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The AGSDynamicMapServiceLayer you see in a map is nothing but an image of the map. So you cannot get attributes of the features from an image. Hence, you have to execute a query task to get the features as graphics.
Based on your description the best recommended approach would be to load all layers as AGSFeatureLayer and you'll get all graphics in a map with attributes and symbology defined in the service.
Hope this helps!
Thanks for the clarification Nimesh. I had come to the same conclusion about the AGSDynamicMapServiceLayer and have been trying the Query approach - it seems like I can do what I need using query. The idea of using an AGSFeatureLayer is a good one...I will definitely explore that as well.