Visiting Brookgreen Gardens in SC
Just one of the magnificent sculptures throughout the gardens
Anna Hyatt Huntington
Located just south of Murrells Inlet, SC, and a short drive from Myrtle Beach, Brookgreen Gardens offers the art lover, garden lover, history lover and nature lover what may seem like a piece of heaven. Just be sure and take your walking shoes because there is a lot to see. Fortunately, when you think you cannot take another step there is a shuttle system or the river cruise to give your feet a rest.
Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington, March 10, 1876 – October 4, 1973, founded Brookgreen in 1931. Anna was a sculptress with work in museums all over the world. She was especially known for her equine and other animal subjects. She saw Brookgreen as a natural setting for not only her own, but other renowned sculptors’ work. The Huntingtons also wanted to preserve the natural floral and fauna of that part of South Carolina.
When you enter the gates to the gardens you are first struck by the awesome beauty of Anna Hyatt Huntington’s magnificent sculpture titled Fighting Stallions. Starting from the visitor center, where you can get maps and information on what is going on in the gardens and even join a guided tour, acres of majestic live oaks dripping with Spanish moss shade the paths throughout the gardens. The gardens are accented with reflecting pools, other gardens are walled and offer shade and solitude. There is something blooming all year round, but even in the lowest bloom season the sculptures will take your breath away.
The Pavilion Restaurant, The Old Kitchen, and Courtyard Café offer light dining. You can enjoy a lunch with beverages and desserts inside or outside. My cousins and I had our lunch at The Old Kitchen’s patio and were entertained by birds who begged crumbs from our sandwiches. In spite of the “Please don’t feed the birds” we couldn’t resist. They literally ate out of our hands.
Alligator sunning on the bank as the tour boat passes by
Give Your Feet a Rest and Take the Boat Tour
The boat tour is the perfect way to learn the history of Brookgreen and the surrounding 9,000 acres that were once rice plantations. The narrator does an outstanding job of describing the rice plantation culture of the 1800s as well pointing out the large alligators basking in the sun on the creek banks. We zoomed in on them and got some pretty good photographs of the monster reptiles.
The zoo at Brookgreen houses native wild animals that were either born in captivity or rescued because of injuries, rare breed domestic animals, and native water and shore birds in the Cypress Aviary.
There is much more to Brookgreen that one can see in one day. Factor in the calendar full of events throughout the year and you’ll certainly want to make return visits. Tickets are good for seven consecutive days, a real bargain. If you are vacationing in the Myrtle Beach area you may want to plan visiting two or three days so you can absorb and enjoy Brookgreen Gardens’ beauty in leisure.
Brookgreen Gardens holds many events throughout the year. Be sure to check their website (provided at the bottom of this article) when planning your trip for events.
Candle Light Tour, one of many special events held all through the year at Brookgreen Gardens
Anna Hyatt Huntington's Studio and Summer Home
Atalaya, which is part of the Huntington State Park, was the summer home built by Archer Huntington in the 1930s. Its fifty-plus rooms built around a courtyard included a huge studio with stalls to house the animal models which inspired Anna’s sculpture. Be sure to include this landmark during your stay. You can read more about Atalaya at my hub http://donnacsmith.hubpages.com/hub/Atalaya.
Comprehensive website with details of the gardens and their events
- Brookgreen Gardens | Myrtle Beach Attractions
A must-see Myrtle Beach area attraction, named one of the Top 10 Gardens in the US by TripAdvisor