Contact: Mike Litterst, 202 245-4676
National Park Service Announces Visitor Services for 2017 National Cherry Blossom Festival
Washington – The National Park Service will offer a number of special programs and services during the 2017 National Cherry Blossom Festival, including festival-related lantern walks; and ranger talks and tours around the Tidal Basin and National Mall. National Park Service festival events will be held from March 15 through April 2, 2017 and are free of charge. Peak bloom of the cherry trees is expected to occur between March 14 and 17.
Visitor information during the festival will be available from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily at the Tidal Basin Welcome Area, located near the paddle boats in the Tidal Basin parking lot. Food, souvenir, and book sales are also located in the same area, available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Schedule of Special Events
Daily Activities – March 15-April 2, 2017
Tidal Basin Welcome Area 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Begin your visit to the National Cherry Blossom Festival at the Tidal Basin Welcome Area, located off Maine Avenue, SW, on the northeast side of the Tidal Basin. Information tents, food and souvenir sales areas, first aid and the Junior Ranger Activity Zone provide everything you need for a fun-filled visit (food and souvenir sales tents open until 6 p.m.).
(NOTE: Due to the extremely early peak bloom projection, the Tidal Basin Welcome Area dates changed from the originally announced March 25 – April 9.)
East Potomac Park Shuttle 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Shuttle service with 11 stops around East Potomac Park between Hains Point and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial is available for $1 per person for each boarding. Provided by Eastern National, official cooperating association of National Mall and Memorial Parks, the service will operate from March 15 through April 2 between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.
Junior Ranger Activity Zone 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Head to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial to learn about the cherry blossoms and Japanese culture through games and hands-on activities, including origami, haiku, Japanese style headbands and more. Also be sure to pick up your Bloomin' Junior Ranger booklet in the activity zone or at the National Park Service tent at the Tidal Basin Welcome Area and complete the family-friendly, fun activities to earn a special Junior Ranger badge and certificate!
Cherry Blossom Ranger Talk – Jefferson Memorial 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m. 4 p.m., 6 pm
Join a Park Ranger and learn more about the history and lore of the cherry blossoms. Programs meet on the plaza in front of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. (NOTE: These talks will continue through April 9)
Cherry Blossom Ranger Talk – FDR Memorial 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m.
Join a Park Ranger and learn more about the history and lore of the cherry blossoms. Programs meet at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial bookstore. (NOTE: These talks will continue through April 9)
Ranger-led Lantern Walks March 17-19, March 24-26, March 31-April 2, April 7-8
Bring your flashlight for an evening stroll beneath the blossoms; evening is one of the best times to beat the crowds and enjoy the beautiful serenity of the Cherry Trees! This 1.8 mile, two hour guided walk around the Tidal Basin begins at 8 p.m. at the National Park Service tent in the Tidal Basin Welcome Area. Tours offered every Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening between March 17 and April 8 (no tour on Sunday, April 9).
Run With a Ranger March 18, March 25, April 1, April 8
Beginner and marathon runners alike will enjoy the beauty of the cherry trees on this informational and engaging 3.5 mile jog with a Park Ranger through the National Mall. Meet at 9 a.m. at the Washington Monument Lodge (15th St. between Madison and Jefferson Drives, adjacent to Washington Monument).
Ranger Bike Tour March 18, March 25, April 1, April 8
Grab your own bike, helmet, and water for a leisurely ride beneath the blossoms. The three-hour tour departs from the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Saturdays at 1 p.m.
Pups ‘n Petals Dog Walk March 18-19, March 25-26, April 1-2, April 8
Bring your furry friend for a two-hour stroll among the cherry blossoms! Meet on the backside of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial (East Basin Drive) at 2 p.m. Don’t forget your leash (required), waste bags and water.
Birds and Blooms March 18, March 25, April 1, April 8
Join a Park Ranger for a bird walk among the cherry blossoms. Meet at the World War II Memorial contact station at 7:30 a.m. and remember to bring your binoculars!
The Team that Gave us the City’s Symbols of Peace April 1, April 8
The behind-the-scenes tale of the Americans and Japanese who coordinated Tokyo’s 1912 gift of 3000 Japanese cherry trees to Washington will astonish. Facts are better than fiction in this teamwork of visionaries! Begins at 1 p.m. at the Japanese Lantern on the Tidal Basin (west end of Kutz Bridge along Independence Avenue).
Meaning of the Cherry Blossom Festival: Readings from the Masters March 18, April 2, April 9
Travel back in time to discover the meaning of the Cherry Blossom Festival. Join us for readings from the first description of the Japanese festival (Tale of Genji, 11th century), the remarkable Kabuki play, Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees (18th century), and Eliza Scidmore’s description of the festival that inspired her to push to establish cherry trees in Washington (1891). Program starts at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial bookstore at 1 p.m.
For the full schedule of National Park Service cherry blossom events, including the Anacostia River Festival to be held in Anacostia Park, as well as a history of the cherry blossoms, and the bloom watch countdown, go to www.nps.gov/cherry.
For the full schedule of events sponsored by the National Cherry Blossom Festival, see www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org.
If You Go
Due to extremely limited public parking, the National Park Service strongly recommends all visitors take Metro or bike to the festival. The closest Metro stop to the festival and the Tidal Basin is the Smithsonian station. The L’Enfant Plaza, Metro Center, and Federal Triangle Metro stations are also within walking distance. Nine Capital Bikeshare stations are available within the National Mall to provide another transportation option.
D.C. Circulator service is available around the Tidal Basin, via the National Mall route. Stops near the cherry blossoms include the Holocaust Memorial Museum/Bureau of Engraving and Printing (adjacent to the Tidal Basin Welcome Area) and the Jefferson Memorial.
Handicapped parking is designated on West Basin Drive at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. Additional handicapped parking is available on southbound Ohio Drive on the Washington Boundary Channel side of Hains Point, north of the intersection with Buckeye Drive.
From Saturday, March 11 through Sunday, April 2, Ohio Drive SW through West Potomac Park will be one way only (westbound) between Inlet Bridge and 23rd Street SW
Last updated: March 28, 2017