Folks, those who know me know I never have been real big on flowers, even before I started having allergies at 17. I visited the Elizabethan Gardens in June, 1977 when Daddy deferred to Mama's wishes to visit all these flowers. The gardens were landscaped in the 1950s as a living memorial to Britain's first attempt to colonise the Americas. I am no botanist, so I couldn't name the varieties of flowers that were there in 1977 and are there now. I do know that there were (and are) more varieties and colours of flowers than you can shake a stick at together with sculptures and elabourate fountains.
This is called an Adventure Museum because the displays are set up for participation. You can dress in Elizabethan costume and learn how 16th-century sailors navigated their ships. There are exhibits on an Outer Banks Life-saving Station - much-needed in the early 1900s, when more than 1,000 ships wrecked in the Graveyard of the Atlantic. You can (as I did) "See if you could make your living in a traditional manner on the Outer Banks by “hunting” ducks in our sink box blind (The ducks are up above in the rafters - They had a laser target which told whether you had a hit and I didn't do too badly), or shop around an early 1900s era general store." There was also a life size model of the Roanoke Marshes Light.
They have special summer programs for kids from mid June to mid August.
Admission is for Elizabeth II sailing vessel, the Settlement Site, the Roanoke Adventure Museum, The Legend of Two Path film, the History Garden, and daily scheduled programs
Admission stickers are honored for two consecutive days to allow visitors unhurried enjoyment of all the attractions.
2005 Admission Prices
Student (6-17) $5
Child (5 & under) Free
There was a huge blow-up crab in the lobby with a sign saying "Happy Holidays from Sandy Claws". Bob took my picture in the grasp of the claws (see second picture), but it was very soft focus because it wasn't very light and that makes the exposure time longer which he didn't know.
This is a small but very nice aquarium - they start you out in the coastal fresh water environment where I got a nice picture of some tree frogs and lizards hiding in the greenery. I didn't see all of them there when I took the picture.
Then in the 'Wetlands on the Edge" there were a bunch of alligators (and a snapping turtle which I didn't see), a tank with water turtles (sliders etc) and an otter all visible above and below the water (see picture 5 for alligator above the water). I found out that "pocosin" is not just the name of a place in Virginia but is something like a marsh or a bog.
Next was the Coastal Gallery which had pictures and videos and audio tapes about the various hurricanes and there was a TV screen with the current location of Tropical Storm Otto.
The Marine Community had a flounder, pompano, bluefish, conger eels etc. After that was the Wreck Room with a 1/3 scale model of the wreck of the U.S.S. Monitor which was sunk off Cape Hatteras. This was the largest tank (285K gal.) and had open ocean fishes like sharks, groupers, cobia and jacks.
Close Encounters has a tank with rays and horseshoe crabs and another one with various sea urchin's/sand dollars, hermit crabs and whelks that you could pick up and play with.
Then in the changing exhibits room they had a display of poisonous animals like sting rays, jelly fish, tarantulas, scorpion fish, diamondback, cottonmouth etc. Not for playing with
Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily year-round except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year?s Day
Seniors & Active Military: $6
Children: Ages 6-17: $5
5 and under: FREE
Martin Luther King Birthday
Christmas Eve Day
I was particularly interested in this garden because someone on VT has a tip under Elizabeth City where she says "The thing I liked a lot was going to the Elisibeatan Garden. .. I miss seeing the beatiful flowers and plants and sitting by the ocean and listening to the waves.." But the Elizabethan Gardens are NOT in Elizabeth City. And neither the Elizabethan Gardans nor Elizabeth City are on the ocean.
The garden is open year round. We visited in the late fall when the camelias are in bloom, but in the spring, there are masses of blooming azaleas, dogwoods, rhododendrons, vines, herbs, bulbs and spring annuals peaking around the middle of April; sweet scented gardenias, roses, magnolias, crape myrtle, lilies, hydrangeas and summer annuals reaching their height of bloom the middle of July; riotous summer bedding plants, hibiscus, chrysanthemums and impatiens featured in the autumn months.. The grounds are also home to .. ancient garden statuary and ornaments, many given by The late Honorable John Hay Whitney, former Ambassador to the Court of St. James, and Mrs. Whitney; and to a 16th Century Gazebo.
The first spade of dirt was turned for The Gardens on the Coronation Day of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, on June 2nd, 1953.
The admission there was $7 for seniors, but we could get a combination pass for $17 that would admit us to the gardens, the aquarium and the festival park.
We walked the mile line trail in the garden. My mom is an iris judge so I looked and they do have some iris, but most of the garden is very heavily shaded, so I can't imagine that they do very well there.
While this is a garden in honor of the first colonist, it has many modern plants. I think the Elizabethan part is mostly hype based on the Lost Colony stuff. A real Elizabethan garden would have only plants which were appropriate to the time. What they call the Water Gate is just a wooden gate looking out over the water and has nothing in common with a real Watergate like they have in the Dockyard in Bermuda
We went over to Roanoke Island two days, and on the second day we went to Festival Park. As we went in, we were told that there would be a 40 minute movie shown at noon (in 20 minutes) that would not be shown again until 2 pm. So we browsed a bit in the gift shop and then went into what we thought was the movie theatre. Someone popped in and asked if we wanted to see the movie TwoPath, that we were in the wrong place.
We went to the movie which was about the first few English ships that came to Roanoke Island and involved three native American's from three tribes - Manteo, Skyco and Wanchese. (Those are the three towns on the island.) It was very interesting. Of course the ship was down in Wanchese having been hauled for
repairs. People told us we could go down there and see it, but Bob didn't want to. They had a place where they demonstrated sail handling where the ship would be.
We did walk around the reconstructed village and watched the blacksmith make a nail, and went out to the dock where the ship had been. The populace of the village tried to talk in Elizabethan English (one of them said that the 'k' that we normally leave silent was pronounced then, like k-not and k-now)
We spent about 2 hours and 40 minutes there before we left to go to lunch
2005 Admission Prices
Student (6-17) $5
Child (5 & under) Free
and not only because there are various aqua-creatures in this aquarium. The cooles were the otters, but unfortunately I can't offer a picture. Those mammals are so joyful and playful that it's hard to leave their spot and go forward :-)