There are 3.5 miles of trails, boat rides, a butterfly house, the Swamparium and lots of wildlife.
We were able to get in a boat ride before the sky opened up and dumped buckets of rain. You can take a free, self-guided boat ride or wait for a park employee to take you on a tour (cost $5). We opted to go it alone. Here’s some of what we saw:
|There were lots of lily pads.|
|This guy was resting close to the boat house. (Look to the left of the pillar.)|
|We had to paddle or float under two foot bridges.|
|We got within about six feet of this lazy gator. Close enough to scare him off the log. Oops!|
It was amazing paddling around in the water, especially when we could get up close and personal with some alligators. There was a photography club there the same time we were, and one lady asked to snap some photos of us in the boat. We tried to hold the boat steady as she snapped some photos of us from the side of the pond.
A friend used to live near Charleston and told us how snakes are known to fall out of the trees into boats at the park. Aaaggghhh! Luckily, I think, we were in the area much too soon for a snake attack. We also only saw a few gators and they were lazily laying on logs or at the foot of cypresses and other trees.
After the boat ride, it started raining and we dashed into the butterfly house, where we hung out until the rain slowed down and we could make it back to the visitor center/gift shop and then the car.
In the butterfly house we saw:
|The resident wood duck, The Prince. He rules the butterfly house and what he says goes.|
|Butterflies and flowers|
|Cocoons, or chrysalis|
Most of the winged beauties were hanging out at the top of the building and we couldn’t see them that well.
David Davis, butterfly house director, talked with us about the plants, showed us the cocoon house and gave me some seeds for a Mexican flower vine that the butterflies love.
|David Davis greets The Prince, who is sitting on top of the bee hive.|
Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for kids. Sidney had to stay in the car while we explored the park, but pets are allowed November-February.
This park most definitely should be on your To-Do list if you’re ever in or near Charleston.
I really wanted to walk around the gardens, but the rain wasn’t going to let up so we drove on up the road to our next stop — Conagree National Park, near Columbia, S.C.