“Garden railways grown from the earth” describes the Enchanted Express, a new expansion of the train exhibit now open at Cheekwood Estate & Gardens.
The Enchanted Express railway station and three additional tracks make up the installation located just uphill from the existing train layout. The train station combines with the features of a tree to create a “grown from the earth” look and feel.
“The exhibit is a first-of-its kind, completely unique concept from our nationally known company,” says Laura Busse Dolan, president and CEO of Applied Imagination, and one of the designers behind the installation. “Nowhere else in the world can this display be seen!”
More about the Enchanted Express
More than 235 feet of track have been added to the original layout, with three new track loops, for a total of 1,035 feet. The train line runs from the exterior and pass through the interior of the station. On each side there are two child-sized tunnels leading to an observation dome offering an up-close view of the garden and forest.
Once children go inside the tree, they are met with six storybook panels, each one themed to express the characteristics of a garden or forest creature and their habitat. There are several multi-sensory learning opportunities to experience including various nature and animal sounds, buttons that trigger lights in animal homes, and animal tracks that go to and from the garden and forest.
“The train exhibit at Cheekwood brings joy to visitors of all ages, and this new, interactive expansion adds yet another immersive experience that is both enjoyable and educational,” says Cheekwood president and CEO Jane MacLeod.
For more information, visit cheekwood.org.