Located in Federal Way, the Pacific Bonsai Museum is not the easiest place to find. It shows up in my GPS but, when you arrive at the turning, the signage is either too small for me to spot or nonexistent. I turned in to the entrance, more as an act of faith. Once on the access road, there were signs but then you drive for a long time before you get to the place. You do start to wonder whether it is a spoof.
Once there, though, it is worth it. Entrance is free which was a surprise, particularly given how good the trees were. Everything is outdoor with the trees displayed in groupings around the space. Backdrops provide some visual separation and information boards explain their individual histories as well as telling a little about the styles of Bonsai and the history of the art form.
Individual plants are intermingled with compositions that involve many plants, sometimes over fifty different plants being incorporated into one display. The sizing of some of these is carefully tailored to give an increased sense of depth. The bases are also chosen to emphasize different elements of the plants. As with any activity, when you find out a little bit more about it, you discover just how much complexity is involved. Old trees are not as important as those that appear to be old apparently.
The place is very impressive and, if you are in Federal Way, definitely give it a look.