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For two months out of the year the past 17 years, the New York Botanical Garden’s Enid A. Haupt Conservatory has been transformed into an epic holiday scene that mixes plant-based architecture, a whimsical dose of imagination, and more than 1,320 feet of model train tracks. With today’s side deal, $10 gets you one adult ticket into this year’s wonderland known as the Holiday Train Show, a $20 value. While movies are never as good as the books, train shows are often way cooler than words can describe. Check out the pictures and videos for a visual rundown of the miniature world that awaits. Everything from the historic Yankee Stadium and old Penn Station to the Statue of Liberty is constructed from ruffage, and even the preview pictures and educational videos consist solely of cybernetically grafted vegetable matter.
Your Groupon is only valid between Tuesday, December 1 and Thursday, December 3 and between Tuesday, December 8 and Thursday, December 10 during regular hours (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.). After arriving at the Botanical Garden, present your Groupon at the Visitor Center main entrance booth. Entry is timed so that new groups are allowed inside every 15 minutes to help disperse the crowd evenly, but once you’re in, feel free to spend as long as you like. Decide on your preferred timeslot. If there are no openings for your desired time, you will join the first available group with open spots. While you wait—or after you’re done at the train show—you’re free to roam around the roughly 250 acres that make up the Botanical Garden. There are other things happening on the grounds as well. Check out Gingerbread Adventures (between 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. at Everett Children’s Adventure Garden) to see intricately handcrafted gingerbread houses, stop by the garden shop to pick up some last-minute stocking stuffers, or grab a bite to eat at one of the cafés.
A review in the New York Times describes last year’s show:
- Sitting like islands in a warm pool in the Haupt Conservatory’s central palm gallery at the New York Botanical Garden are two landmarks that welcomed early-20th-century immigrants to Manhattan: the main building of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. They seem appropriate here in the Bronx too, at the entrance to the annual Holiday Train Show, because this exhilarating exhibition makes you feel a little like an alien visitor just coming ashore; everything familiar is skewed and strange in the fragrant, humid air. – Edward Rothstein, New York Times
The New York Botanical Garden
Founded by husband-and-wife botanists Nathaniel Lord Britton and Elizabeth Gertrude Knight Britton in 1891, the New York Botanical Garden has been a destination of natural beauty for generations of New York residents and beyond.
With spring currently blanketing the city with color, garden staffers spend their days busily preparing for 2014's packed festival season. May brings the sound of popped corks during Wine in the Native Plants Garden, giving guests the chance to take a leisurely tour. The festivities continue in June, when 4,000 blooming flowers herald the beginning of the Rose Garden Celebration. Of course, it's not all delicate flowers. The Big Backyard BBQ & Music Festival on Father's Day weekend lets guests celebrate dad with chipper tunes and food samples.
These festive occasions all support the garden's mission is to be "an advocate for the plant kingdom." Much like the Brittons, today's staffers aim to lead the charge to document every species of plant and fungus on the planet. Varied terrains unfurl across its 250 acres, including rolling hills, waterfalls, and 50 acres of the forest that once blanketed New York City. In addition to native plants, rotating exhibitions and family events give visitors a reason to come back every season.
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