Borrego Springs, CA

Sunday, August 7, 2011

“Landmarks of America” Model Railroad Garden

One of the first gardens that we visited yesterday at the Chicago Botanic Garden was the Model Railroad Garden.  This garden was built just eleven years ago as a one year feature.  However, it was so popular that the garden is now open every May-October.  IMG_2897

There are 17 garden scale (G-scale) trains that run through the 7500 square foot exhibit area.  G-scale means that the model trains are 1/29th the size of life size trains.


There are almost 50 miniature American Landmark displays to view as you follow the path through the garden.  This little journey was especially meaningful for me since I have visited almost all of the scenes that were depicted.  The trail leads you across the United States from ocean to ocean.  (this is Lombard Street in San Francisco)


We were lucky, and arrived just as Mt. St. Helens was about to erupt.  I’m afraid the noisy eruption scared the youngest members of our group, but they got over it soon enough.


I would have liked to have gotten pictures of all the miniature scenes, but there was not time for that with the girls having shorter attention spans.  Smile 


The seventeen trains that run on 1600 feet of track are everywhere throughout the garden… above, below, and at eye level.


There are 5000 plants of 300 varieties throughout the displays so you feel like you are in the part of the country that is being depicted.  Each of the miniatures is also made of natural materials.


I think the girls especially liked the circus tent depiction.  There are small placards along the way with suggestions for children, of all ages, to find certain things in particular miniatures.  There is so much detail in each of the scenes that it’s easy to overlook things.  It amazed me how even the trees were in proper scale.  I could spend several hours in this railroad garden, and I just may on my next visit.

IMG_2907Since this is the Chicago Botanical Garden, both professional baseball parks were depicted.  Being a Cubs fan, I chose to show Wrigley Field.  I just wish Ernie Banks was up to bat! 

Many of you might know that I really don’t care for trains, but have always been fascinated by model train setups.  This is the best one I’ve ever seen, and the natural beauty of the plants just adds to the experience.  I think SAM would be in 7th heaven at this garden.

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The other place that I was drawn to in this short visit was the water lily gardens.  I can’t wait to return and see all the other wonders.

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy


  1. I enjoy seeing the model train setups also. You got some excellent pictures

  2. Great post and pic's. Love to see the joy of children experiencing new and fun things.

  3. I thought of Sam immediately!!..I am sure he would have love to have a visit there!..

  4. That was a really neat place, i want to see that! Just one of things we missed on our one day trip to Chicago a couple years ago! Guess u can only see so much in one day :(
    LOVE the water lilies!!!

  5. My husband would have thought he'd died and gone to heaven...he has a model railroad set up but pales in comparison by a long, long way!

    Love the water lilies.I am really going to miss my pond.

    Beautiful shots as always
    Robbie aka YsMum

  6. Beautiful garden and what a great idea. We love trains, even the real ones. One of our favorite trips when our kids were young was a train trip from Minnesota to Washington state. A nice way to see the scenery and leave the driving to someone else.

  7. Another unique find by our favorite travel guide.

    Sorry to hear you're a Cubs fan (Go Yankees!) ;c)

  8. That was really a neat area. Where's Sam - we all know he is going to love this post.

  9. I have always enjoyed public gardens. Mostly because I can enjoy them and not have to get down and pull weeds.

    I gave up gardening here. If the deer don't eat it, and the gophers don't dig it up, and it doesn't die from lack of water all summer, it can live.

    Nature takes care of my garden.

  10. Love your new header photos - just beautiful. That looks like a very interesting place to visit. Great photos - thanks for sharing.

  11. Looking at that great model railroad set up my mind was on the maintenance & how careful the workers would have to be stepping in amongst the many props to repair anything & to keep all the plants properly trimmed up. Looks like it is a labor of love by someone. Like those water lily photos.

  12. What a great exhibit. I love all the detail.

  13. What a fantastic place ... it's definitely a place that's going on our list of not-to-miss ... at the speed we explore places, just this one garden will probably need an entire day ... so much detail :-))) And I love those lilies too.

  14. Thanks for sharing this beautiful railroad with us. We have built model railroads in many scales over the years. My foray into G scale was with a group that built modules to take to shows. My module was a ranch with house, barn, corral, windmill, horses, and a dog barking at the train. Never did get around to the gardening part of G scale. We once visited one in Denver that had a working snow plow! :)

  15. What a nice garden! I've always had a soft spot for model trains.

  16. Thanks for the pictures and this place is on the LIST, sure looks neat, I'll bet the circus did make a hit with the girls. Be safe out there. Sam & Donna......

  17. Amazing!

    The Garden and the photographer!!

  18. I appreciate with these blog post which contain many photos with gorgeous quality. I have much more experience on traveling over the world. It give me more knowledge about different people with different countries.

  19. Just last week I said to my daughter that we should go to the Chicago Botanical Garden! I've lived in the Chicagoland area for 35 years and haven't ever gone to it! I'm definitely going to make time to take my kids before they're back to college!