If you ever come to Richmond, Virginia, I suggest you allow yourself an extra day to explore Maymont Park. This post, as the title suggests, is merely an introduction to Richmond’s crowned jewel.
They have so much to offer, you may want to plan on bringing a picnic lunch and comfortable walking shoes. And by all means, bring your camera.
The petting barn has all kinds of sweet little animals for old and young alike to enjoy. Pictured is a mere fraction of the critters they have to love on. There are also horses, donkeys, lots of goats, peacocks, bunnies, chickens, and more.
There are bears. The Maymont bears are usually placed in captivity for misbehaving in the National park, although some of the bears they’ve displayed in past years were orphaned. In a future post, I have a sad story to tell about two bears that resided here, but for now, the focus of this writing is a general overview of the park. As time goes on, I will pick apart specific areas. I could write a book on this marvelous park. I didn’t even mention the deer,buffalo,foxes,eagles, and other prey birds on display that are wounded and would not survive in the wild. Maymont is a refuge for all kinds of critters, that in turn are a delight for all to enjoy.
I love this little gazebo, although Maymont has several dotted throughout the estate. I think this is my favorite. This gazebo is a new addition, while some of the others that stand have been there for over 100 years.
Above the Japanese Gardens, you will find the Italian Gardens. This photo does not really show the beauty that is displayed later in the season, but it does present an excellent view of the flower beds. There are also fountains among the beds. Sadly this photo does not show anymore than the corner of one of them. This is a popular wedding spot throughout the year. Although it is an expensive spot to tie the knot in, the money collected is used to support the operating costs of the park. There are other paid attractions as well. They have a handicapped accessible tram to transport people that prefer not to, or cannot, walk. Or, if you prefer, you can rent carriage rides through the park. It is free to visit with the exception of the Nature Center and tours of the Mansion. There are also donation boxes set up for those who would like to contribute to the cause on a voluntary basis.
We always walked the park, cutting through the numerous paths and shortcuts over the hills, to get from point A to B. If you have trouble sleeping at night, Maymont will wear you out. It beats any sleeping pill on the market, I assure you.
The Nature Center was added maybe 10 or 15 years ago and is full of various displays, including fish tanks, and all kinds of educational setups designed to teach children about our natural environment, focusing on life on the James River. They have snakes, and frogs, and all sorts of fish in huge tanks set into the rocks. There are even a pair of otters who love to show off for their audience. If you go around the corner, the pumps that operate the filtering system are displayed as well so the children can see how they work. Set back behind the display area is a play room for the children stocked full of animal puppets, toys, and books. On occasion storytellers come to delight the children with all kinds of information about nature and wildlife. I practically raised my own children here.
The Maymont Mansion was the home of Major(Civil War) and Mrs Dooley, a childless couple that donated their estate to the city of Richmond to share with all. Mrs. Dooley died in 1925, thus leaving our capital city one of her greatest treasures for all to enjoy.
I wish I had a better model to present to show the overview of Maymont, but the model was so big and with the glare on the glass, it was hard to get it all. These pictures can not begin to describe the beauty of the park anyway. You just have to visit to really enjoy the impact of this lovely gift left to us all by Major Dooley and his lovely bride, Sallie May Dooley. May they both RIP.