Taltree Railway Gardens opens for season April 1

PUBLISHED IN THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE MARCH 23, 2015

Taltree Railway Gardens in Valparaiso opens for season April 1. (Taltree Railway Gardens, Handout)
Taltree Railway Gardens in Valparaiso opens for season April 1. (Taltree Railway Gardens, Handout)

Starting April 1 at 10 a.m. and running through October, the Taltree Arboretum and Gardens will be opening up their Railway Garden exhibit.

Covering over one acre of land, the Taltree Railway Garden has over seven train loops, six water features, 850 tons of limestone, over 500 plant varieties, and 3,000 feet of hand-laid track.

Taltree Railway Gardens in Valparaiso opens for season April 1. (Taltree Railway Gardens, Handout)
Taltree Railway Gardens in Valparaiso opens for season April 1. (Taltree Railway Gardens, Handout)

Per Dave Simkowski, Train Operator and self-addressed “guy in charge”, the Railway Garden will feature “nine separate vignettes with historical significance about the history of the railroad from 1850 to 1920.”

Starting April 1, visitors can come and watch the garden be assembled. Simkowski says, “We’re opening on April 1 and people can come watch us setting it all up. It’s a great opportunity to talk to the volunteers and employees and ask questions before it’s all up and running.”

Come mid-May, the Taltree Railway Garden should be completely set up and running. “We run about 10 locomotives at a time,” Says Simkowski.

The Taltree Railway Garden is G-scale series, a garden-scale size that is used for model railways, which, because of size and durability, is typically used in outdoor gardens like the one at the Taltree Arboretum and Garden. The G-scale is about 1/23 the size of the original units that it is modeled after.

The Taltree Railway Garden is G-scale series, a garden-scale size that is used for model railways, which, because of size and durability, is typically used in outdoor gardens like the one at the Taltree Arboretum and Garden. The G-scale is about 1/23 the size of the original units that it is modeled after.

Although the trains are made to withstand outdoor conditions, the Taltree Railway Garden trains do not run in inclement weather like snow, ice, rain, or strong winds. In the event of questionable weather, call the Taltree Arboretum and Gardens to verify in advance if the trains will be running or not.
Simkowski says that the Railway Garden has, “a little something for everyone,” and that the Railway garden is, “historical, educational,, and entertaining.”

Tickets prices vary, but are as follows: $10 adults and children 13-17, $8 Seniors (55+), college students, and military (with ID), $5 children ages 4-12, and free (Members and children age 4 and under) Also free to all on the first Tuesday of every month.

Admission fees include parking and access to all trails and gardens, including the Railway Garden. These small fees support the restoration, conservation, and education initiatives led by the Taltree Arboretum and Gardens.

Beth Casey is a freelance writer.

Taltree Railway Gardens

April 1- Oct 31

450 W 100 North, Valparaiso

Tickets: $5-$10, free for children age 4 and under, and the first Tuesday of every month

219-462-0025 or Taltree.org

 

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