Maymont Park, Richmond
Maymont Park was dedicated by a rich couple in the early 1900s. There, you will find all sorts of gardens and landscapes, and there's even a petting zoo for the little nippers to enjoy. My second grade class took a field trip there on 27 May 1977.
The story of Maymont began in 1893, when a wealthy Richmond couple, James and Sallie Dooley, completed their elaborate Gilded Age estate on a site high above the James River.
Upon their deaths and according to their wishes, Maymont?including its architectural complex, the splendid, 100-acre landscape, and a collection of exquisite furnishings?was left to the people of Richmond. Over the next 75 years, additional attractions were thoughtfully added, culminating in a one-of-a-kind showplace.
The magnificent, 33-room mansion with sumptuous interiors represents the luxurious lifestyle of the Gilded Age. Restored to reflect its original splendor, the residence and its furnishings give a remarkably intact depiction of high-style taste at the dawn of the 20th century.
A 20-foot waterfall cascades into the first of 13 giant, linked aquariums that are home to playful river otters, turtles and fish of all shapes and sizes. Interactive galleries complete this memorable river experience.
Maymont's gardens reflect the Dooleys' interest in foreign travel. The Italian Garden, with its stone terraces, pergola, and formal beds and plantings, is a popular place for a stroll or even a wedding. The ponds, bridges and carefully-trained trees and shrubs of the Japanese Garden create a landscape of serenity and beauty.
The Children's Farm features domestic animals raised on Virginia farms. Here youngsters can touch and feed goats, sheep, chickens, cows and even some rare breeds. The Farm offers all visitors insight into the farm-life experience and food production.
The Dooleys developed a collection of more than 200 species of trees and shrubs representing six continents. They were all carefully placed throughout Maymont's 100 rolling acres to allow for optimum future growth. Now, more than a hundred years later, see the Dooleys' collection as they could only imagine it.
This huge park in downtown Richmond was a gift to the city from the Dooley family. It contains miles of foot paths, petting zoo, wildlife exhibits(natural habitats and only previously injured animals that can't survive in the wild), Chinese Garden, Italian Garden, bamboo forest, mansion house, and lots of wide open spaces for frizbee, soccer, or whatever. DOGS ARE NOT ALLOWED! A real pity but I'm sure the wildlife is happy about it.
Maymont is the best place to spend a Saturday afternoon. Go to the Robins Nature and Visitor Center to see wildlife up close and personal, then trek along the path around the two lakes to see more wildlife and the beautiful Japanese Gardens. Later, have a picnic on the lawn of the Dooley Mansion and take some pictures at the Italian Gardens.