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Behind the Scenes of Olbrich's Holiday Express

Setting up Olbrich's Holiday Express takes weeks of work and the coordination of many people. A group of horticulturists and garden staff start with an empty room and transform it into a holiday wonderland.

Olbrich's Holiday Express is open December 3 though 31, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

wreath is hung

Hanging the Wreath in Olbrich's Lobby

The finishing touches are added. Decorating the lobby culminates with the hanging of a large wreath decorated by Olbrich's horticulture staff.


poinsettias add color

Staff Placing Poinsettias in Olbrich's Lobby

Horticulture staff members arrange hundreds of poinsettias in shades of red, pink, and white.

Placing Poinsettias in Olbrich's Lobby


Garland is hung

Stringing Lights on the Garland

Twinkling lights are strung - the lobby starts to look festive!

Hanging Evergreen Garland in Olbrich's Lobby

Evergreen garland is hung in Olbrich's lobby and the aroma of freshly cut pine branches fills the building.


Setting up the train track

Train Track

Model train tracks are placed on top of the cement blocks. Gravel is also added in between the ties of the track and makes it look more realistic.


cement blocks are the foundation of the train track

The shape of the train track can be seen from above.

Shape of the Train Track can be Seen from Above

Blocks are Used for the Train Track Base

Cement blocks are used as the foundation for the train tracks.


pine trees

Pine trees begin to line the perimeter of the room . L.E.D. lights, which use less energy than traditional holiday lights, are strung on all the trees.

Hanging Lights on Holiday Trees

The smell of freshly cut pine trees fills the entire building!

Holiday Tree Stands

Tree stands are the first things brought in the Atrium during set-up.


before setup begins

Atrium Before Holiday Show Set Up

Olbrich's Atrium, the setting for Olbrich's Holiday Express, starts as an empty room.


Olbrich Botanical Gardens is operated as a public-private partnership between the City of Madison Parks Division and the Olbrich Botanical Society.
Olbrich Botanical Gardens | 3330 Atwood Avenue, Madison, WI 53704. | Phone: (608)246-4550 | Fax: (608)246-4719