*Originally published on August 5, 2010 on MBScene*
Most people come to Myrtle Beach for all of our great attractions and nightlife, causing a great hustle and bustle throughout one's vacation. But, whatever happened to relaxation?
Sure spending an afternoon on the beach playing and reading a book is great, but some find it just as busy as Highway 17 at times! So, we decided to take it down a notch, drive south of Myrtle Beach to the little area known as Murrells Inlet and visit a great place for site-seeing, taking a stroll and enjoying the beauty of the Carolina's, Brookgreen Garden.
In 1931, Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington founded Brookgreen Gardens, a non-profit 501(c)(3) garden museum, to preserve the native flora and fauna and display objects of art within that natural setting. Today, Brookgreen Gardens is a National Historic Landmark with the most significant collection of figurative sculpture in an outdoor setting by American artists in the world and has the only zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums on the coast of the Carolina's.
Brookgreen Gardens is a beautiful place, set on 9,200 acres and home of a mix of forested swamps, salt marsh, sandy ridges, and fresh tidal swamps. Wonderful gardens of flowers and 100+ year old trees are only the start of this national landmark, Brookgreen is filled with sculptures not only created by Mrs. Anna Hyatt Huntington but by other American artists.
"Known as the Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington Sculpture Garden, this garden was designed in 1931 by Anna Hyatt Huntington in the shape of a spread wing butterfly. On entering the Diana Garden, the breadth of this magnificent place stands before you. The Live Oak Allee garden is comprised of 250 year old live oaks trees that were planted in the early 1700s when Brookgreen Gardens was a thriving rice plantation. These inspiring matriarchs frame this garden space like a living cathedral."
In addition to the wonderful gardens and sculptures Brookgreen also offers the only zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums(AZA) on the coast of North and South Carolina. The AZA is America’s most respected organization for zoos and aquariums and accredits only those institutions that have achieved rigorous standards for animal care, education, wildlife conservation, and science. The zoo is wonderful and filled with national and regional wildlife. All of the native wildlife were either bred and raised in captivity at an AZA accredited institution or were obtained from a wildlife rehabilitation center after sustaining a major disability due to injury. Currently Brookgreen is offering the Whispering Wings Butterfly Experience, running until October 31 in their new Butterfly House!
This seasonal exhibit features a lush garden filled with tropical plants where hundreds of butterflies soar through the air. Monarch, Zebra Longwing, Polydamas Swallowtails, Pipevine Swallowtails, Spicebush Swallowtails, Julias, Buckeyes, Queens, Painted Lady, and American Lady are just a few of the species that call Whispering Wings home.
Brookgreen Garden isn't just a wonderful summertime destination, but also a local treat come winter. Their Night of a Thousand Candles is a yearly Christmas-time tradition and adds a whole new experience to the gardens. Filled with, I’d say, more than a thousand lights, the gardens sparkle in the night. Along with the wonderful lights, Brookgreen also offers food, wine, and hot coco for their winter-time guests - anything to keep us all warm!
Brookgreen’s most popular annual event has been named as one of the Top 20 Events in the Southeast by the Southeastern Tourism Society! Visitors will stroll through the gardens and view spectacular lighting displays along with hand-lit candles that illuminate garden paths. All through the gardens musicians perform, carolers sing, and visitors experience the enchantment that only Nights of a Thousand Candles brings.
Any local can attest to the wonderful time that you and your family will have spending an afternoon in one of the Grand Strand’s best offerings. Open and lush, the kids will have a great time running through the open spaces and checking out the animals at the zoo, while Mom and Dad take a nice stroll around the grounds and maybe have some quite time by one of the many fountains.
We here at MBscene highly recommend checking out Brookgreen Gardens, you will not be disappointed!
1931 Brookgreen Drive, Murrells Inlet, SC 29576
- Myrtle Beach – 18 miles north of Brookgreen Gardens
- Pawleys Island – 3 miles south of Brookgreen Gardens
- Georgetown – 18 miles south of Brookgreen Gardens
- Charleston – 70 miles south of Brookgreen Gardens
There are tons of daily activities and scheduled events. For details on events and times please go HERE