NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In celebration of the TRAINS! Enchanted Express expansion, Cheekwood Estate & Gardens in partnership with Nashville Parent will hold a fun, family-friendly Labor Day weekend event on Saturday, September 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
As part of the festivities, Cheekwood’s long-time volunteer caretaker of the trains, Conductor Chuck, will present interactive train talks at 11 a.m. and noon. Toddlers accompanied by an adult will enjoy a train-themed craft and storytime from 10 a.m. to noon during Saturday’s TOTS! program. Popsicles will be available to purchase from King of Pops from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. In addition, guests can stop by the Garden Gift Shop for 50% off TRAINS! merchandise all day on Saturday.
“Nashville Parent is excited to partner with Cheekwood this Labor Day weekend for the ‘Cheekwood Celebration of TRAINS! Enchanted Express’," says Nashville Parent Publisher Stewart Day. “Come out, explore and let your imagination soar.”
“Garden railways grown from the earth” perfectly describes the Enchanted Express, a new expansion of the train exhibit at Cheekwood. Lending to its surroundings in nature, the architecture of a traditional train station combines with the features of a tree to create a “grown from the earth” look and feel. The new train station transports and introduces children to a secret garden and charming forest scenes with animal and insect residents that cohabitate together in the ecosystem.
Over 235 feet of track has been added to the original layout with three new track loops and the enchanted forest depot where kids can learn about the sights and sounds of the forest. Also inside the depot are two child-sized tunnels, leading to an observation dome for an up-close and immersive ‘worm’s-eye-view’ of a forest scene.
TRAINS! is located just below the Turner Seasons Garden. The exhibit and expansion were created in partnership with Applied Imagination of Alexandria, KY.
TRAINS! is made possible by Jim and Martha Crossman in honor of his grandchildren, Claire Ellis, Clayton Ellis, and Cora Crossman.
About Applied Imagination
Unique to the world of garden railways, Applied Imagination’s installations have garnered nationwide acclaim for over 30 years. Inspiring audiences of all ages through our inventive use of botanical materials to create iconic architectural models and sculptures, perfectly paired with universally beloved G scale model trains that transport visitors to an immersive celebration of the natural world.
The botanical artworks and model railroad displays are created at Applied Imagination located in the rolling hills of Alexandria, Kentucky just outside of Cincinnati, Ohio. Founder Paul Busse is retired, and his artistic vision lives on, continuing to elevate through their inspired creative team under the direction of Busse’s daughter, Laura Busse Dolan, President/CEO and Stephanie Winters, Creative Director (M.Arch) alongside a team of 15 full-time artisans and fabricators.
With its intact and picturesque vistas, Cheekwood is distinguished as one of the leading Country Place Era estates in the nation. Formerly the family home of Mabel and Leslie Cheek, the 1930s estate, with its 30,000-square-foot Mansion and 55-acres of gardens, today serves the public as a botanical garden, arboretum, and art museum with furnished period rooms and galleries devoted to American art from the 18th to mid-20th centuries. The property includes 13 distinct gardens including the Blevins Japanese Garden and the Bracken Foundation Children’s Garden, as well as a 1.5-mile woodland trail featuring outdoor monumental sculpture. Each year, Cheekwood hosts seasonal festivals including Cheekwood in Bloom, Summertime at Cheekwood, Cheekwood Harvest and Holiday LIGHTS. Cheekwood is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and nationally as a Level II Arboretum. It is a three-time voted USA Today Top 10 Botanical Garden and in 2021 was recognized by Fodors as one of the 12 Most Beautiful Gardens in the American South. Cheekwood is located eight miles southwest of downtown Nashville at 1200 Forrest Park Drive. It is open Tuesday through Sunday 9a.m. – 5 p.m., with extended days and hours of operation depending on the season. Check cheekwood.org for current hours and to purchase advance tickets required for admission.