US National Arboretum

 
 

Current Events and Programs

Many arboretum programs require advance registration.  Please refer to complete program descriptions.
You can now register either online or by mailing in a completed form.
Click here to begin the registration process.

For registration information, call 202-245-4521; or use this form.

To view and print the PDF files you will need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.  If you do not already have Acrobat Reader installed as a web plugin, or if you don't know whether or not you have it installed -- please visit our PDF Help Page for information, instructions and links to your free Acrobat Reader.

April May
Family Activities

Program FULL? If a program is marked FULL, registration is closed, and we do not keep waiting lists. If there is a cancellation, we will remove the FULL marking and re-open registration. However, if the program is scheduled to occur within 10 calendar days, the cancellation period is over and we will not re-open registration. We do not keep waiting lists for any programs. For questions, please call 202-245-5898.

Full Moon Hike

The hikes sell out quickly and the best chance for reserving a spot is to register soon after we post them here on our Current Events and Programs page.
We post them quarterly, by season. Below are the dates that they will be posted and open for registration.

Spring hikes (March, April, and May) will be posted February 3.
Summer hikes (June) will be posted May 1. We do not hold hikes in July and August.
Fall hikes (September, October, and November) will be posted August 1.
Winter hikes (December, January, and February) will be posted November 3.

Note: If the date falls on a weekend or federal holiday, the posting will be done the following work day.

Hike dates are included below with other listings.

April

self guided tourSelf-guided Tour: Beyond the Tidal Basin: Introducing Other Great Flowering Cherries
March 20 – April 21, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm (Fridays – Mondays only)

When most people hear the words “cherry blossom,” they think of the famous and familiar Yoshino cherry trees at the Tidal Basin. Come to the Arboretum to explore nearly forty different types of flowering cherries and discover the great diversity of shapes, sizes, flower colors, and bloom times these trees feature. Look for three new varieties developed by Arboretum scientists and don’t miss the remarkable weeping Yoshinos. Drive, bike, or walk over several miles of Arboretum roads to see them all.  Pick up a brochure in the Visitor Information Center or click here. Free.

 

Exhibit: Ikebana International
April 4 – April 21, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm (Fridays – Mondays only)

Enjoy spring flowers with a Japanese twist! Ikebana is the Japanese art of flower arrangement, a disciplined art form steeped in the philosophy of developing closeness with nature. Washington D.C. Chapter No. 1 of Ikebana International will exhibit flower arrangements representing a variety of ikebana schools, from traditional to contemporary. The installation will change three times during the exhibit, so plan return visits to see them all. Master teachers will give free ikebana demonstrations from 1:00 – 2:30 pm on April 5, 6, 13, 19, and 20. National Bonsai & Penjing Museum. Free.

 

Ikebana I workshop
Demonstrations: Ikebana International

April 5, 6, 13, 19 & 20; 1:00 – 2:30 pm

Watch master teachers from the Washington D.C. Chapter No. 1 of Ikebana International create works of art from flowers and other natural materials. Each date features a different school. National Bonsai & Penjing Museum. For more information about ikebana, see Exhibit: Ikebana International. Free.

 

Tree ClimbingTree Climbing Championship – New!
April 5, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm (Rain date April 12)

Don’t miss this! Watch professional climbers compete for prizes in five different events in specially selected trees on the Arboretum grounds. Along with the climbing there will be educational exhibits, commercial vendors, demonstrations, children’s activities (including kids’ climbing), some of DC’s best food trucks, and more. Sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the International Society of Arborists (MAC-ISA). Click here for the MAC-ISA website and more details. Enter the R Street gate and follow the signs to the event. Free admission.

 

ginkgo talkPresentation and Book Signing: Ginkgo: The Tree That Time Forgot – New!
April 8, 12:15 – 1:30 pm

Perhaps the world’s most distinctive tree, ginkgo has remained stubbornly unchanged for over two hundred million years, during which time all of its plant relatives and the dinosaurs went extinct. Renowned botanist and author Sir Peter Crane tells the engaging story of this tree from its mysterious origin through its proliferation, drastic decline, and ultimate resurgence after being saved from extinction. Free. Registration is required for admission; call 202-245-2708 to register.

 

Workshop: Bonsai Basics
April 12, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm FULL
April 27, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm FULL

Create your own juniper bonsai in this all-day class designed for the beginner. Learn the horticultural, aesthetic, and cultural elements of bonsai and then apply your new knowledge during the hands-on workshop. All necessary materials, including the plant, pot, soil, and wire are provided, and some tools will be available. Please bring tools if you have them. Bring lunch for a noon break. National Bonsai & Penjing Museum. Fee: $129 ($103 FONA/NBF) Registration required. These popular workshops sell out so please register early.

 

Lawn Care Series – New!

 Informal indoor, outdoor, and hands-on learning activities provide you with practical, science-based, and up-to-date information you can use to improve your lawn. Three different workshops held in March, April, and May, complement the Arboretum’s upcoming exhibit, Grass Roots, which will open this summer. Sessions are free, but space is limited and registration is encouraged; call 202-245-5965 to register. Door prizes at every session!

Lawn Care
Fertilize your Lawn Correctly

April 12, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Did you know that there are new fertilizer rules in place for homeowners? Learn what they are and how they encourage correct fertilizer usage to promote long-term lawn health and protect natural resources, including the bay. Fertilizer selection, application, timing, types of spreaders, calibrating spreaders, avoiding common costly mistakes, and more will be covered.

 

 

All Aboard! Beyond the Tidal Basin Tram Tour - Spaces available
April 12, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm ( This tour was rescheduled from March 30 due to lack of blooms caused by extended cold weather.)

Get on board the Arboretum’s open-air tram for a scenic and informative tour of the hundreds of flowering cherry trees that grace the National Arboretum’s grounds. Horticulturist David Kidwell-Slak will share the stories of the most remarkable specimens, trees of historical significance, and the results of the Arboretum’s research program. Stops include short walks into the research fields for close-up inspection of selected areas. Fee: $22 ($18 FONA) Registration required.

 

Full Moon HikeFull Moon Hike
April 13, 8:00 – 10:00 pm FULL
April 14, 8:00 – 10:00 pm FULL
April 15, 8:00 – 10:00 pm FULL

Take a brisk hike through moonlit gardens, meadows, and woods. Your guide will share specially chosen points of interest and seasonal highlights. The two-hour walk over hilly and uneven terrain is a brisk hike, not a garden tour so prepare accordingly. Not recommended for children under 16. No pets, please. Spring hikes book quickly; register soon to reserve your spot. Fee: $22 ($18 FONA) Registration required.

 

Private Full Moon Hike for Group
April 13, 7:00 – 9:00 pm FULL
Meet in the Visitor Information center

Gather a group of friends, family, co-workers, and others to enjoy a unique experience considered by many to be one of DC’s best outings. Not recommended for children under 16. No pets, please. For more details, see the description of Full Moon Hike. Maximum 25 per group. Fee: $550 Registration required.

 

dogwoodsTour: Spring in the Dogwoods – New!
April 19, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm

A tucked-away gem on the Arboretum grounds, the Dogwood Collection displays unparalleled tranquil beauty  in mid-April. Tour the Dogwood Collection with horticulturist George Waters, who will share its story and guide you through over 75 kinds of dogwoods, including shrub-types and trees, both native and imported. Meet in the Dogwood Collection parking lot. Fee: $12 ($10 FONA) Registration required  Note: Walk around the corner after this event for another tour, listed below.

 

gotelli tourTour: Conifers’ Spring Surprise – New!
April 19, 1:00 – 2:30 pm

We all enjoy the vibrant colors of spring flowers, but have you noticed the display that conifers put on in the spring? Not only do they star in the winter garden, but conifers also put on a spring show with their brightly colored spring buds and new growth. Tour the Gotelli Conifer Collection with horticulturist Mariya Navazio, who will share her enthusiasm for these versatile multi-season landscape plants and their less familiar spring beauty. You’ll also walk into the adjacent Japanese maple collection to enjoy the delicate new foliage on these exquisite trees. Meet in the Gotelli Collection parking lot. Fee: $12 ($10 FONA) Registration required.

 

azalea tourAzalea Collections Tours
April 25, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
May 2, 4:30 – 6:30 pm
May 11, Mother’s Day! 1:00 – 3:00 pm

Bring friends and family for this annual spring tradition. Stroll along wooded hillside trails amid a brilliant spring display of blooming azaleas while learning about the origins and culture of these popular shrubs. Barbara Bullock, long-time curator of the renowned Arboretum Azalea Collections, tells the story of how Arboretum research has contributed hundreds of new varieties for gardeners, gives expert advice on all aspects of growing azaleas, and answers your questions. See first-hand the progress of the Glenn Dale Hillside Renewal Project, a major renovation to improve conditions to increase the vigor and bloom production of thousands of azaleas by controlling invasives, pruning, and thinning select saplings. Fee: $12 ($10 FONA) Registration required.

 

garden fair Garden Fair & Plant Sale
April 25, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm; Friends of the National Arboretum members only
April 25, 1:00 – 4:00 pm; Open to the public
April 26, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm; Open to the public

The annual Garden Fair & Plant Sale features new, rare, and hard-to-find plants, garden supply vendors, books, children's activities, refreshments, entertainment, and more. Bring your garden questions to National Arboretum staff members for expert advice. Sponsored by the Friends of the National Arboretum (FONA). Call FONA at 202-544-8733 for more information. Free admission.

May

bonsai festivalPotomac Bonsai Festival
May 2, 3, & 4; 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Have you always wanted to try bonsai, but weren’t sure where to start? This annual festival features something for everyone, from the curious beginner to the accomplished bonsai artist. Activities include free demonstrations, special exhibits, vendors, workshops, family activities, a free “Getting Started” booth, and an Asian food vendor. Local and visiting guest artists will share their expertise at programs. Co-sponsored by the National Arboretum, the National Bonsai Foundation, and the Potomac Bonsai Association. For a complete schedule of activities, see the Potomac Bonsai Association website. Some programs have fees. Free festival admission.

 

azalea tourAzalea Collections Tours
May 2, 4:30 – 6:30 pm
May 11, Mother’s Day! 1:00 – 3:00 pm

Bring friends and family for this annual spring tradition. Stroll along wooded hillside trails amid a brilliant spring display of blooming azaleas while learning about the origins and culture of these popular shrubs. Barbara Bullock, long-time curator of the renowned Arboretum Azalea Collections, tells the story of how Arboretum research has contributed hundreds of new varieties for gardeners, gives expert advice on all aspects of growing azaleas, and answers your questions. See first-hand the progress of the Glenn Dale Hillside Renewal Project, a major renovation to improve conditions to increase the vigor and bloom production of thousands of azaleas by controlling invasives, pruning, and thinning select saplings. Fee: $12 ($10 FONA) Registration required.

 

Photo workshopWorkshop: Photography as Zen Art FULL
May 10, 17, 24, 31; 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Using the Arboretum collections as inspiration, enhance your photographic vision and produce more meaningful images with lessons from this four-session workshop. Built upon the common denominator of photography and Zen – wise attention – this program incorporates several Zen creative practices, including relaxed attentiveness, mindfulness of perception, seeing with one eye, and more. These techniques enable you to find beauty wherever you are, loosen the grip of preoccupations and attachments, and capture images that reflect your true artistic personality. For class details, call 703-855-9888. Required: digital camera, tripod, and means of sending images. Fee: $119 ($95 FONA) Registration required.

 

Lawn Care Series

 Informal indoor, outdoor, and hands-on learning activities provide you with practical, science-based, and up-to-date information you can use to improve your lawn. Three different workshops held in March, April, and May complement the Arboretum’s upcoming exhibit, Grass Roots, which will open this summer. Sessions are free, but space is limited and registration is encouraged; call 202-245-5965 to register. Door prizes at every session!

lawn careSave your Water, your Money, and your Lawn – New!
May 10, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm      

When hot weather approaches, gardeners often pull out their hoses and prepare to use valuable resources (water and money!) to maintain the lawn. Learn how to save these resources by using the most effective techniques to keep the lawn healthy through its most difficult season-summer. Calculate your lawn’s water requirements, and then learn which best-care practices will optimize lawn health with minimal input. The workshop also covers using lawn irrigation systems wisely, how new technology can help you save water, and the basics of drip irrigation for landscape beds.

 

world bonsai dayOpen House: World Bonsai Day
May 10, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

World Bonsai Day celebrates Saburo Kato’s belief that bonsai has the power to unite people by acting as a bridge to international friendship and peace. This annual event features demonstrations at12:00 and 2:00 pm, drawings for the demonstration trees, curator-led museum tours at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, and 2:00 pm, and an exhibit about Mr. Kato, founder of the World Bonsai Friendship Federation. National Bonsai & Penjing Museum. Admission and all events are free.

 

Full Moon HikeFull Moon Hike
May 12, 8:00 – 10:00 pm FULL
May 13, 8:00 – 10:00 pm FULL
May 14, 8:00 – 10:00 pm FULL

Take a brisk hike through moonlit gardens, meadows, and woods. Your guide will share specially chosen points of interest and seasonal highlights. The two-hour walk over hilly and uneven terrain is a brisk hike, not a garden tour so prepare accordingly. Not recommended for children under 16. No pets, please. Spring hikes book quickly; register soon to reserve your spot. Fee: $22 ($18 FONA) Registration required.

 

Private Full Moon Hike for Group
May 12, 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Meet in the Visitor Information center

Gather a group of friends, family, co-workers, and others to enjoy a unique experience considered by many to be one of D.C.’s best outings. Not recommended for children under 16. No pets, please. For more information, see the description of Full Moon Hike. Maximum 25 per group. Fee: $550 Registration required.

 

KusamonoKusamono Workshop
May 17, 1:00 – 3:00 pm FULL

Kusamono is the traditional Japanese art of potted arrangements of wildflowers and grasses in unique containers. Each composition suggests a season and a habitat, such as a wetland, meadow, or woodland. Learn all about this botanical art form and create your own living composition at this hands-on workshop taught by Young Choe, accomplished kusamono artist and teacher. Handmade ceramic container, plants, soil, and all other materials are provided. Fee: $69 ($55 FONA/NBF) Registration required.

 

leafsnapLeafsnap App Workshop – New!
May 17, 1:00 – 3:00 pm

Have you ever seen an interesting tree and wondered what it is? There’s an app for that! Learn to identify trees common to this area using the Leafsnap App, an electronic tree ID field guide for iPhones and iPads developed by Columbia University, the University of Maryland, and the Smithsonian Museums. Ida Lopez, a Smithsonian Museum Specialist and the team leader for the Leafsnap Project, will demonstrate its uses and get you started with practice on Arboretum trees. Free. Space is limited, registration is encouraged; call 202-245-2708 to register.

 

satsukiExhibit: Art Blooms: Satsuki Azalea Bonsai
May 23 – June 2, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm (Fridays – Mondays only)

Don’t miss these stunning bonsai, miniature in form, but covered with multicolored, full-sized flowers. Late-blooming Satsuki azaleas have been hybridized in Japan for hundreds of years; many of the museum’s azalea bonsai were started from cuttings collected in Japan in the last century. This annual exhibit showcases our most spectacular examples in a formal display. Based on individual bloom times, trees may be on display in the outdoor pavilions before and after the week-long indoor exhibit. National Bonsai & Penjing Museum. Free.

 

Ceratostigma_plumbaginoidesBuds
May 31, 10:00 – 11:00 am; Discovery time on your own begins at 11:00 am.
(Sessions will also be held June 14, July 19, August 16, September 13, October 25, November 8, and December 13)

The National Arboretum in partnership with Casey Trees presents Buds, a tree-focused activity for toddlers and preschoolers, aged 18 months to 4 years. Children will enjoy stories, songs, and a craft project, followed by family discovery time on the Arboretum grounds. Arborist Lacey Brown will guide the activities featuring trees and the environment and each child will leave with a list of seasonally selected “scavenger hunt items” to track down on the Arboretum grounds. Free; registration is required. Register through the Casey Trees website or call Casey at 202-828-1432 for more information.

 

UTA rose and lavender Under the Arbor: Garden Classics – Lavender and Roses
May 31, 1:00 – 4:00 pm

Indulge yourself in the beauty and fragrance of two classic garden herbs in full bloom. Discover the garden’s collection of over 60 types of lavender and explore dozens of vintage rose varieties in the Antique and Heritage Rose Garden. Get expert growing information and see the practical applications of these two favorites in demonstrations, food samples, and crafts. Presented by the Herb Society of America.  Free.

 

Family Activities

 Back to the Arboretum Home Page
Arboretum Information || Events & Education || Gardens & Horticulture || Research Activities
Support the Arboretum || New Plant Introductions || USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map || Comments
Search Our Site

Last Updated   April 14, 2014 1:15 AM
URL = http://www.usna.usda.gov/Education/events.html