Last year, the Mister and I went down to Echo Park to check out the Lotus flowers before the Lotus Festival and ride around in the paddle boats!The Lotus flowers are absolutely gorgeous! I am so glad the city worked to bring them back. Echo Park was so sad to drive by for awhile, but now it looks great! And I had wanted to ride in one of those paddle boats since I was a little kid!We started our day by taking a ride in the paddle boats since it was a warm day and we didn’t want to be out in the middle of the lake during the hottest part of the day. And luckily, a light breeze gave us a bit of mist from the fountain in the middle.After paddle boating, we had some lunch from Square One‘s Echo Park cafe at the boathouse. Burgers, lemonades, and cookies!Then we walked all the way around the lake.First, we checked out the Lotus flowers. I don’t know if they are still having issues, but last year the city was working to remove the infestation of apple snails from the lotus garden. Apparently, the snails have no natural predators and will eat anything and everything, including the lotus plants. So the day we visited, we saw workers in waders plucking the snails off the plants and out of the water.We had a great day at the park, and loved seeing the lotuses before the busy Lotus Festival. And afterwards, we drove by the houses on Carroll Avenue and I just recently learned that one of the houses is the house from Michael Jackson’s music video Thriller. If you love old, victorian houses, make sure you drive by on your way home.And if you want to attend the actual Lotus Festival this weekend on July 11-12th with arts and crafts, dance shows, and food, you should visit their Facebook page.