Administration Building

The U.S. National Arboretum’s Administration Building, completed in the early 1960s, combines modernistic elements with Asian influences. The 150,000-gallon pool surrounding the Administration Building features exotic aquatic plants and brightly colored Japanese koi, which appeal to everyone, especially children. Inside, the visitor information desk provides a good starting point for a visit. Pick up an Arboretum Visitor Guide and a wealth of other information.

The gardens surrounding the Administration Building and parking areas, collectively known as the Introduction Garden, showcase numerous plant introductions developed by Arboretum scientists and other plant breeders in the years since the Arboretum opened to the public. The winding garden beds allow you to investigate newer plant introductions released by the nursery industry, tried and true classics, dramatic seasonal displays, and specialized plant combinations employed in the five rain-filtering bioretention basins (i.e., rain gardens). With a backdrop of native woodland canopy, the myriad combinations of lower-maintenance grasses, shady perennials and groundcovers, and vibrant, larger-than-life tropical plant displays are sure to inspire the hidden gardener within. The terraces that surround the Administration Building are also a great place to get ideas for container gardening. An assortment of plants in large and small containers highlight exciting arrangements of foliage and flowers, including water-wise succulents.


The Introduction Garden is near the Arbor House, the National Herb Garden, and the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum. All of these areas are handicapped-accessible. The North Court and the East Terrace both have tables where visitors may stop for a rest or take a bite to eat (there are no regular food services, so please bring your own lunch) before heading out. Parking is available in the R Street lot.