Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Washington, DC's Hidden Christmas Treasure

Have you ever been to the United States Botanic Garden?


Well, neither had I. Boy have I missed out! It is a magical place, a refuge just south of the Capital building. And to think, I almost passed this up and headed straight to the Capital building.

What pulled me in? I noticed Christmas lights on the trees in the outside garden. Then, I noticed all the Christmas trees lining the outside of the building. My goal Christmas Eve was to photograph all of the Christmas trees in the Smithsonian Museums, so I headed over. Then, I saw this!

Yes a giant model train set! Oh boy was this cool! I also noticed lights inside the building and it was about to close in half an hour so I thought I'd run in and see what I could see. There was a gorgeous Christmas tree (pictured at the opening of this blog). Around the tree, another train set!

Gosh, it was so magical!

So many little children were lined up along the edge of the tree, mesmerized by the train. Every time it reappeared, there were many squeals of "Look mom!" "Look dad!" in various forms of toddlereze. Lots of chubby index fingers pointed excitedly in the direction of the 'racing' locomotive.

You know, I didn't notice they even had 'little people' set up outside the buildings along the railway! Just noticed now as I was writing this.

But wait, there is more!

Along the walls of the courtyard were miniatures of the buildings along 'The Mall' in Washington, DC. Below, The Capital building.

Below, the Supreme Court building with The Capital building in the background.

This is the Lincoln Memorial, and yes, look inside, there is a miniature Lincoln!

Finally, the White House.

Aren't these cool? I can just imagine little fairies stepping out when the building closes, dancing in the flowers and having elegant parties in the buildings.

The building closed at 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve. They stay open later on many nights during the holiday, if you are interested in visiting, check out the link to their web page for hours. In my opinion, this is a must see!

Even though the Botanic Garden closes at 5 p.m., the train set outside remains open until 10 p.m.

They did a wonderful job with this. Its made of all natural materials. Those are real trees.
I had to chuckle at the families trying to take pictures of their children by the display. The parents wanted their children to turn their backs to the display and look at the camera. That was not working! The children were transfixed. No amount of yelling or threats of a spanking would make them turn around for a picture. Why the parents didn't just take a shot of their kids back then then get a side shot of their kid focused on the trains, I don't know. For one little boy, it was like his face was glued to an invisible 'glass pane'. His father tried to turn him around to face the camera - - the little boys body moved, but his face remained in the same position, locked on to the magical train.

Yes, there was a bridge joining the three (I think there were three) islands. Haha! I didn't even know I captured a trian crossing the bridge. I tried to capture this but thought I missed it every time (I need to get a digital SLR!!!!).

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