Brookgreen Gardens’ Cool Summer Evenings: The Best Summer’s Worst-Kept Locals’ Secret

17 Jul

By Brian M. Howle

There is one standard truth when visiting or vacationing an area that you may not be familiar with: Ask the locals.

Oh, with the advances in technology, yes; you can surf the web and you can cull some very handy and useful information, no doubt about it.  And for those of you who do, kudos to you – you’re resourceful, Internet savvy and show initiative!

And it’s a shame when one goes through all that effort and good intention, and then find you’ve been steered somewhere because of a paid reference source – not necessarily looking out for your best interests.

So you can go about avoiding that messy little detour to your vacation fun by doing what this guy – who read his his bronze edition of Alternatives NewsMagazine – did before getting up to go anywhere.

Ask the locals.

Want to experience the things that we locals have found to be worth your time, effort and hard-earned cash? And lets you enjoy the mesmerizing beauty of summer along the coastal lowcountry?

My Blatant Prejudice: Brookgreen Gardens

Man, I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve uttered the phrase “You know, the best-kept secret on the Grand Strand is Brookgreen Gardens!”

But I promise you, it really is. Always has been, and always will be. Humans are capable of creating some very nice things, but we can’t compete with Mother Nature.  We can compliment her, but we can’t outdo her.  A visit here at any time of year is worth the visit, but the ol’ gal shows off like nobody’s business in the summer.

Besides the normal fare of nature on display, with some truly beautiful human contributions (one of the world’s greatest collections of sculpture and art), there are summer children’s programs that will enrich the lives of all who are fortunate enough to attend:

For The Family:
Wednesdays – Friday, June 15 – August 12
Brookgreen Gardens’ Cool Summer Evenings

For nine weeks this summer, the sounds of live entertainment will stir the quiet of the gardens when Brookgreen remains open Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday evenings until 9 p.m..  Guests will enjoy live entertainment and activities just for kids.

All performances begin at 7 p.m. and the gardens are open until 9 p.m. All performances are free to members and are included in regular garden admission. Visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets to be more comfortable during the performances. No outside alcoholic beverages are permitted, and picnics must only be enjoyed at the Picnic  Area near Jessamine Pond. The Pavilion Restaurant offers a Cool Summer Evenings Menu until 7 p.m., and desserts and beverage will be available for purchase on the Pavilion Patio during the concerts

Wednesdays through August 10
Each Wednesday during Cool Summer Evenings, guests will relax under the beautiful live oaks in Brookgreen Gardens’ Oak Alleé to enjoy a musical performance by a cast from Theatre of the Republic, based in Conway, SC. This community theater presents six major musical theater productions at the Main Street Theatre in Conway each season and this summer, they are bringing a unique show to Brookgreen Gardens titled “Nature In Harmony,” a series of songs about nature, gardens, trees and more performed by four actors / singers.

Brookgreen Creations for Children
Thursday nights, through August 11:

Each Thursday evening will be devoted to the education and entertainment of our younger visitors. Each evening’s activities will begin at 5 p.m. at the Domestic Animals of the Plantation Barn for a special Mother Nature’s Café program. Following this activity, a themed craft program will be held in the Wall Lowcountry Center Auditorium. Those participating will create a take-home project related to the evening’s program theme. The evening themes are – Butterflies: July 14 and August 4 ; Nature and Wildlife: July 7, and July 28; History and Culture: June 30, July 21, and August 11

The Concerts
Friday nights, through August 12

Concerts begin at 7 p.m. on the Lawn next to the Live Oak Alleé beside the Pavilion Restaurant. Performances subject to change.

July 15th – Elise Testone and Friends
Elise Testone will feature three of Charleston’s finest musicians including guitarist Adam Fallen, Drummer Stuart White and Bassist Ben Wells during a 90-minute set of music spanning from jazz standards to vintage soul to blues roots and more. Music by artists including Billie Holiday, Van Morrison, The Beatles, BB King, Nora Jones and Susan Tedeschi will be featured. Elise will also incorporate some original compositions.

July 22nd – Blue Plantation
Blue Plantation is an acoustic band specializing in a diverse variety of authentic musical styles. These styles include bluegrass, Irish, blues, American folk, country, and jazz. The band is made up of four musicians with a wide background of musical experience and a high level of expertise.

July 29th – Grupo Kachimbo
Grupo Kachimbo is a merengue/salsa band from Savannah, GA. The band was formed in December 2009 by local musicians from Latin America, the Caribbean and the US for the enjoyment of the merengue and salsa music lovers in the Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida areas. Grupo Kachimbo promise to make their fans dance.

August 5th – Tru Sol
Tru Sol has had the attention of audiences all over the Grand Strand since they first arrived on the scene in November 2004. These fun-filled entertainers take pride in their soulful renditions of classics from the Motown era up to the present hip hop and R&B. Their performances are electrifying and guaranteed to keep the crowd moving.

August 12th – Mystic Vibrations
Guitarist and lead vocalist Ric Williams brought the strong roots of Mystic Vibrations from Jamaica to the US in 1992. Since then, the band has been spreading their reggae music by constantly touring the eastern US. Their music speaks of love, unity, peace amongst all mankind, and the trials and tribulations of oppressed people.

All performances are included in the regular garden admission of $12 (adults) and $6 (children).  Garden admissions are good for seven consecutive days.  Evening creek cruises are available for $7 in addition to garden admission.

For more information, call Brookgreen Gardens at 843-235-6000 or visit Brookgreen Garden’s website:

This article was also published at via Alternatives NewsMagazine, Vol. XXV No. 21, July 14 – 28, 2011.

1 Comment

Posted by on July 17, 2011 in Alternatives NewsMagazine Feature


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One response to “Brookgreen Gardens’ Cool Summer Evenings: The Best Summer’s Worst-Kept Locals’ Secret

  1. Rocky

    July 17, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    An awesome concert setting. I enjoyed performing in this series…back in the day 🙂 Highly recommended! !!



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