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Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Rhododendron Species Garden

Today we begin a series of short posts over the next couple of months, where we will discover hidden gems near to where I live in the summer months. I love living in Western Washington in the summer, with beautiful weather and outdoor activities to enjoy. So when we are here in the summer, we always relish being tourists in our own backyard. So, this blog post series idea was born. I hope you enjoy it. Our first installment of Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Rhododendron Species Garden.

A Long Wait

For decades I have said I would visit the Rhododendron Botanical Species Garden in Federal Way Washington. I would think this every time I drove by the directional sign on Interstate Five. But, as is often true in our own hometowns, it just never happened. So, finally, we made a point to visit. And what a great treat it was! A true Hidden Gem of the Pacific Northwest – Rhododendron Species Garden.

So Much More Than Rhododendrons

The gardens were much bigger than I was expecting, 22 acres of not just a fascinating collection of Rhododendrons, but a wide variety of beautiful plants of all kinds. Native plants from the Pacific Northwest as well as wonderful flowers, shrubs, trees from around the world. There is also an indoor conservancy with warm weather plants that are fascinating. Around the gardens you can enjoy an Alpine Rock Garden, a Stumpery, The Pond and Poppy Meadow and a Woodland Garden. All easy to enjoy on meandering trails and beautiful in all seasons, but especially in spring and summer.

Pacific Bonsai Museum

This wonderful space is also home to the fascinating Pacific Bonsai Museum. This was unexpected for us, and we really enjoyed the wide display of bonsai, some more than 100 years old. Fascinating. We had a chance to talk with one of the curators and she said they have fifty on display at any given time (year-round) and another hundred in storage. They switch them out seasonally. How cool is that? So I definitely need to go back and check it out in the fall.


The Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden is open Tuesday – Sunday from 10am to 4pm. Closed on major holidays. Entrance is $8 and entrance to the Pacific Bonsai Museum is by donation. Check both websites for special events, speakers and plant sales.

Need Directions?

What a great find! A definite Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Rhododendron Species Garden in Federal Way Washington.

Wait for another installment of Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest next Friday. We love it when you comment, pin and share our posts.

See last week’s post My Favorite Coffee Around the World.

Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Rhododendron Species Garden

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  • Reply Marilyn

    I love visiting gardens whilst enjoying a new location, it’s always interesting and enjoyable to learn what species are native to the area, and totally enjoy the pops of colour on display.

    June 24, 2023 at 11:37 am
    • Reply Laureen

      Me too. Always part of our travels

      June 24, 2023 at 8:57 pm
  • Reply Terri

    I love visiting the numerous public and private gardens in Washington DC. But I also make a point to visit the botanical gardens in cities where I travel. Now I need to get back out to Washington State to visit this lovely garden. Beautiful pics.

    June 24, 2023 at 12:02 pm
  • Reply Heather

    This is beautiful and I’m actually working on my photos from Jeju Island in South Korea where they have a giant bonsai garden that’s the coolest thing I ever saw – so I really enjoy the bonsais in your post!!

    June 24, 2023 at 8:36 pm
  • Reply Jennifer Mostert

    Parks and gardens are always top of my list of stops when I visit a new place. I love sitting on a bench and simply absorbing the natural beauty around me.

    June 25, 2023 at 3:27 am
  • Reply Goya Galeotta

    What a gorgeous place – Thanks for sharing!

    June 26, 2023 at 12:32 am
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