One Christmas, after begging my parents for months, a much-beleaguered Santa brought me a toy train set. My pride and joy was a Union Pacific locomotive that magically puffed real smoke (that unfortunately smelled like cooked carrots, much to my 10-year-old chagrin). The tracks wound through "Sweetwater," a town with a lake and a lot of tiny fake trees. My inspiration sprung from multiple visits to The Trains at NorthPark, a toy train display touted as the most elaborate in Texas. About 2,500 feet of train tracks wind around Mount Rushmore, the Statue of Liberty and other landmarks as more than 40 vintage trains whiz around. Parents, beware. It's like a trip to F.A.O. Schwartz; your kids will leave wanting one of each. The Trains at NorthPark continues through January 4, with proceeds benefiting the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas. The display is located on the second level by Neiman Marcus, NorthPark Center, 8687 N. Central Expressway. Admission is $3 to $5. Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 214-631-7354 or visit rmhdallas.com.
Mondays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sundays, 12-6 p.m. Starts: Nov. 21. Continues through Jan. 3, 2009