This is the official page of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, a unit of the National Park Service. Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is a National Park Service site located in the north eastern corner of Washington, D.C., and the Maryland state border.
Nestled near the banks of the Anacostia River and directly south of the Baltimore Washington Parkway, Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens preserves a plethora of rare waterlilies and lotuses in the cultivated ponds near the river. The park also contains the Kenilworth Marsh, the only remaining tidal marsh in Washington, D.C. and an adjacent recreational area. History:
The land that is now Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens was originally purchased by Civil War veteran Walter B. Shaw in the 1880s. Feeling homesick, Shaw had wild waterlilies native to his home state of Maine brought and planted in the land. When the flowers Shaw brought thrived in the environment, Shaw brought in more plants and started a commercial attraction under the name W.B. Shaw Lily Ponds in 1912. In 1921, when Shaw died, his daughter, Helen Shaw Fowler, took over the prospering business which was being visited by many dignitaries, including US presidents. Unfortunately, by this time the nearby Anacostia River had become filled with an excess of silt making navigation on the river difficult. The United States Army Corps of Engineers was called in to dredge the river which meant that the gardens were in danger of being destroyed. Helen fought to save the gardens and eventually in 1938, Congress authorized the purchase of the gardens for $15,000 to create the park. Today in the Park:
Today, the park is under the administrative portion of National Capital Parks-East of the National Park Service. The total area of the park is about 700 acres (2.8 km2) large and constitutes the water gardens, Kenilworth Marsh, ballfields, and recreational facilities. The gardens have since been listed on the National Register of Historic Places and also designated a Category II Landmark by the Joint Committee on Landmarks of the National Capital. Portions of Kenilworth Marsh have also undergone restoration in 1992-1993 adding 32 acres (130,000 m2) of tidal marsh out of what was mud flats.
Mission: The National Park Service preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the national park system for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. The Park Service cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world.
Park Facilities Closed Due to Snow: All Kenilworth Aquatic Garden park facilities and services will be closed today. Please check back for updates.
Employee safety and public safety are our top priorities as we clear trails, open facilities, and return to normal operations. We are also working hard to protect historic buildings and other park resources.
Please check the Kenilworth Aquatic Garden website (https://www.nps.gov/keaq/index.htm) or call the park’s visitor center ((202) 692-6080) to check on our operating status before visiting.
We appreciate your continued patience and understanding while we work fully to restore access and services.
Deep within Kenilworth lies an oasis, hidden behind trees and cattails. It's a place where beavers build their homes and turtles sleep on logs. Lotus's rise from the muck and lilies sit on the water. The wind dances with the dragonflies, rustling through the trees, carrying the song of the birds unt...
Due to today's Presidential Inauguration the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens will be closed.
The gates will reopen Thursday, January 21, 2021 at 8am.
Just a reminder, Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens will be closed the next two days for the holiday. We wish you and yours well this time of year and always! We will be open the 26th and we look forward to seeing you then!
It's that time of year again! Winter is here! Time for you to get outside and take advantage of a quiet time here at the park. All it takes is some warm layers and you can enjoy the peace and quiet that comes with our park. Grab your hat, grab your coat, and enjoy!
The Wright Brothers made history by inventing and flying the first successful motor driven airplane in 1903. 127 years ago. Today, the Eagle's Nest carries the tradition of flight into the future with the Park Police’s own Bell 412EP helicopter. Come see the Eagle One take off and land from Anacostia Park, or watch it fly over Kenilworth Park and Aquatic gardens many days of the week.
Watch here to learn more about this year's Oratorical Contest.
In honor of Thanksgiving, Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens is closed today. The park will reopen Friday, November 27, 2020.
This Veteran's Day we would like to take a moment and thank all Veterans, overseas, and at home. Without you we would not be the country we are today.
Many Veterans contribute to things outside of their call to service. For example, Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens was started by Walter Shaw, a Union Army veteran who transformed his land into a lily and lotus garden and that would eventually become known the world around. While we were founded by Veterans the support of the Veteran community continues today.
We would like to celebrate and thank our Veterans, Ranger Kyle & Ranger Stephen, who are helping to take care of our plants, grounds, and help to keep Kenilworth a destination for families from across the country.
In honor of Veterans Day all National Park sites have waived their entrance fee to visitors nationwide.
Today at Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens, we remember the Nacotchtanks or Anacostians, an Indigenous People who lived within modern-day Washington, DC. They were well known for their vibrant culture and had ample access to hunting and farming areas in the region. They operated an important trading post along the Anacostia River and for a time became regionally famous for their fur-trading. The first European explorer to record an encounter with the Nacotchtanks was John Smith who came to the territory in the early 1600s. He described the people as friendly and noted the logistical importance of some of their villages. In as few as forty Years after contact with Europeans, the native residents in the Washington, DC area were roughly a quarter of their former population. Diseases, wars and conflict forced many of the residents to move and some became absorbed by larger tribes surrounding the District.
(Photo: D.C Native Americans. Source: Library of Congress)
Throughout the year hundreds of bird species migrate through Kenilworth and today were hoping a few stop by. Hosted by the Friends of Kenilworth, kids learned about migration patterns and the transfer of seeds through fun arts and crafts activities. Families built bird feeders full of peanut butter and birdseed, making huge messes (that parents don't have to worry about cleaning up), and giving any bird traveling for vacation a quick pit stop. If your interested in future activities be sure to check out their website.
Looking for things to do indoors or out?
Check out the free Agents of Discovery App and complete the Kenilworth Mission! Agents earn a badge after completing 5 missions.
Have you ever wondered how Helen Fowler shipped her lilies? Enjoy this excerpt from the Perth Amboy Evening News on Friday, September 1, 1922.
"The lily farmer must be an early riser. Four o'clock is none too soon to start work. Later in the morning the lilies are full blown and then they can not be shipped successfully. The closed buds are gathered and packed in boxes with damp moss. As soon as the boxes are un-packed, in Boston or St. Louis, the blooms open quickly."
Fowler delivered lilies regionally in her delivery truck or shipped them on the trains to cities further away for many years. This article is only a piece of the puzzle to understanding the shipping and handling of such magnificent blooms.
Excerpt from "The Lady of the Lilies told of by Mr. Haskin"
Photograph from NPS of Helen Fowler and her delivery truck
What's New at KEAQ?
Welcome everyone, we are happy to welcome in some cooler weather as we ring in Fall! While our famous lilies and lotuses are on their way out, we welcome in the new members of our family, birds!
It has been reported that guests to KEAQ can find up to 236 species of birds throughout the year. As the weather, and the water, get cooler I'd like to introduce you to some of our feathered friends!
Meet the Mallard Duck, a common type of duck in the DC-area. They are known to eat grains, insects, and seeds. Ducks form pairs and when the eggs are laid the male duck leaves and the female remains to stay with the eggs as they hatch and grow.
If you see any ducks here at KEAQ please give them a wave and say hi from a distance!
Happy teachers day to all the teachers out there who were once or are currently teaching the future generations of America. It's an amazing thing that you do, especially in todays time when a curriculum is thrown out the door and has to be rewritten for the year. You can do it and if you need any help Kenilworth has your back with at home science and nature courses you can use for you own lessons. https://www.nps.gov/keaq/learn/education/curriculummaterials.htm
Curriculum Materials - Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens (U.S. National Park Service)
The following links are to materials you can use for programs without coming to the park. For a park visit with a ranger, call the park at (202) 692-6080 to discuss your learning goals and class. www.nps.gov
We understand that sometimes it can be hard to make it out to the park even though there's an interest in it, so we've provided links that can teach some of the basics about science and nature. We've provided materials that educators can use for at-home programs or when adapting a lesson.
Although D.C may be blazing hot in the summer, it still has frigid winters. At Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens we love to provide visitors with a wide range of plant life. From banana trees to our tropical lilies, we do our best to fill the park with variety and color. With that means some of the plants have to come into the hothouses for the winter, so that next year you can see the same purple, yellow, and violet lilies that bloomed this year.
This is far from the end though. There is plenty of nature to be seen, like our hardy lilies and the ever changing color of leaves. Even in the winter, nothing is quite as majestic as the blue heron in the snow. There’s always something new at KEAQ!
Are you looking for family friendly things to do this weekend? In addition to our Jr Ranger Books and Agents of Discovery Mission you can also learn about turtles!!!
Print these activities and come explore at the gardens. You might get to see some turtles for yourself!
"Imagine the sturdy little woman (Helen Fowler) guiding her boat about the water fields and directing her assistants as they pick several thousand lily buds on a summer morning. Imagine her again, standing rifle in hand tensely waiting for the snapping turtle, that deadly enemy of the water lily. When he hears no one about, up comes his head and crack goes the shot of the expert. That turtle eats no more lilies... Mrs. Fowler believes in turning pests into profit."
Did you enjoy this blast from the past taken from the September 1, 1922 Perth Amboy Evening News? Our Ranger staff did! While the Park Service does not actively hunt our turtle friends they remain one of our biggest challenges when it comes to the lilies!
This Article was titled "The Lady of the Lilies told of by Mr. Haskin" and written as a Daily Letter by Frederic J. Haskin.
Seize the opportunity to play Missions all over DC! Join Agent Gold Mantle to explore the National Arboretum with the U.S. Forest Service's fun and engaging Mission. Remember,
if you complete 5 Missions, you will become a D.C. Traveler and earn a special badge!
Seize the opportunity to play missions all over D.C.!
Join Smokey to learn all about wild fire prevention from the comfort of your own home with the "Smokey Bear 75th Birthday Mission- DC”
Remember, if you complete 5 missions you will become a D.C. traveler and earn a special badge!
Download the Agents of Discovery App to start exploring!
Please join the Rangers at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in celebrating Labor Day! This year we would like to thank all of our workers and volunteers.
There are some workers at the gardens that unfortunately do not get as much recognition as they deserve. Today that shout out goes to the pollinating beetles. Tropical Lilies can be of both day or night blooming variety and the night bloomers are exclusively pollinated by beetles. This year's Euryale Ferox has not yet produced a bud, but it has a unique purple spiky flower.
Can you help us find pollinator beetles today? Post pictures in the comments below, or to the "Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens" page on the iNaturalist App!
Have you ever wondered about the different types of pollinators that work at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens? Our rangers enjoy seeing them from year to year and cannot wait to share them with you!
Can you help us find and identify some of our pollinators? Don't forget to post your 'Bug Bonanza' photos in the comments below or to the 'Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens' page on the iNaturalist App!
Are you interested in bugs?
Then you should join us in our Bug Bonanza challenge!
Our goal is to find 100 bugs in the gardens between Friday, September 4 and Monday, September 7.
Grab your phones, cameras, and competitive spirit and come visit Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens!
Don't forget to post your photos in the comments below or to the 'Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens' page on the iNaturalist App!
Today we celebrate the Wilderness Act and the protection it grants to park lands nationwide.
President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Wilderness Act of 1964 to protect wilderness areas nationwide by forming the National Wilderness Preservation System, which is comprised of the NPS and other Land Management agencies.
The act defines a Wilderness as "an area where the earth and its
community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain". Here in D.C. we do not often think of having a wilderness in our backyard, but there are protected and uninhabited areas all around us.
Can you think of a largely uninhabited area in your community, or one that you have visited?
Seize the opportunity to play Missions all over DC! Join Agent Chimpunk to explore the American Battle Monuments Commission with their Korean War Veterans Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and World War II Memorial Missions.
Remember, if you complete 5 Missions, you will become a D.C. Traveler and earn a special badge!
Have you ever wondered what blooms in late summer and early fall?
These are just a handful of flowers currently in bloom and we cannot wait to share them with you!
Get outside, Enjoy nature, and don't forget there is always something new at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens!
Have you ever wondered what some of our most frequently asked questions are at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens? Watch the video to learn the questions and answers from our Ranger staff!
This week's featured mission is at the Columbia Gardens Cemetery! Don't forget to download the (free) app and experience the site like never before!
Stay tuned for more missions and good luck exploring!
Have you ever wanted to learn more about Anacostia Park or Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens? Now is your chance to have a more interactive visit, or even learn from home and earn a badge. To participate download the free Agents of Discovery App and complete 5 missions.
Have you ever wanted to learn more about Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens using an immersive virtual game? Download Agents of Discovery using the Google Play or Apple App Store and come down and visit the parks! Ask a ranger how to play or download the Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Garden map and begin your very own adventure!
We've created two ways to virtually explore Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens and Anacostia Park at home or on-site. Are you curious about Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens and Anacostia Park but not quite sure how to use Agents of Discovery? Well we've put together a few helpful hints to get started and fully immerse yourself in the world of Agents of Discovery.
If you feel comfortable coming to the park we will have plenty of adventures in store for you. Simply follow these steps to enjoy your Agents of Discovery Adventure!
Step 2) Once you're in the app download the Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Garden and Anacostia Park missions by clicking the download button. (Data rates may apply so check with your guardian to make sure you have a data plan (or are on wifi) that will allow you to download this).
Step 3) Find the challenges that appear as bubbles on the map, take a walk through the park!
Step 4) Enjoy! And, if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask one of the Rangers at the welcome tent or Visitor's Center.
Who am I?
I am a Sacred Asian Lotus and I originated from Asia. I love living at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens and blooming between late-June through early August. To learn more about Scared Asian Lotus please download Agents of Discovery app (Apple Store or Google Play) and play the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens mission.
The D.C. Explorer 3.0 is finally here and will run from August 15th – October 31st 2020. Join us for a live launch event and learn all about the unique aspects of each participating site!
Players will be able to earn badges by completing Missions in the area, and will be entered in a draw to win other cool prizes as well! Participating sites can be found all over the greater D.C. area, including in Maryland and Virginia.
Have you ever wanted to learn more about Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens? You can use Agents of Discovery, a mobile platform designed to enhance your experience whether its at home or in the park. Agents of Discovery will launch TODAY, August 14, to help you get the most out of your parks.
To learn more follow our social media, visit agentsofdiscovery.com, or download the Free Agents of Discovery App!
Do you want to experience the wonders of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens from home?
We can’t wait for you to join us in our Agents of Discovery Launch THIS FRIDAY, August 14!
Agents of Discovery is a fun, interactive, and exciting addition to the Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens experience! To learn more about Agents of Discovery follow our social media or visit https://agentsofdiscovery.com/
Agents of Discovery is an educational mobile gaming platform that uses augmented reality to get youth active.
1550 Anacostia Ave, NE Washington D.C., DC 20019
Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens ( visitor center facilities ) is in northeast Washington, D.C., just south of the Route 50, Baltimore-Washington Parkway, Kenilworth Avenue intersection. The entrance to the Aquatic Gardens is at 1550 Anacostia Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20019. The park is open daily from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year. Gates will lock and Close Promptly at 5 p.m.The entrance to Kenilworth Athletic Fields (active recreation area) is located at the westernmost end of Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue, N.E. It is approximately 0.5 mile south of the Aquatic Gardens entrance. There are no facilities at the site. Coming by auto: Take Route 295 southbound if you are coming from north of Route 50 or Route 50, to the Eastern Avenue Exit. Go straight up the ramp to the second street on the right, Douglas Street. Make a right onto Douglas Street. At the end of Douglas Street, make another right onto Anacostia Avenue to get to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. Go left to get to Kenilworth Recreation Park.If you are coming from south of Route 50, take Route 295 north to the Burroughs Street Exit. At the bottom of the ramp go left. Go straight to Kenilworth Recreation Park. To get to Aquatic Gardens, go to the right of the athletic field entrance to follow Lee Street to 40th around a curve to Anacostia Avenue. Pass a handball court and wooded area to the gardens. An alternate to the Aquatic Gardens is to continue north on Route 295 to the Eastern Avenue Exit. Make a U turn to the left at the light at the top of the ramp and go down two streets to Douglas Street. Make a right on Douglas. At the end of Douglas make a right on Anacostia and continue a block and a half to the park on the left. Coming by Metro: For the Aquatic Gardens, exit the Deanwood Stop on the Orange Line, lower Polk Street Exit. Take the pedestrian overpass across Kenilworth Avenue and go left on Douglas Street. Go right on Anacostia Avenue and enter any open gate on your left. For Kenilworth Park exit the Minnesota Avenue Stop, go left on Minnesota Avenue to Nannie Helen Burroughs and go left to the athletic fields. Coming by canoe:Visitors coming by canoe should be aware that the marsh loses 90% of its water at low tide. Anacostia Watershed Society has a trail guide at http://www.anacostiaws.org/images/maps/AnacostiaRiverWaterTrailGuide.pdf Coming by bike: There are a growing number of bike trails near the park. For more information and a map go to http://bikewashington.org/trails/For further information, you may contact a Park Ranger at the site by telephone at 202-426-6905.
Welcome to the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens' page. We hope this will become a place where fans feel comfortable sharing information and experiences about Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens with one another.
While this is an open forum, it is also a family friendly one, so please keep your comments and wall posts clean. Please be considerate of other fan's opinions. In addition to keeping it family friendly, we ask that you follow our posting guidelines here. If you do not comply, your message will be removed.
We do not allow graphic, obscene, explicit or racial comments or submissions, nor do we allow comments that are abusive, hateful or intended to defame anyone or any organization.
We do not allow solicitations or advertisements. This includes promotion or endorsement of any financial, commercial or non-governmental agency. Such posts and/or links are subject to deletion. People who continue to post such content and/or links may be subject to page participation restrictions and/or removal from the page.
We do not allow attempts to defame or defraud any financial, commercial or non-governmental agency.
We do not allow comments that suggest or encourage illegal activity.
You participate at your own risk, taking personal responsibility for your comments, your username and any information provided.
Posting of external links on this site that are intended as advertising (or to drive traffic to websites unrelated to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens), or do not contribute to dialog and discussions about Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens may be deleted. People who continue to post such links may be subject to page participation restrictions and/or removal from the page. External links do not constitute official endorsement on behalf of the U.S. National Park Service or the U.S. Department of Interior.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Introducing the new KEAQ team!
Please join us in welcoming our new staff!
Join Ranger Julie and learn about another tree in our park, the Tulip Poplar!
Welcome Back to Dendrology 101. Today we are starting to explore the Juglandaceae Family which include the Walnuts and the Hickories. Today's video is about
the Black Walnut Tree.
Southern Magnolia Tree
Join Ranger Julie in learning about some of the Magnolia trees around our park and maybe even in your own yard!
Introduction to Dendrology
Please enjoy this introductory video to our new series on Dendrology in the park. In this video you will become familiar with some of the terminology that we use when identifying flora and fauna.
Cultivation of Water Lilies
Join Ranger Julie and learn from our head gardener, Ranger Mark, about cultivating Water Lilies!
Virtual Junior Ranger Day Craft Activity
Join Ranger Emily in making an indoor aquatic garden! When you are done post a picture of your garden in the comments below.
supplies: paper (construction or cardstock will work best), scissors, tape, small container, and a straw (or something similar)
optional supplies: water, marbles or beads, rice, food coloring, spoon, hole punch
A Half Frozen Pond
The leaves on the surface will soon be encased in ice as the ponds freeze over. But don't worry, this layer of ice will help insulate the roots deep in the water so that they can “sleep” unaffected by the harsh weather.
[Video Description: Halfway frozen pond with water lily leaves beneath the surface of the ice / Audio Description: Rain and snow droplets on water surface ]
Park After Dark | Sep 8, 2018 | 7PM-9PM
Did you know some water lilies only bloom at sunset?
Come and see them for yourself and watch the sunset during Park After Dark on September 8, 2018 from 7PM-9PM.
Festival Day 1: The Hydrophobic Lotus
Thank you to everyone who visited for day one of the Lotus and Water Lily Festival! Because of the rain we were able to enjoy the sight of water dripping off of every "hydrophobic" lotus leaf!
If you plan to visit tomorrow you are highly encouraged to text LILYFEST to 888777 to receive the latest updates about the Lotus and Water Lily Festival and emergency alerts. The service is free, but carrier message rates may apply.
It is lunch time at Kenilworth! Mr. Beaver decided to eat out today with sticks as the food of choice! What is your lunch of choice?
Photo Credit: Ranger Read
#FindYourPark #Beaver #Nature #Wildlife
It's a beautiful day for a walk on the river trail!
Step outdoors to enjoy the holiday weekend and come to this place of serenity and peace to take in the fall colors!
We are #LIVE for a walk in the park...share your love for Kenilworth in the comments below!
Did you see the turtle run from our #LIVE broadcast? He must be camera shy...
It's a beautiful day for a walk in the park! Step outdoors to enjoy the holiday weekend and come to this place of serenity and peace to take in the fall colors!
We are #LIVE for a walk in the park...share your love for Kenilworth in the comments below!
Helen Fowler Water Lily
"Early to bed, early to rise" is the motto for most hardy water lilies! This beauty awakes at 9am during the summer and will close and go to rest at 2pm.
I wonder if the flower's namesake "Helen Fowler" was a morning person too? She had to be... as the 1921 female business owner of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens she must have begun each day early to tend to the gardens. Find out more at https://www.nps.gov/keaq/learn/historyculture/people.htm.
Episode III: Giants in the Ponds
Learn more about these aquatic giants and see them for yourself during "Park After Dark" happening TONIGHT!
Giants in the Ponds
Earlier this year our gardener team carefully moved the "Victoria Amazonica" water lilies into the ponds....Since that day the leaves have grown from the size of dinner plates to five foot platters!!!
Come see these giants for yourself during "Park After Dark" on September 9, 2017!
Giant Water Lily In the Greenhouse
Get a sneak preview of the Victoria Amazonica, the largest water lily known to man, while it is still in our greenhouse!
Our maintenance rangers are getting ready for the 2017 Lotus and Lily Festival, are you?
For more information about the park and our upcoming events visit our website: www.nps.gov/keaq
#LotusLilyFest #KenilworthFlowerBloom #FindYourPark
It is summer! And our peak season is right around the corner so many of our Lotus, like this one here, are on the verge of blooming!
While you are making those summer plans, why not set aside time to celebrate with us during our Lotus and Lily Festival?
Yesterday was #NationalTurtleDay! We Rangers feel like excited parents as we know at least six baby turtles will be hatching at Kenilworth soon! #FindYourPark
If you have seen a lizard at Kenilworth it was likely a five-lined skink. This juvenile skink (you can tell the age by the electric blue tail) seems to enjoy being on camera as much as any kid these days! #FindYourPark
For these dedicated volunteers earth day must be 365 days a year! Thank you for all your hard work here at Kenilworth for #EarthDay!
@Friends of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens
American Bittern song
Happening Now: Over 50 volunteers are working with Friends of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens to lay top soil and pick up trash in the park!
Would you like to be involved in one of our monthly volunteer events? Check out http://www.friendsofkenilworthgardens.org/! Thank you to all of our volunteers hard at work this morning! #FindYourPark #Volunteer
2016 Lotus & Water Lily Festival
It's a beautiful day here at Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens! Come #FindYourPark at the 2016 Lotus & Water Lily Festival! go.nps.gov/lotus
Check out our short video clip on our annual Lily and Lotus Festival this Saturday! We hope to see you there!