Every year around the holiday time, the Chicago Botanic Garden has a garden light walk to the Wonderland Express, the train exhibit built especially for the holidays has over 80 landmarks from Chicago. The train tickets are: Adults $8 for members/$10 for non, Seniors $6 for members/$8 for non, Children 3-12 $6 for member/$8 for non. Parking is $20 per vehicle. The grounds are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and the train is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Paul Busse, a designer and landscape architect from Kentucky creates the 10,000 square foot exhibition with a team beginning in summer of every year. The exhibit truly is a celebration of plants every train bridge, Chicago landmark, and bush is made of materials found in nature. Acorns, walnuts, and tree bark create the landmarks and willow branches make the train bridges. The whole exhibit takes a week to create. All of the trains in the exhibit have a separate remote to stop and start; just in case a train decides to fall off of the track. Every day the train engineers and gardeners take six hours to water and trim the plants. Once seeing the magnificent creation, you will want the experience to never end.
The Botanic garden has lights up outside for you on your way to the indoor train exhibit and the greenhouses are decorated too. Feeling festive is a must–the grinch is no where to be seen. Carolers and family drop-in activities such as snowflakes, creating small bird feeders, and learning about conifers (pine trees) is included with the exhibit. A new app that the garden sponsors is called SCVNGR. You can download the app on any smart phone and if you pass all three challenges then you receive a free cup of hot coco at the either of the cafes in the garden! The whole experience is well worth the trip to Glencoe and the admission. Your family or friends will soon not forget the experience. If there are any humbuggers out there take them to the Chicago Botanic Garden! There will only be “Wishing you a Merry Christmas” in the house after that!