Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is a refreshing and tranquil retreat any time of year, and frequent visitors will observe vast seasonal changes in the landscape. Here is what you can expect depending on the time of year of your next visit.
During spring, the delicate blossoms of cherry trees and dogwoods bring color to the park while the songs of visiting migratory birds bring the park to life. Resident geese and ducks nest and raise their families in the ponds and marshes. Bring your binoculars and be prepared for muddy trails.
Hardy lilies bloom from early May until mid-September. A stunning sea of pink lotus flowers peaks in late June and lasts until mid August. Tropical lilies with their delicate roots peak in July and August and can be found in the display pools behind the visitor center. Another lily variety, the Victoria water lily, arrives in the park in June, growing to full bloom in August, with their expansive pads seen all the way through September. Morning is the best time to visit in summer as the afternoon heat can cause the lotus and other lilies to close.
In fall, both the aquatic plants and trees change color providing a wonderful autumn retreat. But perhaps the most unique feature is the shockingly beautiful seed pod heads from the lotus. Migratory birds return to Kenilworth on their way south for the winter. Be sure to look for the Victoria water lily and explore the tropical water lilies in the display pools behind the visitor center.
Winter in the park provides trails for rejuvenating and peaceful walks in the wilderness, views of the Anacostia River, and an opportunity to learn about this historic and natural space. The ice over the ponds provides a gorgeous winter landscape, often accompanied by the cracks and pops from the expanding and contracting ice as the temperature changes.