I still can’t quite believe I had never been to the National Arboretum in D.C. until a couple weekends ago with our friends Allison and George and their kids.
The Arboretum spans 446 acres and is located 2.2 miles northeast of the Capitol building. It is a beautiful, lush escape right in the city. The arboretum functions as a major center of botanical research. It conducts research on trees, flowering plants, shrubs and turf, as well as the development of plants.
Visitors can view the National Capitol Columns that originally supported the old East Portico of the U.S. Capitol in 1828. The columns were removed during expansion of the Capitol in 1958.
Our crew decided to setup our picnic right by the columns.
The Arboretum caters to people of different ages (read: kid-friendly) and is dog-friendly. In addition to having designated picnic areas with tables, visitors can also have their pick of where they would like to spread out a blanket to lounge, eat, read, toss around a football or frisbee – you name it.
There are plenty of hiking trails available to trek, as well as a pretty Azalea trail Allison, our littlest ones Luke and Avery, and I walked through.
The Arboretum also has a lot of plant and herb exhibits throughout the property and offers all kinds of different botanical and gardening focused classes and demos for people of all ages at no charge.
Friends of the National Arboretum (FONA) is a nonprofit membership organization whose mission is to preserve and enhance the National Arboretum. They work to provide valuable financial and volunteer support through five main focus areas:
- Environmental Preservation
- Plant Research
- Urban Greenspace
- Community Outreach
Things to Know About the Arboretum:
- It is 100% free to enter the grounds and participate in any kind of activity or demo.
- Besides vending machines, there are no food vendors or trucks on the grounds, so bring a picnic or snacks you either prepared or bought beforehand prior to coming to the Arboretum.
- They do have nice, clean public restrooms, but they are few and far between.
My family and I will definitely be coming back to the Arboretum for another picnic and outside fun!