Friday, October 19, 2012

United States Botanic Garden

Every weekend as I'm riding my bike around DC, I pass the United States Botanic Garden and this Saturday was so beautiful it was just begging for people to come visit. The Botanic Garden sits at the foot of the Capitol Building right next the traffic circle around President Garfield.

I think it is so awesome/hilarious that in DC they put their traffic circles around statues of presidents. 
Confession: I didn't take this picture. It's from Wikipedia.
So on a beautiful Saturday afternoon what is better than checking out your nation's greenhouse? Now I'm not really a "Hey I think I'll go spend the afternoon looking at flowers and other plants" kind of person but on this day it was beckoning. I have to admit it was pretty cool... otherwise I probably wouldn't be writing a blog about it. It is split up into different sections. The main ones are the Jungle (the large, multi-story greenhouse section in the picture above), Hawaii, Orchids, Dessert plants, medicinal plants, a kid's section, and Bartholdi Park across the street. There are a few more sections but I don't remember them/didn't take pictures in them.  My favorite parts were the Jungle, the kids section, the orchids, and Bartholdi park. 

US Botanic Garden

The jungle is pretty self explanatory. It is a large, 3(ish) story greenhouse with all types of trees, ferns, vines, and other plants. You really expect to see a monkey jump out at you at any second but, alas, they have no monkeys. It reminded me a lot of the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, just without the hotel. What is really cool about the jungle is that there are stairs that lead up to a catwalk through the trees. 

US Botanic GardenBotanic GardenUS Botanic Garden

The kids section was pretty neat. If you know me, I'm all about the kids section at places. I love hands on exhibits, coloring, interactive displays, anything with buttons to push, levers to pull, or flashing lights, slides, ball pits, and pretty much anything else you can find at a kids museum or a McDonalds play place. One really cool thing about the Botanic Garden is that not only does it have a kids section but it makes the rest of the garden fun for kids with the family guide for kids. It's free, you just pick it up at the entrance when you get a map and other information. The family guide has cool facts, a scavenger hunt type page, games, and questions. Not all of the museums have this so I thought it was pretty cool especially for a place that is typically geared towards an older audience. But back to the kids section. It is a really neat area that has a little play house, fountains, watering cans, and kid sized tools with little flowers they can plant. The down side is that, although it is in the Botanic Gardens, it is in a courtyard area that is outside. This is not a problem if it is a nice day like the day I went, but as we move towards winter it will be colder and less pleasant out there. 

Notice the watering cans and plants on the left waiting to be planted. 

I like the roof. 
All kids like a tunnel, especially one that isn't in the dark!

Of the flowers and stuff, the orchids were my favorite. They had lots of different varieties and colors. If you only have 15 or so minutes just go to the orchids, they are totally worth it. My mom has grown orchids since I was little so I can't wait to take her back just to see this section if nothing else.  

US Botanic Garden

US Botanic Garden

US Botanic Garden

US Botanic Garden

And finally, Bartholdi park. This small park is on opposite side of the Botanic Garden from the capitol. It features a beautiful fountain in the center surrounded by flowers, plants, shaded tables and chairs. The fountain was sculpted by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, the same man who sculpted the Statue of Liberty.

This is another one of those things that I had passed several times before stopping to visit for a little bit. My stopping actually wasn't planned at all. The park sits at the bottom of the hill on Independence Avenue just below the house office buildings. One day while riding my bike down Independence my friend Nikki called and I thought it looked like a nice place to stop and talk on the phone and just sit for a while... I was right. 

US Botanic Garden

1 comment:

  1. Very cool! Especially for someone that IS a "Hey I think I'll go spend the afternoon looking at flowers and other plants" kinda person :) Danny and I went to the orchid exhibit at Daniel Stowe and it was very neat but I don't think I saw anything there that I hadn't already seen before. Probably since I came from a family with avid orchid growers and grew up with other "Hey I think I'll go spend the afternoon looking at flowers and other plants" kinda people. HaHa