The story of Brookgreen Gardens goes back far beyond its founding date in 1931.
The symbolic seeds for this garden’s fruitful future were first planted in 1921 when the son of a Virginia industrial magnate met and fell in love with one of America’s finest animal sculptors of the 20th century. Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington were married just two years after their first meeting on their shared birthday of March 10, a day that is now known around the gardens as “three-in-one day,” and their illustrious union is what gave birth to Brookgreen Gardens’ signature blend of industry and art.
The couple bought the land in the 1930s to act as their coastal South Carolina retreat, and after experiencing the peace and tranquility of its Southern lowcountry charm, they were inspired to protect and share the beauty of the landscape by turning it into a nonprofit corporation and establishing America’s first public sculpture garden.
The gardens opened to the public in 1932, and today the space is celebrating its 85th anniversary while featuring more than 1,400 American sculptural works that range from the early 1800s to the present over a landscape of more than 35 acres. The Brookgreen Gardens complex as a whole comprises 9,127 acres and includes the Huntington Sculpture Garden, the Center for American Sculpture, and the Lowcountry History and Wildlife Preserve. The gardens are open daily to visitors from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and tickets include admission to the gardens, the Native Wildlife Zoo, the Lowcountry Center and Trail, and the Enchanted Storybook Forest.
Along with being an accredited member of the American Alliance of Museums and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Brookgreen Gardens is also listed on the Register of National Historic Places as a National Historic Landmark and is regarded by many as one of the most romantic wedding locales in South Carolina.
The gardens’ romantic story and beautiful landscape make for an enchanted backdrop for weddings, and the natural space and artistic landscape are a great setting for inspired meetings and creative gatherings. With more than 9,100 acres of outdoor space and four indoor spaces of varying sizes, Brookgreen Gardens is a spectacular place for meetings and events all year long.
Stunning white-tented receptions, memorable meetings beneath a live oak and vows said beneath an 80-foot-tall fir tree decorated with 70,000 lights during the annual Nights of a Thousand Candles are all natural choices for outdoor events held at Brookgreen Gardens. For groups seeking a bit more shelter, the complex also offers four indoor options, including the Low Country Center, which accommodates up to 90 people; the Pavilion Restaurant, which seats up to 80 people; the Welcome Center Conference Room, which holds up to 50 people; and the Holliday Cottage, for up to 24 people.