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Jan 8 2007

Chicago Botanical Garden - Wonderland Express

Over Christmas we got together with my college roommate, Jon Platt, and his family. He had the terrific idea of getting our families together at the Chicago Botanical Garden where they had on display the Wonderland Express miniature train exhibit.

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The 10,000 square foot exhibit featured 750,000 twinkling lights, 75 miniature Chicago landmarks handcrafted from all natural materials and 9 different model trains.

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The landmarks included all the famous buildings Chicago is known for as well as hidden gems such as a tiny Mrs. O'Leary's cow, Sue the T-Rex and a Michael Jordan statue.

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The trains ran over bridges, under trestles, past waterfalls and included a variety of passenger and freight trains with steam and diesel engines.

Click on "continue reading" for more pictures of the grounds, wildlife, sculptures and family.

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Despite being the "off season" the gardens were very beautiful. The chilly weather also meant there were almost no other people which made the stroll through the gardens that much more peaceful and enjoyable.

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This is a view of the very beautiful Japanese Garden.

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I couldn't help but take a number of reflection shots. In the middle of the last one is the Memorial Bell Tower which features 40 bronze bells cast in Holland. It is one of very few hand-played carillons in the nation and very much reminded these University of Illinois grads of the Altgeld Hall Tower bells.

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These are balls of Christmas lights which are quite spectacular lit up at night.

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On the left is the top of the Guardian, by Simon Verity (English b. 1945), created in 1992 of Minnesota limestone, Arizona jasper, Arkansas quartz and Portuguese copper. On the right is the Composition in Stainless Steel #1 created in 1985 by Gidon Graetz (Israeli b. 1929).

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This is the bronze sculpture of Carolus Linnaeus created in 1982 by Robert Berks (American b. 1922). Linnaeus (1707-1778) was a Swedish physician and father of modern taxonomy who established binomial nomenclature, the international system of naming plants and animals that is still in use today with modification.

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There were plenty of ducks and geese taking advantage of the mild conditions.

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Catherine and Drew called a truce to King-of-the-Hill atop a rock with the inscription: "May the peace of this garden bring you contentment."

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Thanks to the ever prepared Eagle Scout Jon, we were able to travel in style in one of their double strollers. Unfortunately, I didn't get any good pictures of Charles and Harrison...they're fast!

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The Danz's at the Chicago Botanical Garden.

Posted by Don |

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