Current Exhibit Opened May 4, 2024

The Great Garden Express


All Aboard!

The Great Garden Express brings classic model trains to life! Walk under elevated tracks and spot engines pulling passenger cars and freight through tunnels and over bridges; listen as the trains chug through the Arizona landscape and beloved National Park landmarks. 

Train Schedule:

October 1 –
May 30
June 1 –
September 30
Tuesday – SundayTuesday – Sunday
9:00am – 2:00pm8:00am – 1:00pm
Train schedule subject to change due to weather and safety concerns
Photo by Dan Chavez
Photo by Vicky Stromee

Nestled among mature shade trees, and with an eight-foot waterfall cascading into a meandering stream, six G Scale model trains wind their way through an Arizona, high elevation inspired landscape. You’ll find intricate models of familiar structures like Tucson’s own Mission San Xavier del Bac, the Canyon Diablo elevated bridge, and National Park favorites from across the country.  

Sky Island Inspired Landscape

Enjoy the cool tones of high-elevation Piñon-Juniper woodlands, plants you’d see at the Grand Canyon, and the dramatic geology of Arizona’s Sky Islands, like the famous hoodoos from Mt. Lemmon. 

Applied Imagination

The Great Garden Express was custom made for the Tucson Botanical Gardens by Laura Busse Dolan and the team at Applied Imagination. Nationally-recognized garden railway designers and artisans, this is the only Busse railroad in Arizona, and the first to debut west of the Mississippi.

Thank You to Our Sponsors

Kathy Alexander and Paul Lindsey
The Stonewall Foundation Fund held at the CFSA

Tank’s Green Stuff
Tucson Appliance

D.M. Kha

Current Exhibits

Photograph of a butterfly

Oct 1–May 31

Butterfly Magic

Cox Butterfly and Orchid Pavilion

Jan 19–Jun 30


Photographs by Vicky Stromee & Catherine Harold