From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

Butterflies and Black Eyed Susan’s

By Lani Gering

For those of you who read this column on a regular basis, you know what a big fan I am of the displays in the Conservatory at the MGM. I stopped at the casino a couple of weeks ago just to check things out and donate my token $40 to the Wild, Wild Buffalo slot machine and strolled down the “District” retail and restaurant corridor into the conservatory.  I make every attempt to check the displays out as they change during the year and I am always amazed at the talent that goes into bringing them into fruition. When you consider that there is 15,000 square foot of space to fill, it is quite an undertaking.

The current Spring & Summer display is pretty eye-catching to say the least. It doesn’t really have a “theme” other than trying to capture the natural beauty of our region’s flowers, foliage and atmosphere during the spring and summer seasons in the DMV.

The sheer SIZE of the displays are hard to comprehend until you see them in person. The photos don’t really do it justice. There are extraordinary butterflies and blooming flowers that cascade across the 85-foot atrium with the sounds of other natural elements – running water and chirping birds – in the background that exude a serene sense of calmness. I could sit on one of the benches and people watch for hours if I had the time.

In order to give you a sense of the immenseness of the features, there are nearly 2,500 (yes, two thousand five hundred) plants used throughout the display. In addition to them, there are eight 6-foot yellow flowers and eight 8-foot orange flowers overhead, eighteen 8-foot butterflies at various heights and colors, a 20-foot bamboo watering can that includes a water feature, an 8-foot tall animatronic butterfly, four 15-foot tall purple iris flowers, a 6-foot turtle, a 22-foot tall weeping willow tree, a 6-foot tall water spigot, a 10-foot pylon bridge and pylons, 7-foot tall seagrass, a 10-foot tall terracotta pot and 20-foot tall Black Eyed Susan’s – the Maryland State Flower.

The moving parts in these displays really intrigue me. The water spout and the moving butterfly in this one are very happening. I was, however, disappointed that the turtle didn’t do any tricks but he’s pretty spectacular nonetheless.

In addition to the stunning conservatory display, photo opportunities are located in both The Conservatory and Retail District. This gives you a chance to take photos in front of two floral-themed backdrops as well as anywhere around the display itself.

Want a nice break from the August heat? Take a trip across the Woody Bridge and park in the huge FREE parking garage at the MGM and enjoy an afternoon/evening in the coolness of the conservatory. This display will be available through September 9th when they dismantle summer and put up fall!


Thursday – Date Night

3rd – Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

10th – A Journal for Jordan

17th – Invictus

24th – Sister Act

31st – Cruella (2021)

Sunday Family Night

6th – Incredibles

13th – Incredibles 2

20th – Air Bud: World Pup (2000)

27th – Space Jam: A New Legacy

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