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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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FAQs
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Frequently Asked Questions

What is an arboretum?

An arboretum is a living museum where trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants are cultivated for scientific and educational purposes.
 

How do I get to the Arboretum - can you please give me directions?

The National Arboretum is located in the northeast section of Washington, DC, approximately 10 minutes from the Capitol Building. There are two entrances: one at 3501 New York Avenue, NE, and the other at 24th & R Streets, NE, off Bladensburg Road.

From Northwest Washington:  Follow New York Avenue east to the intersection of Bladensburg Road. Turn right (south) onto Bladensburg Road and go 4 blocks to R Street. Make a left on R Street and continue 2 blocks to the Arboretum gates.

From the Maryland suburbs:  Take the Capital Beltway (I 495/I 95) to exit 22B towards Washington. Follow the Baltimore Washington Parkway approximately 7 miles to New York Avenue. Get in your left lane. You will approach the intersection of Bladensburg Road where only the two left lanes turn onto Bladensburg Road. Make the left onto Bladensburg Road and go 4 blocks to R Street. Make a left on R Street and continue 2 blocks to the Arboretum gates.

From Virginia (I 395):  Follow I 395 north over the 14th Street Bridge. Follow signs until the freeway ends at New York Avenue. Turn right onto New York Avenue and follow New York Avenue east to the intersection of Bladensburg Road. Turn right (south) onto Bladensburg Road and go 4 blocks to R Street. Make a left on R Street and continue 2 blocks to the Arboretum gates.

From Virginia (I 95 and I 295):  Follow I 95 North and cross the Wilson Bridge. Stay in the right lane over the bridge. Bear onto the I 95/I 295 North to Washington. Follow I 295 to the exit Rt. 50 West - New York Avenue and continue on Rt. 50 (New York Avenue) to Bladensburg Road where only the two left lanes turn onto Bladensburg Road. Make the left onto Bladensburg Road and go 4 blocks to R Street. Make a left on R Street and continue 2 blocks to the Arboretum gates.

From Virginia (I 66):  Cross the Roosevelt Bridge and follow Constitution Avenue past the Capitol Building. Bear left onto Maryland Avenue. Follow Maryland Avenue to Bladensburg Road. Make a left onto Bladensburg Road and travel 1 mile to R Street. Make a right onto R Street and continue 2 block to the Arboretum gates.
 

Are you near a Metro subway stop?

The closest Metrorail subway stop is Stadium Armory Station on the Blue and Orange lines. Transfer to Metrobus B-2; disembark the bus on Bladensburg Road and walk 2 blocks to R Street. Make a right on R Street and continue 2 blocks to the Arboretum gates. 
 

When is the Arboretum open to the public?

The Arboretum grounds are open every day of the year except December 25 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Administration Building is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily from November 1 to the end of February.  From March 1 to October 31, the Administration Building is open from  8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.  The Administration Building is closed on some federal holidays.  Check our Home Page if you are visiting on a federal holiday to see if the Administration Building will be open.

The National Bonsai and Penjing Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., so plan to visit this collection first if you visit late in the day.

The Arbor House Gift Shop is open from March 1 through mid-December.  Weekday hours are 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and weekend hours are 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Is there an entrance fee?

No. Admission is free to everyone.
 

Is there parking on the grounds and is there a fee?

There is ample free parking.  Large lots are locate near the Grove of State Trees, near the R Street entrance, and near the New York Avenue entrance.  Smaller lots are scattered throughout the grounds.
 

What's in bloom?

There are always blooming trees or plants. See the What's Blooming page or the Current Hot Spots listing.
 

How do I tour the U.S. National Arboretum?

By car, bus, or bicycle: Nine miles of roadways wind through and connect the numerous gardens and collections on our 446-acre campus.   Small parking areas can be found near most of the major collections.  Bicycling is encouraged on the roadways and bicycle racks are located at each parking area.  Bus tours usually follow a prescribed route and may be accompanied by a guide who can tell you more about the Arboretum.

On foot: If you are disabled or prefer a short walking tour, you may visit four beautiful areas that are easily accessible and situated adjacent to each other–the Aquatic Garden and Koi Pond surrounding the Administration Building, the Friendship Garden, the National Herb Garden, and the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum. Serious hikers will also find many intriguing trails throughout the Arboretum.

By tram: A tram for touring the grounds was introduced in the fall of 1997. Check this separate web page for more information on Tram Tours.
 

What special events are taking place today, this weekend, this month, or next year?

See the Calendar for a complete listing of Arboretum programs and activities.
 

Is there a place to eat on the Arboretum grounds?

The Arbor Cafe is located adjacent to the National Herb Garden and the Administration Building and Visitor Center.  Food service is available Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., except during inclement weather.  The menu features light fare including sandwiches, packaged snacks, and nonalcoholic beverages.

You may also bring a picnic lunch when you visit the Arboretum.  Picnic tables are located in the National Grove of State Trees designated picnic area.
 

Do you have public restrooms, water fountains, and public telephones?

Restrooms and water fountains are located in the Administration Building and Arbor House. Other water fountains are shown on the Arboretum Visitor Guide, which you will receive when you arrive. Public telephones are located in the Administration Building and Arbor House.
 

Do you allow wedding ceremonies or wedding receptions?

Wedding ceremonies and receptions are not permitted. However, photographs of the wedding party is allowed for a fee. We are happy to provide you with a list of other places with outdoor locations that do permit these events.
 

Do you have guided tours?

Guided tours are offered with three weeks advance notice for groups of ten (10) or more. The tram, in addition to its regular weekend and holiday tours, may be rented for private group tours.
 

I'm looking for a specific plant.  Where is it located on the grounds?  Can you provide general information on the care of a plant I am interested in and tell me where I can purchase it?

The grounds map designates locations of general collections. Specific plants or varieties of plants can be located with assistance from the Arboretum's Plant Records Department.  When you arrive at the Arboretum, ask the receptionist for assistance in finding the plant that you are interested in.

Check our Gardening Page for information on the care of a particular plant you are interested in.  If you cannot find the information there, contact your local extension service for this information.

We are unable at this time to provide you guidance on where you can purchase a specific plant.  To be fair to everyone in the nursery industry, we feel we must provide all the sources for a given plant and we currently lack the resources to be able to do this.  Tips on finding a source for that special plant you are looking for may be found on our Plant Sources Page.
 

Do you have a Gift Shop?

Yes. The Arbor House Gift Shop features "Gifts and Books for the Horticulturally Minded" and is located in the Arbor House.  The Arbor House Gift Shop is open from March 1 through mid-December.  Weekday hours are 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and weekend hours are 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Arbor House Gift Shop is operated by the National Capital Area Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc., and is staffed primarily by volunteers. They accept MasterCard and Visa, and offer a 10% discount to card-carrying members of the Friends of the National Arboretum (FONA) on purchases of $10 or more. Tel: 202-399-5958. Sorry, no mail orders!

Note: Visiting members of 120 other Botanical Gardens and Arboreta nationwide will also receive a 10% discount in the Gift Shop upon presentation of membership cards.
 

Who are the Friends of the National Arboretum (FONA)?

The Friends of the National Arboretum (FONA) is a private non-profit #501(c)(3) organization dedicated to support the National Arboretum.The FONA office is located in the Arbor House at the Arboretum. Membership is available to the public and includes special discounts at the Arbor House Gift Shop and Botanical Gardens and Arboreta nationwide as well as discounts on fees for Arboretum events and educational programs. You may join FONA through the Internet. See FONA's web site for more information. 



Last Modified: 12/5/2011
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