“Training” The Family To Enjoy Nature During The Holidays
Unique Holiday Train Exhibit Features Live Plants, Waterfall, Camera
LISLE, IL (December 4, 2007) – It just figures that this is a “Santa” Fe train.
With cut Christmas trees in one car, bright, shiny presents in another, and stuffed teddy bears in a third, this special locomotive will have kids of all ages daydreaming about the toys and other gifts that Jolly ol’ Santa will bring this holiday season. Welcome to the Arboretum Express, a large, one-of-a-kind holiday model train display at The Morton Arboretum featuring live plants, a waterfall, and four distinct nature areas that represent the Arboretum grounds.
In a truly unusual twist, visitors actually get a chance to see what it would be like to ride one of the trains – how it would look to pass through the scenic flora, and through the tunnels. A camera is mounted on one lead car, and the images it “sees” are projected on a TV screen. Children sometimes wave to the camera to “be on TV.”
The live plants are boxwoods, junipers, cypress, cotoneaster, barberry, thyme, iris, winterberry holly, spruce tops, and grasses, according to Peggy Pelkonen, Arboretum landscape architect who co-designed the unique, multi-level train display. “It’s designed to spread holiday cheer, and spread an appreciation of the beautiful trees and other plants to everyone enjoying the scene,” she says.
There are four seasons of “Arboretum” woodlands, wetlands, savannah, and prairie. The lovely waterfall fills a lake where make-believe frogs and other wetland creatures make their homes.
As trains chug along the 430 feet of track in the 35 foot long display, visitors hear the distinctive, mellow locomotive whistles. But they’ll also hear Christmas carols that set the holiday mood. Flashing lights make the exhibit sparkle.
The trains run daily in the Visitor Center Events Room, November 23 – January 6, except Christmas Eve, Christmas, and New Year’s Day, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Complimentary tickets are needed for entrance, and are available at the Visitor Center.
The Morton Arboretum gratefully acknowledges Aquascape, Unilock, and the LGB Model Railroad Club of Chicago for their in-kind contributions to the train exhibit, as well as Children’s Memorial at Central DuPage Hospital, the 2007 Holiday Celebration Contributing Sponsor.
Unless otherwise specified, all Arboretum events and destinations including the holiday train exhibit are free with Arboretum admission, which is:
- $9 per person ($6 on Wednesday), ages 18-64
- $8 per person, ($5 on Wednesday), ages 65 and over
- $6 per person, ($4 on Wednesday), ages 3-17
- (Under age 3 is free)
- Parking is free.
The Morton Arboretum is an internationally recognized 1,700-acre outdoor museum with collections of 4,057 kinds of trees, shrubs, and other plants from around the world. The Arboretum's beautiful natural landscapes, gardens, research and education programs, and year-round family activities support its mission – the planting and conservation of trees and other plants for a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world. Conveniently located at I-88 and Rte. 53 in Lisle, Illinois, the Arboretum is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. or sunset, whichever is earlier, Central Time. The Children's Garden is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (CDT) and 9:30 to 4 p.m. (CST). Visit www.mortonarb.org or call 630-968-0074 to learn more.