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The Dryden family was given the plantation as a wedding gift in 1676, Magnolia Plantation has survived the centuries and witnessed the history of our nation unfold before it from the American Revolution through the Civil War and beyond. We were told that they survived the Civil War by putting small pox flags in front of the property, this scared off the Northerners. It is the oldest public tourist site in the Lowcountry, and the oldest public gardens in America, They opened its doors to visitors in 1870 to view the thousands of beautiful flowers and plants in its famous gardens.
We enjoyed the :45 tram ride around the 500 acre rice plantation. The history of the plantation, family, plants and animals was fascinating. Along our tour we saw alligators, turtles, oaks 300 yrs. old ... The plantation house and gift shop were interesting. We stepped into a slave cabin as well. The petting zoo with animals native to the property was well kept.
- Family Travel
- Historical Travel
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
magnolia plantation was established in 1676 by thomas drayton. from the late 1600's to 1865 magnolia planation was a rice plantation. in the 1840's john drayton laid out an english garden using azaleas, camellias, and dogwoods. today magnolia plantation has one of the most beautiful azalea gardens in north america. during the civil war the plantation house was possibly burned by union troops or more probably by newly freed slaves. the plantation house you see today was moved to the plantation from summerville south carolina after the civil war. the best time of the year to visit magnolia plantation is mid to late april when the azaleas and dogwoods are in full bloom. magnolia plantation is listed on the national register of historic places. for more images see my magnolia plantation travelogue.
- Historical Travel
Magnolia Plantation: Food
You'll probably be here for a few hours so bring a cooler or a bagged lunch with you. I saw many families having picnics here. There is a cafe on the plantation grounds, but the food is not of good quality.
Magnolia Plantation: Animals and Birds
You'll see many birds and animals on the plantation grounds. There are horses and peacocks in front of the plantation house. There's also a petting zoo. Keep your eyes open when wandering in the gardens. You might spot alligators, turtles, herons, and who knows what else.
Magnolia Plantation: Gardens
It's worth coming to the plantation for the gardens alone. There are old mossy trees, flowers, swamps (with alligators) , sculptures, bridges, mazes, and even a tomb where some plantation family ancestors are buried. A lot of the gardens are old so they have a wild and enchanted look to them rather than a manicured one. You can explore for hours, and the beauty is amazing. This would also be a good place to come with children.
The plantation house as it is today was not built until after the Civil War. It stands on the foundation of the original house, which had been burnt down during the war. The descendants of the plantation family still live on the plantation grounds, although you will not see their house as it is not in an area open to the visitors. Strangely enough, some of the descendants of the slaves who lived and worked on this very plantation work here today—under very different terms, of course.
Tours of the house are available, although if you're looking for a historical look at life before the Civil War I would recommend going to one of several other plantations in the Charleston area since the current plantation house is relatively new. What really stands out about the Magnolia plantation are its grounds. There are extensive gardens and swamps. Admission to the grounds is separate from admission to the house, so you can treat yourself to the gardens without paying for the house tour. I highly recommend coming here for the gardens. See my garden tip for photos.
Magnolia Gardens-Great for KIDS!
This is a great old plantation and very good for kids. They have, of course, the plantation gardens which are the first wild gardens in the U.S. and the grand old plantation house was built in 1676.
I think the best part is they have a petting zoo, a shetland (miniature) pony pasture and a swamp with alligators. The petting zoo is included in admission, but the swamp is extra. It's really worth it if you've never seen a swamp or an alligator in the wild. If you already have then I would skip it. Also, if you're a bird enthusiast there's a watchtower near the river where you can spot egrets, osprey, hawks and other birds.
Definitely check out the website for pics and more info. I HIGHLY recommend this for families. Oh and they also have a biblical garden, a tropical garden, canoeing and a really nice picnic area. TIP: If you're hot, tired or disabled they have a tram tour that covers 4 miles of the gardens.
- Family Travel
- National/State Park
Magnolia Plantation and Gardens
If you decide that you want to see one of the Charleston plantations, I recommend Magnolia Plantation over Middleton Gardens. When we went Middleton was more expensive than Magnolia and there was a great deal to see. They had a corn maze for the kids, and lots of flowers in bloom.
Magnolia Plantation and Its Gardens
The Magnolia Plantation is a lovely home dating back to the late 17th century. Its gardens are exquisite. The Audubon Swamp Garden nearby is also of interest, providing a good look at Low Country flora and fauna.
Directions are for travellers coming from Charleston.
- Hiking and Walking
- Arts and Culture
This is an historic plantation house set amongst some beautiful gardens. There is a guided tour of the house available and you can stroll through the gardens following a signposted paths.
The house is very nice but I get a bit tired of details such as the specific years in which various bits of furniture were made.
The garden is lovely with a small animal petting area, a huge informal garden and also a swamp garden.
- Historical Travel
The gardens around Charleston are beyond believe, but this one topped up my expectations. There are a number of different sections on the grounds, which house gardens with different themes - an English rose garden, a Biblical garden, a swamp garden, etc. You might feel like Alice in Wonderland walking through the different environments.
Magnolia Gardens has a plantation house, nature trails, and beautiful gardens. Charles Kuralt described this as "my greatest Charleston pleasure."
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