As the dog days of summer slowly fade into fall, the action at Brookgreen Gardens doesn’t cool off at all. If anything, the autumn schedule actually heats up while the temperatures go down at this 9,100-acre botanical sculpture garden — the largest and oldest of its kind on the entire East Coast.
Located about 18 miles south of Myrtle Beach and Compass Cove Oceanfront Resort, Brookgreen Gardens offers a year-round display of scenic beauty, as well as several special festivals and events in late August and throughout September. Guests at Compass Cove can soak up some sun and fun at the resort or make the short drive for a day trip to lovely Murrells Inlet for some great seafood and sightseeing. And few sites can match the beauty of Brookgreen Gardens and the activities on the upcoming schedule.
For visitors who enjoy art and nature, there’s never a bad time of year to visit Brookgreen Gardens. Seasonal flowers and plants may change, but the majestic live oaks draped with Spanish moss have been stretching their limbs over this former rice and indigo plantation for more than 200 years — some since even before the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Statues and other works of art add to the aesthetics of the Lowcountry property, and patrons can stroll for hours on end while taking breaks in the shade to take it all in. Your photos may not do it justice, but take plenty anyway, especially if you are looking for a place to snap some memorable family vacation photos.
Of course, the younger members of your family might not be as excited about the scenic landscape, but Brookgreen Gardens has plenty to keep them entertained. The Native Wildlife Zoo features a range of native wildlife like otters, alligators and birds of prey, as well as domesticated critters such as miniature horses, goats and chickens. The aviary has an impressive collection of birds in a large, netted park that allows them to live in their natural habitat. The Butterfly House allows visitors to see several exotic species, and boat tours take groups on excursions through the local rivers and creeks to see the old rice fields, salt marshes and all the flora and fauna of the South Carolina Lowcountry. Brookgreen Gardens also boasts Gullah cultural programs, shops, galleries and cafes.
For a truly special experience, visit Brookgreen Gardens for one of the many festivals in the coming weeks. As its Cool Summer Evenings series closes its curtains on Friday, August 11, Brookgreen Gardens gears up for several fun-filled fall celebrations that guests at Compass Cove Resort won’t want to miss.
On August 21, the Solar Eclipse Festival celebrates the rare celestial event from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the eclipse reaching near totality in Murrells Inlet about midway through the festivities. Brookgreen Gardens will provide free glasses for viewing the eclipse, as well as live music by Oracle Blue and live streaming from NASA. Admission includes free access to the Whispering Wings Butterfly Experience and special events at the Native Wildlife Zoo.
On September 7-10, The Music of Motown festival features the return of Blue Eyed Theatrical for a four-night tribute to the Motown sound. Listen to the timeless music of The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, The Jackson 5 and more. On September 23, attend Brew at the Zoo to sample more than 30 different types of craft beer from around the country while mixing and mingling with some real party animals — both the full-time residents and fellow patrons.
Before heading back to Compass Cove Oceanfront Resort, enjoy a tasty seafood feast at the Murrells Inlet MarshWalk, or take in some sights at Huntington Beach State Park. Murrells Inlet provides the perfect place to take a one-day vacation from your vacation.