of the other holiday events happening at the Garden during the same visit.
More Christmas Events at the Garden
Victorian Christmas at Tower Grove House - Visitors can see Garden founder Henry Shaw's house decked out for the holidays. Tower Grove House is beautiful any time of the year, but it really shines during the Christmas season. The house is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There is also storytelling for children at the house on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 11 a.m., and Sundays at 1 p.m. Tours of Tower Grove House are included with the price of Garden admission.
Holiday Wreath Auction - Want to get some new ideas for decorating? Check out all of the inspired designs at the annual Holiday Wreath Auction. Local floral designers create dozens of holiday wreaths using all kinds of materials. The wreaths are on display at the Ridgway Center from late November through early January. Visitors can bid on the wreaths through a silent auction during the holiday season. Money raised goes to the Garden and its outreach programs.
Garden Glow - Garden Glow is one of the area's newest outdoor Christmas light displays. More than a million lights are strung throughout the grounds to create a magical holiday experience. Garden Glow opens in late November and runs through early January.
Other Top Holiday Events
The Missouri Botanical Garden is worth visiting during the holiday season, and so are many other St. Louis area attractions. The St. Louis Zoo, Magic House, Fox Theatre and many others host special events during the holidays. For more information check out my Guide to the Holidays in St. Louis. For those who love Christmas light displays like Winter Wonderland, the Way of Lights and Santa's Magical Kingdom, see Top Holiday Light Displays in the St. Louis Area.