Christmas Season around Capitol Hill

Washington Travel Blog

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United States Botanic Garden

Model trains and Christmas. They seem to go together. Every year during the holiday season, there are several outdoor and indoor model train displays around Washington. On Friday, I decided to see the annual Starlight Express display at the United States Botanic Garden.

The Botanic Garden is at the foot of Capitol Hill. I arrived there after a brief lunchtime walk in the brisk December air. A multi-tiered garden railway layout had been set up along the length of the entrance terrace. People of all ages, children and adults, were enjoying the outdoor exhibt. You had to walk under a model train bridge in order to reach the Botanic Garden itself. Being at the national Botanic Garden, the layout is not just an ordinary construction.

Botanic Garden terrace decorated for the Holidays
The model structures, bridges, and landscaping were all made from more than 20 differnt kinds of representative plant materials including bark, acorns, leaves, seeds, and mosses.

Inside the Botanic Garden, more holiday themed displays had been installed to compliment the permanent collection. A display of poinsettieas accompaned an exhibit on making holiday wreaths from a variety of natural materials. A walk through the central Jungle and Canopy Walk exhibit temporarily transported me from winter in Washington to a warm tropical rainforest.

In the Garden Court, I looked at the the annual display of models of famous Washington buildings and landmarks. The Capitol, Supreme Court, Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, Ford's Theatre and more are represented by models made of various plant material.

All ages enjoy the outdoor train display
Bark, acorns, peapods, corn husks, pincecones, seeds, sea grass, cinnamon sticks are among the many materials used in the making of these structures. (The Jefferson Monument dome is a gourd.) In the center of the Garden Court is a Christmas tree with another train running around it. (The landmarks models are displayed in the Garden Court only during the holiday season--from late November to the first week in January.)

The U.S. Capitol is nearby, so I walked over to view the Capitol Hill Christmas Tree placed on the West Lawn. The tree is provided by a different state each year. This year's tree, a balsam fir, came from Vermont. Vermont also provided the ornaments, arranged around the theme "An Old Fashioned Christmas".

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United States Botanic Garden
United States Botanic Garden
Botanic Garden terrace decorated f…
Botanic Garden terrace decorated …
All ages enjoy the outdoor train d…
All ages enjoy the outdoor train …
Low Headroom!
Low Headroom!
Model trains and the Capitol!
Model trains and the Capitol!
Tiered garden railway at the Botan…
Tiered garden railway at the Bota…
Seasonal exhibit at the Botanic Ga…
Seasonal exhibit at the Botanic G…
Botanic Garden rainforest
Botanic Garden rainforest
Garden Court fountain
Garden Court fountain
Garden Court fountain
Garden Court fountain
US Capitol model built of bark and…
US Capitol model built of bark an…
Christmas Tree at the Botanic Gard…
Christmas Tree at the Botanic Gar…
Garden railway train passes Fords…
Garden railway train passes Ford'…
Inside garden railway display
Inside garden railway display
Inside garden railway display
Inside garden railway display
West Lawn, US Capitol
West Lawn, US Capitol
Capitol Hill Christmas Tree
Capitol Hill Christmas Tree
National Mall on a brisk December …
National Mall on a brisk December…
Ulysses Grant surveys the National…
Ulysses Grant surveys the Nationa…
Christmas Tree at the Madison Hall…
Christmas Tree at the Madison Hal…
Washington Sights & Attractions review
The United States Botanic Garden is a wonderful display of plants, flowers, and other flora. The Conservatory is located between the National Mall and… read entire review
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photo by: b93sp