Member Rating 4 out of 5 by nilgun on June 20, 2003

Maymont Manor was built in the late 19th century by the Dooley family. When they bought the 100 acres of land, it was a farm land, now it is in the middle of the city and is a place to visit for city dwellers. The Dooleys did not have kids so they left this estate to the city of Richmond.

Our main aim was to have a tour of the house. However, when we arrived to take a tour we saw that we had time to tour the grounds before the next tour of the house started.

Italian Garden was our first stop. The garden was inspired by 15th- and 16th-century Italy. One side of the garden was bordered with a pergola (a collonaded area to provide shade). When we were visiting, a couple was getting married under the pergola. The groom had a military uniform and an open horse carriage was waiting for them. After the wedding, the bride and groom hopped into the carriage just like in a fairy tale. What impressed us the most was the cascading fountain along the staircase. The marble statues, the pergola, and the cascading fountain are all remnants of the wealth of the Dooleys.

The stairs led us to the Japanese Garden, which is much bigger than it originally was during the Dooley's times. We strolled along the shrubs and the trees, and along a lake which had big colorful fish in it. The shrubs provided shade, and we passed by an old fountain, which used to be spot for resting and enjoying the garden. The second bridge took us near a big naked boulder, that used to provide a beautiful fall for visitors to enjoy.

We followed a path that took us to some part of the wildlife exhibit. Black bears, elk, gray and red fox, bobcats, red-tailed hawks, vultures and owls were some of the animals we saw. All these animals couldn't survive in the wild for one reason or another and found home and protection in the park. On top of the hill was the Petting zoo (Children's Farm). We petted, fed or observe goats, sheep, chickens, a donkey, turkeys, and cattle.

By then we were a little bit tired and thirsty due to the hot and humid climate of Virginia. We decided to walk to the Nature Center which we knew had a cafeteria. On our way to the Nature Center we ran into bison and white-tailed deer. White-tailed deer is pretty common in Virginia but I had never seen a LIVE bison before. When we arrived at the Nature Center, we were dissappointed to see that the cafeteria had already closed for the day. We assumed, incorrectly, that it must have been near closing time for the park and left Maymont without visiting the Manor house.

Although we didn't get to tour the house we had a great time being outdoors.

2201 Shields Ave
Richmond, Virginia, 23220
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