The U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. was established by Congress in 1820 and is located on the National Mall, right across from the U.S. Capitol. It is a large indoor garden housing 4,000 plants. The Garden makes extensive use of LED grow lights in combination with natural sunlight to keep their specimens healthy and happy. The Architect of the Capitol is the office that administers the Garden. They offer educational programs and special exhibits all year long.
Bartholdi Park is a companion to the indoor Garden. It is across the street from the Garden Conservatory and is officially part of the Botanic Garden. A classically-styled fountain, created by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, is the centerpiece to a lovely flower garden. Bartholdi, a French sculptor, is famous for designing the Statue of Liberty.
In 2006, an extension to the Botanic Garden, called the National Garden, was opened as an outdoor learning center. The First Ladies’ water garden can be found there, along with a butterfly garden, a rose garden with many different varieties, and various perennials, shrubs and trees from the local region. The Botanic Garden attracts many visiting families every year, and kids seem to love it. They get a chance to learn about botany and history, because a lot of the plants have historical stories associated with them.
Of special interest to kids is the Jurassic plant exhibit, which displays plants that have thrived since the time of the dinosaurs. These primitive plants are displayed in a reconstructed Jurassic landscape. A tropical rain forest exhibit is hot and humid change of pace. The open air children’s garden is closed in the winter. An orchid collection is very popular, and boasts of over 5,000 specimens, of which hundreds are on display at any given time. The Conservatory is a glass greenhouse with exhibits that focus on endangered plant species and conservation. There is even an exhibit highlighting tropical medicinal plants.
You can find desert plants and native Hawaiian plants at the Garden. The Garden Court exhibits crops that are important to the cosmetic industry, as well as for food, fiber and industrial products. The best part of the Garden is that admission is free. The Garden is located at 100 Maryland Avenue and First Street SW, which is at the Mall’s east end. The National Garden and the Conservatory are open every day from 10 AM to 5 PM. Why not visit on your next trip to the nation’s capital?