Enchanted Railroad rolls into station at Morton Arboretum

Family Fun – Enchanted Railroad rolls into station at Morton Arboretum

The Enchanted Railroad returns to the Morton Arboretum in Lisle this winter with a theme that celebrates trees and nature.

Opening Jan. 17, the 18th annual event will feature a large-scale platform complete with two levels — ideal for even the smallest visitors to enjoy — and 12 toy trains, including miniature replicas of Metra and Amtrak trains.

Highlights of the Enchanted Railroad include:

  • Tiny versions of the arboretum’s tree collections: Visitors can search for Japanese flowering cherry trees and trees in vibrant fall color. Additionally, the display showcases the work of the arboretum, with a small-scale greenhouse representing the plant production that takes place on the grounds. Elsewhere, an arborist works in the canopy of a tree.
  • Miniatures representing many of the arboretum’s events. Families will see the sled-pulling dogs of Husky Heroes, which takes place Jan. 25 and 26. Other scenes highlight the pumpkins of the Glass Pumpkin Patch, or the Chinese pagoda and European-style cottage, which call to mind cultural festivals that take place in the summer and early fall.
  • Interactive elements: Buttons along the edge of the display cause a train horn to sound or propel Thomas the Tank Engine along the tracks.

“The Enchanted Railroad is a popular winter activity as kids and families have fun searching the huge platform for fun details specific to the arboretum and the special events that take place here throughout the year,” said Mary D’Amico, special events coordinator at the arboretum.

The Enchanted Railroad is free with arboretum admission and is assembled and run in partnership with the LGB Model Railroad Club of Chicago.

The arboretum also is offering sensory-friendly times and dates for children who may be overstimulated by all of the sights and sounds of the Enchanted Railroad. To learn more about these accommodations and special times, visit mortonarb.org.

The Enchanted Railroad will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekends through Feb. 23 at the arboretum, 4100 Route 53. Visitors can pick up timed tickets at the Visitor Center Information Desk.

Admission to the arboretum is $15 for ages 18 to 64; $13 for seniors, 65 or older; $10 for children, ages 2 to 17, and free for children younger than 2. On Wednesdays, admission is $10 for adults; $9 for seniors; and $7 for children. Parking is free with admission. Members receive free general admission. For information, call (630) 968-0074 or visit www.mortonarb.org/events/enchanted-railroad.