Maymont Historic Estate and Park
1700 Hampton St, Richmond, VA 23220
Daily 10 am - 5 pm
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Take a trip back in time to experience nature intertwined with history at Maymont.
The Dooley family left their estate to the city and it opened to the public in 1926. The evolution of Maymont from mansion and gardens to wildlife rescue and then towards conservation has been ongoing for the last century. The most recent development has been the renovation and reconception of the amazing Robins Nature Center. The facility brings the animals of the James River up close for all animal lovers to appreciate and understand.
New additions include a 34-foot tall active sculpture called “River Reach” which allows kids to climb through a series of netted platforms and get a birds-eye view of the aquariums, touch pools, and maybe even their parents. The “Run of the River” exhibit costs $6 per child (and seniors over 65), $8 for everyone between 13 and 65, and boasts a lovely gift shop, state-of-the-art restroom facilities, vending machines, and digital access to information.
After exploring the exhibit and amenities of the Nature Center, stroll from the back of the building towards the historic mansion and its jaw-dropping Italian and Japanese gardens. The rolling hills of Maymont’s property have many wide paved paths for wheelchair or stroller access. Just be prepared to get a bit of a workout and some gorgeous views! The granite stairs in the Italian Garden and the narrow stone paths at the bottom of the fountain that lead to the exquisite Japanese garden are not accessible on wheels.
The Italian garden tucked behind the estate will bring out the romantic in anyone, be careful not to wander into a photo session for a newly engaged couple, recent grad, or actual wedding ceremony. The delicate roses, lantana, and granite fountain surrounded by stairs that allow visitors to walk down the hillside along with the cascading water make this formal garden a time machine back to the Victorian Era.
Once bamboo surrounds the stone path you will know you are entering the Japanese garden. The tall green grasses part and reveal an amazingly intricate set of paths around small ponds, pagodas, and stone temple statuary that lead to a waterfall framed by the very same bamboo with a marvelous half-moon bridge. The perfect semi-circle has built-in cleats to prevent slipping, but just watch your step.
The historic mansion at the top of the hill is open for tours during normal operation. The history and preservation showcased in the Dooley home are amazing and tangible. The tour guides and staff are well educated about the property’s history and often have tidbits and fun facts to share with visitors (anyone ever slept in a swan-shaped bed?).
With the front door of the Dooley home at your back, running (or rolling!) down the green-carpeted hill will lead you to another amazing corner of the Maymont property -- wildlife! This far corner is where you will find the exhibits for the black bears, bald eagles, barred owl, and more. The path leading away from “Raptor Valley,” follows a babbling brook that leads to the bottom of The Children’s Farm. The path then winds back and forth up a steep hill between fenced yards where kids can see donkeys, cows, goats (hilariously social!), and sheep until you find yourself at the beautiful barn. This barn at the Children’s Farm is home to ducks, rabbits, chickens, and pigs, all of whom were rescued or donated, just like all the animals living at Maymont.
The Children’s Farm lets kids (and adults!) explore farming beyond the adorable animals with their vegetable garden, pollinator garden, and play areas where kids can climb and tunnel just like the animals they’ve met. The Farm also has large clean bathrooms with changing stations in both the Men’s and Women’s restrooms, vending machines for snacks, and even vending machines for goats! You can get a cup of goat feed and have a real hands-on farm experience! Don’t worry - Maymont even has a large hand-washing station!