Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens
The only US national park devoted to aquatic plants, Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens are overflowing with colorful water-loving plants, ranging from lotus and water lilies to bamboo thickets. Set along the banks of the Anacostia River, the 700-acre (283-hectare) park is a haven within the greater Anacostia Park.
Visitors to Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens pass the time strolling raised boardwalks, enjoying nature trails, and marveling at massive lily pads. You can explore the expansive park on your own or join a guided walking tour. Those interested in participating in axa0 tour can choose from birding-focused walks or garden tours and learn about the park’s flora and fauna from a ranger along the way.
Alternatively, an independent excursion lets you take in the park at your own pace and grants you ample opportunities to relax on a garden bench or watch the wildlife. A stop at the visitor center gives you the chance to learn more about the history, ecology, and conservation efforts of the park.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The park draws in birders and nature lovers.
- Visitors are encouraged to bring cameras and binoculars.
- The park is free to enter and open year-round.
- The bookstore and visitor center are wheelchair accessible but paths around the park can be uneven and muddy.
How to Get There
Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens are located in northeast Washington DC. You can drive to the park (located just south of Route 50) or take the Metrorail. To reach the Aquatic Gardens by Metro, take the Orange Line to the Deanwood Stop.
When to Get There
While the park is open all year, if you want to see the aquatic flowers at their peak, visit in the summer. Water lilies begin blooming in May, while lotus blooms late June through July. Both flowers open and close daily based on the temperature and can be expected to close before 2pm. Visit early if you want to watch the flowers open.
Visiting Anacostia Park
Set across the river from Washington DC, Anacostia Park is a hub for recreation activities and wildlife. In addition to nature trails along the river, canoe routes, and boardwalks above the marshes, the park is also home to numerous recreation facilities. Visitors can make use of sports fields, a skating rink, fitness station, picnic area, playground, and more.
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- United States Treasury Building
- Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America
- Congressional Cemetery
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- Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
- Union Station
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- Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument
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- Supreme Court of the United States
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- Library of Congress
- Capitol Hill
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