By Rachel Kuiper
The warm weather that arrives with spring brings the return of outdoor activities and events. These can be pricey, but not all have to break the bank and plenty of these low cost or free activities are located near College Park.
Lake Artemesia is a short walk from the university. Visitors can bird watch, fish with a license, or walk or bike on more than two miles of trails. The trail to the lake begins north of campus off of Baltimore Avenue.
Another free outdoor event is the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The festival, located by the Tidal Basin in downtown DC, begins March 20 and runs through April 12. Be sure to stop by any of the number of other events that coincide with the festival, such as the festival parade on April 11.
The festival is estimated to attract more than 1.5 million people each year, according to a press release from Events DC. It’s a “great family value for people looking to welcome the new season and shake off winter,” she said.
Free fitness classes are offered a short walk from the Tidal Basin on Saturdays during the four weekends the festival is open. “It’s a really fun way to come out and get some exercise around the monument,” Davis said.
A second popular free DC spring event is a visit to the United States Botanic Garden, located near the US Capitol. The garden is open all year round, but the outdoor exhibits really begin to bloom in March and April.
“We offer many lectures, demonstrations, workshops and tours … on topics such as edible plants, medicinal plants, botanical gardens around the world, botanical diversity and art,” said Science and Public Programs Manager Susan Pell.
The garden is accredited as a museum by the American Alliance of Museums. “We are a museum with a living collection, our plants,” said U.S. Botanic Garden Conservation and Sustainability Horticulturist Ray Mims. “Students can bring a sandwich and enjoy lunch, or walk around and feel transported to other parts of the world. See citrus, coffee, chocolate, bananas, tea, medicinal plants, desert plants, Hawaiian plants, and more.”
There are plenty of ways to take advantage of the spring weather, so take your pick!