I've driven past the sign for the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens hundreds of times and every time I think to myself I should go in there but I never stopped to check it out, so this week the kids and I, in a fit of see-what's-in-your-own-backyard-itis, decided to see what it was all about.

What it's about is feeling like you just wandered into Wonderland.

Seriously, there is no way to do it justice with the camera phone I happened to have, but some of these stalks were six feet tall with blooms bigger than my head.  The leaves would have made a chair suitable for The Caterpillar, as she pointed out, and I then discouraged her from attempting.  If I had known it would be as awesome as all that, I'd have packed my real camera out.

The gardens were created by Walter Shaw in the 1800s, who loved aquatic gardening (not sure I even knew that was a Thing before) so much that he bought a whole bunch of worthless swamp land, then dug it out to make it even more worthless and swamp-like, then planted the likes of these:

This bud was larger than my hand.

When Walter died, his daughter Helen took over the gardens and managed to get Congress to help support saving these wetlands from the industry along the Anacostia River that was destroying it.

We had a great time walking along the boardwalk and the pathways and checking out the wildlife.  We saw and eagle, and osprey, a great blue heron - animals I didn't even know lived in the D.C. area - and this guy who followed us around spied on us in between catching a few fish here and there.

And this guy, who tried to keep up on the boardwalk, but eventually tired and dropped off into the tall grasses.

Very cool place. Highly recommend.