Pacific Bonsai Museum – Federal Way, Washington - Atlas Obscura

Federal Way, Washington

Pacific Bonsai Museum

A comprehensive collection of bonsai set in a beautiful campus. 

The Pacific Bonsai Museum is a unique museum located on the historic Weyerhauser Campus in the unassuming forest town of Federal Way. One of only a few public museums in the world solely dedicated to bonsai, the collection features over 150 different types of trees.

The family-owned Weyerhaeuser Company opened the bonsai collection in 1989. Established to symbolize the Weyerhaeuser’s family commitment to its community and forest, the collection premiered the same time as the Washington State Centennial celebration. 

Bonsai, Japanese for “planting in a container,” is an art that uses cultivation techniques to produce small trees that mimic larger-scale ones, in shallow spaces. Some of the trees in the collection are located in an indoor conservatory, but the majority of them are in individual outdoor spaces.

The bonsai hail from all over the world, including the United States, Japan, Korea, China, Canada, and Taiwan. The Pacific Bonsai Museum is now the most diverse public collection of bonsai in North America, with some of the trees dating back to the 1500s. Exhibits happen on rotation, highlighting sixty different tree species at a time depending on the season. In 2013, the entire collection was gifted to a non-profit and was renamed to the Pacific Bonsai Museum. 

 

Know Before You Go

To get to the museum, drive into the old Weyerhauser campus, entering Weyerhauser Road from S. 336th St. or Weyerhauser Way South. Drive past the forest and lake. There is a Rhododendron Botanical Garden adjacent to the Pacific Bonsai Museum. Please note that admission into the museum is by recommended donation, and the museum is closed on Mondays.

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