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Posted at 04:55 PM ET, 03/13/2012

Take our tour of the cherry blossoms on the Tidal Basin


The Tidal Basin at cherry blossom time isn’t just packed with flowers; it’s teeming with fascinating and sometimes quirky stories. Hear them on our audio tour. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

The blooming of the cherry blossoms are always a lovely kickoff to spring in Washington, but if you’ve seen one cherry tree, you’ve seen them all, right?

Not exactly.

The Tidal Basin and East Potomac Park are home to a dozen varieties of the flowering trees, including a handful of tall, gnarled wonders that this year are reaching a major milestone: It’s been 100 years since their arrival on the basin. Other trees are more recent additions, including a hidden stand of tall trees that can be traced to a famed 1,500-year-old Japanese tree. And still others have been uprooted by construction, were lunch for a hungry beaver or are the iconic trees we always see in photos and in the news.

To find the important sites, listen to our podcast tour and take our handy map (PDF). We asked Bill Line, Joel Yarvis and Rob DeFeo of the National Park Service, and Ann McClellan, the author of “Cherry Blossoms: The Official Book of the National Cherry Blossom Festival,” to share some blossom history — both the fascinating and the nutty.

Stop at each point on the map and listen to these experts on Washington’s iconic natural wonder. Time your visit with these National Cherry Blossom Festival events.

To put the tour on your iPod or phone, follow these instructions:

1. Download CherryBlossomTour2012.Zip to your computer.

2. Unzip the file, using a program like Winzip or StuffIt Expander.

3. Drag the new folder of MP3s into your iTunes music library.

4. Create a playlist of the tracks, and transfer the files onto your MP3 player.

And print out our PDF map of the Tidal Basin tour to take with you.

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By  |  04:55 PM ET, 03/13/2012

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