The botanically-created and inspired Season’s Greenings train exhibit at the U.S. Botanic Garden, on display through January 3, has outdone itself with this year’s theme: “Pollination Station.” A gorgeous tribute to bees, butterflies, and bats and the leafy and petal-heavy beauties they pollinate, the plant-created world is as magical and whimsical as ever. As the images in our photoblog attest, the exhibit is a must-see for all local parents, especially those who want to inspire in their children a love of nature and a respect for all the world’s interdependent ecosystems.
The visuals were so lush and lovely this year, it was a delight to look and also to snap images. The exhibit was colorful, playful, and vividly lit.
I was thrilled that I had brought an extra camera for my son, age 9. My daughter, age 5, was similarly photographically inclined and asked to follow her friend’s lead and take photos on my phone. (I made sure to first put it on Airplane Mode so she wouldn’t be subjected to the radiation).
The whole place was infused with the heavy scent of cedar. The inset piece with dioramas was especially cute, built to look like the inside of a flower and showcasing adorable scenes of pollinators in funny and familiar situations, including a Spelling Bee.
Outside the alcove were more adorable tiny scenes interspersed with hexagons made of real – and heavenly-scented! – beeswax.
My favorite scene showed the metamorphosis of a caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly.
After the exhibit, the kids got a Discover Pollinators Plant Hunt, which had them happily searching through the rest of the Botanic Garden for the appropriate stamps.
And we also enjoyed some of the other features of the gardens, including the big wooden train, a demonstration about cacao pods and chocolate, and all the miniature National Mall buildings made out of botanical materials.
Be sure to catch this year’s Season’s Greenings before it closes on Sunday, January 3. The conservatory is open every day of the year, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Lines for the train exhibit start as early as 9:30 a.m. and begin outside. For more details, visit http://www.usbg.gov/.
Extra tip: If you want to extend the appreciation of the natural world, be sure to head across the street from the USBG to visit the National Museum of the American Indian. Although there is some outdoor construction going on right now, there is still a lot to see on the beautiful grounds, and the ImagiNATIONS Activity Center on the third floor has some great interactive exhibits about gardens, wetlands and much more. There are also lots of healthy and even gluten-free options in the Mitsitam Cafe.
Jessica Claire Haney is the founder, publisher and editor of Mindful Healthy Life. She is a writer and editor and a co-leader for the Arlington/Alexandria chapter of Holistic Moms Network. Her personal blog is Crunchy-Chewy Mama and her writer’s site is JessicaClaireHaney.com. See the Contributors page and Jessica’s Mindful Healthy Life Q&A for more on Jessica.