Introduction to Maymont Park


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.

The petting barn from a distance

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.

A few of the Maymont critters loving life

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.

Hmm, How am I going to get down from here?

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.

The Gazebo in the Japanese Garden

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.

The Italian Gardens

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

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.

A glimpse inside of the Nature Center

The Maymont Mansion

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.

Parital model of the park encased in glass.

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.

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27 responses to “Introduction to Maymont Park

    • Greetings Cris,
      I’ve been going to Maymont for at least 25 years now, and haven’t tired of it yet. They have all kinds of exhibits and the staff will dress in 19Th Century Costume at Christmas (and other times of the year) to greet guests as they tour the manison and reveal the history of the esate. The Maymont Mansion was one of the first private residences to have electricity installed. There is a single breaker upstairs, and I understand when Mrs.Dooley went to bed, it was lights out for everybody. She was afraid of the electricity. Anyway, it is a facinating place. I would put this park on my “bucketlist” if there was even a remote chance of visiting. I’m opening a ‘category’ entitled “Maymont Park”. I will no doubt be posting lots more photos of Maymont as time goes on. Please feel free to drop by and check me out.

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  1. What a lovely place! I will certainly bear this in mind, should I ever get to this part of the continent. A lovely gesture to donate it …may they RIP.

    The mansion looks awesome too..

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    • You really should see Maymont if you visit Virginia. It is a 122(?) acre spread, located in the heart of Richmond. You will never regret the visit, I promise. My description of Maymont in this post is a drop in the bucket. Check back with me, I’ll be showing more Maymont shots as time goes on. The mansion is awesome, with an expansive ORIGINAL Tiffany stained glass window, crowning the landing of the stair, lingering above the carved lion newel post below. The Dooleys were self-made multimillionaires and the inside of the home expresses their extravagant tastes. It is a wonder to behold. Check out my comment to Cris (below) for more info. Thanks for stopping by.

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    • Thank you, Cowboy. I love Virginia, although before I leave this world, I hope one day to ride out West. I’d love to do a one week long camping type deal on horseback. Of course, as out of shape as I am right now, I probably wouldn’t be able to walk for two weeks thereafter. Pretty sad, huh? 😉

      We are rich in History, like you said, . . . both politically, and in regards to the Civil war. It sounds like you’ve visited this state before, If not, you should. We not only have beautiful ranches here, we have mountains, and the beach, swamps, and mild winter temperatures (usually). You are in Montana, aren’t you?

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      • Marcy –

        I have been to Richmond many times over the years. Most of my life has been about rodeos and dog shows. I’ve traveled extensively with dogs and horses.
        Right now, I;m in Colorado but up until 2-3 years ago, I spent more than 30 years in California.
        Needless to say, I miss the ocean and riding on the beaches.

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    • Next time you come to Richmond, you really should check Maymont out. You may have to walk, but it will be an experience you will never forget. One day, I hope to see our Western States and wishfully do some trail riding. As much as I’ve ridden to date, I have never ridden on a beach either. Another bucket list thing to do. I better get busy, I’m a day older than I was yesterday. LOL.

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    • You are welcome. I have so many pictures of Maymont, I will be posting many more as time goes on. I only wish the photographs could begin to mimic the parks real beauty. You really have to visit yourself to take in its total awe. If you get the chance, I cannot recommend this park highly enough. Thanks for visiting with me through cyberspace.

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  2. The last time I went to Maymont was about 10 years ago. It’s a great place to take kids to wear them out! I think you’ve inspired me to return this Spring!

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    • Maymont has made some additions in the past 10 years, so you would be in for some treats if you re-visit them. They’ve opened the lower portion of the mansion for tour, (which I’m ashamed to admit, I’ve not seen myself … yet) opening the kitchen for public view. They also have an eagle display, complete with a coin-operated telescope mimicking the eagles vision. They built a boardwalk off of the main path to access several caged areas displaying several varieties of birds of prey, including some injured eagles. In the spring, they will be shearing the sheep in 19th century costumes and will have spinning wheels busy demonstrating had the wool is spun into yarn. I’m sure they’ll have some flower shows and other festivities. You should be able to google them for information on upcoming scheduled events if you want to plan a trip around some of the other stuff they have going on.

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    • Thank you for stopping by Anrindam. When time allows, I am going to do a little post exclusively on the Italian gardens, and another one on the Japanese gardens. Both are worthy of their own space. If ever you make it to Richmond, I recommend you put Maymont on your ‘to see’ list of things to do. It is well worth the time to visit.

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