Part of the original marsh of Washington, DC, a time capsule to the past.
The marsh is a soft pastel counterpoint to the vivid colors of waterlilies and lotus.

Kate Bucco

There are places within places in the park. Many come for the summer flowers in the man made ponds. Others for the marshes that surround them on three sides. The National Park Service preserves a balance between a man-made world and the natural world it depends on.

Surrounding the ponds on three sides are some of the original tidal wetlands of Washington, DC, and wetlands altered by the government. When Walter Shaw bought his 30 acres, 7 acres of wetlands were thrown in for free as they were viewed as worthless. That sentiment continued until the 1960s when the value of these buffers in filtering water, controlling floods, and as habitat was recognized. In the early 1990s the Anacostia River had silted in, and dredging was called for. This created an opportunity to rebuild wetlands removed in the early 1900s.

This time, many agencies worked with the National Park Service rebuilding wetlands. These are best viewed from the River Trail and Boardwalk, also great for birding year round.

The area that gives shape and life to the ponds and wetlands is the Anacostia River. A short walk down the River Trail treats one to a view of the Anacostia River as it flows gently from the suburbs to inner city.

What will you discover here that soothes your soul and excites you?

Old Photo of the Gardens
Click on the photo to link to the cultural landscape study

Last updated: June 11, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PHYSICAL ADDRESS: 1550 Anacostia Ave, NE
Washington, DC 20019
MAILING ADDRESS: 1900 Anacostia Ave SE

Washington , DC 20020


(202) 692-6080

Contact Us