GLENCOE, Ill. (September 4, 2013) – Wonderland Express celebrates the holiday season with outdoor light displays, an indoor model train exhibition, halls decked with wreaths, and greenhouses staged with abundant orchids, poinsettias, and other tropical plants. Concerts, a wine, beer and spirit tasting, visits with both Santa and Mrs. Claus, and other special events will take place over the course of the exhibition, which runs from Friday, November 29, 2013, to Sunday, January 5, 2014.
The outdoor display of 750,000 LED lights begins at the Lake Cook Road entrance to the Garden and continues to the Visitor Center, bridge and decks, Heritage Garden, Esplanade, and West and East courtyards. A 40-foot tree aglow with multicolored lights and multiple tree trunks wrapped in white lights will decorate the Esplanade, a good spot to view the lighted spheres situated across the lake at the Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden.
The Regenstein Center houses the festive indoor exhibition of seasonal decorations and horticultural displays, café, gift shop, and model railroad. The railway will be staged in Nichols Hall, where garden-scale trains wind past more than 80 miniature replicas of Chicago-area landmarks including Navy Pier, Soldier Field, Sears Tower, and others. All the structures are crafted from natural materials by Applied Imagination, a nationally recognized company specializing in model railroad garden installations. The Boyer Room will offer large windows looking into the Applied Imagination workshop used to make the landmarks. New this year will be a replica of the Como Inn, a Chicago institution that served customers for 77 years before closing in 2001. This new structure honors the late Larry Marchetti, a longtime Model Railroad Garden and Wonderland Express employee who took over the restaurant founded by his father.
The Bridge Gallery will provide a beautiful wooded entrance to Nichols Hall, and Joutras Gallery will display ornamented trees and gingerbread decorations. The Greenhouse Gallery walls will be hung with wreaths made by Garden employees. The wreaths are available for sale throughout the exhibition for $150 and $200 and can be picked up starting Tuesday, January 7, 2014. Special lighting and lush plant arrangements will make the Greenhouses a colorful, warm, and cheerful place to visit. The Krehbiel Gallery will be transformed into an English country train platform and will also house The Garden Shoppe.
The Burnstein Hall will host drop-in family activities on weekends, half-price Tuesdays, and the last two weeks of the exhibition. The Caboose Café will also be in Burnstein Hall on weekends and the last two weeks of the exhibition. Waud felt figurines of storybook characters can be found in the Lenhardt Library. Major sponsors of the event include ComEd and NorthShore University HealthSystem. Discover and W.W. Grainger, Inc. are also providing generous support.
Tickets are $12 for adults, and $10 for seniors ages 62 and older and children 3 to 12 years old. Members receive a $2 discount per ticket. Tickets are sold as timed tickets and will go on sale both online and on-site in October 2013. Half-price Tuesdays are sponsored by Grainger. Discover will offer two-for-one deals to customers, but the offer is not valid on half-price Tuesdays. Please check the website for early closing dates.
Special Events Include:
- Hanukkah Concert at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Sunday, December 1, 2013, in Alsdorf Auditorium. Advance tickets are $17; day-of tickets are $20. Members receive $2 off each ticket. Children 2 and younger are free. Ticket includes admission to the Wonderland Express exhibition. Standard parking fees apply.
- Holiday Cheers! Seasonal Wine Tasting at Wonderland Express from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, December 11, 2013, in Burnstein Hall. Advance tickets are $25; same-day tickets are $28. Members receive $5 off each ticket. Price includes tasting glass, tasting guide, and access to Wonderland Express. Must be 21 or older to attend and a valid ID must be shown. Standard parking fees apply.
- Breakfast with Santa at 8:30 and 9:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday, December 14 and 15, 2013. Tickers are $35 for adults and $27 for children 3 to 12 years old. Children 2 and younger are free. Members receive $5 off each ticket. Ticket price includes parking, meal, visit with Santa, and the Wonderland Express exhibition.
- Christmas Concert at 2 and 4 p.m. on Saturday, September 21, 2013, in the Alsdorf Auditorium. Advance tickets are $17; day-of tickets are $20. Children 2 and younger are free. Members receive $2 off each ticket. Price includes the Wonderland Express exhibition. Standard parking fees apply.
- Hot Chocolate with Mrs. Claus at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Monday, December 23, 2013. Advance tickets are $17; day-of tickets are $20. Members receive $2 off each ticket. Children 2 and younger are free. Price includes hot chocolate, cookies, visit with Mrs. Claus, and the Wonderland Express exhibition. Standard parking fees apply.
- A special memory book is available for purchase. The book gives a sneak peak into the Applied Imagination studio, includes large colorful pictures of the created and actual landmarks, and details how the landmarks included in the exhibit are created.