(Murrells Inlet, SC) – Brookgreen Gardens, a national historic landmark in southeastern South Carolina has been known for its beautiful sculptures and gardens since 1931.
In just the last three years, though, it has started a little known wonder next to its low country called Whispering Wings, a mesh dome environment created exclusively for butterflies and moths. Since the dome is made from mesh, as opposed to glass, as some butterfly gardens have chosen to do, Whispering Wings is only open from April through October.
According to Brookgreen Gardens own brochures, the butterfly “exhibit features a lush garden filled with tropical plants where hundreds of butterflies soar through the air.” And they are apt to land on your head, arm, or shirt as well.
Sarah Posey, the volunteer I spoke to said, “We started with 25 butterflies three years ago. By the end of this October, we’ll have 40 different species and over 1,300 butterflies. And next year we’re going to add hummingbirds in with the butterflies!” Posey also mentioned that the gardens receive a shipment of about 150 butterflies per week in chrysalis pupae form – that means they’re still encased in their cocoons hanging upside down. The shipments come from Texas and Florida. There is a room at the back of the dome so everyone can see as the butterflies try to stretch out their wings.
The butterfly exhibit is still new so most visitors that come are still coming for the other attractions and then finding out about the butterfly experience as an extra treat. So, right now how many visitors they get depends a lot on the regular tourist season. On Easter weekend, though, Posey said there were at least 450 each day since they limit their 30-minute tours to 25 per tour and their tours were full all day.
On this particular day, the sky was beautiful and I was just another tourist. I only had to wait about 10 minutes before I could go into the butterfly experience. It was an awesome photo opportunity. I can’t wait to come back and see the hummingbirds!