As a comic, I’ve been performing in Doylestown, Pa at the Comedy Cabaret for over 24 years. On my trek there I would always pass this large non-descript 52,000 square foot concrete building. For over two decades I though this was some outlet clothing store. And since I personally hate shopping, I didn’t even think to stop inside. Then recently my friend Dale said, “Hey Fran did you know there is a world record exhibit near Doylestown? I hadn’t a clue.
Being a five-time world record holder, I am fascinated with anybody who puts their passion into a hobby and makes it not only into a world record, but a livelihood as well… and that’s exactly what Bruce Williams Zaccagnino, the owner and creator of the 16 acre Northlandz has done.
Now Zaccagnino was not just some retired guy tinkering with a hobby. He was also a concert musician, successful entrepreneur, and multi-award winning computer software game developer and publisher of Perfect General and Solitaire’s Journey.
He first began building this as a hobby back in 1972 in his basement. When his hobby outgrew his basement, he simply added on another room, then another…finally he decided to transfer his little village into a display building. This passion went on for 20 hours a day, for almost 4 and half years! Talk about dedication. (Good thing his wife Jean loved him and the trains.)
Northlandz is located on 495 US highway 202 north in Flemington, New Jersey.
It is the home of the Worlds Largest Model Railroad exhibit. It features over 100 trains that travel more than 8 miles of tiny track. It’s got bridges, cities, villages, about 500,000 miniature trees, foot bridges, canyons, and funny and informative plaques that lead you through this self guided exhibit. The exhibit is a combination of kit buildings (3,000) and about 1,200 buildings that he made from scratch. (I could tell the kit buildings like the tiny movie theaters because they were all playing, “African Queen.”
Anyway, this exhibit has been featured on international TV shows, magazines and newspapers around the world. Besides it’s Guinness World Record it also received the “Maan Patra”, which is the highest honor given by the Hindu faith.
But the display is not just trains. It also features several huge pipe organs, a 90 room “Le Peep” dollhouse (don’t worry nothing pornographic…just a cute name) and several art collections. All this from a dream that now can be shared by all. Zaccagnino lives life the way I feel it should be lived, working at what you love to do.
If you are ever in this area and need to spend a few hours entertaining the kids or even just for the kid in you, check it Northlandz. Oh and few tips, go to the bathroom before you walk through, bring a stroller for little ones, and bring a set of binoculars, since it’s really cool to see the details up close.
For more information go to www.northlandz.com