Monday, December 21, 2015

Wonderland Express at the Chicago Botanic Gardens

This is my GREEN post for the Holidays!

One of the great pleasures of living near a metropolitan area are cultural attractions. We are members of the Chicago Botanical Gardens in Glencoe, Illinois. The gardens themselves are exstensive and year-long events are always interesting for all ages. One of our annual excursions is to the Wonderland Express, these pictures are from 2013 but we will go next week.

Here is a natural Christmas tree in the tropical room. The Orchids were in full bloom, as we made our way toward the Wonderland Express

If you want to know more... go to Chicago Botanic Gardens.

The hall where normally long lines of ticket holders wait, are decorated by local groups in specific themes. This tree had elves, peacock feathers collected from the garden's peacocks.

I love the gingerbread decor---including all the blue stars for our Jewish Friends Chanukah celebrations. Truly all the exhibits at the gardens are family friendly, young, old and older!

Here is a culinary sampling of of Gingerbread houses in the lobby.  Complete with a Choo-Choo.

I loved the banking of the poinsettias and all the cute, 

Inside a darkened room....came the sound of choo, choo, choo...and clickety clack of the Wonderland Express weaving it's way overhead, below and all around you-- through forests and prairies, over bridges above ponds and in tunnels through the miniature city. I never did get a picture of any of the the, because they appear in and out of the displays, and you hardly know where they are going to show up!

Here and there are all natural materials Chicago landmarks. Everything in these displays are live or were live...everything is REAL GREEN product!

Pardon the pics, but it was a dark room...the snow is a combo of glycerin and soap---and fell continuously throughout our experience and then disappeared. So those dots on your screen are real---FAKE--snow, but natural, lol.

Miniature poinsettias edge the real-life-like forest.

ALL the buildings are built of nuts, pods, bark, wood, grasses and other natural materials. It's really astounding the detail and the natural coloring can still project the concrete jungle of Chicago.

Museum of Science and Industry with the Planetarium to the the crossroads here and all the blooming or about to bloom Kalanchoe.

Museum of Natural History

Here is a distant shot of Navy set on a pond instead of into Lake Michigan...Love the pines.

The multiple trains went overhead, all the structures were made of real branches, logs and twigs. The room itself is surface in all wood so the setting was perfect.

The gurgling of the streams and ponds were the substitution for our beautiful lakefront. Here the Lighthouse guards the pond.

Landmark building John Hancock Building built in the 1970's. The X structure allows the building to sway in the wind instead of staying rigid. I have been on the 94th floor when it is in full sway---of almost 20 feet, LOL. You don't feel it, but the curtains hang straight while the building moves around them...weird.

The Chicago Tribune Tower 

The Pilgrim Baptist Church

 Rockefeller Chapel on the University of Chicago Campus

One of the many trestles...overhead. I love the branches and trees lit everywhere.

Here is a great model of the Robie House ==Frank Lloyd Wright, Oak Park. Here you can gather the scale---of the exhibit from the people, which is huge and yet the houses are really in miniature.

The Old Chicago History Museum

 Fourth Presbyterian Church

Old City Hall

Prudential Building---

Old Chicago ---Oak Street

More Old Chicago

 Old Saint Patrick's on Adams

Newberry Library

The Chicago LOOP--buildings are not to scale to each other or geographically correct...left is the water tower, far right the Hancock building.

The Picasso "Lady?" Sculpture from Daley Plaza. She looks much better with blooming Kalanchoe around her than on a bunch of concrete.

Here is the out of scale Water Tower ---the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel, Navy Pier-Crystal Palace and the Michigan avenue Bridge. The Water Tower is one of the only surviving structures from the Chicago Fire in 1871 and is the key anchor on our Magnificent Mile Michigan Avenue shopping district.

Wrigley Building Clock Tower...middle, to the left in back the Marina Towers, to the right the Chicago Board of Trade behind and the Chicago Merchandise Mart in the front right.

Out in the lobby, the theme and overflow continues...just beautiful.

Afterward, one more quick pop into the Tropical room---and I wish you a Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas from a GREEN and red,  Chicago Botanic Gardens, Sandi.

All the opinions and photographs in this blog are my own or I am in possesion of the originals, 
I have not been paid or reimbursed in anyway for my opinions, posts or products used. 
Please do not use my photos without linking back to this blog without my permission. 
Thank you for your cooperation, Sandi Magle

Thanks always for stopping by during this busy season--I appreciate any and all comments and I will try and answer any of your questions.



  1. Very pretty, Sandi! We have a train set and buildings from the Grand Rapids area at our botanical gardens and we'll be going to see it next week. I'm taking this week and part of next week off from my blog, but not from visiting my blogging friends. Merry Christmas!

  2. Thanks Carol, I know I'm trying to catch up---on last weeks posts...and Merry Christmas to you too, Sandi

  3. WOW!! What an amazing display! Loved seeing it! Thanks so much for sharing it with us!!


    1. It's so much fun Debbie...old folks young folks ooohing and ahhing and the snow ---is magical! Sandi


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