2018 New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show! If It’s Holiday Time It’s The Train Show Time!

New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show

The tradition continues! Every year for the last decade I’ve kicked off the holiday season by visiting the New York Botanical Garden’s amazing Holiday Train Show. Even before I had kids, there was something just so intriguing about it, so romantic, so fun. It completely deserves all of the hype. The New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show is one of my favorite winter events around Long Island!

The Mint Chip Mama - New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show

Since having kids – especially train-obsessed kids – it’s become a favorite annual family custom. What I love now about visiting the show is not just the ever-changing creations made of natural elements, but the memories found on fixed things too. Like the bench where I nursed my daughter (who is now eight). Or the exit where my son (who is now five) stood for an hour and was completely shocked and surprised every time Thomas the Train passed by (pictured at the top). I smile as I pass these places and shake my head at how my children have grown.

The Mint Chip Mama - New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show

This year it was even more fun for us. Our youngest is two and by far the most train-obsessed of the bunch. We could not wait to take him. His reactions did not disappoint. Everything he saw he just gasped in awe. It was so cute. As we walked through the show his little head just whipped up, down and all around. He just didn’t know where to look. We had so much fun watching him.

The Mint Chip Mama - New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show

What’s nice for repeat visitors like us is how the show changes and evolves each year. I noticed a lot more bright colors and love the addition of the heavily baubled holiday trees. Every aspect of the show simply screamed “holidays”. I also noticed all signs were in both English and Spanish, and there were a lot more natural tunnels and waterfalls. I love when something perfect gets even better.

The Mint Chip Mama - Holiday Train Show

Generally my plan of attack is to visit the show first thing in the morning on a weekend to avoid the crowds. But there is something to say about seeing the show at night with all the lights too. So really, anytime you go is perfect. Going at a leisurely pace you can see the whole show in an hour and a half. But in truth – and without the kids (you love dearly) bothering you – one could spend hours there. There are just so many tiny little details you can catch, it’s astonishing.

The Mint Chip Mama - Holiday Train Show

If a kid-free viewing sounds good to you, check out the New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show adults only Bar Car Nights featuring Bronx Night Market Holiday Pop-up. Not only will you get an after dark viewing of the Show, but the NYBG transforms into a festive outdoor adventure.

If Thomas the Tank is your jam then I highly recommend checking out All Aboard with Thomas and Friends which begins December 29th. In addition to the Holiday Train Show, there is a show staring your favorite blue engine. We’ve seen this show several times, and it did not disappoint in the eyes of my kids.

The Mint Chip Mama - New York Botanical Garden

One of the nicest things you can do while at the New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show is enjoy all that the New York Botanical Gardens has to offer. They have a fantastic 12 acre kids adventure garden, tons of family programming, the Evergreen Express, and gardens galore.

The Mint Chip Mama - New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show

The New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show’s 175 New York landmarks were the brain child of Paul Busse from Applied Imagination in Kentucky. Along with his team, he has been creating these annual jaw dropping “sculptures” out of bark, leaves, and other natural materials in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory since 1992. This year’s exhibition offers more G-scale trains and track (over half a mile!) than ever before and showcases the beloved monuments of Lower Manhattan.

The Mint Chip Mama - New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show

The New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show runs through Monday, January 21, 2019.


The nice people at The New York Botanical Garden want you to come too! One lucky reader will win a family 4-pack! To enter, please tell us in the comment section below: What is your favorite train show or train related memory? Winner chosen 12/10 at 7pm.

Published by Stacey Wallenstein

Stacey Gish Wallenstein created The Mint Chip Mama blog in 2013 to share her love and passion for giving children meaningful life experiences and helping moms like her navigate the challenges and benefits of raising children in the New York metropolitan area. Before becoming a full-time mom in 2010, Stacey spent the better part of the preceding decade as a high-end customer relationship management (CRM) professional for some of the most well-known brands in the hotel, luxury, fashion, and beauty industries, such as Harrah’s Entertainment, Chanel and Christian Dior, Inc. She managed customer loyalty programs for thousands of clients around the country and created social media strategies for a span of industries including healthcare services, restaurants, consumer packaged goods, specialty foods, local attractions and retail locations. After 13 wonderful years in Manhattan (the last three of which spent as a city mom), Stacey and her husband moved to Long Island in 2014, where they now reside with their three children (13, 10, and 7). There, she is a founding member of her local Parenting Center, which provides classes and coordinates events designed to educate and inform parents while fostering an environment of support and friendship within the community. A graduate of the University of Michigan, Stacey has been active in the New York area alumni organization for nearly twenty years, serving as a board member on the school’s University of Michigan Alumni Club of New York City. She also holds a Masters in Psychology from The New School in New York City. Please check out The Mint Chip Mama in the Press: The New York Post, Psychology Today, NY Metro Parents, New York Family, Parents Magazine, Newsday, News 12, NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt: Kids, NerdWallet, Big Apple Kids Guide, and more! The Mint Chip Mama was also nominated as "The Best Blog On Long Island" for 2022, 2023, 2024, one of the Top 20 New York Mom Blogs & Websites, and one of the Top 100 Mom Lifestyle Blogs on the web! For more updates, follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and Pinterest.

30 thoughts on “2018 New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show! If It’s Holiday Time It’s The Train Show Time!

  1. I haven’t been but should definitely take my boys. My favorite train related memory is on my honeymoon (sigh) … we took the train from Venice to Florence (sigh again. Lol).

  2. Can you believe I have three kids and have never been to a train show? My kids know that their Daddy takes the train to and from work everyday. They also love Thomas and the words “Choo Choo” were one of the first words from each of them. Would love to take them to this!

  3. I haven’t had a chance to take the kids to the train show but I have wonderful memories of my kids, especially my son playing with his train table and Thomas trains for hours. These trains were the best reward system for potty training lol.

  4. My son is 17 and has loved trains since he was 1. I used to bring him to train museums and he was also in love with Thomas the train. My daughter who is 9 folllowed in his footsteps. There is a Christmas Train Ride a few towns away but it is sold out, this win would be an excellent reason to drive to NY from CT for the day and make another family memory. Thank you & good luck everyone.

  5. I work with children with Autism and my school used to bring a group every year and I remember my students being in heaven not only about the train but also the amazing miniatures. I have yet to bring my own train obsessed sons there but would love to.

  6. Favorite train memory? It actually would prob make most people cringe. My son was prob a little less than 2 and it was the summer. We were on the subway and he was ecstatic – not only a real live train, but a real live subway. He loved everything about it, passing the stations, seeing people get on and get off — and at one point I look over, and hes got the bigger smile ever, and he’s shoeless. Standing on a NYC Subway seat, shoeless. We arent germophobes, so we let him keep enjoying the experience — but we got lots of comments about it afterwards, when people saw the pix.

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