West Potomac Park

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National Mall Plan, Base Map - Washington Monument and West Potomac Park

The West Potomac Park is a park in Washington, D.C.. It is just west of the National Mall. It is home to some of Washington's most famous places, like the Jefferson Memorial, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, and the Tidal Basin. But, the park’s most famous attraction is cherry blossoms.

History[change | change source]

Thousands of cherry trees bloom around the waters of the Tidal Basin, which reflect the trees’ images. The basin was created in the late 1800s to prevent the Potomac River from flooding. These pink and white flowers serve as a symbol of international friendship.

The original cherry trees were a gift from Japan. On March 26, 1912, more than 3,000 cherry trees arrived in Washington. Most were planted around the Tidal Basin. But cherry trees were also planted near the Washington Monument and the White House.

The park service maintains West Potomac Park, and helps protect the cherry trees.

Cherry Blossom Festival[change | change source]

It is a wonderful gift that is over 100 years old now. The 1912 gift from the people of Japan has grown to this 3,800 trees. The cherry blossoms also serve as a symbol of the beginning of springtime. The trees burst with colors of soft pink and white. The blossoming of the cherry blossoms every spring is sort of the great springtime celebration, not only in the District of Columbia but throughout the United States.

Every year, Washington celebrates the arrival of spring with a two-week Cherry Blossom Festival. More than 1.5 million people from around the world visit the nation’s capital during the festival. They all hope to see the cherry trees at their “peak bloom.” Park officials define "peak bloom" as the period when 70 percent of Washington’s most common cherry tree variety -- the Yoshino trees -- are blooming. Yoshino cherry trees are one of 12 types of cherry trees in Washington. Peak bloom lasts several days each year.

Experts begin making peak bloom predictions in February. Visitors make their travel plans to Washington based on these predictions.

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