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Lauritzen Gardens - Omaha's Botanical Center
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Model Railroad Garden
Seven model trains operate daily from May through October from
9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

On Mondays and Tuesdays during Garden Twilight (mid-May through mid-September), the trains run until 7:30 p.m.

The model railroad garden is located on a hillside just north of the rose garden. It surrounds visitors with a bright botanical world that features the activity of model trains, continually traveling through miniature communities, landscapes and countrysides.

The garden was meticulously handcrafted by landscape designer Paul Busse and his team at Kentucky-based Applied Imagination. See The garden’s structural elements are constructed of natural materials such as leaves, twigs, bark, berries, pinecones, gourds and cinnamon sticks. It includes stunning reproductions of natural landscapes as well as recognizable buildings and landmarks seen in and around Omaha. The flora throughout the exhibit includes live plants, trees and shrubs – all scaled to size – and continuously manicured.

G-scale model trains run through the garden. G scale was introduced by Ernst Paul Lehman Patentwerk under brand name LGB and was meant for indoor and outdoor use. Lehman is the major European manufacturer of G-scale trains, and considered the one that really made garden railways popular. Their trains are sold as the Lehmann Grosse Bahn (or “Lehmann Big Train”). Lehman Patentwerk was founded in 1881 and started producing LGB in 1968. Today it produces models of European and U.S. originals or steam, diesel and electric prototypes.

Four train lines (Big Boy, Modern Day Freight, Passenger and Covered Bridge) run through the existing garden area above the boardwalk. On Saturday, June 14, 2008, the garden’s lower addition opened featuring three model train lines and handcrafted replicas of Omaha landmark buildings including St. Cecilia Cathedral, a grain elevator and The Durham Museum.
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