Miniature Sense of Place

If you've ever built a train set, decorated a doll house, created a fairy garden or sketched a map of your town, you know the fun of learning about a place -- as well as the challenge of constructing one.

Now imagine artists and crafts people from around the world creating models that capture real cities and towns -- all in HO scale.

I highly recommend you explore the brand new Gulliver's Gate in Times Square, New York City.

After you walk through the wide range of exhibits spread across many large rooms, you'll want to ask curators about all the little details you missed. They're excited to tell you how everything works and where to find various treasures.

Piazza San Marco

For tech geeks, you'll see moving trains, boats, cars, buses, ski lifts, carousels - even the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. I asked in particular about how the cars worked without visible tracks, after seeing vehicles stop to let other traffic go by. They use magnets to keep the vehicles on the road, but each vehicle is independent and is controlled by an internal GPS system.

You'll run across their NASA-inspired control room with monitors showing the health of all the exhibits, and locations of trains, and roving cars.

New exhibits are in the works too -- they're in the final stages of creating an airport the size of a large room, which should open by the end of this year. Here is a test flight video.

As a souvenir you can purchase a realistic model of yourself. You walk into a chamber of cameras and they'll mail you final model. The detail is amazing. They also create an HO scale figurine -- you choose where in the exhibit your little self should reside.

After witnessing all the creativity and attention to detail that went into an exhibit of this scale, you'll be anxious to create your own world after you leave. It inspired us to work on family miniature art projects of our own.