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Good For Kids
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10 = better
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A small seasonal waterfall is on the property as well.
Closest available address
1700 Hampton Street Richmond, VA 23220
Hours vary, grounds generally open 10am-5pm, mansion & visitor center 12pm-5pm.
Best time to visit
Summer, Fall, Spring
Maymont is a 100 acre park in Richmond that was formerly an estate owned by James and Sallie Dooley from 1893-1925. The park has a variety of attractions including a Gilded Age mansion, several elaborate gardens, a nature center/museum, small zoo and also a children’s petting zoo. The grounds are free, but some of the buildings and activities may have a small fee or requested donation. Also, the park grounds are open every day, but buildings are closed on Mondays. This is a popular attraction and is open year round. You should expect some company on weekends; weekdays tend to be quieter.
James Dooley (1841-1922) was an affluent and well-connected attorney, politician and philanthropist. He also was a learned and well-respected man and a leader in the post-Civil War generation which helped rebuild Southern society. He and Sallie purchased a former dairy farm in 1886 and set about constructing their home and gardens. The Dooleys never had children. James died in 1922, and after Sallie died in 1925, the property was bequeathed to Richmond. A foundation was established in 1975 to help manage the property and develop facilities.
Plan on spending half a day here if you want to see the park without being rushed. The nature center is a good place to start your visit. There you can learn about the habitats and animals in this part of Virginia. A number of cleverly designed aquariums with various fish and turtles were a hit with kids. The mansion is also worthwhile. The basement is open to look around on your own and has interpretive information about the servants and house operations. The main part of the house is only open via a guided tour. If you like old homes and related antiques and decorations it’s time well spent. The tour guide discussed both the furniture and the Dooley’s lifestyle and leisure pursuits. Tiffany glass windows were especially beautiful. As for the gardens, the Japanese garden is newer and more impressive than the Italian garden, but both are worth a stroll on a nice day and can be seen quickly. Note that weddings are a frequent occurrence here in spring and summer. Both the traditional zoo and the petting zoo also can be seen in a few minutes but are less notable than the other attractions. Representative animals include bears, deer, raptors, goats and chickens. With multiple attractions and modest fees, Maymont will be a good choice for most people seeking leisurely pursuits in the Richmond area.
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