I love visiting the U.S. Botanic Garden in the winter. The 75+ degree rain forest is a pretty great spot to be when it’s cold and grey outside. I love it even more when it’s all decked out for the holidays. This year, in addition to the usual poinsettia showcase (there are 17 different types of poinsettias on display at the U.S. Botanic Garden), a stunning Christmas tree and replicas of Washington landmarks made from plant materials, the fantasy train display in the East Gallery explores “the world’s fair.” That means the little trains zip around miniature plant-made versions of Seattle’s Space Needle (built for the 1962 World’s Fair,) the Unisphere (1964–1965 New York World’s Fair,) the Statue of Liberty (its head was first displayed at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, in 1876) and of course, the greatest World’s Fair construction of them all: the Eiffel Tower, which was erected in 1889 as the (temporary) entrance arch to the Exposition Universelle.
The seasonal exhibit opened on November 28th and will wrap up January 5th, 2014 (10AM-5PM, daily). I couldn’t wait to check out the display, so i went the day after Thanksgiving. Which was a bad idea. Unless you have kids and/or don’t mind being around other people’s kids, head to the U.S. Botanic Garden on one of the Tuesdays and Thursdays when they are open until 8PM (Dec. 5, 10, 12, 17, 19, 24 and 26.) Not only will there be less kids since it’s sort of past their bedtime, but there will also be live seasonal music, like a-cappella groups or New Orleans-style Jazz band Laissez Foure. You can see a full schedule of all the performances on the USBG’s website.