News / USA

New York Botanical Train Show Fascinates Children of All Ages

A toy train travels past a model building at the New York Botanical Gardens.
A toy train travels past a model building at the New York Botanical Gardens.

Multimedia

Peter Fedynsky

Toy trains are often associated with the holiday season in the United States.  Many children are fascinated by trains running under a family Christmas tree or on display in public places.  One of the most elaborate holiday train shows in the United States is at the New York Botanical Garden. Visitors are amazed by the creative use of plant material in the display, now in its 19th year.

This vast greenhouse amid approximately 100 hectares at the New York Botanical Garden houses exotic plants from around the world.   It is known as a museum of plants, featuring a huge assortment of palms, fruits, conifers and flowers of all shapes and sizes.

And during every holiday season, it also features toy trains winding their way through a New York City landscape of skyscrapers, bridges, mansions and a replica of the greenhouse itself.  The glass is made out of pine sap.  

Exhibitions Director Karen Daubmann explains that the entire landscape is made from plant material. "If you take a closer look, you'll see little chimneys on some of the buildings, and the top is an acorn cap.  Some of the buildings have bark for shingles, or different colored leaves for shingles.  Some buildings have a roof made out of pine cone scales," she said.

The show is particularly popular among the 100,000 children of all ages that Daubmann says visit the show each year.

The younger ones seem to particularly enjoy the television cartoon character known as Thomas the Tank Engine, and the whimsical ladybug train that darts in and out of the Washington Arch.   Modern freight trains and trolleys also run on about 400 meters of track at the exhibit over trestles, through tunnels, and past cascading waterfalls.  The creative use of plant material impresses visitors young and old, boys and girls alike.

"They made everything out of plants and wood and bark,"said fifth grade boy Finbar Ruan.

"Trains, the mansions, the bridges and all that stuff.  All the things they made it out of," added Adeena Jaffa, a fifth grade girl.

"The buildings, when you see how they were built, are amazing, because they're all built of natural materials, said Fred Gorton, a retired electrical engineer.

The show expands with a new feature each year.  The latest - the Trans World Airways terminal at New York's Kennedy Airport. Its roof is made from the giant corrugated leaves of the tropical tin roof tree. Touching down on the runway is a Concorde supersonic jet.  A Boeing 747 is parked on the tarmac beside the terminal.

Nearby is a replica of Ellis Island, where millions of immigrants passed through before entering the United States.  And in the greenhouse "harbor" is the Statue of Liberty, which welcomed those immigrants and their creative energies to American shores.

You May Like

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs