U.S. National Arboretum - District of Columbia - Nine Miles of Diverse Flora Give Visitors Incentive to Explore Federal Gardens

The U.S. National Arboretum is located just over 2 miles from the Capitol Building in the northeast quadrant of the District of Columbia. It lies between Bladenburg Rd to its west, New York Avenue to the north, M Street to the south and R Street to the East. Entrances to the public are found at R Street and New York Avenue.

The Arboretum in Washington is the only federally funded living plant museum in the United States. Plants, shrubs and trees are cultivated for educational scientific and ends and are on display to the public year round with the exception of December 25 with no admission charge. The facilities open daily at 8 AM and close at 5 PM.

The U.S. National Arboretum was created by an Act of Congress in 1927. The main facility is spread over 447 acres although there are also three additional research locations. Over 9 miles of roadways wind through the Arboretum, which the U.S.D.A.'s Agricultural Research Service runs with congressionally approved funding as well as with private contributions. More than a half a million people visit the Arboretum each year.

Areas to be explored by the public are varied and include the aquatic garden in the area of the Administration building and Visitor Center which is also adjacent to the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum, the National Herb Garden, and the Friendship Garden. These areas are all wheelchair accessible. The Bonsai and Penjing Museum have shorter hours than the rest of the facility, opening at 10 AM and closing at 4 PM. The Arbor Cafy and the Gift Shop are also near these areas.

Hours and closing days differ for the Administration Building and the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum which close on all major federal holidays.

Other areas include the Asian Collections that include plants from Japan, Korea and China; the Azaleas Collections; Dogwood Collections; Fern Valley; the Boxwood Collection; the National Herb Garden and the Grove of State Trees. The Grove is the only designated picnic area in the U.S. National Arboretum.

One unique area is the Capitol Columns, an array of Corinthian style columns originally part of the Capitol Building structure but rendered obsolete by remodeling. The columns stand on a grassy knoll above a reflecting pond as if the remnants of an ancient construction.

Since the varieties of plants bloom at different times of the year, visits in any season reveal distinct experiences.

Lectures, workshops, full moon hikes and other activities occur throughout the year and often require advance reservation due to limited spaces for participants.

Research at the U.S. National Arboretum is wide-ranging in order advance in new hybrid plant development as well as to implement cutting edge technology for floristry and plant nurseries. The Floral and Plants Research Unit also works around the conservation of genetic diversity of landscape trees and the development of new trees and flowering nursery plants.

The Arboretum has cooperation agreements with a dozen Universities and institutions in the United States as well as with half a dozen countries around the world.

To visit on public transportation the B-2 bus stops on Bladenburg Rd, 4 blocks from the R Street entrance. The bus can be boarded from the Metrorail station at Stadium Armory where the Blue and Orange lines stop.

Pets are allowed into the facilities if leashed and cleaned up after. Tree climbing is prohibited.

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