Destination: United States Botanic Garden


Last Saturday I spent exploring the Capitol Hill area. You can see that here: Library of Congress.

United States Botanic Garden

After the Library of Congress, I headed over to the U.S. Botanic Garden (USBG). Having grown up in Hawaii, where as a child I remember spending time with my grandpa working on his Macadamia Nut farm, or growing banana trees and corn in my parent’s backyard, I was eager to see what the USBG had to offer.

The USBG is composed of three parts: The Conservatory, The National Garden and Bartholdi Park (see map here). Given that it’s currently winter, there wasn’t much growing in both the Garden and the Park, both of which are outdoors. So, I spent most of my visit at The Conservatory. Here’s what I found:

The Conservatory, as seen from Independence Ave.

US Botanic Garden - Entrance

The Conservatory itself is divided into several rooms, but only a handful stand out. You’ll first enter the Garden Room.

Entrance Room - 1

Of the various rooms in The Conservatory, the Orchid Room was probably my favorite of them all.

Orchid Room - 1

Orchid Room - 2

This giant papaya tree was located in the Medicinal Plants room. Although I ate this all the time while in Hawaii, I’ve rarely had it since moving to the mainland, nor did I realize it’s a medicinal plant!

Papaya tree

There was also a room dedicated specifically for Hawaii! I had no idea that roughly a third of all endemic plants in the States are found in Hawaii.

Hawaii Room - 1

The Jungle Room, located in the center of the Conservatory, contains something pretty cool: a canopy walk. It’s pretty hot and humid in the Jungle Room, but not to the point that being inside felt unbearable.

Jungle Room - 1

Jungle Room - 2

Overall, I thought the USBG was a nice oasis from the winter. With that said, for some reason I imagined the Conservatory to be much larger. Additionally, maybe this is me just being overly detail-oriented, but the accompanying descriptions of the plants and rooms seemed really dated, which made me get a sense that the Conservatory hadn’t been updated in a while. Interestingly, they

Check out more reviews of the USBG on Yelp!

Hours of Operation

  • Conservatory: Open Daily, 10 am – 5pm
  • National Garden: Open Daily, 10 am – 5pm
  • Bartholdi Park: Open Daily, dawn to dusk

Getting There:

The U.S. Botanic Garden’s is a short 5-minute walk from the Federal Center SW Metro Station, located on the Blue, Orange and Silver Lines. The main entrance to The Conservatory at the U.S. Botanic Garden is located along Maryland Ave SW, across the Capitol Reflecting Pool. The National Garden is located adjacent to the Conservatory along Maryland Ave SW, and Bartholdi Park is located behind the Conservatory along Independence Ave SW.