AAA Editor Notes
Maymont is at 2201 Shields Lake Dr. Part public park, part museum, this beautiful 100-acre property is a treasured gem among Richmonders. Popular with picnicking couples and parents toting young kids, the lush site boasting rolling hills and sunny meadows was bequeathed to the city in 1925. Prior to that, it was the country estate of James and Sallie Dooley, who purchased the land in 1886; typifying Gilded Age opulence, their residence, Maymont Mansion, was finished in 1893. Other historical buildings also are on-site, including a three-story stone barn and a water tower.
The elegant, manicured grounds feature such specialty gardens as Marie's Butterfly Trail, the Cactus Garden and the Daylily and Daffodil Display Garden. The Italian Garden showcases fountains, sculptures and a long pergola, while the Japanese Garden is accented by a 40-foot waterfall, stone lanterns, paths and bridges. In addition, an arboretum shelters more than 200 exotic species of trees and plants.
Maymont also includes the Robins Nature & Visitor Center and the Children's Farm, home to chickens, cows, goats, sheep, rabbits and other animals. Wildlife exhibits featuring native Virginia fauna, including black bears, a bobcat and various birds of prey, are scattered throughout a 40-acre valley. A carriage house built in 1904 displays a collection of period vehicles and related equipment, such as harnesses and sleigh bells. Carriage rides are available by appointment; phone ahead for information.
Guided tours are available. Picnicking is permitted. Food is available.