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

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More