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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

For months, if not years, Abel tried to get me to go with him to the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. On the drive between Cheverly and Capitol Hill (a drive we make often) you pass the sign for the Aquatic Gardens as you are passing, I'll be frank, what looks like a fairly downtrodden neighborhood. He finally got me to pull off and check it out one summer afternoon when Lucas was about 6 mos old.

To say the least, we were stunned by the beauty we encountered!

Less than four miles from our home, we found acres upon acres of marshes, wetlands and--most beautifully--ponds filled with lilly pads and lotus plants! It was incredibly beautiful and even more so because it was so unexpected.

I was reminded of how long it had been since we'd visited Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens on April 21 when I heard in the news that Bill Clinton, Michelle Obama and President Obama joined Americorps volunteers to plant a tree there in honor of Earth Day and the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act which will triple Americorps.

Photo from Daylife.

Lucas and I visited the Aquatic Gardens again this afternoon and had a great time! We basically had the entire place to ourselves.

After walking around the ponds and taking the long wooden bridge out to the marshlands we met one of the gardeners, Tony, who was incredibly friendly. My first question to him was: When do the lotus flowers and water lilies bloom? Mid-June. The second thing I asked was: Were is the tree that Michelle Obama planted? He directed me to the tree and also shared that it was a surprise visit and he happened to be the only gardener on duty that day! In fact, he's in the background of the photo above wearing the green hat. Lucky, lucky Tony!!

The Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens are a true gem in Northeast DC--a great way to spend a quiet afternoon or to expose your child to nature. There is beauty to be found any time of the year, but be sure to visit during the summer to fully enjoy the blooming ponds.

Directions: From DC295 you will see signs for the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. From the southbound service road of Kenilworth Avenue south of Eastern Avenue, make a right onto Douglas Street. At the end of Douglas make another right onto Anacostia Avenue and go up about a block and a half to the entrance on the left. Detailed directions from 50, 395 or 495 can be found here. (BTW, how cool is it that they give directions for people coming via canoe?!)

Hours: 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. every day except Thanksgiving, December 25 and January 1.

Cost: Free!

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