Other Gardens and Botanical Exhibits
Washington D.C. is a planned city and its architect, Pierre L'Enfant, made sure that there would be plenty of gardens and parks to decorate its streets. The many flowers — daffodils, tulips, roses, and the famous cherry blossoms — that line the city's thoroughfares provide wonderful natural beauty in an urban setting.
Enid A. Haupt Garden
Enid Haupt, the donor after whom this garden was named, was an avid horticulturist who also has a conservatory named after her in New York's Botanical Gardens. These four acres of gardens, enclosed by the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Castle, the Arts and Industries Building, the Sackler and Freer galleries, and the Ripley center, provide a wonderful respite for kids after a long day of touring museums. While most children won't appreciate the central floral bed that copies the rose window design of the Smithsonian Castle, they will enjoy the fountain garden outside the African Art Museum and the large signs explaining various botanical experiments throughout the garden.Location and Hours
Located in the inner courtyard of the Smithsonian museums on the Mall, the garden is accessible from Smithsonian and L'Enfant Plaza Metro stations (Orange or Blue Line). You can visit the Enid A. Haupt Garden from 7
Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens
Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, a twelve-acre garden devoted to water-living plants, is considered one of D.C.'s greatest natural wonders. There are more than 100,000 water plants, and more than forty ponds are filled with water lilies, lotus flowers, and other aquatic flora. Cattails and yellow flag irises edge the ponds. Completing this watery world is an interesting ecosystem of turtles, snakes, frogs, and ducks.
Bordering all this is the Kenilworth Marsh, the last remaining tidal marsh in the District. Walk the garden's River Trail for spectacular views of the marsh, the Anacostia River, and nearby wooded swamps.Location and Hours
Not far from the U.S. National Arboretum, Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is open to the public free of charge. Visitors are welcome to picnic in designated areas. The gardens are open daily from 7
Washington National Cathedral Gardens
The Washington National Cathedral features fifty-seven acres of gardens above the city. There is a small herb garden, where visitors can purchase herbs, and the Bishop's Garden, which features magnolias, orchids, and other exquisite flowers.
The Cathedral Gardens are home to the English Tree, which, according to legend, blooms only on Christmas Day — or when British royalty visits. The tree, grown from a cutting of “The Holy Thorn of Glastonberry,” has lived up to its legend. It has bloomed every Christmas and three other times: in 1951 and 1957, when Queen Elizabeth visited, and in 1981 when Prince Charles was in town.
The cathedral is located at the intersection of Massachusetts and Wisconsin Avenues NW and is accessible from Tenleytown-AU Metro station (Red Line), though you should expect a fairly long walk along Wisconsin Avenue or to catch the bus.
You can stroll around the gardens on your own from 10
Just north of the city, this is a fifty-acre botanical garden with both indoor and outdoor gardens and two conservatories. Kids will love the annual summer butterfly show. There is also an annual chrysanthemum show featuring the city's landmarks, as well as animals, sculpted out of flowers.Location and Hours
The gardens are accessible from the Glenmont Metro station (Red Line). You can visit the Gardens from sunrise to sunset any day of the year except December 25. The Visitors Center is open 9
The Constitution Gardens are composed of fifty acres of landscaped grounds, which include a lake and an island and are considered to be one of the prime picnic spots in the capital. Located near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the Mall, the gardens are home to 5,000 oak, maple, dogwood, elm, and crabapple trees spread over fourteen acres. The gardens also include a memorial to the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Open dawn to dusk year round. You can reach the Constitution Gardens from the Farragut West Metro station (Orange or Blue Line).
Franciscan Monastery Garden
The Franciscan Monastery features forty acres of land planted with daffodils, flowering dogwood, cherry, and tulip trees. The garden pathways are lined with authentic replicas of Holy Land shrines. The monastery's greenhouse features hibiscus, lantanas, tiger lilies, giant caladiums and palms, and banana trees.Location and Hours
Visit the monastery Monday through Saturday from 10
Here's another off-the-beaten-track option. Visit Gunston Hall Gardens, located just south of D.C., overlooking the Potomac. The 550 acres of gardens and wooded countryside are home to plants and shrubs that were found there during Colonial times! Open 9
Lady Bird Johnson Park and Lyndon Baines Johnson Memorial Grove
The Lady Bird Johnson Park is an island in the Potomac that was built from material dredged from the river in 1916. The resulting park was named after the former first lady in 1968 in honor of her efforts to revamp Washington D.C.
The island sits at the Virginia end of the Memorial Bridge. In the spring, more than a million daffodils bloom throughout the park and along the highway. It's a great place for a picnic and view of the D.C. monuments. At the south end of the park, a fifteen-acre grove of trees was planted in honor of President Johnson and marked by a large block of pink Texas granite.Location and Hours
To get to the island, you'll need to take the George Washington Memorial Parkway. You can also take the Blue Line Metro to the Arlington National Cemetery station (the Lyndon Baines Johnson grove is located adjacent to the Arlington National Cemetery). The park is open from sunrise to sunset. Restroom facilities are available from 7