Chicago Botanic Garden

Explore the Garden


McDonald Woods

• Model trains

• American landmarks

• Tunnels, bridges, and water

• Tiny trees and plants





Featured Video

Brian Busse from Applied Imagination talks about setting up the Model Railroad Garden.

Model Railroad Garden: Landmarks of America

take a tour

Open May 9 through October 25, 2015
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, weather permitting
Wednesdays until 8 p.m., June 10 – August 26, 2015
View slideshow

Adults: $6
Seniors: $5
Children (3–12 yrs): $4
Children (2 and under): Free
Members receive $1 off each price. Garden Plus members are free on Wednesdays. 10-visit pass $40 member/$45 nonmember

Strollers are not permitted in the exhibit; however, stroller parking is located near the entrance.

Fun Facts
• There are 18 model G-scale (garden-scale) trains running on 17 tracks (one track runs two trains)
• The longest track usually runs the Santa Fe Super Chief
• The shortest track runs the ladybug and caterpillar cars
• There are close to 50 miniature American landmarks
• There are 26 bridges throughout the Railroad Garden
• 5,000 plants (including annuals) in more than 300 different varieties are in this garden
• The trains travel more than 22,000 miles each season

The 7,500-square-foot Model Railroad Garden features trains running on 1,600 feet of track. The garden-scale trains are 1/29th the size of life-size trains. Train and garden enthusiasts, young and old, return year after year for the delightful sights and sounds of the miniature trains traversing high and low through tunnels, across bridges, and around buildings. All are intricately handcrafted with natural materials, including twigs, bark, leaves, acorns, and pebbles. More than 5,000 tiny trees, shrubs, groundcovers, and flowering plants of close to 300 varieties re-create the topographical landscape of America. Vignettes of tiny people and animals give the exhibit a storybook feel, while sound effects and a working geyser capture visitors’ imaginations.

The Model Railroad Garden can be the first of your fun outdoor activities for families at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Close to the city, on Chicago's North Shore, the Garden has a year-round calendar of family activities and entertainment, including free kids' concerts, drop-in activities, plant giveaways, weekend family classes, and outdoor family entertainment, while also offering children the chance to explore outdoors. The Garden is one of Chicago's premier attractions, where visitors walk, enjoy nature photography, and celebrate each season with outdoor and indoor activities for families and kids of all ages.

Activity Card   Map

Bank of America

Special offer to all Bank of America customers: Buy one ticket for entry to the Model Railroad Garden with any Bank of America identified credit/debit card and get one ticket free (free ticket is equal or lesser value, on-site purchases only).