Tag Archives: USBG

Scenes from Season’s Greenings at the U.S. Botanic Garden

The annual Season’s Greenings exhibit at the U.S. Botanic Garden is easily one of the most popular holiday attractions in DC — and for good reason. The conservatory is transformed into a festive oasis featuring Washington landmarks constructed from plant materials as well as poinsettias and other vibrant flora. A beautiful addition this year is an inspired botanical version of the National Museum of African American History & Culture.

But the highlight, especially for kids (and the kid in all of us adults) is the garden railway, which is always beautiful, whimsical, and uniquely crafted from plant materials like the rest of the holiday installations. This year’s Roadside Attractions theme takes you on a trip across the U.S. as miniature trains chug around mini replicas of iconic wacky sights located throughout the country. See Thomas the Tank Engine and friends circle a giant Mr. Potato Head (repping Rhode Island), zip past a Coffee Pot Water Tower (Nebraska), and roll straight into the mouth of The Blue Whale (Oklahoma). The Jolly Green Giant (Minnesota) is hoisting up some of the tracks, and Mount Rushmore (South Dakota) and Route 66 are backdrops for parts of the journey.

Not only can you see these petite oddities, you can learn more about them, too, as more info is available in the exhibit. Until now I had no idea that the Longenberger Basket company headquarters were designed to look like, you guessed it, a Longenberger basket (Ohio)! Or that the world’s tallest concrete gnome (Iowa) must be identified by the material because Poland has fiberglass gnome that’s a couple of feet taller. These are just a few of many fun tidbits to discover on Roadside Attractions tour.

You can also find a few pieces in other galleries, so plan on walking through the rest of the plant collections. To add some extra fun, kids should pick up an I Spy Plant Hunt card at the entrance. They can search for specific species around the USBG as well as the associated stamp to mark it off on the card.

Catching a concert last year

For more holiday magic at the Botanic Garden, there are concerts Tuesday and Thursday evenings in December, when hours are extended until 8pm. I highly recommend going to one of these, for both the music and to see the exhibit and plant collections illuminated by colorful lights. It’s a wonderful holiday experience!

Season’s Greenings opens on Thanksgiving, November 23, and runs through January 1. Hours are 10am – 5pm daily (and noted 8pm closings on Tuesdays and Thursdays in December). Admission is free. Get more of a glimpse in the photos below, but definitely go see for yourself!

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Filed under 2017, All ages, Annual, Art, Christmas, DC, Exhibit, Free, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Music, Seasonal, Special Event, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter

Music in the Garden

Kids love the USBG trains

Season’s Greenings, the holiday exhibit at the U.S. Botanic Garden, is a seasonal favorite for many of us in the DC area.  Watching the model trains zip through the beautifully crafted display is a treat for all ages. Our family visited on the opening day, and we were all mesmerized by the mini-locomotives.  This year’s display is whimsical and worldly with famous landmarks from around the globe as centerpieces along Thomas the Tank and other model train’s routes.

While the trains are a huge attraction, they aren’t the only holiday spectacle to enjoy at the USBG. Their annual exhibit of Washington landmarks constructed completely from plant materials sprawls through the airy conservatory, with poinsettias and other holiday plants creating festive a atmosphere alongside the fountains and sitting areas.

Holiday frills in the Conservatory

Perhaps one of the best ways to enjoy it all is during one of the many concerts during the season.  On most Tuesdays and Thursdays from now until December 30, the Botanic Garden has extended hours and features live performances from 6 – 8pm.  Tonight, guests can enjoy the a Capella sounds of Downtown Quartet.  It’s the second show of the season, and there are six more to come.  It’s a lovely mid-week family activity, and even better, it’s free!  You can check out the schedule of performances on the USBG website.

The U.S. Botanic Garden is located at 100 Maryland Avenue SW.  The nearest Metro Station is Federal Ce


Filed under All ages, Annual, DC, Free, Holidays, Seasonal, Winter