Family Guide to Visiting the Botanic Garden Christmas Display

Each year the United States Botanic Garden puts on a wonderful Christmas display, made entirely from natural materials. It’s free and fun for kids of all ages. But with so much to see, you may miss some parts. This guide will help you navigate easily and see it all.

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Start by entering the Botanic Garden through the special Model Train entrance on the left side of the main entrance. Since the line begins outside, be sure to wear warm clothes. As you wind your way inside, displays keep you engaged while you keep moving. Eventually you’ll reach the East Gallery itself.


This room is simple to navigate through. The layout is open and the path leads you easily through. The tunnel with miniature scenes inside is a kid favorite. With over 50 National Park site structures and seven trains to see this is the biggest display of trains in DC.

As you exit the East Gallery, continue on through Plant Adaptations, the Garden Primeval, Hawaii and World Deserts rooms. As you go, your kids can find stations to stamp their “passports” which keeps them engaged and gives them something to take home with them.

Leaving World Deserts room, you enter a poinsettia display and its time for a bathroom break at the restrooms.

Continue on through Medicinal Plants, Orchids, Mediterranean, and Rare and Endangered Plant rooms to reach the West Gallery. The West Gallery has a huge Christmas tree along with one more train circling it and a photo op spot for a family snapshot.

With any extra time, go back into the Garden Court to see the Washington, D.C. landmarks (also made from botanical materials) and into the Tropics. The fearless members of your family can climb up to the canopy walkway, while others explore on ground level. See if you can find the two small Christmas trees and two ships in the room!

Allow 1 1/2 to 2 hours for your visit and consider ending with a snack break next door at the Mitsitam Cafe in the American Indian Museum.

Little and big ones alike enjoy the “Seasons Greenings” displays and it’s one our our tip holiday to-dos. Check for any last minute updates for your family travel.

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