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  • Address: 100 Maryland Ave SW

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United States Botanic Garden

Set one block southwest of the U.S. Capitol Building, this indoor-outdoor garden was first proposed by former farmer George Washington as a museum dedicated to teaching America about the importance of plants. The Botanic Garden didn’t actually debut until 1820, but has since then been committed to the collection, classification and preservation of the world’s plants, flowers and trees, with an increasing focus on ecological sustainability and conservation.

The U.S. Botanic Garden is divided into three parts: the indoor Conservatory, set beneath a leaded glass ceiling and dome; the outdoor National Garden, a comprehensive collection of plants found in the Mid-Atlantic region; and behind the building and across Independence Avenue, the little-visited Bartholdi Park is centered around a large fountain (sculpted in 1932 by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi) and demonstrates different styles of American garden design.

The Conservatory is arguably the most popular section of the museum, with exhibits on a wide variety of the world’s natural landscapes. Always warm and humid indoors to keep the plants happy, here you’ll find a fern-filled jungle beneath a 93-foot-high glass dome, and a sprawling room full of over 5,000 different types of orchids.

While the Garden has no dedicated parking lot, street parking is available all over the surrounding area. The closest Metrorail station is Federal Center, located 3 blocks away and serving the Orange and Blue Lines.

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