Brookgreen Gardens: So Much to See

We have discovered amazing opportunities from shopping the deals on Groupon. Prior to visiting a town, I search their site and always discover something worth seeing/doing. Brookgreen Gardens is one such found treasure.

Celebrating their 85th Anniversary, Brookgreen Gardens' combination of art, history, and zoo touches the heart and teaches the mind with new exhibits, programs, and tours. There is so much to do, in fact, that admission is good for seven days even though I don't think even that is long enough.
Brookgreen Gardens was conceived by philanthropists Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington. He was the heir to a railroad fortune (stepson to C.P.), and she was a famous sculptor. In the late 1920s, Anna was taken ill by tuberculosis and they traveled to South Carolina in search of a warmer climate to aid her recovery. Here, they fell deeply in love with the beauty of the lowcountry so they purchased the nearly 10,000 acres that once made up four separate plantations to create their winter retreat.
The Visionaries, a self portrait by Anna,  seems an apt title. They were an amazing couple and today this place continues to honor their legacy with 500 acres of beautifully cultivated gardens displaying over 1,400 sculptures and 2,000 species of plants. It is the country’s first public sculpture garden and has the largest collection of figurative sculpture, by American artists, in an outdoor setting in the world.

One of the four plantations, that formed the Gardens, was Brookgreen Plantation, owned by 19th century planter Joshua John Ward, who perfected a strain of rice called the Carolina Golden Grain. Known as "king of the rice planters," he owned six plantations and more than 10,000 acres of land. He was also believed to be the largest slave owner in the United States with more than 1,100 slaves. This sculpture is one of many that tells that part of the history here. It's interesting to see the contrast in the usage of this land and its transformation into such an oasis of peace.
So much of what we have learned about Charleston is reflected here. This gate, welcoming us into a spectacular garden, was crafted by the famous Philip Simmons.

Nature and humanity dance together here in the gardens.

An added bonus for this mom who lived with Legos for years was "Nature Connects",  12 larger-than-life LEGO® brick sculpture installations in the Zoo section. Created by Sean Kenney, renowned artist and children’s author, “Nature Connects” is an award winning exhibit currently touring the country. Made from almost a half million LEGO® bricks, the sculptures bring nature to life.
Grandfather Gardening with Child was created with over 100,000 pieces. The details in each sculpture were awe-inspiring.

I love bees and I love taking closeups of them. Check out a photo of a Lego bee... fun stuff.

In addition to the amazing art, the exhibit featured interpretive panels with an educational message for each sculpture to help connect children with the natural world and promote conservation. Oh, and it made us want to go home and get out our Legos.
Brookgreen is so much more than what I've shared here. With its massive sculpture collection, numerous charming nature gardens, history strolls, award-winning wildlife zoo, guided walks and narrated boat ride, we were barely able to scratched the surface. But we did as much as we could in the time that we had. We're very happy with all that we experienced. We'll just have to return one day.

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Karen Booth said...

Gardens, sculptures, butterflies and Dragonflies -- oh my!!!! What beautiful images you shared. AND the Legos. What a fun surprise. You are making the most of your final week.

Nick and Deb's Excellent Adventure said...

Hands down one of our favorite places here! So glad you enjoyed it and had an amazing day too!

Nesbit Library rocks! said...

Wow, once again you find the most unique places. I want you to be my travel agent!

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