Brookgreen Gardens – Murrells Inlet, South Carolina
South Carolina | SC Picture Project | Georgetown County Photos | Brookgreen Gardens
Brookgreen Gardens is one of South Carolina’s most beloved landmarks. Located just south of Murrells Inlet in Georgetown County, this historic sculpture garden and wildlife preserve is a favorite destination for locals and visitors alike.
The land that comprises Brookgreen Gardens was originally inhabited by the Waccamaw Indians, but was developed into four separate rice plantations in the 1700s: Brookgreen Plantation, Laurel Hill Plantation, Oaks Plantation, and Springfield Plantation.
In 1930, philanthropists Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington purchased over 9,000 acres of land (including the former plantations) stretching from the Waccamaw River to the Atlantic Ocean. This purchase included the beachfront property that would later become Huntington Beach State Park. The beauty and history of the land prompted the Huntingtons to establish the first public sculpture garden in the United States.
The heart of Brookgreen Gardens is the Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington Sculpture Garden, which boasts a collection of more than 1,400 works from over 350 world-famous artists. Many of the works were created by co-founder Anna Hyatt Huntington, who was a master sculptress and member of the National Sculpture Society. The sculpture garden was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1992.
Brookgreen’s 1931 charter established it as “A Society for Southeastern Flora and Fauna,” and today you can observe a variety of animals in the garden’s zoo. In addition to native wildlife, such as river otters and fox squirrels, you can also see domestic animals common to colonial South Carolina, such as Red Devon Milking Cows and Tunis Sheep. The zoo also features several aviaries, a fox glade, a white-tailed deer savannah, and an alligator swamp.