Spend the Day at Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet
Founded in 1931, Brookgreen Gardens was the lifework of plantation owners Archer Huntington and Anna Hyatt Huntington, who built it not only to preserve the natural heritage of the Lowcountry property but also to display preserve the artwork, sculpture collection and the only accredited zoo on the coast of the Carolinas.
The botanical gardens consist of several areas featuring the works of different artists and particular trees, flowers and plant life, including the magnificent Diana Garden and the Live Oak Allee Garden, featuring 300-year-old live oak trees that were planted when Brookgreen Gardens was a thriving rice plantation.
The Sculpture Garden displays the works of several famous artists, such as the Dorothy P. Peace Garden Room for Children, the Brenda W. Rosen Carolina Terrace Garden's array of perennials, roses and shrubs and the Kitchen Garden.
Also making up the uniquely designed four wings of the butterfly layout are the Palmetto Garden, named for South Carolina’s state tree, the Fountain of the Muses Garden, featuring sculptures of the same name, and the Kitchen Garden.
The Labyrinth, located along the Trail Beyond the Garden Wall, is a medieval style maze of shell and natural grass overlooking the natural beauty of a tributary creek of the Waccamaw River. The Arboretum serves as the transition between the original sculpture gardens and the E. Craig Wall, Jr. Lowcountry Center.
The Lowcountry Center Garden is home to Bethea's Cultural Garden, a display of vegetable and herbs grown during the plantation period here at Brookgreen Gardens, the first public sculpture garden in America, features more than 1,400 works by over 350 sculptors.
Brookgreen's Lowcountry History and Wildlife Preserve features native plants and animals of the South Carolina Lowcountry, including alligators, otters and various species of birds along with plenty of plant life. Explore them by walking the Lowcountry Trail, by boat or via overland vehicle.
The Butterfly House is the latest addition to the Lowcountry Zoo and allows visitors to experience the beauty of various butterfly species, including the Monarch, Zebra Longwing, Polydamas Swallowtails, Pipevine Swallowtails, Spicebush Swallowtails, Julias, Buckeyes, Queens, Painted Lady, and American Lady.
Brookgreen also offers a variety of daily programs, exhibitions, excursions and special events that change seasonally. This summer's schedule includes the "Gray Oaks of Mystery," "Mother Nature's Cafe," "Meet the Animals, "What's Blooming" and creek cruises that lead guests through the surrounding wetlands.
Some excursions require an additional fee while others are included in park admission. Ticket prices are $14 for adults, $12 for seniors 65 and older and $7 for children 4-12. Kids 3 and under are admitted free.
Brookgreen Gardens is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, but the summer months offer extended hours till 9 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Park admission is good for seven days so there's plenty of time to return the next day to finish exploring the massive complex.
For more information, call 843-235-6000 or visit the web site at brookgreen.org.
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