Lotus and Water Lily Festival at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

There’s only one national park dedicated to aquatic plants, and that’s Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, located surprisingly IN the District of Columbia. I was there in Mid-July for their Lotus and Water Lily Festival.

Lotus and Water Lily Festival 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.

Lotus and Water Lily Festival 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?

Lotus and Water Lily Festival 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.

Lotus and Water Lily Festival at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

I say that because SO many of the visitors I saw here are older, and from East Asia, where I’m told that lotus blossoms have a long cultural importance.

Lotus and Water Lily Festival 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.

Lotus and Water Lily Festival at Kenilworth Aquatic GardensLotus blossoms with Corgi was a sure winner in the people category. (Is posing with a dog cheating?)

Here’s a couple more winners.

Lotus and Water Lily Festival at Kenilworth Aquatic GardensLotus and Water Lily Festival 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.

Gardens and ‘Grammers
Looks like this garden survives the onslaught of photographers and Instagrammers better than some. According to the Slate article “Stop and ‘Gram the Roses,” “Influencers, bloggers, YouTubers, and onlookers go to great destructive lengths to snap and share pictures of flowers.”

Sometimes plants get no respect.