No matter the season there is something beautiful to find at Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens.
We visited Kenilworth in September after the lotus and lily flowers had finished their blooms. It was an enchanting time to visit with fields of lotus seed pods standing tall. It wasn't too crowded and parking in the large lot was easy. There was plenty of picnic tables at which to unpack our small cooler and have lunch. The highlight of the trip was probably the scavenger hunt handed out at the park. My toddler loved searching for items that matched the provided photos. What was particularly nice about it was they had tailored it to the current season.
We found about half the items on the checklist and more. Some of our favorite finds were a white egret, a dragonfly, butterfly and fuzzy caterpillar. We also found one last lily bloom.
I'd encourage you to visit Kenilworth and enjoy the short boardwalk around the gardens. This park is very child friendly and accessible. Some things parents might like to know are that there are stroller accessible paths, parking is easily available, if you're not in peak season, and lots of picnic tables for lunch. I don't believe you're near much else other than the park. So, if you are planning to eat there, I would say bring the food with you.
It was our first time visiting and I am already planning to revisit in July for the stunner that is the Lotus and Water Lily Festival.
I did not know about the Lotus and Water Lily Festival until after it had passed. I've lived in the DC metro area for 10 years now and never heard of it. The big floral festival everyone hears about with DC is the Cherry Blossoms.
I have been told that even though it is less well known, to not assume it will be easy to park and visit at that time. Whereas the Cherry Blossoms are known worldwide, visitors have all of DC and adjoining metro areas to park at and metro in. The Lotus and Water Lily Festival at Kenilworth Park is served by what seemed like a large parking lot in September, but which will seem much smaller in June and July.
It is also worth noting that there is an entrance to the park off of the Anacostia River Trail for those who might want to bike in. From the trail, there is a .25 mile-long connecting trail to the park entrance.
However you do arrive and whenever you do. Kenilworth is a delightful place to visit year round.