Holidays: Trains

Train lovers are in luck during this season – train shows big and small about in NYC. Make a day of it at the New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show or stop by the much smaller, free Holiday Train Show at Grand Central Terminal or actually ride a vintage subway cars.
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New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show

New York Botanical Garden (2900 Southern Boulevard)
$10-$20, admission varies by day; free for under 2
Use this link for discounted $15 adult tickets, $8 ages 2-12 tickets

Through Jan 15
9:00 am–6:00 pm

Marvel at model trains zipping around stunning New York landmark replicas made of plant parts such as nuts, bark, and leaves, and enjoy hands-on holiday fun for the entire family (most of it in the climate-controlled indoors). This year’s exhibition showcases Coney Island, with working models of the Wonder Wheel, Cyclone and more. Buy tickets online before trekking up to the Bronx (take the Metro-North Harlem local line to Botanical Garden Station) as tickets sometimes sell out. Go right at opening or on a weekday to avoid the crowds (though the traffic patterns have improved in recent years). Take breaks in the tropical rainforest wing where there are no trains but lots of room to roam freely.


Holiday Express: Toys and Trains from the Jerni Collection

New-York Historical Society (70 Central Park West at 77th Street)
Free with museum admission
Through Feb 25
10:00 am–6:00 pm

Train enthusiasts of all ages can explore an immersive multimedia winter wonderland featuring theatrical lighting, an ambient audio “soundscape” and lots of historical model trains, scenic elements and toys. Pick up an “I Spy” Holiday Express trains and toys hunt to match pictures and rhyming facts with whimsical and intricate objects. See if for free and enjoy train0related actovities every Friday morning during Rise and Ride the Holiday Express


Holiday Train Show at Grand Central Terminal

New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex (Grand Central Terminal)

Through Feb 27
Monday-Friday 8 am - 8 pm
Saturday & Sunday 10 am - 6 pm

10:00 am–6:00 pm

Watch models of the MTA’s vintage and current trains and subway cars travel deaprt from a miniature replica of Grand Central Terminal to Santa’s workshop at the North Pole in this small yet charming display full of delightful details. This year’s exhibition showcases Lionel Metro-North, Polar Express, and vintage subway train sets against a cityscape backdrop designed by Brooklyn-based artist Josh Cochran.


Holiday Nostalgia Train

96th Street Subway Station (Second Avenue & 96th Street )
$2.75 (one MetroCard swipe)
Through Dec 24
10:00 am–6:00 pm

Ride back in time on a vintage fleet of subway cars and buses. In celebration of the one year anniversary of the Second Avenue Subway, this year’s Holiday Nostalgia Train will run along the F line between 2nd Av and Lexington Avenue / 63rd Street and via the Q line between Lexington Avenue / 63rd Street and 96th Street on the Upper East Side. Departures from the 2nd Av subway station on the F line at 10am, 12pm, 2pm, and 4pm and from the 96th Street subway station on the Q line at 11am, 1pm, 3pm, and 5pm. The special eight-car subway train of R1-9 cars from the 1930s is complete with rattan seats, ceiling fans, incandescent bulb lighting, drop-sash style windows, vintage roll signs, and original advertisements. Dance along with jazz and swing bands at the stations.


Rise and Ride the Holiday Express

New-York Historical Society (70 Central Park West at 77th Street)

Friday 7:30–9:00 am
Through February 23

7:30 am–9:00 am

Get a free train fix every Friday morning through February, we’re opening the doors early at 7:30 am. Explore the Holiday Express: Toys and Trains from the Jerni Collection before the museum opens, read fun train tales, and enjoy coffee and breakfast treats, available for purchase from the museums’ Espresso & Coffee Bar.


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