United States National Arboretum

460613_270260019719162_1625034096_oIt’s time to put those camera skills to the test as you and your group head to one of the most beautiful, and budget-friendly (IT’S FREE), attractions in all of Washington D.C, the United States National Arboretum. An arboretum is a living museum of herbaceous plants that are used as agricultural and educational outlets for researchers and guests, as well as scenic spots to get to know the local wildlife and horticulture of an area. This arboretum, in particular, is operated by the U.S Department of Agricultural Research Service, working with local Henry A Wallace Research Center in order to provide one of the biggest and best living museums in the area. On this 412 acre property along New York Avenue you will find over 2 hours worth of outdoor exhibits to look at, not to mention the onsite Visitor Center, Arbor House Gift Shop, and internationally acclaimed National Bonsai and Penjing Museum.

The outdoor space itself boasts several different varieties of local and nationally recognizable trees, shrubs, and other plants, as well as several picnic areas if you and your group would like to use this location as your lunch spot. You can use this gorgeous space for exercise or culture, education or fascination! Be sure to save plenty of time to make it to the Koi Pond and Aquatic Garden, Friendship Garden, and National Herb Garden as well.

Inside the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum you will find a sort of shrine to the ‘miniature masterpieces’, the entire establishment a sort of ode to Japanese and Chinese Arts. Your group will certainly learn a lot about Asian culture traditions, such as the symbolism and reverence to nature that is so present within their societies. Be sure to also check if there are any special events happening during your visit, some of the most popular current options including the Full Moon Hike, monthly Community Concerts, Under the Arbor Garden Demos, and Lawn Care Specialty Workshops.