Monday, June 14, 2010

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

H/T and many, many thanks to TwoDC.  I read their blog post about the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens and said to myself, "Self, that would be a cool place to go when your parents come to visit."

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is a hidden gem in northeast DC.  I highly recommend reading TwoDC's post about it, because they are much more eloquent than me in their overview description of the park.

TwoDC recommended going in the morning because as the day gets hotter, the flowers close up.  I checked out the web page and saw they had tours scheduled for 9, 10, 11, and 12.  The first tour was too early in the morning for us, so I planned on us leaving our house around 9 a.m. in order to pick up some breakfast at Dunkin Donuts and make it to the KAG in time for the 10 a.m. tour.

Unfortunately, I didn't trust my instincts and drive the way I knew.  I followed the directions provided by our car's navigation system and ended up sitting in traffic for a while.

Thanks to the traffic though, we did enjoy the scenery of the architecture in the neighborhoods of the historic district of Washington, D.C.  We arrived at the KAG about 10:40 and found out there actually wasn't a 10 a.m. tour, so we didn't miss anything AND we were just in time for the 11 a.m. tour! :-)

KAG has been there a long time and is now run by the National Park Service. 

Comparing Notes
Before we drove down to DC, I printed out two copies of the Junior Park Ranger activity booklet and put them in binders for the boys.  They both really enjoyed earning their Junior Park Ranger badges.  During the car ride, they did the dot-to-dots and the maze and drew some pictures.  While we were there, they really got into the scavenger hunts.  The booklet actually provides two scavenger hunts for older and younger kids.  My eldest son did the scavenger hunt that lists a dozen or so items written out in text (a view of the Anacostia River, a beaver dam, a historic marsh, a reconstructed marsh, etc).  My youngest son did the scavenger hunt that consisted of six simple pictures on the page (picture of a lotus flower, picture of cat tails, picture of the national park service emblem, picture of poison ivy, etc).

For a while, YB rode on Grandpa's shoulders and
used Grandpa's head as his desk.  Here he is crossing
off the cat-tail picture from his scavenger hunt list.

The flowers... oh my gosh the flowers were absolutely gorgeous.  My wife and I both took tons of pictures, but I will try to pull out just a few to share with you here.

Common Orange Day-Lily

I forgot this one and can't find it in my book.

Fragrant Water Lily (and dragonfly)

Orange trumpet?

Carolina Rose


Pink water lily


I feel like I'm being watched.

We saw a few turtles and also had a Great Blue Heron swoop across the path right in front of us.  

Traditional Blunoz Self Portrait

Our Park Ranger tour guide was awesome, and I'm SO glad we went for the guided tour.  I have yet to be disappointed by a Park Ranger led tour at any National Park.  They are just walking encyclopedias of information and anecdotal stories about the history of the park.

YB drawing pictures in his book. 

The boys turned in their completed Junior Park Ranger books at the visitor center.  They had to say an oath of office to get sworn in as Junior Park Rangers, and then they were awarded their own hats, badges, and patches. 
This picture alone made it worth the 
frustrating drive through DC traffic.

If you are in the DC area, then I highly recommend visiting the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens.  Regardless where you are, I highly recommend taking advantage of every opportunity to visit your closest National Park and go for a Park Ranger guided tour.

My two newly-minted Junior Park Rangers 
enthusiastically leading the way to lunch.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tanya said...

Awesome. I think the last time I went to the KAG was when I was just a few years older than ES!! It still looks the same.

Anonymous said...

Hey, is that a Garmin 405CX? How do you like it?

blunoz said...

fastnav - Yes, it's a Garmin Forerunner 405. I'm not sure about the "Cx" part. Overall, I like it a lot. I use the heart-rate monitor for running. I use the just the watch itself for just about anything I do outdoors - hiking, biking kayaking. I like that it automatically downloads the data to my computer just by being in the same room with my computer, and then it displays them on Google maps. Each of my previous entries for kayaking or hiking, when I put that Garmin Connect thing at the end, that data came from the Forerunner.

- Doesn't work so well in water / rain.
- You have to remember to click "start" and "stop."
- You can't edit the data set that's been downloaded to the computer (at least I haven't figured out a way yet).

That's why I still take my older Garmin 60CSx with me. If it's turned on, then it's recording data, and when I get home I can edit the data to show only the hike or only the kayak trip. So for instance even though I forget to click "stop" on my forerunner and it keeps recording as if I'm "running" or "biking" as I speed down the highway in my car at 65 mph, with the 60CSx it doesn't matter - I can delete the data that doesn't apply to the run / bike / paddle.

Sorry, long-winded answer - maybe TMI.

Debbie said...

What a lovely place! It looks like the perfect place to spend a few hours.

Melis said...

Your kids are ridiculously adorable, you know that? That place looks really awesome!