Thursday, May 30, 2013

Flowers, History, Art, Science, Nature: Spend a Day Visiting Brookgreen Gardens

Beautiful bronze sculptures adorn every corner
of the Gardens

 Another amazing way to spend the day while in Sunset Beach is at Brookgreen Gardensjust an hour's drive  from our condo, Sunset Beach Bliss.   It is well worth the drive, because it offers far more than just gardens - and the gardens are amazing - but also has a great zoo and opportunities to learn a little American history, while enjoying the beautiful grounds and sculptures.

A place where the kids can get
engrossed in education!?!?
One thing I loved about our visit there was how skillfully the facilities were arranged so that even the youngest in our group was thoroughly entertained.  The kids are not forgotten at Brookgreen Gardens.  When we visited, our daughter was given a very nicely-designed booklet, in which she could check off items to be discovered throughout the day.  At the end, there was a prize!  It worked a treat, so that my husband and I could enjoy the grounds and displays (even before we got to the zoo part), without our daughter being bored to tears.  So much that is offered there is interactive, with lots of touching, climbing into, experiencing, and there's something new all the time.  Latest example:  The Enchanted Storybook Forest.

Meet the local birds
in their territory
The zoo there is a really good one, featuring animals native to the area, as well as a beautiful aviary for some excellent up-close bird watching.  The aviary is actually built over an existing cyprus swamp, so you are able to go in and view some very impressive water birds on their turf instead of behind glass in some sterile cage. The river otter enclosure is also very well designed.  A very, very large glass panel alongside their river, allows you to walk alongside the otters as they do their underwater gymnastics.  And they can see you through the glass!  These creatures are extremely curious, so don't be surprised to find them observing you, just as much as you are them!  And, in addition, you will want to take the time for one or more of the daily educational programs conducted by zoo staff, during which you get to meet  (and sometimes even touch) several of the zoo's inhabitants.  When we were last there, our daughter was fascinated with their resident skunk!
Get to know some
of the locals

Enchanted Garden!
This is both a fun and beautiful place to visit.  There are several nice places in the Gardens to get a bite to eat, when you're ready.  We enjoyed some excellent soups and salads at the Pavillion Restaurant, but if you don't want to take the time for table service, there are also other spots with counter service.  We easily whiled away an entire morning and afternoon at Brookgreen Gardens; and when we left, there was plenty more to see.  So we will be back!