By Sheila Wickouski

U.S. Capitol model at U.S. Botanic Garden; Courtesy of U.S. Botanic Garden

While the National Christmas Tree is a well known annual tradition, so to is the U.S. Botanic Garden’s holiday exhibit, which features model trains.

Season’s Greenings: America’s Gardens will run through January 5, 2020. The Conservatory will be filled with flowers and the West Gallery will house a 26 foot decorated tree with its own model train. The model train room will feature eight model trains chugging around waterfalls, through tunnels, and over visitors’ heads. The building models will showcase iconic garden scenes from 22 states.

This year, the Botanic Gardens will feature a gift shop, along with  coffee, tea, and hot chocolate available for purchase on the front terrace – near the wait line for the model train display. Run by local coffee roaster Zeke’s Coffee, it will be open every weekend throughout the exhibit, and daily Dec. 13-Jan. 1. The gift shop will offer items such as ornaments, postcards, chocolates, books, and other educational and botanical gift items, and will be open Wednesday through Sunday each week of the Season’s Greenings exhibit. Proceeds from the gift shop and beverage stand will benefit education programs at the USBG. 

On Tuesdays and Thursdays in December, the Conservatory will be open until 8 p.m. for live seasonal music concerts and after-dark holiday exhibit viewing.

Holiday music concerts in the Garden begin at 6 p.m. and end at 8 p.m.; this year’s schedule includes:

• 12/3: Project Natale (contemporary jazz)

• 12/5: Capital Accord Chorus (choral)

• 12/10: The Capital Hearings (a cappella)

• 12/12: Tony Craddock, Jr. & Cold Front (smooth jazz)

• 12/17: 40 Thieves (Irish rock)

• 12/19: Lox & Vodka (klezmer and Jewish folk music)

• 12/24: Changamiré (jazz)

• 12/26: Dial 251 for Jazz (contemporary jazz)

• 12/31: Samovar (Russian folk)

The Conservatory is located at 100 Maryland Ave. SW, on the southwest side of the U.S. Capitol. Visitors are encouraged to use public transportation. More information is available at 

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