The Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) is back, celebrating its 30th year. And the expanded GLOW Light Show, also at the NYBG, is a newer holiday feature that visitors can enjoy on select nights. Learn more about these holiday traditions for New York residents and visitors of all ages, and find tips for best experiencing the exhibits with young children.
The Holiday Train Show at the NYBG
For 30 years, the Holiday Train Show at the NYBG has attracted visitors of all ages. Model trains zoom on tracks and across bridges, through more than 190 replicas of New York landmarks. All of the replicas are built from materials found in nature, such as leaves, seeds, twigs, bark, acorns, and pine cones.
The exhibit includes replicas of some of the most famous New York landmarks, such as the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, One World Trade Center, and Rockefeller Center. Even replicas of the city’s famous bridges, such as the Brooklyn Bridge and George Washington Bridge, are on display. A team of designers from Applied Imagination in Alexandria, Kentucky, builds the replicas.
New York lovers of all ages will appreciate recognizing the landmarks throughout the exhibit. Transportation lovers will enjoy following the trains throughout the exhibit. Festive decorations get visitors in the holiday spirit.
The show is a home run for lovers of New York, trains, and the holiday season. “The Holiday Train Show has been a favorite holiday tradition for 30 years, enchanting generations of NYBG visitors,” said Melinda Manning, NYBG vice president of communications. “It offers something for every age group.”
Tips for Visiting the Holiday Train Show at the NYBG with Young Kids
- If your schedule and nap times allow, purchase tickets for a time when the show is less likely to be crowded. Weekdays, for example, are less crowded than weekends. When it is less crowded, young children are better able to explore.
- Before you go, explain to young children that the Holiday Train Show includes things that are very delicate. The NY landmarks and the model trains are beautiful to look at, but it is important not to touch them so they can be back every year for people to enjoy.
“The garden is a museum of plants, and we appreciate that our visitors are respectful of that,” added Manning. “We encourage parents to delight in their children’s excitement as they follow trains winding their way through a magical New York landscape in miniature.”
- If you are traveling to the area, extend your stay! The NYBG has wonderful cafes with kid-friendly options. Arthur Avenue, which is known as the center of the Bronx’s “Little Italy,” is nearby and has delicious restaurants, pastry shops, and specialty markets. The NYBG and Arthur Avenue are two of the five Best Attractions to See in the Bronx.
The GLOW Light Show at the NYBG
On select dates, families can be dazzled by the expanded GLOW Light Show at the NYBG. This is the second year that the NYBG has had a light show, and this year’s show is impressive. It includes 1.5 miles of displays—brightly colored pathways and trees, thousands of LED lights, and mesmerizing installations.
“The Botanical Garden was long interested in exploring the possibilities of a light show and as the pandemic caused us to be able to offer the Holiday Train Show to NYBG Members only last year, it provided a great opportunity to introduce a new outdoor experience for visitors,” Manning explained. “NYBG GLOW was well received last year, and we were pleased to have the opportunity to expand upon that experience this year.”
Visitors who purchase combo tickets to the Holiday Train Show and GLOW will be treated to a full-out holiday party for all ages. Check the schedule and don’t be surprised to hear live music and stumble upon food tents (in addition to the Garden’s cafes) while you are there.
“This is the first year that both the Holiday Train Show and NYBG GLOW have been open to the public, so providing an opportunity for people to enjoy both with a special combination ticket creates the perfect night out this holiday season,” said Manning.
What You Need to Know About Visiting the Holiday Train Show and GLOW Light Show at the New York Botanical Garden
Where is the New York Botanical Garden located?
The New York Botanical Garden is located at 2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, New York 10458.
For how long and during what hours will the exhibits, the Holiday Train Show and GLOW Light Show, be open?
- The Holiday Train Show opened on Saturday, November 20, 2021, and runs through Sunday, January 23, 2022. The New York Botanical Garden is generally open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday to Sunday. Holiday Train Show tickets are available for purchase during those times.
- The New York Botanical Garden will be open on the following Mondays: December 20 & 27; January 17. The Holiday Train Show is open visitors on those Mondays.
- The outdoor GLOW Light Show happens at dark, from 5 to 10 p.m. on 25 nights. It opened on Wednesday, November 24, 2021, and runs through Saturday, January 22, 2022.
- On dates with the GLOW Light Show, the last daytime entry to the Holiday Train Show is at 4 p.m. Access for GLOW ticketholders begins at 5 p.m.
- The New York Botanical Garden will close early, at 3 p.m., on December 24 and will be closed on December 25.
How much is admission to the Holiday Train Show and GLOW Light Show exhibits?
- For NYBG members, there is no charge for daytime viewings of the Holiday Train Show.
- Non-member tickets for the Holiday Train Show are $32 for adults, $30 for seniors, $18 for kids (2-12), and free for children under 2.
- Member tickets for GLOW are $25 for adults, $15 for kids, and free for children under 2. Non-member tickets are $35 for adults, $20 for kids, and free for children under 2.
- Holiday Train Show + GLOW tickets for members are $35 for adults and $25 for kids (2-12). Non-member combo tickets are $49 for adults and $34 for kids (2-12).
What are the New York Botanical Garden current COVID guidelines?
- Effective December 14, 2021: In accordance with New York City Executive Order and “Key to NYC”, all visitors ages 5 and older must show valid proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for entry to indoor exhibition spaces and facilities, NYBG Shop, and dining venues.
- Visitors over the age of 18 must also supply official identification displaying name and photo or date of birth.
- Visitors who do not supply valid proof of vaccination and ID are only permitted entry to restrooms and outdoor gardens.
- Children under the age of 5 who are accompanied by a vaccinated adult may enter indoor exhibition spaces and facilities.
- All visitors are required to wear face coverings indoors and in the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden and the Edible Academy.
- Additionally, effective December 27, 2021: Visitors ages 12 and older must show proof of two doses or a single Johnson & Johnson dose. Those 5-11 need only show first dose.
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