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The Paul Busse Garden Railway at Franklin Park Conservatory is Now on Display and it is Magical

The Paul Busse Garden Railway at Franklin Park Conservatory is an outdoor model railroad that will delight children AND adults through January 2024!

The Paul Busse Garden Railway has reopened at Franklin Park Conservatory and will remain on display through January 7, 2024. This exhibit makes its home in the Grand Mallway outside Franklin Park Conservatory and is made up of 1,122 feet of track!

Paul Busse graduated from Ohio State University in 1972 and he first created a public garden railroad in 1982 for the Ohio State Fair! He started a business called Applied Imagination which creates garden railway displays all over the United States! He has since retired, but the company is run by his daughter and he remains involved in the work!

A train runs a long a track in the Paul Busse Garden Railway.

The Garden Railway is made of all- natural plant materials and features 4 botanical themes: Fairytale Land, Wild West Town and an animal themed “Who Lives Here” and a European Travels section!

A whimsical hanging house made to look like an acorn.

My kids especially enjoyed the animal houses. Each house was made with the theme of a different animal such as a zebra, turtle, giraffe and snake as pictured below! They are adorable!

houses on the model railway made with animal themes

Don’t miss the waterfalls, the magical lights inside the tree cove or the Thomas Trains scooting around the tracks! There is so much to see and so many details that are easy to miss!

A boy looking up in a Tree Cove

Each theme has its own section of the display and there is a sign listing what each building is and what to look for! It was fun to try to find all of the different displays!

A sign listing things for people to look for in the railway scenes

Enjoy some photos from our visit and make sure to visit yourself this summer!

train on the track of the garden railway
Bridges from the Paul Busse Railway Garden crossing over the path overhead.
Two boys watching the train at the Garden Railway at Franklin Park Conservatory
boy watching the model train at the Garden Railway in Columbus, Ohio

Some things to know before visiting Franklin Park Conservatory:

model train made of plant based materials

–>> Need more to do this summer? Try 5 Cool Outdoor Activities for Kids in the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks or one of these 25 Fun Outdoor Activities in Columbus for the Whole Family <<–

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Paul Busse Garden Railway at Franklin Park Conservatory