GALLERY: Chicago Botanic Garden Sweetens the Pot for 2017’s Wonderland Express

Deerfield Bakery provided some amazing confectionery scenery for 2017’s Chicago Botanic Garden. Photo by Marielle Shaw.



Wonderland Express is something of an institution at the Chicago Botanic Garden. For years, it’s been delighting families with its classic model trains, unique local botanical scenery and organic indoor snow. Every turn has a new bit of iconic Chicago (and suburban) scenery and another wonderful train chugging by. Staff dressed like conductors help kids locate the hidden objects and a soft snow falls every so often.

Each year features the same main attraction, but decor and entrance room schemes change. This year, the garden teamed up with the Deerfield Bakery to create a ‘marshmallow world’ full of gingerbread, candy and cookie finery. It’s a whimsical twist we really appreciate.

On top of that, the desert, tropical and subtropical domes offer their own holiday spirits, from adorned agaves to candy striped orchids and lilies, and staff created wreaths are on display and available to purchase.

What’s wonderful about Wonderland is that even if the weather doesn’t cooperate, you can still have a botanical adventure. There are some wonderful outdoor light displays, but the main attractions are housed under glass or in carefully manicured halls. Even if you’ve been before it’s a lovely way to reignite your holiday spirit, and luckily, even if you can’t fit it in before Christmas, you’ll be able to see catch this Christmas favorite all the way through January 7th. Wonderland Express will have extended hours through the end of its show, but some days require timed tickets. You can buy tickets for any day here, and there’s a special buy one get one free offer for ComEd customers. For more information on Wonderland Express and the Chicago Botanic Garden click here.

Marielle Bokor
Marielle Bokor