Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Car-free DC: Kenilworth Gardens

This is the fifth article in a series on hikes in DC that can be reached by public transportation.

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens
Photo credit: R Bowley
Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is located across the Anacostia River from the National Arboretum. It was started as a private garden in the 1880's, and was purchased by the Park Service in the 1930's. The park includes both local and imported plants, but features exotic water lilies. Different varieties of lily are in bloom from late May through early September. Morning is the best time to see them; the flowers close when the temperature rises above 89 degrees. In keeping with this, the park has unusual hours: 7 AM to 4 PM.

dragonfly at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens
Photo credit: A Fagen
Even if the water lilies are from far away, the wildlife that graces the park are all locals seeking out the wetland habitat. The 14 acres of cultivated gardens are surrounded by 77 acres of marsh, which supports much diversity. In 1992, the Park Service began a major wetlands restoration that planted native plants such as cattail and wild rice along the river. A short boardwalk gives access to this marsh area; there is also a short path along the river. You may see waterfowl, dragonflies, and possibly beavers and muskrats.

great blue heron at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens
Photo credit: mindgutter
The entrance to the Aquatic Gardens is at 1550 Anacostia Avenue between Douglas Street and Quarles Street. To get there by public transportation, take the Orange Line to the Deanwood station. Walking west from the station, use the pedestrian overpass to cross 295 (Kenilworth Avenue), then turn left (west) on Douglass Street and make a right on Anacostia Avenue to reach the gardens. This is a walk of less than a mile. To shorten the walk, take the V7 or V8 bus from the east side of the Deanwood station to the intersection of Kenilworth Avenue and Douglass Street, then walk to Anacostia Avenue.

Other info:

Dogs are allowed in the park, but must remain on leash. Please scoop your poop.
There isn't really space for a good bike ride in this park.

Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens

Do you have other tips on Kenilworth Gardens, or experiences to report? Make a comment!


WashingtonGardener said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE Kenilworth and can't understand WHY more Washingtonians don't take advantage of this beautiful place. I'll be there ina week for a neighborhood garden tour andthen back for the annual Water Lily Fest in mid-July, but I highly recommend going on a weekday morning in late June -- all the blooms are out and you pretty much have the park all to yourself.
PS I always go there by Deanwood metro - an easy walk and maybe someday soon will get a friend to let me borrow a canoe to come down the Anacostia to it and dock there.

mattandeliz said...

Yes, one of the things I am loving about this blog is reminding myself of all the things there are to do in DC! We're due for a trip to Kenilworth soon...

Anonymous said...

Kenilworth is probably best known for its blooming water lilies and water lotuses in summer, but it's a wonderfully evocative place in fall, too. Because so much of the summer vegetation has died back, you can discover all kinds of things that were hidden before, like beaver dams and raccoon tracks. Migratory birds take advantage of the restored marshes during the autumn fly-over, an the fall colors are lovely. Best of all NO ONE is there, so you can enjoy it in peace and have it all to yourself!

Post a Comment