Brookside Gardens Model Trains

I am volunteering at the Brookside Gardens G-Scale Model Trains exhibit in the conservatory this season. The exhibit is active during the day when the conservatory is open and in the evening during the Garden of Lights display. I like the trains better during the day when there is a more light – the better to see them – and have signed up for my shifts accordingly. There have been 4 shifts so far: 3 in the morning and one in the afternoon. I try to take a few pictures every time I am at Brookside, just as I did during the Wings of Fancy butterfly exhibit last some. There is always something new to notice. During the first shift, I was familiarizing myself with the layout of the display. The central display always has two trains in motion; usually one of them is Thomas….or another engine from the series. I also learned that this size of model trains is often used in gardens. Evidently the tracks are durable enough to be outdoors in a garden! I also began the hunt for all the figures on the scavenger hunt lists; Winnie-the-Pooh, Piglet, and Tiger were one of my first ‘finds.’ There is a model of the Brookside Gardens Conservatory too.

The second shift I worked was a few days later and I discovered that the volunteers that put the exhibit together and are there all during the open hours sometimes bring their own trains. On this day there was a very long train with the exact number of cars to fill the loop; the caboose cleared just as the engine got back around to where the track crossed.

To the side of the conservatory there is another kind of model train display – one that models historical places in Montgomery County! The Ferris Wheel moves just as the trolley does.

Before I started my third shift I took some pictures outside: the bald cypress still have some of their needles – rust colored against the blue sky with gathering clouds – and the small gingko near the door to the gift shop end of the conservatory still had yellow leaves at its base.


Inside, Thomas was making rounds. So many of the children recognize Thomas and want to take in everything about the exhibit. The height of the central exhibit was lowered a few years ago so even children as young as 2 years old can see almost everything standing on their own. Sometimes I think they have a better perspective than the adults since the trains are almost exactly at their eye level.


Last weekend was my fourth shift and my first in the afternoon…and there was still snow on the ground. I’d never been to Brookside in the snow, so I snapped a few pictures before I went into the conservatory. I made quick work of it because it was so cold.


nside – I finally managed to get some pictures of my favorite poinsettias this year – in the conservatory with the trains – along one of the walls where the trains are not.


Emily was moving about the track rather than Thomas. Many of the children know all the characters in the series so I always let them tell me.


I have signed up for 5 more shifts and may do more if there are not enough volunteers during the crescendo week between Christmas and New Years when schools are out.