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Cherry Blossom Peak Bloom Pushed Back In D.C.

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A woman (R) takes pictures of cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 29, 2011 in Washington, DC. Americans celebrating the beauty of Washington's landmark pink cherry blossoms this spring have at heart the tragedies jolting Japan, which gave the trees to the United States. More than 27,000 people are dead or missing, and two weeks after the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami crippled the aging nuclear plant in northeastern Japan, rescue work is still under way to avoid a major nuclear disaster. As many as one million people are expected to stream through the Mall esplanade area during the Cherry Blossom Festival from March 26 through April 10. (Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

A woman (R) takes pictures of cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 29, 2011 in Washington, DC. Americans celebrating the beauty of Washington’s landmark pink cherry blossoms this spring have at heart the tragedies jolting Japan, which gave the trees to the United States. More than 27,000 people are dead or missing, and two weeks after the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami crippled the aging nuclear plant in northeastern Japan, rescue work is still under way to avoid a major nuclear disaster. As many as one million people are expected to stream through the Mall esplanade area during the Cherry Blossom Festival from March 26 through April 10. (Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The National Park Service is updating its predicted peak bloom time for the District of Columbia’s cherry trees, now saying the peak bloom will come in early April.

Officials had said the city’s famous cherry tree blooms would be at their best between March 26 and March 30. On Tuesday the National Park Service updated its website to say the peak bloom dates would be April 3 through 6. Spokeswoman Carol Johnson says cold weather slowed the blossoms’ development.

The average peak bloom date is April 4, but last year’s peak bloom date came earlier on March 20, due to the warm weather.

The cherry blossoms draw about 1 million visitors to the nation’s capital each spring. This year marks the 101st anniversary of the gift of trees from Japan.

Meanwhile, there’s no work taking place on the Metro system this weekend.

Metro is taking a break from its usual weekend track work for cherry blossom season.

The transit agency says it won’t conduct weekend work beginning this weekend and through April 14.

Metro says ridership increases by an average of more than 15 percent during the cherry blossom season. Weekend ridership can double to near-weekday levels during nice weather as people head to see the flowers.

And if you ever wanted to visit the National Aquarium in Washington, now is the time.

The National Aquarium in Washington is holding extended hours during the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

The aquarium’s extended hours begin Wednesday and continue through April 14.

The aquarium is normally open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. During the cherry blossom festival, however, it will be open until 6 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

The aquarium has more than 1,500 animals. It is located on 14th Street between Pennsylvania Avenue and Constitution Avenue NW. Tickets are $9.95 for adults.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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