Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is best known for beaches, of course. A family can easily while away an afternoon or two on the sand – then spend the evening downtown at Ripley’s Aquarium or Hollywood Wax Museum.
But, for a more serene afternoon (or entire day), head to Brookgreen Gardens, a privately owned outdoor nature and art park in Lowcountry, further from the Myrtle Beach tourist sites.
Picture sprawling green grassland, stone-walled gardens, cultivated flowerbeds and looming metal sculptures every
20 strides or so. On the other side of the park, domestic animals representative of those on 18th century farms roam within enclosures. Nearby, waterfowl, such as ibises and egrets, flitter about behind netting in the aviary.
Established in 1931 by Archer and Anna Huntington, Brookgreen Gardens also has a small zoo of indigenous wild animals like owls, hawks, red and grey foxes, alligators, and white-tailed deer, plus a butterfly conservatory and pontoon boat tour through surrounding marshlands.
A shuttle bus scoots visitors between sections. Open green spaces and carved hedge enclosures create picture perfect moments. Paved paths that are easy for pushing strollers meander between 2,000 sculptures dotting the property.
Families spend the most time near the aviary watching river otters frolic behind glass or at the Dorothy P. Peace Garden Room for Children, an area designed to allow little ones some contained running room while keeping them amused with sculptures of fairytale-like animals and little people. (www.brookgreen.org)
Sherri Telenko is a freelance writer and blogger living in Southern Ontario. Sign up for travel ideas at www.dogtrotting.net or follow her on twitter @SherriTelenko.