The U.S. Botanic Garden
The U.S. Botanic Garden is a really fun place for kids and parents alike. The concept for the creation of a national garden was conceived by our founding fathers, and many of the plants on view here have their roots (literally) in our nation's past.
America's living plant museum, the renovated facility reopened in December 2001, with a new Conservatory and lots of exhibits for kids, such as a Jurassic plant re-creation, a tropical rain forest, and many exhibits on endangered plant species, as well as an open air children's garden (closed during the winter). Among its many highlights is the orchid collection, which features about 5,000 specimens, with hundreds of orchids on display at any time.
Visitors to the botanical gardens will find new exhibits and upgraded interiors. Themes within the Conservatory (the glass house) focus on plant conservation and endangered species, plant discoveries, orchids, and tropical medicinal plants. Exhibits explore how plants have influenced the development of civilization, their therapeutic value, how plants are represented in culture and the arts, and the ecology and evolution of plants.
There are exhibits on primitive plants in a reconstructed Jurassic landscape (which is sure to be of interest to kids who are serious about dinosaurs), native Hawaiian plants, and plants of the desert.
The Jungle represents the reclaiming of an abandoned plantation by the surrounding tropical rain forest. Garden Court features economic plants, focusing on crops that are used to make cosmetics, fiber, food, and industrial products.
National Garden is the newest outdoor garden (opened in October 2006). It features a Regional Garden of Mid-Atlantic native plants and honors the U.S. national flower with an organically-grown rose garden. There is also a butterfly garden, a First Ladies water garden, and a lawn terrace for outdoor events. And don't miss the spectacular view of the Conservatory and the U.S. Capitol dome from the National Gardens Amphitheater.
Bartholdi Park, located across the street from the U.S. Botanic Gardens at Independence Avenue, is a serene, formally landscaped oasis within the city. Created in 1932, it is a favorite "secret" garden of many Washingtonians. It features the botanic gardens home-gardening demonstration landscape, which displays innovative landscaping approaches and modern trends in American horticulture.
Within Bartholdi Park you'll find the meticulously restored Bartholdi Fountain. Combining electricity and water, it was a marvel for its time. Does the name sound familiar? The park and the fountain are named in honor of Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, the sculptor of the Statue of Liberty.
Location and Hours
The U.S. Botanic Garden Conservatory is located at 100 Maryland Avenue and First Street SW, at the east end of the Mall. The National Garden is adjacent to the Conservatory. Bartholdi Park is located across the street, with entrances on Independence Avenue, Washington Avenue, and First Street. Both are accessible from the Federal Center SW or Capitol South Metro station (Orange or Blue Line).
Admission to all public areas of the U.S. Botanic Garden is free. The Conservatory and National Garden are open from 10