Holiday Whimsy: The Railway Garden

Experience the magic of the train in the Railway Garden.

Experience the magic of the train in the Railway Garden.

Let childhood nostalgia wash over you this holiday season at Frederik Meijer Gardens. As you stroll through Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World’s 42 cultural displays and trees, take a detour into the Victorian Parlor to see the magic of the Railway Garden. Marking the beginning of the holiday season, this unique feature has been a winter tradition for nine years and counting.

“When you walk into the space, you become part of it. The garden is taking place above, below, all around you–and it’s constantly changing,” said Steve LaWarre, Director of Horticulture. “Plants start and finish blooming, trees drop leaves and needles, plantings grow. It takes on a different feeling week to week.”

A miniature Rosa Parks Circle in our Railway Garden.

A miniature Rosa Parks Circle in our Railway Garden.

The horticultural elements bring life to the display of trains and trolley, but take note of the all-natural, manmade buildings which create a landscape for the track to curve and loop around. As part of this year’s celebration, we’ve unwrapped five new gifts – the last of these miniature buildings in the Railway Garden.

Years ago, guests voted on which Grand Rapids landmarks they would like to see made into the Railway Garden scenery. Over the past three years, 15 new buildings have been added to the intricate cityscape. The final five iconic attractions are finally installed and include: Fifth Third Ball Park, Jersey Junction, Paddock Place (now Mangiamo!), Meyer May House and Voigt House. These last additions bring the total building count to 30 whimsical structures.

The Fifth Third Ball Park is the latest edition - just look at those tiny baseball fans!

The Fifth Third Ball Park is the latest edition – just look at those tiny baseball fans!

Whether it’s the whir of trains and trolleys or nostalgic Grand Rapids landmarks that draw you in, let the thoughtful horticultural design and smells of cedar and evergreen bring a bit of childhood fantasy to the here and now.

What’s your favorite part of the Railway Garden?

Event recap: The Connection’s “Be Merry & Mingle”

Guest post by Katie Racey, Membership Events Coordinator

The Connection: Be Merry and Mingle was held on Thursday, December 16, 2010 at Meijer Gardens in December amidst the Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World exhibition. It was a great night full of Christmas festivities including a coffee bar, cookie decorating and many different desserts. Cookie decorating is a lot of fun no matter how old you are!

One of the best parts of the night was seeing the decorated Christmas trees exclusively with the other guests at the event. It was such a nice way to relax during the holidays and network with the other guests. There is no other place around here where you can see such beautiful Christmas trees and then enjoy the tropical warmth of the Lena Meijer Garden Conservatory. No matter what the season, the Gardens always provides the perfect setting to be merry and mingle.

Check out photos of the event and add yours on our Facebook page.

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The Connection, a membership level at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, is a vibrant group of community members in the West Michigan Area in their 20s, 30s and 40s who wish to help “promote the enjoyment, understanding and appreciation of gardens, sculpture, the natural environments and the arts” in an innovative and fun way.