Brookgreen Gardens in Myrtle Beach, SC is a National Historic Landmark that is part of an over 9000 acre property that features a spectacular sculpture garden and a history and wildlife preserve that was founded by Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington in 1931. The parcel of land that these gardens now inhabit originally consisted of four rice plantations that the Huntingtons purchased to display Anna’s sculptures.
As her endeavor grew, this undertaking turned into the first public sculpture garden in American. Since that time, it has expanded into the largest outdoor collection of American figurative sculptures in the world, with over 1200 pieces created by 350 sculptors. These works of art range in dates from the early nineteenth century to present day. It’s a great idea to take the time at the beginning of your visit to view the video that will give an overall summary of the history and layout of the Gardens. The information in the video prepares guests to best enjoy Brookgreen.
The magnificent sculptures are not the only wonders that visitors marvel over at Brookgreen Gardens. The gorgeous grounds that are designed around walkways laid out by Anna Huntington, are considered among our country’s most celebrated botanical showings. The land throughout the Gardens consists of a diverse mix of salt marsh, forested swamps, fresh tidal swamps and sandy ridges. The Live Oak Allee garden is an absolute favorite of many guests. The ancient oak trees that line this extraordinarily beautiful garden path were planted in the 1700’s and are nearly 300 years old. It is quite a marvelous sight to see.
Anna Huntington went to great lengths to create her wondrous sculpture garden and even designed it in the shape of a spread wing butterfly. The lower right wing is the location of the Dorothy P. Peace Garden room for Children. The lower left wing is home to The Kitchen Garden.
A departure from the butterfly wings will lead garden explorers to areas such as The Dogwood Garden and The Palmetto Garden that were completed in 1945 and 1950 respectively. The whimsical Fountain of the Muses Garden is one of the most recent additions which features sculptures of the sisters of Greek mythology.
In addition to the gardens and sculptures, the grounds also have a small animal zoo. The Lowcountry Zoo is noted as the only zoo on the coast of North and South Carolina that is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. This organization only accepts zoos that meet their very high standards of animal care and wildlife preservation. The inhabitants of the zoo include otters, alligators, foxes, eagles and owls. Horses, cows, sheep, chickens and wild turkeys also find homes there. All of the wondrous creatures in this zoo were either bred in captivity at an accredited institution or were obtained from a wildlife rehabilitation organization due to the result of a major injury. These animals are unable to survive in the wild and are provided safe and natural habitats at The Lowcountry Zoo. The Cypress Aviary is built over the cypress swamp and can be viewed from a raised boardwalk. Various birds can be viewed in their natural habitat as the feed, fly and rest.
The pontoon boat ride is a popular attraction at the Gardens. This hour long excursion gives the opportunity to travel through the old rice fields while viewing birds, alligators and small animals that make their home in the swampland. There is also an all-terrain vehicle ride back in history. Both of these worthwhile adventures are available for an additional fee.
The hands-on Children’s Discovery Center provides enthralling entertainment for the younger crowd. The kids can spend hours engrossed in the activities and displays.
Stop in for a light meal of delicious local fare at the Garden’s restaurant and maybe even indulge in a nice glass of wine. A picnic area is also available. Nighttime is a great time to visit with the lighted sculptures and water areas.
Tickets are reasonably priced and are good for seven days. Many visitors return several times during their trip to Myrtle Beach. There is so much to see that they often don’t get to all of it in one day. There is easily two or three days enjoyment in these huge gardens. Many love to schedule a second trip as the sun goes down to enjoy the evening ambiance at the Gardens. Even on lightly rainy days Brookgreen is not always empty as people can be seen equipped with their raincoats and umbrellas enjoying the Gardens while strolling in the rain.
There’s lot of walking to get around the extensive Brookgreen Gardens. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes as you prepare for your adventure through these beautiful, natural and artistic wonders. Your trip to Brookgreen Gardens in Myrtle Beach, SC is sure to lead to a tranquil and serene experience that will be thought provoking, to say the least.
Murrells Inlet, SC 29576
Reviewed March 13, 2010 / Stars
“Brookgreen Gardens in Myrtle Beach SC is a National Historic Landmark that is part of an over 9000 acre property that features a spectacular sculpture garden and a history and wildlife preserve.”
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