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- Oh, baby! Spring brings new zoo additions
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5 Places to See Spring Bloom
While it can be wonderful to head to your local public park or enjoy the flowers and freshly cut grass in your own backyard, winter-induced cabin fever may have left you itching for a road trip. Right now, there is no better time to hit the road and see spring burst into bloom! Here are some of our picks for places that will put the “spring” back in your step and bring you in-tune with nature and the new cycle of warmer weather.
A Cherry Blossom Festival for Both Coasts
Whether you live on the East coast or the West coast -- or if you crave an adventure far from home -- both Washington state and Washington D.C. play host to their own springtime celebrations centered around cherry blossoms. These fragile, fleeting blooms are at their most beautiful in the early part of April. When in bloom, their soft pink-and-white petals fill out the branches of trees, creating a lovely pastel landscape in their wake.
Washington D.C. hosts its annual National Cherry Blossom Festival from March 20th through April 13th, 2014. The event celebrates the gift of 3,000 cherry trees to Washington, D.C. from Mayor of Tokyo, Yukio Ozaki, in 1912. The gift symbolized the friendship between the two nations. Since ancient times, cherry blossoms have been prized by the Japanese and stand as a cultural symbol of beauty and a reminder of how short, yet sweet life can be -- much like the all-too-brief season when these buds bloom.
In addition to giving residents and visitors a glimpse at breathtaking foliage, the Washington, D.C. celebration also features a parade, a “Pink Tie” fundraiser gala, and a Japanese tea- and sake-tasting session.
On the West coast, the Seattle Cherry Blossom and Japanese Cultural Festival also pays tribute to the traditions of the Land of the Rising Sun and their cultural impact on the U.S. Although it is not as old as its East coast counterpart, Seattle’s celebration -- now in its 39th year -- commemorates the gift of 1,000 cherry trees given to the city of Seattle by Japan’s then-Prime Minister, Takeo Miki. This year’s festival will be held at the Seattle Center from April 25th through the 27th and will also include a theatrical stage production, traditional Taiko drumming, and more.
More Than Just a Zoo in Philadelphia
The Philadelphia Zoo is more than just a landmark Philadelphia attraction. It’s also the oldest zoo in America. While the Philadelphia Zoo certainly houses a great variety of animals in replicas of their natural habitats, it is also home to over 30,000 varieties of plant life. It’s more than just a zoo; it’s also a beautiful Victorian garden that spans a sprawling 42 acres. A springtime visit to the zoo yields more than just an educational, entertaining look at countless species of animals. If you pause to take in the foliage, you’ll discover gorgeous flora that you can’t spot anywhere else in the City of Brotherly Love. From two-centuries old English elm tree supposedly planted by the grandson of state founder William Penn to the monkey puzzle tree near the entrance gate, these are just a few leafy feasts for the eyes scattered throughout the Zoo.
Conservatory Garden in NYC’s Central Park
It can be hard to find a little bit of peace -- let alone greenery -- in the concrete jungle of New York City. However, nestled in Central Park is the beautiful Conservatory Garden -- a grand and green NYC attraction that accounts for 6 acres of land devoid of bikes, bustle, and buildings. The Conservatory Garden was designed by Gilmore D. Clarke and opened to the public in 1937. The meticulously cultivated garden is broken up into three sections of plants and displays, invoking traditional French, English, and Italian gardens and their plants. Visitors to the garden -- located at 5th Avenue and 105th street -- can cast a lingering look at the lilac trees in the English garden or catch an intoxicating whiff of tulips in the French garden. It’s truly a spectacle in springtime that should not be missed!
The Boston Flower Show
New England sports enthusiasts may be familiar with the Boston Garden, but for four days in March, the Boston Flower Show brings its own excitement to those throughout the region. This year’s event was held at the Seaport World Trade Center from March 12th through the 16th. In addition to lavish displays of artistically arranged flowers and complex exhibits, the Boston Flower Show ushered in a taste of spring with educational lectures and seminars on organic gardening, ecological impact, and of course, competitions! For those in the nation’s Northeastern corridor, the Boston Flower Show is always the first sign of spring and a breath of fresh air after a harsh Boston winter!
The San Francisco Botanical Gardens in Golden Gate Park
If you live on the West coast and prefer an opportunity to see the flora blossom in a less-controlled environment, the San Francisco Botanical Gardens fit the bill. The award-winning Garden offers over 8,000 unique types of plants from around the globe. One of its most famous events is the blooming of wildflowers that dot the Botanical Garden’s 55-acre landscape. Many of the flowers that pop up around the Garden are native to California -- including varieties of poppies and irises and the Western Azalea, to name just a few. The cost of admission ranges from $2 to $7 per person, but the Garden opens its gates to visitors for free each morning from 7:30 A.M. until 9 A.M.
These are just a few places where you can come down with spring fever and experience the season in all its floral glory.