Watch in amazement as model trains zoom through the magical display. Photo courtesy of NYBG
Watch in amazement as model trains zoom through the magical display. Photo courtesy of NYBG

What's New at the NYBG Holiday Train Show in 2019

Manhattan's Central Park is the star of this year's Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden, opening November 23, 2019 and running through January 26, 2020. We may still be a few weeks from Halloween, but the annual train show is a NYC Christmas tradition worth looking forward to.

The iconic landscape of the park includes architectural treasures like Belvedere Castle, the Dairy, the Old Bandstand, the Angel of the Waters sculpture atop the Bethesda Fountain, and two graceful pedestrian bridges, arrayed in a winter wonderland tableau alongside existing Central Park replicas in NYBG’s collection, including the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater.

Read on for a peek at what else is new, plus everything you need to know about visiting this popular holiday attraction with kids.


Iconic NYC landmarks were created for the holiday train show. 

Famous New York buildings that are either adjacent to the park or just inside it are also on display, including the Plaza Hotel, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Rose Center for Earth and Space, part of the American Museum of Natural History.

This year, the Holiday Train Show is presented in an immersive indoor winter wonderland adjacent to the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory as the Conservatory’s palm dome undergoes restoration. The spacious, climate-controlled exhibition space is located on the Conservatory Lawn.

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Lush landscapes surround detailed replicas of over 150 beloved NYC landmarks.

Central Park, designed in 1858 by landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, has been featured in hundreds of movies. Perhaps even more important, Olmsted and Vaux’s “Greensward Plan” inspired cities across the country to set aside large open spaces as public parks.

In the Holiday Train Show, more than 25 G-scale model trains and trolleys hum along nearly a half-mile of track past re-creations of iconic sites from all five boroughs of New York City, the Hudson River Valley, and other locations in New York State. American steam engines, streetcars from the late 1800s, and modern freight and passenger trains travel underneath overhead trestles, through tunnels, across rustic bridges, and past waterfalls that cascade into flowing creeks.

As always, the show includes an All Aboard with Thomas and Friends performance later in the season, and there are more train-themed activities, such as pretend play on the Evergreen Express and outdoor exploration of the winter garden.

Tickets are required and included in an All-Garden Pass. Plan to purchase a timed-entry pass in advance for popular times. 

Unless noted, photos courtesy of the author