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Photographing and/or Interpreting Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

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Photographers at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

There’s only one national park dedicated to aquatic plants, and that’s Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, located in N.E. Washington, about a 15-minute drive from Greenbelt. I was there in Mid-July for their Lotus and Water Lily Festival.

Photographers at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

All summer but especially at the peak flowering time and during the festival, the place is swarming with photographers. This year the 2-day festival attracted about 13,500 visitors, and I’m told attendance has been growing.

Photographers at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens
The only visitors I saw getting photos taken of themselves.

I wondered about the effect of social media, especially Instagram, on hyper-photogenic places like this. Friends of Kenilworth Aquatic Park volunteer coordinator David Drawbaugh confirmed that he’s “sure a lot of people learn about the park through pictures of it on social media.” So selfies can be a good thing?

Photographers at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

Funny thing, though. When I was there early Sunday morning of the festival I didn’t see a single selfie taken; I wonder if it’s generational, or even cultural.

Photographers at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

I say that because SO many of the visitors I saw here are older, and from East Asia, where lotus blossoms have historical and cultural significance.

Photographers at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

I asked about portraits and selfies and David confirmed that they’re popular here and I found the best possible one among the 2018 winners of the park’s Photo Contest. It’s this next one:

Corgi being photographed at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

Lotus blossoms with Corgi was a sure winner in the people category. (Is posing with a dog cheating?)

Enjoy two more winners below.

Lotus leaf at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

Water lilies at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

David urges the public to come anytime. “There may not be as many flowers in bloom in the fall, winter or spring, but the park has a different kind of beauty.” No doubt, and lots of wildlife there along the river.

Enter the Photo Contest Now – Deadline is August 25!

The contest categories are:

  • Abstracts of Nature – This category may include micro-photography, angles, patterns, motion or perspectives.
  • Landscape
  • Lotus
  • Plants and Flowers
  • Wildlife

Click here for all the details.

Interpretive Volunteers Needed

Hey, for people with or without gardening experience, this is a rare public garden volunteer position that doesn’t involve hard physical work!

Here’s what Interpretive Volunteers Do:

  • Lead guided tours
  • Facilitate educational programs
  • Staff the visitor center
  • Represent the National Park Service, and so much more.

Click for details, including duties, benefits, training, contact info.


Follow Susan Harris:
Susan started blogging about Greenbelt soon after moving here in 2012, and that first blog has grown into this nonprofit community website. She also created and curates the Greenbelt Maryland YouTube channel. In 2021 Susan joined the Board of Directors of Greenbelt Access TV. Retired from garden writing and teaching, she continues to blog at GardenRant.com.

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