Day 1: Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

Day 2: Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Day 3A: Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum

This will be a short post, both because I apparently didn’t take pictures and because the Botanic Garden is a much smaller venue than the Air & Space Museum.

The Botanic Garden is a large green house just a few streets over from the Air & Space Museum towards the Capitol Building.  We were there about an hour on this trip, but two would probably do it more justice.

The main greenhouse is four (or more) stories tall and includes a full-scale jungle with palm trees.  There’s a path at ground level that is reasonably stroller friendly.  There’s also a catwalk about halfway up in the tree canopy, but you have to take the stairs.  Technically, there is an elevator, but the expectation seems to be that one takes the stairs.  The catwalk is narrow and would not be appropriate for a stroller.

Around this center greenhouse are a series of rooms representing other ecosystems including both wetter, dryer, hotter, and colder.  Finally, outside there are gardens.  There is a Children’s garden in a courtyard enclosed by the building.  It has tools for the kids to dig, water, rake, etc.  It also has a small structure.  Our kids could have spent more time here and there are plenty of benches for parents.

The other gardens are exterior to the building and open later hours than the building itself.  I have been to more extensive gardens, but these offer a nice seclusion to the hustle and bustle in this part of DC.  Even if you don’t go in the greenhouse, pop into the gardens instead of walking along the sidewalks.

Finally, it should be noted that the Botanic Gardens have the best bathrooms in this part of DC.  They are large, clean, and uncrowded.  They are all the way in the back through the greenhouse, but (like the gardens outside) worth the trouble if you find yourself in need while outside in the area.

I would not plan an entire day for the Botanic Gardens.  But, given its location between Air & Space and the Capitol Building, it is a worthy stop at this end of the National Mall.