Tag Archives: US National Arboretum

Scenes from the Azalea Bloom at the National Arboretum (2021)

 

 

Even though I recently posted a “Scenes from the National Arboretum” just a few weeks ago at the start of spring, and even though I did one of the azalea bloom a few years ago, here I am with this new set of pics — of azaleas, at the Arboretum.

Because this year’s azalea bloom is just so beautiful.  I mean, it is always gorgeous, but during this time of limited explorations of the world, we (me, anyway) are much more appreciative of close-to-home happenings, making things like annual flower blooms seem more vibrant than ever and feel extra special.

I visited the Arboretum a couple of days before we went out of town for Spring Break, and the bloom was just beginning.  Back yesterday only a week and a half later, and Mount Hamilton where the azalea garden is located was bursting with color.  It’s a dazzling walk through it all on paths traversing the area, azaleas of all colors lining them.  Some areas feel wild, with flowers seeming to grow indiscriminately, while other sections like the walled Morrison Garden are more manicured.

This bloom always attracts a lot of visitors, but the azalea garden, or any part of the Arboretum, didn’t feel crowded at all.  It’s so vast and lovely, there’s plenty of space to relax and enjoy it safely.  And if you were to encounter crowds anywhere, it’s easy to head to another section — there is something amazing about every part of the Arb.  My many recommendations and posts about it are a testament to that — read/see more hereherehere, and here.  A quick recap of spots little ones will love:  The Washington Youth Garden and natural playground, the Asian Collection with its “secret” path leading down to the Anacostia River, the stream in Fern Valley where it’s fun to look for frogs, the gazebo in the Conifer collection, and the fountain full of koi fish by the Visitors Center.

Right now, the R Street entrance off of Bladensburg Road is closed to motorized traffic, so you need to go the to New York Avenue entrance (3501 New York Avenue NE).  [Update:  The Arb is limiting visitors — this bloom is a popular on! — so be aware there may be a wait to get in.] There are signs posted indicating it is okay to park on the side of the road, so I pulled over a short ways in on Valley Road, and walked to the azalea garden from there. The larger parking lots near the R Street Entrance and Grove of State Trees are closest to the azalea garden, but might be full.

The U.S. National Arboretum is located in Northeast DC, off of Bladensburg Road and New York Avenue.  Enter at 3501 New York Avenue NE. Hours are 8am – 5pm. Admission is free.

And because I can’t help getting snap-happy with my camera, here are more photos of the splendor (and our sweet Teddy)…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under 2021, All ages, DC, Seasonal, Social Distancing, Spring, Weekdays, Weekend

Scenes from the Start of Spring at the National Arboretum

 

This spring had to be the most anticipated one ever.  I mean, we always look forward to emerging from the cold and darkness of winter, to color returning to the landscape as trees begin to flower, to longer days, to renewal.  But this year it’s about so much more.

With this spring comes hope and optimism in a way that we couldn’t have fathomed in previous years. After a year of fear, uncertainty, disruption, and heartbreak that Covid heaved upon us, we are finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. There’s still a ways to go, but that glimmer is getting brighter all the time.

This first day of spring did not disappoint.  The sun was shining, the weather pleasant, and it was a Saturday, so we could be out and about to enjoy it all.  We did that at one of our very favorite places in DC:  The National Arboretum.  We hadn’t been in awhile, because we thought there was a no dogs rule — we like being able to bring Teddy on our outings, especially if we’re hiking around outdoors — but we just learned that our pup can go to the Arb as long as he’s leashed.

So, that’s where we headed to ring in the new season.  If you’ve been reading KFDC awhile, you probably know how much I love the Arboretum — it tops the round-up of best outdoor spots.  (You can see more about it here, here, here, and here.) It’s a wonderful place to go any time of year, but this visit was especially auspicious as some of the cherry trees were blooming…on the first day of spring!

There is a self-guided cherry blossom tour to follow through the US National Arboretum app, or you can do what we did and see them as you wander around randomly and just refer to the app for the few that are blooming right now.

 

Be sure to explore the rest of the Arboretum to see even more bloom beginnings — rhododendrons, dogwoods, daffodils — and the many collections of plants and trees.  The Capitol Columns in the Ellipse Meadow are quite striking and have to be one of the most photographed spots in DC.

 

Get out and celebrate spring and all the hope that comes with it this year. The U.S. National Arboretum is located in Northeast DC, off of Bladensburg Road and New York Avenue, the entrance at 24th & R Streets (from Bladensburg). Hours are 8am – 5pm. Admission is free.

PS: We are happy to report that Teddy loves the Arboretum just as much as we do.  And now that we know he can go, he’ll be a regular visitor, too!

 

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Filed under 2021, All ages, Coronavirus, COVID-19, DC, Free, Nature, Outdoor, Seasonal, Social Distancing, Spring, Weekdays, Weekend

Scenes from a Beautiful Fall Day at the U.S. National Arboretum

Autumn sun over the old National Capitol Columns



Not too long ago I posted about 10 Great Places to Enjoy Autumn in the DC Area (that are not Farm Festivals). One of the places included among them was the U.S. National Arboretum, and this past weekend at the locale in northeast DC it was brilliantly evident why.

The whole Arb was bursting with vibrant fall color as foliage in the area is peaking right about now. The red, orange, and yellow tones of many trees and plants throughout its 446 acres are so intense, making for breathtaking scenes everywhere.

#nofilter

A lot of folks were there to savor it all on a gorgeous fall day; I’ve actually never seen the Arb that busy before. But it was great to see so many people enjoying one of the prettiest places in the city (imo). And even with more visitors than usual, the Arboretum is so big, it never feels too crowded.

A popular spot on a nice day

The old National Capitol Columns are a huge draw — they’re so dramatic, especially with the backdrop of autumn-hued trees — but make sure to explore beyond them. There are so many more lovely and interesting sights, including a Bonsai Museum, a natural play area, numerous plant collections, and neat little spots that make you feel like you stumbled upon a bit of magic.

The autumn splendor should last a little while longer, and the forecast indicates we have some nice days coming up to enjoy it. If you go, don’t miss the annual Beautiful Transitions Autumn Bonsai Exhibit, which will run November 10-19, showcasing red maples, yellow ginkgos, and fruited trees in the permanent collection of little trees.

Autumn bonsai

The U.S. National Arboretum is located in Northeast DC off of Bladensburg Road and New York Avenue. Hours are 8am – 5pm. Admission is free.

Read more about the Arboretum in The Best Places in the DC Area to Spend a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids (it tops the list!), in this post about the Washington Youth Garden, and this one with scenes from the gorgeous azalea bloom. And get even more of a glimpse in these image from our visit there yesterday.

Fantastic light creating a golden scene



Sash adds some turquoise to it



Red maple on a blue sky



Greens and golds



A really high five



This bonsai is well on its way to winter foliage



Where’s the tiny partridge for the tiny pear tree?



Chillin’ on the columns



Been visiting the Arb with this guy for a loooong time



A colorful stroll



Picture perfect scenes abound



Too cool (but he actually posed for one)!



Spotted through the arbor



The columns backlit by the sun



Stay gold, Owenboy.



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Filed under 2018, All ages, DC, Fall, Free, Nature, Outdoor, Seasonal, Weekdays, Weekend

Where to Play on the Weekdays: November 7-11

The great, big jumping pillow at Great Country Farms

 

Monday – I’m making a couple of repeat suggestions from the weekend, and with good reason — the dazzling hues and wonderful weather of autumn probably won’t last much longer, and these pursuits are great ways to take advantage of both.  First, enjoy a natural oasis right in the city at the National Arboretum.  Go for nature walks through the woods, bike along the winding roads, romp in open green spaces, picnic in the Grove of State Trees. Open 8am – 5pm, admission is free. Second, if you’re up for day trip, head out to Great Country Farms for Punkin’ Chunkin’ and then some. You won’t mind the hour-plus drive with a landscape encompassing fall’s full color spectrum on display along the way. And the farm has attractions to keep little ones occupied for hours — a giant jumping pillow, slides, animals, a cow train and hay rides, and more. Don’t forget to bring your jack-o-lantern for a smashing good time!  Admission is $10/adults, $8/children.  Concessions are available at extra cost in the Roosteraunt.

Tuesday – Bounce on over to the Prince George’s Sport and Learning Complex for open play in the Gymnastics Center. Kids can jump, swing, and slide into a big foam pit; spring on trampolines; climb rope ladders, walk balance beams, roll around on soft mats, and more. The hour-long session begins at 11:30am. Admission is $6/child.

Wednesday – It doesn’t have to be summertime to go for a swim, so suit up and plunge in at one of DC’s public aquatic centers. Find out where they are here, and be sure to call ahead for open swim times, as they might vary by venue.

Thursday – Enjoy “Flights of Fancy” – Stories for Children, the Air & Space Museum’s free program that includes a reading of a flight or space-themed book and a hands-on activity. During this session, hear Looking Down by Steven Jenkins at 11am in the Looking at Earth gallery on the first floor.

Friday – Sing along, support a cause, and save a buck at this week’s Boogie Babes shows!  Bring in any gently used children’s item and take $1 off admission. Donations will go to Destination Abricots, an organization supporting orphaned and disadvantaged children in the small community of Abricots, Haiti.  Mr. Knick Knack will perform at 10:30am at the Atlas Performing Arts Center. (There is also a Thursday show — John Henry, the Guitar Playing Man will play Eastern Market’s North Hall at 10:30am). Admission is $4/child with the discount.

 

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Filed under Babies, DC, Educational, Fall, Farm, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Outdoor, Play, Preschoolers, Seasonal, Theatre, Toddlers, Weekdays