Brookgreen Gardens

A large sculpture garden is just one of the discoveries at this beautiful wildlife preserve on the outskirts of Myrtle Beach.

Admission to Brookgreen Gardens allows unlimited return visits over an entire week. The 9,100-acre (3,682-hectare) park consists of themed gardens, a zoo, historic sites, walking trails and a daily schedule packed with classes and tours.

The sculpture garden is one of the most popular areas, with 1,400 outdoor artworks by more than 350 artists. Test your horticultural knowledge while you walk around the gardens. There are 2,000 different varieties of plants showcased on the trails.

The on-site Lowcountry Zoo features a mixture of captive animals and injured animals rescued from the wild. Alligators, bald eagles, hawks, owls and river otters are among the native collection. Rare breeds of horses, cows, sheep and goats are also on display. The daily Mother Nature’s Café walk-through zoo tour is a great way to get acquainted with the animals. During this free 50-minute guided tour, you’ll learn fun facts and watch various animals being fed.

Walking tours offer a glimpse of what life was like when the area was used for rice plantations. You can also explore the trails on your own, and the Welcome Center has plenty of maps and information. For example, the Lowcountry Trail features the remains of four structures that were unearthed during archaeological digs. Plaques along the trail and a free audio guide describe what daily life was like for the African slaves that worked the fields.

If traveling with children, check out the Welcome Center on arrival. Pick up a child-friendly booklet, which outlines things for young ones to explore and look for on the grounds. There are two cafés and a restaurant on site.

Brookgreen Gardens is 20 miles (32 kilometers) south of Myrtle Beach. Admission to the gardens includes unlimited entry to the parks and zoo for a week, as well as access to activities on the daily program and most tours and exhibits. Brookgreen Gardens is open daily.