Editors' pick

Holiday Magic

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Editorial Review

Dozens of model train layouts and D.C. landmarks sculpted from vegetable and plant materials have always been the centerpieces of the odd-yet-entrancing holiday displays at the U.S. Botanic Garden. But this year there have been some updates: A miniature version of the National Museum of the American Indian is now included along with the other models of D.C. attractions, and a swing set and vegetable garden have been added behind the model White House. "It's the Obama White House now, not just the White House," jokes Botanic Garden public programs coordinator Sally Bourrie.

In another room, trains zoom past fairytale characters such as the Owl and the Pussycat (in a pea-green boat, of course), the Three Little Pigs and Jack and the Beanstalk, and elves assemble teddy bears in Santa's workshop.

Here's a treat for those who can't make it out of the office early: On Tuesdays and Thursdays between Dec. 1 and Dec. 29 (except for Dec. 8 and Dec. 24), the garden will stay open until 8 p.m. while choral groups, jazz bands and other musicians perform.

-- Fritz Hahn (Nov. 23, 2009)