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Living in Nebraska, you are bound to know someone who has worked for the Union Pacific Railroad.
For me, that person is my father, and because of that, I’ve always been proud of UPRR’s hand in helping Omaha boom and grow in the early days as well as today.
And now that I have two little boys, trains seem to be a common theme in my life yet again. Which is why Lil B LOVES when I tell him we are going to go to the Omaha Lauritzen Gardens, one of the many things to do in Omaha.
Because to him, that means one thing: The Model Railroad Garden Trains!
No matter how many times we have been to this impressive and SO well thought out miniature train display, the kids can’t wait to come back to see it again. And again. AND AGAIN.
Looking for other things to do near Lauritzen Gardens? Check out some of our favorite Omaha Guides
- 10 Things Only Locals Know About the Omaha Zoo
- Enjoy an Afternoon at the Heartland of America Park
- Take a Romantic Gondola Ride In the Heart of Omaha
- Escape the City With An Amazing Hike
Lauritzen Garden Model Trains
There are seven G model trains that twist and wind through trees, passed miniature buildings, along overhead bridges and right past your very eyes, close enough to reach out and touch.
As a proud Omahan, I adore seeing the “Mini Omaha” with buildings in the model railroad garden such as the Durham, St. Cecelia’s, the Woodman Tower and more classic Omaha icons.
But it’s the kids that truly love this section of the gardens. In fact, it’s the perfect picnic spot if you have little ones.
Holiday Poinsettia Show
While you won’t be able to see the garden trains outside in the winter, you CAN see them in the absolutely magical Holiday Poinsettia Show. Just as well done as the outdoor train garden, you can see all the trains buzzing around through the indoor facility, weaving in and out of THOUSANDS of poinsettia plants.
The 20-foot poinsettia Christmas tree is a stunning photo op for anyone wanting to send out Christmas cards!
This year, the holiday display will run from early December to early January.
Cost: Daily Admission
Union Pacific Big Boy Train Steam Engine
If you are coming to Lauritzen Gardens for the trains, then you absolutely must walk across the parking lot to Kenefick Park.
Either take the ramp or the towering flight of stairs up to two of the most impressive locomotives made, The Big Boy and the Union Pacific Centennial.
Along the path, if you love local history, stop at the placards and signs along the way. There is some fascinating tidbits, such as,
Did you know, the chair ski lift was invented in Omaha
Uh, you’re welcome, WORLD!
And once at the top, in addition to the huge trains, you also get a commanding view out over the surrounding scenery.
Hours: Open year around
Lauritzen Garden Logistical Information
Lauritzen Garden Hours:
- 9am-5pm (Call for holiday hours)
Model Railroad Trains Hours and Season:
- May- October: 9am-4:30pm
(Mid-May through Mid-Sep on Mondays and Tuesdays trains run until 7:30)
Lauritzen Garden Address: 100 Bancroft St, Omaha, NE 68108
Phone: (402) 346-4002
Cost and Admission (as of current writing):
- Adults: $10
- 6-12 Years: $5
- Under 6: Free
Narrated Tram Tours
A great way to see the gardens as well as Kenefick park, without all the walking is the tram. It runs May-October
- $5 per person
- $3 for members