Sizing up the Atlanta Boat Show vs. the Atlanta Model Train Show

Should you don a captain’s hat or conductor’s cap?
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Atlanta Boat Show Atlanta Model Train Show
Illustration by Daniel Downey

It’s the start of the 2016 trade show season, and this month hobbyists can take their pick between watercraft and miniature trains. Can’t decide whether to don your captain’s hat or conductor’s cap? Here’s what to expect at the two events.

Atlanta Boat Show
When  January 14 to 17 at the Georgia World Congress Center
This month marks the . . . 
54th annual show
Cost 
$14 at the door or $12 in advance. Kids 15 and under are free.
Expected attendance 
25,000 people over four days
Expensive souvenir 
A yacht, assuming you’ve got a few million to spare. (Last year’s priciest boat on display: a $1.4 million, 54-foot Sea Ray.)
Cheap souvenir 
LED nighttime fishing bobber, $7
Can I take a ride on one? 
Yes, at least virtually. Practice driving a 20-foot center console boat on a digital lake in the Boating Skills Virtual Trainer
What about classes? 
Learning opportunities abound. Expect seminars on topics from navigation to fly-fishing. 

Atlanta Model Train Show
When  January 16 at the North Atlanta Trade Center
This month marks the . . . 
49th semiannual show
Cost 
$8. Kids under 12 are free.
Expected attendance 
2,000 to 3,000
Expensive souvenir 
Rare retired railroad signs, which can fetch hundreds on eBay
Cheap souvenir 
China from actual railroad dining cars, starting at $10
Can I take a ride on one? 
No. (They’re model trains, remember?) But you can check out several large-model railroads with trains as large as footballs.
What about classes? 
No, but we’re sure you’ll find plenty of model train nerds to pepper with questions.

This article originally appeared in our January 2016 issue.

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