Brookgreen Gardens: A Walk Through Nature
9,100 acres of nature, gardens, wildlife, sculptures, and family fun! Brookgreen Gardens is just a 30 minute drive outside of Myrtle Beach in Murrels Inlet and takes you into a whole different world than what you find along the sandy shores and ocean front beaches. The gardens will take you into a world surrounded by colorful, blooming flowers and plants, walkways lined with moss draped trees, and stunning and precisely detailed sculptures to admire.
Aside from its flowers and plant life, Brookgreen Gardens is also home to the Lowcountry Zoo and Lowcountry Trail. You can admire the domestic animals that would have been present when Brookgreen Gardens was a rice plantation and view some of South Carolina’s native animals. While strolling the Lowcountry Trail you can learn about the history of the Brookgreen Plantation and rice fields. No matter how you choose to spend your day, you are sure to have a blast at Brookgreen Gardens!
What To Know
- Hours: Open daily 9:30am to 5pm
- General Admission is: $20 for adults, $10 for children 4-12, and free for children 3 and under. Admission is good for 7 days, so if you don’t get to see everything in one day (and you probably won’t!) you can return to finish your visit.
- Pets are not permitted in Brookgreen Gardens.
- Admission includes access to all galleries and museums within Brookgreen Gardens.
- Be sure to bring sunscreen and bug spray!
Address: 1931 Brookgreen Drive, Murrells Inlet, SC 29576
Things to Do
Stroll the Botanical Gardens
This one is probably a given, but when visiting Brookgreen Gardens you will want to spend a significant amount of time strolling the gardens, admire the many different plant life species, find a place to sit down, relax and enjoy the views, and keep your eyes open for wildlife.
One of the most notable gardens is Live Oak Allée, a section filled with 250 year old Oak trees that were planted in the 1700’s. You will also want to check out the Dorothy P. Peace Garden Room for Children, the Kitchen Garden, the Fountain of the Muses Garden, the Brenda W. Rosen Carolina Terrace Garden, and the Poetry Garden. The Labyrinth is also a cool section of the gardens, with a plaque present describing the history and purpose of a labyrinth.
Admire the Sculptures
Brookgreen Gardens is home to over 2,000 sculptures scattered throughout the gardens for you to admire. You will find both outdoor sculptures an indoor galleries featuring smaller sculptures, paintings, and other pieces of artwork from artists around the world.
If you are in the area for an extended period of time and have an interest in art, you can check out their educational sculpture programs, where you can learn how to craft and design your own sculptures.
Visit the Lowcountry Zoo
Located within Brookgreen Gardens is the Lowcountry Zoo. Here you will find some domestic animals that would have been present when Brookgreen Gardens was a plantation, including chickens, horses, mule, cows, sheep, goats, and turkey. As you continue on through the zoo, you will find a large bird enclosure herons, egrets, and ducks, otters, foxes, bald eagles, and alligators.
Be on the look out and be safe-you might run into some wild alligators and snakes in the zoo. Use caution and leave space between you and the wild animals. For interactive experiences with the animals in the zoo you can join a daily meet the animals program, where you can get up close to and learn about certain animals.
The butterfly house is another area not to be missed when visiting Brookgreen Gardens! While it has been closed for the 2021, there is hope that it will re-open. Visitors can enjoying walking through an enclosed dome and observe butterflies as they spread their wings in their natural environment. If you’re lucky one might even land on you!
The Lowcountry Zoo is one of five institutions in South Carolina that is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums with all animals in the zoo being raised in captivity, or the majority having sustained major injuries that would prevent them from living in the wild.
Walk the Lowcountry Trail
The Lowcountry Trail is a boardwalk that runs along Mainfield, a restored rice field that played a significant role in the history of the Brookgreen Plantation. Along the trail you will find plaques outlining the history of the area. You can enjoy the audio tour with stations placed throughout the walk that give you an overview of the history of the plantation and Lowcountry.
You will stroll past four stainless steel figures designed to represent the plantation owner, the overseer, an enslaved African American male, and enslaved African American female. If you are looking to learn more about the Gullah people, stop in at the Wall Lowcountry Center Auditorium on a Wednesday afternoon for an educational program outlining their history (included with admission, but reservations are required).
Enjoy Some Downtime at the Children’s Storybook Forest and Sensory Trail
If you are visiting Brookgreen Gardens with children, you will want to make sure you stop by the Children’s Storybook Forest and Sensory Trail. The Storybook Forest features wooden structures, including a castle, pirate ship, school house, and more filled with fun activities for the kids to enjoy. The sensory trail offers natural items for the children to interact with and learn from.
Where To Eat
Brookgreen Gardens has three different dining options. There are also two picnic areas if you prefer to pack your own lunch to enjoy.
The Harvest Restaurant is a full service restaurant offering a variety of soups, salads, burgers, seafood, pasta, and sandwiches. The Harvest Restaurant is open daily from 11am to 3pm.
The Courtyard Café offers a selection of snacks and smaller dishes, including hot dogs, deli sandwiches, salads, and drinks. The café is open from 10:30am to 3pm.
The Old Kitchen is another smaller dining option offering sandwiches, salads, desserts, and drinks. The Old Kitchen is open from 10am to 4pm.
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