Laid out by an advisory board that included Frederick Law Olmstead, one of America’s most accomplished landscape designers, the Arboretum is largely composed of elegantly-arranged garden collections, sometimes punctuated by sculptures and architectural details. Highlights include an extensive bonsai garden and an authentic Japanese pavilion; a huge pond stocked with hungry koi; thousands of azaleas along a woodland walk; and a stand of Corinthian columns salvaged from the Capitol prior to the building of its famous dome.
Throughout the year, an annual garden fair, a bonsai festival, and an orchid show draw thousands of visitors here; during these special events, a food vendor is brought on site. Otherwise, only light snacks are available in the Arboretum’s gift shop and from adjacent vending machines. Picnics are allowed every day, but only on the Administration Building east terrace or at the picnic area at the National Grove of State Trees.