Let's explore the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens!
Kenilworth is the only National Park Service site devoted to aquatic plants. The park has many varieties of water lilies and lotus on display and is a great place to see birds, frogs, turtles, butterflies, and dragonflies. June through July is the best time of year for viewing the flowering aquatic plants.
The late cool stretch has delayed things a bit this year, but Ranger Rick assures me that by the second week of July both the water lilies (white) and lotus (pink) will be in full bloom.
While 8:00 am is an early start, the aquatic flowers close when it gets really hot, so if we start much later there would be nothing to see!
The route: We'll spend the initial hour or so doing some unstructured wandering around LBJ Memorial Pond to enjoy and photograph the aquatic plants. The second half of our visit we'll regroup and walk along the boardwalks to the west and the path to the north along the shoreline of the Anacostia River. Because we'll be surrounded by water and marshland, there's not much room for a really long walk. Still, between the walk and unstructured wandering around, we'll cover 3 miles or more.
How to get there: The parking lot entrance is located at 4505 Anacostia Avenue Northeast, Washington D.C. (The official address is 1550 Anacostia Avenue, NE, Washington, DC.) From the parking lot, a path through the woods leads to the Visitor Center. The park is accessible by Metro from the Deanwood Metro Stop on the Orange Line. (NB: Metro stations do not open until 7:00 am on weekends.) See directions at the NPS web site, http://www.nps.gov/keaq/planyourvisit/directions.htm.
What to bring: Water, comfy shoes, and your furry friend if desired (leashes are required at all times). Sunscreen and insect repellent are recommended. Bring your camera!
Administrative stuff: There are public restrooms and drinking fountains at the Visitor Center (telephone[masked]). The park is open daily from 7 am to 4 pm.
"Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens," Official National Park Service Website, http://www.nps.gov/keaq/index.htm. Accessed 5/27/2012.
"Description of Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens," United States Geological Survey - Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/blitz/kendesc.html. Accessed 5/27/2012.