January 06, 2014

The Natural Train at the Botanical Gardens

We went with some friends to the last day of the Holiday Train exhibit at the United States Botanical Gardens. It was amazing. Apparently, they change the theme every year and this year it was “The World’s Fair.”

All of the buildings and tracks are made from natural materials (vines, sticks, mulch, acorns, etc). Boasting of 70 different plants in all. The details are so fine it is amazing. They said that it took over 600 hours to make the Capitol Building alone.

In the main entry to the exhibit there was a small scale replica of the National Mall. Complete with the Capitol, the Supreme Court, several Smithsonians and the most famous monuments.

The White House

In the next rooms there are several train sets circling around displays to represent World Fairs of the past. Again, the details are astounding—especially when you realize all the materials are recycled plants. The only bad thing I heard was a little boy looking at the replica statues of mermaids in a fountain and he said, “Mommy, those are scary!” I had to admit that they are kind of creepy.

One of my favorite rooms in the entire gardens is the orchid room. They have some really exotic flowers. In my list of favorites, the Hawaii room is close in second. Birds of Paradise, Anthurium, and other native plants in Hawaii grow in their true spectacular color. The one I found the most interesting was called the “Cabbage on a stick” and the note next to it said it ONLY grows in Hawaii and there is only one wild plant left. All the others are in captivity.  Who knew? I had never seen it before. If we ever move back I may just have to get me one.

So look out for the exhibit next year. Kids especially love it. 

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