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Olbrich's Holiday Express

train close upDecember 7 - 31, 2019
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. daily

Closes at 2 p.m. December 24

Closed all day December 25

All aboard for Olbrich’s Holiday Express! Large-scale model trains wind through a holiday scene overflowing with hundreds of poinsettias and fresh evergreens!

During the show, members of the Wisconsin Garden Railway Society come from all over the state to show off their large-scale model trains. You may see a bullet train, steam train, Santa train, circus train, or freight train, depending on the day.

The Wisconsin Garden Railway Society is always looking to add new members, so if you're interested in model railroading, be sure to visit their website for more info!

Donate Something from Our Wish List

Help our talented Horticulture team create this year's Holiday Express by donating something from the Wish List. It could be something you already have lying around the house, or something purchased from a store.

Interested in helping out? Contact Horticulturist Katey Pratt at kpratt@cityofmadison.com as soon as possible!


2019 Theme: Secret Life of Snow-pals

SnowmanPerfect packing snow. Dogwood branches turned into arms. Carrot nose placed just right, with a touch of personality.

We're all familiar with the image of snow-pals...but what are they thinking? Are they sick and tired of working long hours in below-zero temperatures, counting the days until their off season?

It makes you wonder...what do snow-pals do on vacation? Where do they go and what sights do they see?

Perhaps they slip-slide into spring and take up gardening, kite-flying, or spend their days dancing in the rain. Maybe in summer they head to the Caribbean for much need rest and relaxation. In fall, do they cruise the countryside admiring the vibrant fall foliage? Find out at Olbrich's Holiday Express!



  • $6 for adults
  • $3 for children ages 3 to 12
  • Children 2 and under are free
  • Free for Olbrich Botanical Society members
  • Admission to the tropical Bolz Conservatory is included



Holiday Express Train ShowFriday, December 6

3 - 6 p.m.

Be the first to see Olbrich's Holiday Express in this exclusive member preview. Enjoy light refreshments and entertainment before or after you take in the show!

Members may bring guests for free according to their membership level. Review our Membership Benefits to find out how many guests are covered under your membership.

Become a member today and join us for this exclusive preview! Call 246-4724 for more information.




Strollers are not allowed in Olbrich's Holiday Express. Please enjoy the show with children on foot. Stroller parking is available in Olbrich's Lobby, and strollers are permitted in the Bolz Conservatory and outdoor gardens. We apologize for any inconvenience.



School groups, daycares, bus tours, and other groups are welcome to visit Olbrich's Holiday Express. We hope you will join us for this truly amazing event and register your group for a visit.

Groups larger than 10 people must register in advance. Please contact the Registrar at 608-245-3648 or aschwoerer@cityofmadison.com to schedule a time for your group to visit so we can provide the best experience possible for your group as well as other visitors.

Limited dates and times may be available for group visits. One group leader and the bus driver will receive free admission into the show. Payment can be made on arrival with the Event Manager. Cash, check, debit or credit card (Visa, MasterCard or Discover) are accepted. Please do not bring carry-in food or drink into the building.


behind the scenes

Holiday Express was not built in a day! Olbrich Horticulturists and Garden Staff spend weeks preparing the show space, transforming the Atrium from an empty room to an enchanting winter landscape. Visit Olbrich's Holiday Express Behind-the-Scenes to see the transformation!


Energy-Efficient Holiday Lights

Evergreen trees in the show are decorated with energy-efficient LED lights, which use 90 percent less energy than typical incandescent holiday lights.  


ALso at Olbrich

Visit the tropical Bolz Conservatory, a glass pyramid filled with exotic plants, bright flowers, a rushing waterfall, fragrant orchids and free-flying birds.

Olbrich's Growing Gifts shop is loaded with garden-related gifts for friends and family.

Stroll the outdoor gardens. Colorful bark, berries, and the Thai Pavilion stand out against the snow.

Enjoy festive holiday music on Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m. during December. Olbrich's Holiday Concert Series features holiday music for the entire family!



Cocktails in the Conservatory | Friday, November 15

Holiday Concert Series | Sundays in December at 2 p.m.

Member Preview: Holiday Express | Friday, December 6

Holiday Express Flower & Model Train Show | Daily, Dec. 7 - Dec. 31

Rainforest Rhythms | Friday, January 24

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