SC History Trail

Brookgreen Gardens

Established on the site of four 18th century rice plantations, Brookgreen Gardens is renowned for its Old South charm and natural beauty - and as the largest outdoor sculpture garden in North American.

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Brookgreen Gardens
1931 Brookgreen Drive, Murrells Inlet, SC 29576
Map: View Map and Directions
Web Site:
Phone: 800-849-1931 or 843-235-6000
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Site Description
One of the most famous and endearing landmarks in South Carolina, Brookgreen Gardens is a Natural Historic Landmark featuring superbly cultivated gardens, a wildlife preserve and the largest collection of outdoor sculpture in North America. It is composed of four 18th and 19th century rice plantations, including 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.

Brookgreen Gardens is also the site of The Oaks Plantation, which was home to the Alston family, prosperous and influential leaders of South Carolina's rice empire. Early 19th century South Carolina Governor Joseph Alston lived here with his wife, Theodosia Burr Alston, who was the daughter of U.S. Vice President Aaron Burr. The Alston family cemetery at Brookgreen preserves the grave of Governor Alston and a marker for his wife, who mysteriously disappeared at sea.

In 1931, the four plantations, which stretched from the Waccamaw River to the Atlantic Ocean, were acquired by Archer M. Huntington, the scholarly, philanthropic heir to a railroad fortune, and his wife, Anna Hyatt Huntington, an acclaimed sculptress. Together, they developed Brookgreen Gardens and their adjacent seaside retreat, Atalaya, into an extraordinary Southern home, nature preserve and center for the display of Anna Hyatt Huntington's remarkable sculpture collection.

The Huntingtons established a nonprofit corporation to preserve the natural environment, gardens and art of Brookgreen for future generations. Today, Brookgreen Gardens continues to enthrall visitors with its famous sculpture collection, charming nature gardens and award-winning South Carolina wildlife zoo.
Access and Admission
Site Access: Public
Access Description: Daily 9:30am to 5pm
Average Viewing Time: 2 - 3 Hours
Admission: Seniors (65) $12, Adults 12-64 $14, Children 4-12 $7, Under 3 Free
Tours and Events
Guided Tours: Yes
Group Tours Yes - Call 843-235-6021 or 800-849-1931 Ext 6021