Today was a day like no other.  I truly am astonished, amazed and excited about what I experienced today.  Sometimes we do not pay attention or pay enough attention things that are right under our nose.  Today I realized that I was guilty and embarrassed by this fact and sought to remedy the situation.  I have seen the signs, I have made the left and not a right trying to get from point A to Point B, however, today I stopped and actually ventured into the Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens. It was breathtakingly beautiful and I was sincerely amazed at the beauty that surrounded me, right here at home, in the City of my birth – Washington, DC.
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I have seen a few gardens in Europe, purposely travel to other states to experience more gardens and never took a moment to see what is right here, 20 minutes away from my house, on the way home from work and on the way to any point of interest along the 295 corridor in Anacostia Park. Wait….Anacostia Park??? 1,200 acres  of gorgeousness under the jurisdiction of our National Park Service, with 11 miles of shoreline that offers so much to the residents and guests of the DMV.  I found out today that you cannot (should not) just pass it by, you must stop, pause and appreciate the beauty that is held within.  Awesome natural areas, historic sites, bird watching, golfing, swimming and an assortment of other activities, encourage naturalists to enjoy being outside.

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One of the events Anacostia Park’s Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is known for, happens in July every year.  It is the Lotus and Water Lily Festival and what an event it is.  The beauty was amazing, breathtaking and well, there aren’t enough words to be in the midst of such beauty!!!
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Let me tell you, I forgot I was in DC, I sang with the musicians, danced with strangers under the trees,made a Lotus from tissue paper for my Dad….
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picked up my free copy of the Junior Ranger Activity Book…

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enjoyed some lotus tea (purchased some lotus seeds and a cup to savor the memory)…and most importantly, enjoyed the beauty that surely surrounded me at every turn.
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I spoke with one of the volunteers  (who more than likely easily coerced me to volunteer) who informed me that the perfect time in her opinion to enjoy this wonderful park is in the winter time.
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The varied terrain has a different look in the winter with it’s ponds, blond grasses and barren trees.  I enjoy visiting gardens in their winter nakedness and then again in the Spring. Seeing the same sites in different seasons, reminds us all that everything must change and nothing returns the same, there is always something new.  The Park offers garden tours and is closed 3 days a year, with certain areas closing if heavy rains make conditions questionable. On July 26th a program called “Moths by Moonlight” will be offered where all one must do is bring a flashlight and meet at the appointed time for a journey into the evening side of Anacostia  Park.  Other programs offered are Reading with a Ranger, Art In the Park (you can create your own picturesque memory of your visit) and Fall Bird Walks, just to name a few.

I do not want to spoil it for you, because trust me when you go, you will see for yourself the beauty that is in our midst. To find out more check out http://www.nps.gov/nace .
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While you are at it, pick up your Passport To Your National Parks. This serves as your guide to Parks within the National Park System, a complete map with spaces that allow you to obtain a stamp that records that date and name of the Park you visited – just like an international passport, what a novel idea!! To find out more about this program contact  http://www.eParks.com.

I am personally going to attend a tour of the gardens, work on getting my Junior Ranger status, having my Passport stamped and sharing my experience on http://www.findyourpark.com.
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I also plan on arriving early and spending the day in 2016, sipping Lotus Tea and wandering amidst the beauty of the Lotus and the splendor of the Water Lily.
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Today was a day like none other and I wish I had not waited so long to enjoy the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens within the Anacostia Park System!!!!

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