Seasons Greetings at the US Botanic Garden

9:35:00 AM

No matter what time of year, the US Botanic Garden in Washington DC is always one of my family's most favorite places to visit.  However, I must say it is truly a wonderful treat in the winter.  What could be better than visiting a 75-degree oasis when it is cold and dreary outside?  

And it is especially true during the month of December, when the botanic garden is transformed into a festive winter wonderland filled with decorated Christmas trees, beautiful poinsettias, the yearly train display in the East Wing, and of course the gorgeous replicas of famous DC landmarks made completely out of plant materials.  It really gets us in the Christmas spirit.

The train display in the East Wing is always a crowd favorite and extremely popular with the younger set.  Each year the model trains chug their way around imaginative displays.  So far my most favorite display was the World's Fair in 2013, with the tiny trains zipping their way around some of the worlds most iconic landmarks.

You will find all the popular DC landmarks in the Garden Court.  It typically takes artisans over 600 hours and more than 70 different plant materials to create each structure, from the White House to the original Smithsonian Museum.

But don't take my word for it, if you are local to the DC area, or plan to visit our nations capital during Christmas or New Years, head on over and see it all for yourself!  The Seasons Greetings exhibit is open daily from November 26, 2015 - January 3, 2016 from 10:00am to 5:00pm.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays it is open until 8:00pm with live music.

If you do plan to stop by, here are some of my tips for making your visit more enjoyable:

1. Plan for crowds
This is of course one of the most popular times to visit the Botanic Garden, so be prepared for crowds and to wait in line to enter the exhibit, especially the train display in the East Wing.  If you can, I suggest visiting during the week when there are less people to contend with.  Part of your wait will be outside in line, so make sure to dress warmly.

2. Travel Lightly
Since there are no coat checks or stroller storage areas in the botanic garden, I suggest not taking a large stroller or huge diaper or camera bags.  Most people end up carrying their children, as it is nearly impossible to maneuver a stroller around the crowds.  Again, if you have small children, I suggest visiting during the week.

3. Enter through the Model Train Exhibit
There is only one entrance to see the train exhibit, and that is NOT the main entrance to the botanic garden, but a specially-marked entrance into the East Wing.  It's not hard to miss, you will see the line waiting to get in!  Once you go through the train exhibit you can go into the rest of the botanic garden, but once you are inside the gardens you cannot enter the train exhibit.  

4. Visit the Capital Christmas Tree
Since the botanic garden is right across the street from the US Capitol, there's no reason not to walk over to the Capitol lawn to see the Christmas tree.  Definitely worth it, especially at night after it's been lit.  You can read more about our visit to see it and the White House Christmas tree here.

This year's theme is Pollination Station, where visits can wander through oversized flowers, bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.  We unfortunately will not have the opportunity to visit this year, since we will be out of the country, but if you visit, I'd love to see your pictures!  

Have you visited the botanic garden during the Seasons Greetings past exhibits?  Share with us your favorite exhibits and memories!

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