Sunday in DC and MD

Here are my personal choices for Sunday, Nov. 30, amily activities:

The U.S. Botanic Garden    10 am-5 pm FREE
100 Maryland Avenue, SW
“Windows to Wonderland” celebrates human imagination and our fascination with all things miniature. The hamlets in Wonderland – Fairy Tale Trails, Santa’s Village, Secret Mountain, Castle Mountain, Caterpillar Garden, and Gremlin Corner – are all connected by trains. Trains
are overhead, in tunnels, going, coming, and chugging everywhere you look. From the castle high atop a mountain to the cave dwellings underground, the buildings and
landscapes are constructed of natural plant materials.In the Conservatory’s Garden Court, a grand indoor holiday tree invites you to linger amidst the splendor of blooming poinsettias. Here, you can discover our National Mall Landmarks in replica. Handcrafted from natural plant parts, this unique collection, which is on display only during the holidays, is so fanciful you have to see them to believe them. For more info, visit www.usbg.gov

National Museum of American History   10 am-5:30 pm FREE
14th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW
Visit the new Spark!Lab, the “Invention at Play” and “America on the Move” exhibitions, and pick up a free family guide to hunt for faces of American history. Look for hands-on carts, see the new Star-Spangled Banner exhibition and its interactive table, and don’t miss Kermit the frog or Dorothy’s ruby slippers! For more info, visit http://americanhistory.si.edu.

Holiday Festival of Trains   11 am-4 pm
B&O Railroad Museum
901 West Pratt Street, Baltimore
In addition to its already renowned rotating display of model railroads and holiday entertainment, the B&O is offering something brand new–a train ride with Santa! During weekends through December 21st, Santa and his helpers will be on the train handing out candy canes to visitors. Train rides with Santa take place at 1 p.m.; price is included in admission. Another addition for 2008 is “Santa’s Secret Shop” hidden within the museum, where children will have the opportunity to purchase their very own gifts for family and friends. There will also be holiday stories and videos, and a craft area for children. On Sunday view a special display by the Washington DC Metropolitan Area LEGO Train Club. Admission is $14 for adults, $8 for kids ages 2-12, free for kids younger than 2. To print a coupon for $1 off per person on admission at this station, visit http://www.borail.org/festival-of-trains-coupon-2008.shtml. For more info, visit http://www.borail.org.

Holiday Festival of Trains 11 am-4 pm
Ellicott City Station
2711 Maryland Avenue in Ellicott City, MD
The star of this year’s Festival in Ellicott City is a miniature Thomas the Tank Engine G-scale model layout along with a brand new custom-built, multi-level O-scale model train layout. Thanksgiving weekend, come out and see what Santa wore in the days of yore! Children can bring in a letter to Santa and mail it from the Ellicott City Station’s telegraph office! Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for kids ages 2-12, free for kids under 2 years. No restaurant in the station, nor is there on-site parking. Visit http://www.ellicottcity.net/tourism/parking/ for a view of a map showing the city’s free parking lots. For more info visit http://www.ecborail.org/.

NOTE: If you’re ambitious and want to visit both stations, combo rates are $16 for adults and $10 for kids ages 2-12.

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