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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Botanical Beauty

It’s free, it’s fun, it’s a family field trip at its best.  Any day at the U.S. Botanic Garden would be fascinating with its plethora of plant life, but every year around the holidays, the glass-enclosed building comes alive with whimsical creations made out of natural materials.

Located in Washington, DC, between all of the Smithsonian Museums and the base of Capitol Hill, the Botanic Garden hosts plants, trees, and flowers in habitats from around the world.  Interspersed between are replicas of famous buildings from our nation’s capital, constructed from pine cones, acorns, leaves, sticks, grapevines, seeds, and pods.

All to scale, and all pretty amazing.

We trekked to glimpse the holiday train display, a mini-gauge track taking up an entire room and winding through more whimsical creations.  But first I had to:  a) convince my husband; and b) keep it a secret from the kids.

The family was almost there when Benedetto turned on me.

“It’s for little children-?!” he asked in surprise, spying a group of young preschoolers.

“How should I know?  I’ve never been there.”

A front door manager, out of earshot, but spotting our hesitation, called out.

“Step right up, folks, it’s not just for little kids.”

I smiled at my husband.  The Force was with me.  In we went, free admission for all, and we stood to view a five-minute explanatory film.  Guides then pointed us to any number of exhibit rooms:  some with trains, thousands of pointsettias, dozens of orchids, and the wildest range of cactii known to humankind.  Towering palms and small shrubs, some specimens even nestled beyond the stairwell’s handrail.  There was something to see in every nook and cranny.

Spiky plants, soft plants, spaghetti-ish plants… red, green, white, purple, pink, and multi-hued… fruits and seed-pods hanging from low branches.

Trains spanned from a Thomas lookalike with rolling eyes, to a ladybug train starting and stopping amond the foliage, to the more standard-issue collector’s train running around the perimeter of the room near the ceiling.

Many were the DC urban moms pushing strollers, rivalled in numbers only by a college-aged international crowd enjoying the warm environs on a chilly winter’s day.



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6 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar Sybil says:

    Sounds wonderful; I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  2. avatar AP says:

    I am so jealous! I would LOVE to see this. DC is on my list of places to see :O)

  3. avatar AP says:

    Great! Just leave the key under the door mat and we will make ourselves at home!

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