News Release

Plan Your Visit to the 2018 Lotus and Water Lily Festival

Visitors walking through the gardens at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens
Visitors enjoying the gardens at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

NPS / Marcey Frutchey

Subscribe RSS Icon | What is RSS
News Release Date: July 18, 2018

Contact: Katie Liming, 202-619-7156

Join the National Park Service for this year’s celebration of nature, culture and community at the 2018 Lotus and Water Lily Festival. This two-day festival highlights the annual blooming of lotus and water lily flowers and features music and dance performances, arts and crafts, ranger-led tours and more. This year’s festival also celebrates Anacostia Park, which turns 100 this August. The Lotus and Lily Festival is July 21 to 22 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The lotus and water lily celebration continues with Peak Week activities through July 28, including boat tours, a jazz concert, and an opportunity to see night-blooming lilies.

Visit for more information on this year’s celebration.

2018 Lotus and Water Lily Festival
Saturday, July 21
10 a.m.–5 p.m.: Kickoff off a weeklong celebration with music and dance performances, live animal demonstrations, painting classes, storytelling and more.

Sunday July 22
10 a.m.–5 p.m.: Start your day with yoga in the garden! Today’s festivities continue with ranger-led garden tours, opportunities to see reptiles up close and more performances.

Peak Week Events
Monday, July 23: Healthy Parks, Healthy People
9 a.m.–11 a.m.: Enjoy a guided bike ride along the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail and learn about one of DC's last remaining natural tidal marshes. Bring your own bike or use a free bike that will be provided. Online registration required.

6 p.m.–7 p.m.: Take a brisk walk through the aquatic gardens and learn how to use the outdoors to stay fit with fitness guru Charles Taylor .

Tuesday, July 24: Kids Day!
10 a.m.–11 a.m.: Enjoy a live reptile program with Reptiles Alive and learn about some of the animals that call the aquatic gardens home.

11 a.m. –2 p.m.: Craft your own lotus flowers, conduct a science experiment and learn about the natural environment of the gardens with fun and educational hands-on activities.

Wednesday, July 25: River Ride with the Anacostia Watershed Society
5:30 p.m. & 6:30 p.m.: Take a pontoon ride on the Anacostia River and learn about the natural environment that surrounds the gardens. Tours start from Kenilworth Park located at the intersection of Deane Ave NE and Kenilworth Terrace NE. Tours are offered in partnership with Anacostia Watershed Society. Online registration required.

Thursday, July 26: From Veteran to Water Gardener
10 a.m.–2 p.m.: Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens was created by Civil War veteran W.B. Shaw. He started water gardening as a therapeutic hobby, which later grew into a thriving business. Veterans are encouraged to join us for an honorary day of fun at the gardens.

Friday, July 27: Park After Dark
7–9 p.m.: Enjoy a unique ranger-led experience through the gardens. See night- blooming lilies, hear and spot wildlife that visit the park at night and experience the park after dark in this rare program.

Saturday, July 28: Jazz and Lily Pads
5:30–7:30 p.m.: Bring a picnic and a blanket for a lovely evening of jazz at the gardens.

Getting to the festival:
Public transportation is the best way to get to the Lotus and Water Lily Festival. A FREE festival shuttle will run frequently from the Deanwood Metro Station from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on July 21 and 22. The shuttles are accessible for visitors with disabilities. The last shuttle will leave Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens at 5:30 pm. The walk from Deanwood Metro Station to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is about one mile.

FREE festival parking is located at Kenilworth Park (4047 Deane Ave. NE) on July 21 and 22. A shuttle will take visitors from the parking lot to the festival from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The last shuttle will leave Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens at 5:30 pm.

Accessible parking for visitors with disabilities is located on Anacostia Avenue between Polk St. and Ord St. NE near the park entrance.  An accessible shuttle will also run from this parking area to the festival.

The Anacostia Riverwalk Trail is a great way to get to the Lotus and Water Lily Festival. Enjoy a 20-minute bike ride along the scenic Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, starting from the Anacostia Skating Pavilion (1500 Anacostia Drive SE) to the festival site. You can also bike the Anacostia River Trail from Bladensburg, Md., to Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens.

Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens is located at 1550 Anacostia Ave. NE.

What to bring to the festival
Bring a reusable water bottle, and look for water refilling stations throughout the park. Food will be for sale on site, but feel free to bring a picnic lunch or snacks. Some chairs will be provided in the viewing area for performances and picnic blankets are welcome.

What not to bring
No alcohol is allowed in Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens. Please refrain from bringing large objects like tents or tables.

Public safety
Visitors are highly encouraged to text LILYFEST to 888777 to receive the latest updates about the Lotus and Water Lily Festival and emergency alerts. The service is free, but carrier message rates may apply.

If driving to the festival, don’t leave valuables in your car, and park only in the designated parking areas mentioned above.

If you see something say something! Call U.S. Park Police at 202-617-7500.

About the festival
The annual Lotus and Water Lily Festival is presented by the National Park Service at Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens, a one-of-a-kind destination within Anacostia Park. The aquatic gardens remain a hidden gem in Washington, DC, and are one of the last remaining tidal wetlands in the city. The gardens are home to original species of Lotus and Water Lily plants that were cultivated more than 100 years ago by Civil War veteran W.B. Shaw and sold all over the world. Today, Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is the only national park that cultivates and displays aquatic plants for thousands of visitors to enjoy throughout the year.

Last updated: July 23, 2018

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