Friends forging a course together through the unexpected

The WonderLand Express December 14, 2011

Last weekend I might have found a new Christmas tradition. My good friends Tom and Kim invited Matt and I to the WonderLand Express at the Chicago Botanical Garden (CBG). The WonderLand Express is truly wonderful and it more than just trains!

When first entering the exhibit hall, there are over a dozen variations of Christmas wreaths. All made of natural materials and a lot of creativity. Tom and I were really impressed with the white birch wreath. Keep your eye out for that one!

As you continue on your path, a quaint gingerbread village will greet you. Of course I took a ton of pictures. Mostly because I knew Jill would be upset if I didn’t because it provided great ideas for next year’s gingerbread extravaganza! Plus I absolutely adored the log cabin with a matching outhouse. Check out a video on the local Chicago pastry chef who created the beautiful gingerbread scene.

Gingerbread Village

Snow falls from the ceiling as you walk into the main event. Located Regenstein Center, a 10,000 square foot space, was packed with people and sparkled with wonder. Christmas trees and greenery glowed with hundreds of thousands of LED lights almost made you feel like you were walking in a winter wonderland.

Multiple miniature trains chugged through more than 80 miniature Chicago landmarks. All buildings are handcrafted from natural materials. Paul Busse, designer of the Model Railroad Garden, created this exhibition for CBG. The intricate detail of Navy Pier and the John Hancock and Wrigley buildings was truly amazing.

Miniature Cityscape

Folks can also take a seat and learn more about the magic behind the WonderLand Express by watching a 75-minute video. There are also opportunities to listen to carolers or participate in one of many different drop-in activities for the family.

If you’re into trains and holidays check out the WonderLand Express. Admittance is relatively inexpensive. Plus, it’s definitely a great place to take the family and enjoy beautiful craftsmanship.


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