Brookgreen Gardens, located in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, is just 30 minutes south of Myrtle Beach. It is a fascinating and unusual combination of a botanical garden, history museum, zoo, and nature center. There are so many different activities to enjoy while visiting, but it would be virtually impossible to see and do it all.
Last year we wrote a philosophical post after visiting Brookgreen, focusing on how the garden hits the sweet spot of family travel and pleases both the young and old. This year we are getting a bit more practical.
A couple of notes that might be helpful if you are visiting with kids. There are many beautiful spots for a picnic so pack those PB&Js if you are so inclined. They have strollers for loan at no cost if you aren’t in the mood to cart around your own. And the place is HUGE…so don’t feel bad about taking the tram to your desired destination. It may save you from a huge helping of whine.
So here is our list of must do activities if you are visiting Brookgreen Gardens with kids. Pick and choose two or three if you are fixed for time. But whatever you do, the Enchanted Storybook Forest should NOT be missed.
1. Brookgreen Detectives Booklet
Before you go anywhere else, stop in at the Welcome Center and get all of your children a Brookgreen Detectives Booklet. It is a simple little scavenger hunt/checklist for various sculptures throughout the park, and the kids are promised a ‘prize’ for completing it. My boys remembered getting that pencil and ruler last year and couldn’t wait to lay claim to a brand new bag of Brookgreen SWAG. The scavenger hunt keeps the young ones entertained while you actually, ahem, enjoy the art.
2. Children’s Discovery Room
This is a small, charming room packed with hands on activities celebrating the history and ecology of Brookgreen Gardens. From mask making to block building there is something for everyone. The Children’s Discovery Room is definitely worth a visit, but it is only open from 12 pm-4:30 pm, so plan accordingly. An outdoor cafe is situated right nearby, so you could easily plan your visit around lunch.
3. Native Wildlife Zoo
This peaceful loop walk takes you past many of the native species from this area, including herons, otters, alligators, foxes, owls, and hawks. The Night Herons get uncomfortably close and basically make you feel as if they are staring into your soul. The alligator is so enormous it will give you chills. The otters are just darn cute.
4. The Children’s Nature and Sensory Trail
I loved the Children’s Nature and Sensory Trail (maybe even more than my children). The short trail is right next to the Enchanted Storybook Forest and leads the kids through 12 interactive stations where they are encouraged to use their senses to explore nature. I can’t wait to see this idea replicated on longer hikes in state and national parks.
5. Whispering Wings Butterfly Experience
For an additional fee ($3 dollars for adults and $2 for children) you can enter the butterfly house and watch as hundreds of butterfly fly from flower to flower and feast on the plates of fruit set out around the tent. They only allow guests in on the half hour, and the time slots fill up in advance, so you may want to purchase the tickets before you check out the zoo or Sensory Trail.
6. Enchanted Storybook Forest
My boys loved this playground so much that they declared they were staying there for the whole day. And they would have if we had let them. The eclectic area mixes a pirate ship with fairy tale houses and a Dr. Seuss theme. This formula somehow equals out to awesome. What’s even better are the Adirondack chairs where a parent might somehow manage to kick back and relax for a few minutes while the kids explore the Gingerbread House.
General admission tickets are good for 7 days, so you can return a few times during your visit and work your way through the gardens. Tickets are $15 dollars for adults, $7 for kids, and ages 3 and under are free (Score!).
There are so many things to do when visiting Myrtle Beach. We happen to think this is one of your very best options.
Our activities for this trip were sponsored by the Myrtle Beach Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. Our accommodations were sponsored by Kampgrounds of America. All opinions expressed are ALWAYS our own.