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Tacoma's Pacific Bonsai Museum Is a Washington Must See!

Just outside Tacoma, Washington, the Pacific Bonsai Museum has over 100 bonsai from China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Canada, and America. The museum is technically free (suggested donation $12), located conveniently off Route 5, and housed next to a rhododendron garden (actual tickets $8).

bonsai in tacoma washington pacific bonsai museum

What is bonsai?

This ancient East Asian art is over 1,000 years old. The word bonsai is Japanese, but the art is originally from China, with the Chinese term literally meaning "tray planting." This is an art form of keeping trees artificially small and trimming them to grow in certain directions. It takes plant cultivation to a whole new level, and some of the specimens in this garden are just outstanding. I love the different colors of the bark and the way that some bonsai seem to defy gravity!

The exhibit on display was called "Avant-Garde," and boy, was it. I mean, that last bonsai in the gallery was planted in a literal grill cover!

How old is the oldest bonsai?

The oldest bonsai in the world is a tree near Milan, Italy that is over 1,000 years old! Obviously, that is now at the top of my bucket list lol. The bonsai in this garden appeared to be generally 50-100 years old.

bougainvillea bonsai in tacoma washington pacific bonsai museum

My favorite bonsai are ones with multiple trunks that look like a tiny forest. It totally helps that a lot of bonsai caretakers use moss to keep moisture levels higher. It looks awesome! I also adore the flowering beauty above which is a bougainvillea and the apple trees. How cool!

bonsai in tacoma washington pacific bonsai museum

Listen, I know this post has an unhinged number of photos, and I'm sorry if it took your internet while for them to load. I know it's absurd that the number of pictures I took here rivals the number of Northern Lights pictures I have. But I love bonsai and botanical gardens generally, and this museum was a magical place, so sorry, not sorry!

 avant garden pacific bonsai museum tacoma washington


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