Spring is the perfect season for a visit to beautiful Cypress
Gardens, just 25
minutes from downtown Charleston off U.S. Highway 52.
Celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2007, the serene swamp
gardens feature canopies of towering bald cypress trees under
which visitors can paddle through lush wetlands or wander along
azalea-filled trails. Once a rice plantation during
colonial times, the historic area now boasts some of the most
impressive nature and wildlife displays in the state, with an
aquarium and reptile center, a butterfly house, and a lively
crocodile exhibit, where live specimens in outdoor habitats
represent five continents. Cypress Gardens was backdrop in
a number of scenes from the movie "The Patriot", and shimmering
fresh-water forest basin is still a visual wonder. Protruding
from a water system that flourishes with catfish, great blue
herons, egrets, crawfish, turtles and alligators are seemingly
sculpted sections of wood known as cypress "knees".
Overhead, pileated woodpeckers and prothonotary warblers call
their cheerful sound as anhingas dry their wings on limbs rising
along 150-foot cypress trunks.
Scenic Imagery courtesy of Dana Elliot