For Immediate Release
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Milwaukee County Parks
For Immediate Release   
DATE: Jan. 8, 2018
CONTACT: Sandy Folaron, Director
Mitchell Park Domes

Garden Train Show
to Open at The Domes, Jan. 20

Special Exhibits, Events Planned During Show's Run

MILWAUKEE – Railroad to Wonderland, a garden train show, will take visitors on a trip to a land that becomes curiouser and curiouser. The show opens Jan. 20, from 9 a.m.–4 p.m., at The Domes, 524 S. Layton Blvd. The show runs through March 18.
G-scale trains will wind their way on four sets of track along the quiet riverbank near Alice’s house, down the rabbit hole, and through the looking glass to the world of the White Rabbit, Cheshire Cat, Mad Hatter, and Queen of Hearts.
“What makes producing the garden train show so much fun is seeing its cross-generational appeal,” said Sandy Folaron, Director of The Domes. “Our visitors range from the toddlers thrilled with Thomas the Tank Engine to folks with years of experience creating their own train layouts in the basement or garden.”
Fifteen scenes will highlight chapters from the books Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Just like Alice, the plants vary in size, from miniature to larger-than-life. Included in the brilliantly colored landscape will be red and white miniature tree-form azaleas, multicolored ‘Total Madness’ Petunias, purple and white ‘Whiskers’ Pansies, and bright orange ‘Dynamite’ Cyphea. At the opposite end of the scale will be two giant-sized topiaries shaped as flamingoes, with plumage represented by ‘Pink Splash’ Hypoestes. Favorite scenes are sure to be the miniature castle, complete with the Queen’s Croquet-Ground, and the life-sized tea party.
In 2017, nearly 78,000 people attended the garden train show, making it the most popular show of the year.
Volunteers from three state-wide train clubs—WI Garden Railroad, Kenosha Railroad and Wisconsin Illinois Train Club—will run their collectible trains daily.
Show hours are Monday–Friday, from 9 a.m.–5 p.m., with extended hours Thursdays (Jan. 25–March 15) until 9 p.m.; and Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays from 9 a.m.–4 p.m.

Admission fees range from $5 to $8. When presenting IDs for proof of status, Milwaukee County residents, students of all ages, and people with disabilities receive discounted admission. Children age 5 and under are admitted free. In addition, Milwaukee County Residents with proof of residency receive free admission on Mondays, from 9 a.m.–noon, excluding the celebration of major holidays. No food or beverage carry-ins.
Special events are planned during the show’s run.
Bonsai Silhouette Exhibit
Feb. 4, from 9 a.m.–4 p.m., the Milwaukee Bonsai Society’s Winter Silhouettes, an exhibit focusing on the form of intricately pruned dwarf trees, will be on view. Bonsai resemble very old trees as part of a natural landscape. To reveal the structure of the trees, only deciduous specimens free of buds, leaves, and flowers will be on display. Species may include maple, hornbeam, elm, hawthorn, apple, crabapple, pomegranate, crape myrtle, ginkgo, larch, and swamp cypress. Members of the Milwaukee Bonsai Society will be available to answer questions. The exhibit is included with regular admission. For details, visit
Collectible All-Scale Train Exhibit
Feb. 10–11, from 9 a.m.–4 p.m., all sizes of model trains will fill the lobby. The Collectible All-Scale Train Exhibit features layouts that include even the tiniest z-scale models. Members of train clubs from across the state will be happy to share the details and history of their displays. The exhibit is included with regular admission.
Hearts Under Glass
Feb. 14, from 6–9 p.m., Friends of The Domes encourages couples to add the romantic atmosphere of The Domes to their Valentine’s evening out. At Hearts Under Glass couples will enjoy a moonlit stroll in the Desert Dome, the sounds of the waterfall in the Tropical Dome, and a light show set to music in the Floral Show Dome. Cocktails, small-plate dining selections, and desserts will be available for purchase. In addition, a caricature artist will be on-site creating mementos of the evening, for an additional fee. Special Event Admission for this fundraiser is $10 per person. More information and tickets are available at
Gardens and Gears Steampunk Faire
March 3, from 9 a.m.–5 p.m., the gadget-filled garden party will return for its fourth year. The popular Gardens and Gears Steampunk Faire will put a sci-fi twist on the already twisted world of Wonderland. Creative artists and craftsmen, all having a vision of an alternate past, will offer unique entertainment and merchandise inspired by technology, metal, and the Victorian era. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. The Steampunk Faire is included with regular admission.
Spring Equinox Celebration
March 18–19, from 9 a.m.–4 p.m., the Spring Equinox Celebration will bring together healthy, sustainable, and fun ways to prepare for spring. Even before entering The Domes, visitors will have the opportunity to look through telescopes and talk about the equinox with members of the Wehr Astronomical Society. When inside, visitors will enjoy guided tours, demonstrations, family-friendly activities, and performances. Meeting live animals, learning about natural gardening, planting seeds, and going on a scavenger hunt for prizes are among the ongoing activities. To bring sustainability to the personal level, the T’ai Chi Ch’uan Center of Milwaukee will invite event-goers to experience the ancient Chinese art of tai chi. Practitioners often note the stress-reducing and balancing effects of tai chi on their busy lives. Adding to the day’s entertainment will be Dairyland’s Finest String Band, performing old-timey music featuring guitar, fiddle, claw-hammer banjo, bass, and vocals. Rounding out the event will be green-living exhibitors, healthful foods and beverages available for purchase from local vendors, and an appearance by Smokey Bear. The Spring Equinox Celebration is included in regular admission.
Winter Farmers Market
Through April 14, the Milwaukee Winter Farmers Market will continue in the Annex on Saturdays from 9 a.m.–1 p.m. The Fondy Food Center manages the market and connects neighbors to fresh, local food by bringing together about 50 weekly vendors. Items available for purchase include high-quality fruit, vegetables, meat, eggs, poultry, and dairy products, along with locally produced baked goods, jams, cider, honey, maple syrup, sauces, and soups. The Veggie Valet, a coat check for purchases, is offered to market-goers so they can visit The Domes more easily. Admission to the market and parking are free. Regular admission applies to enter The Domes. For details, visit
For more information on The Domes, call 414-257-5611 or visit


In a Tweet

The Garden Train Show opens JAN 20  @ The Domes—the most popular show of the year—Railroad to Wonderland. It’s curiouser & curiouser!


The table is set for the life-sized Mad Hatter's Tea Party, one of the scenes in Railroad to Wonderland, on view Jan. 20–March 18.
Bonus Exhibit: Feb. 4, the Bonsai Silhouette Exhibit features trees "in the raw," that is, free of blooms and leaves.
Photo courtesy Milwaukee Bonsai Society
Bonus Exhibit: Feb. 10–11, The Collectible All-Scale Train Exhibit will fill the lobby with a multitude of train layouts. Members of train clubs from across the state will be available to share details about their displays.
Bonus Event: Visitors to the Gardens & Gears Steampunk Faire, March 3, are encouraged to don their finest Steampunk attire or to come dressed as their favorite Alice in Wonderland character.
Bonus Event: March 18–19, the Spring Equinox Celebration gives visitors the opportunity to learn about raising their own chickens.
Copyright © 2018 Milwaukee County Parks, All rights reserved.

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