It had been a couple years since I had visited the US Botanic Garden. My first visit was not during the holidays and it was a delightful experience. I had heard so many good things about the holiday display that I wanted to try to take my girls to see the exhibit this year. Last Thursday ended up being a pretty nice day for December so I thought it would be a good time to trek down to the city while we had the afternoon free.
After entering, we looked around the Garden Court that has replicas of DC buildings and monuments surrounded by plush flowers and plants. It’s really stunning! Even with toddlers in tow, it was so relaxing being surrounded by all this loveliness.
Then we headed into the East Gallery for the famed model train exhibit. Each year, a different theme is chosen and for 2014 it’s exploring the seven seas – featuring lighthouses, sea creatures, mermaids, and a pirate ship, all in a nautical wonderland of plants.
Of course the kids love the Thomas & Friends trains that are featured throughout the exhibit.
My girls also really liked this small tunnel that had a few windows to peer through and look at various sea creatures.
The flowers and holiday decorations are so well done that you can’t help but get into the Christmas spirit. The attention to detail is incredible.
After checking out the train exhibit we continued to make our way through the rest of the Conservatory with Clara leading the way. She would excitedly run into the next exhibit once she saw there was more to explore!
The jungle area was a favorite with the canopy walk being the highlight for the girls.
I had to practice a few close-up shots on the gorgeous flowers with my new 50mm lens.
The girls and I really had a great time. We were lucky to go on a day that wasn’t crowded. It might be overwhelming and not as enjoyable for little ones if its packed with people. We spent about and hour at the Botanic Garden and then decided to walk down 2 blocks to the Air and Space Museum.
Good to Know:
•No admission fee.
•Hours 10-5pm every day. Select Tuesday and Thursday evenings in December the hours are extended to 8pm. During the extended hours they offer live seasonal music. Check the calendar for dates.
•Metered parking available along Maryland Avenue and Independence Avenue. There is also a nearby parking garage located at 6th & C Street SW.
•Closest Metro stop is the Federal Center SW station on the orange or blue line.
•The exhibit is very popular, so the best time to visit to avoid crowds is mid-week in early December. During other times, you may have to wait in line outside so dress appropriately.
•I did bring a stroller in with us and it was fairly easy to get around. There isn’t any stroller parking, so they ask you to keep your stroller with you at all times inside the Conservatory. On a crowded day, it would be difficult to maneuver around with a stroller so you might want to leave it behind if you go during peak days.