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Best known for its vast collection of azaleas, (a popular porch-flower), this 446-acre (180-hectare) garden park has much else to offer. Fountains, pools and open space separate a series of focused gardens at the United States National Arboretum. The National Bonsai Collection, a gift from Japan, is a fascinating exhibit of tiny trees. Other notable sections are the aquatic garden (filled with lotuses of many varieties) and the National Herb Garden.
The Huntley Meadows Nature Center in the Hybla Valley of Virginia, is a wetland park. Established since 1975, the park is home to a variety of wildlife, especially birds. Visitors can make use of observation decks to spot wildlife or walk along designated trails. Various creeks run through the vast expanse of the park and one can find beaver dams built across them at many places. The visitor center provides more information about the flora and fauna residing in the park.
Hemlock Overlook Regional Park has something exciting for everyone. The park serves as an outdoor education center that teaches visitors about the natural world - and how to survive in it. Other activities that can be reserved include ropes courses, rock climbing and kayaking. It is important to note that members of the public must make a reservation to join these activities. However, you do not need a reservation to use the park's beautiful hiking and horseback riding trails.
The gorgeous U.S. Botanic Garden conservatory presents botanical variety, from the desert to the tropics, along a series of calm and gently meandering paths. A particular waterfall and garden display the flora of the dinosaur age. Seasonal displays include Christmas greens and poinsettias in December and January, chrysanthemums in autumn and blooming flowers at Easter. A part of the United States Botanic Garden (USBG), the National Garden, was opened in October 2006 and includes the carefully-designed Butterfly Garden.
Skirted by the surging waters of Rock Creek, the National Zoological Park is a forerunner for the title of America's finest wildlife facilities. It was created by Congress in 1889, making it one of the oldest zoos in the country. The zoo was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, who also designed the grounds of the U.S. Capitol and New York's Central Park. The zoo is famous for its giant pandas from China but you will find all sorts of creatures, both familiar and exotic. The zoo's Asia Trail gets you acquainted with fishing cats, clouded leopards and other Asian animals. Also, the zoo is home to the Elephant Trails, Lemur Island, Cheetah Conservation and Great Cats, where you can witness mighty lions and tigers in action. Birds and reptiles from across the world also call the Smithsonian National Zoological Park their home.