Folks, the Holiday Season is upon us and you know exactly what that means; it’s eating and drinking season! There are plenty of Holiday parties to spend at traditional establishments. How about something different. How about a bar car? No, not on the Long Island Railroad or anything to do with Penn Station. We’re talking about the New York Botanical Garden’s special Bar Car Nights! You may remember when we told you about it last year. If not, we have a treat for you. We recently had the opportunity to catch up with Todd Forrest, The New York Botanical Garden’s VP for Horticulture and Living Collections to talk Holiday Trains and Bar Car Nights. Check out the interview below and get ready to book an amazing experience!

1. We believe that the New York Botanical Garden is a place where magic happens. Explain the aura.
The New York Botanical Garden is an iconic living museum, a major educational institution, and a renowned plant research and conservation organization. Founded in 1891 and now a National Historic Landmark, it is one of the greatest botanical gardens in the world and the largest in any city in the United States, distinguished by the beauty of its diverse landscape and extensive collections and gardens, as well as by the scope and excellence of its programs.

2. Our team would argue that it’s even more magical in the winter; what was done to create this atmosphere? Why should someone visit NYBG now and not wait until the Spring or Summer?
The New York Botanical Garden is a wonderful place to visit year round. Spring and summer are excellent times to appreciate the 250 acre landscape, but fall and winter also have plenty of attractions to see. The Holiday Train Show has become a tradition that draws visitors to the Garden every year, and it’s one example of the many highlights that NYBG has to offer in every season.

3. When does your team start planning the Holiday Train Show?
We are always thinking up ways to make the Holiday Train Show even more spectacular, but planning begins in earnest for each Train Show at the end of the previous Train Show.

4. Given that the Holiday Train Show is modeled after our wonderful city, how does the ever-changing landscape of New York City impact the Holiday Train Show?
New York City (and State) provide a seemingly infinite source of inspiration for the Holiday Train Show. Although we have primarily focused on historic buildings and landscapes, we have been thinking about incorporating newer landmarks into the show. Stay tuned!

5. Give us a sense of how long it takes to create the show, how many people are involved and what goes into capturing all of the details that we wait all year long for.
The Holiday Train Show is a partnership between the artists at Applied Imagination, the team at NYBG, and a variety of lighting specialists, florists, electricians, and other experts. All told dozens of people work on the exhibition over the course of a year. The Applied Imagination team constructs the buildings at their studio in Kentucky and come to the Garden about two weeks before the exhibition opens to install the buildings, train tracks, trains, fountains, and plantings. The NYBG team prepares the site, writes the interpretation, records audiotours and makes short films, makes sure the Conservatory is in good shape, and keeps the trains running once the show opens. Lighting experts install the lights along the pathways and in the Conservatory. A talented florist adds Holiday decorations to increase the cheer. It takes a village to capture the big city in miniature…..

6. How did the idea of Bar Car Nights come about?
The Holiday Train Show is amazing in evening light, so we decided to offer Bar Car Nights as separate ticketed events!

7. What does the typical Bar Car Night passenger look like?
Adult visitors to Bar Car Nights are often couples looking for a romantic exhibition, but there are also groups of friends looking for a beautiful, festive holiday outing, and some even come on their own to experience the magic of the Holiday Train Show at night.

8. What can guests find at Bar Car Nights that they cannot find during a regular visit to the Holiday Train Show?
On these nights exclusively for adults 21 and over, the wintry landscape of NYBG sets the scene for festive outdoor adventures, with an after-dark viewing of the Holiday Train Show® as the centerpiece. Grab a drink from one of our seasonal bars and then set out to explore the night’s offerings. Relax around the all-new Visitor Center Fire Pit, sing along to your favorite tunes with dueling pianos in the Pine Tree Café, or follow the illuminated Snow Globe Dancers as they guide you through the Garden.

9. Is there a signature drink to enhance the experience? If not, what do you recommend at the Bar?
Drinks are available for purchase. Here is a link to the drink menu.

10. What’s the best way to get to the Holiday Train Show?
The easiest way to reach NYBG is by Metro-North train.

11. We know our readers will ask. How do they get tickets?
Tickets are available at