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“Maymont House Museum in Richmond - great family park!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Maymont

Ranked #2 of 167 things to do in Richmond
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Maymont is a 100-acre American estate, an extraordinary gift given to the community by James and Sallie Dooley who lived there from 1893 to 1925. Whether strolling in the gardens, touring the mansion or watching river otters play, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Activities for young children, Bathroom facilities
Virginia Beach, VA
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Maymont House Museum in Richmond - great family park!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 April 2010

My daughter, grandson, and I took a train from Newport News to Richmond (Main Street Station), then a taxi for the less than 4-mile ride to Monmount House Museum. I was interested in the place because of its reputation as a Victorian mansion; ironically, we never even made it inside the mansion, but spent all our time walking about the 100-acre grounds. It reached into the high 80's the day we were there (April 6, 2010) so we got a little bit of sunburn, but there are shady areas all over the place to either sit on the grass or a bench.

The attraction name is misleading, given that the grounds cover 100 acres and more of the attractions are outside. The grounds are absolutely glorious; most flowers and trees were starting to bloom and blossom. There is no admission fee, per se, but they "suggest" a $4 per person donation to keep the gardens maintained. You need to wear comfortable walking shoes and clothing because the grounds are quite hilly, and surfaces are not always flat (some gravel, some cobblestone). I was disappointed in how few water fountains, restrooms, and benches were to be found. Some of the smaller attractions (raptor area, for example) only had one way in and out, so you had to retrace your steps to leave the area, instead of continuing forward to the next attraction.

While some signage (of which there was not much) showed a knife and fork, we only saw one roadside stand offering refreshments...$3 for a hotdog; $1 for a cup of ice (cheapest thing on the menu). The one beverage machine we found cost $1.25 for soda, fruit juice (Gatorade) or water. We saw some families with small children enjoying brought-from-home picnic lunches on the grass in the shade of a tree.

There were some interesting architectural designs on the ground...several gazebos (stone and wood), some stone buildings and an arched stone walkway draped with what looked like beautiful lilac bushes (but it didn't smell like lilac). There were several different-type gardens (Italian, cactus) as well as beautiful greenery all around. There was a waterfall which started at the top level (and didn't look like much) and descended to the lowest level of the grounds where it was quite full and rushing; people sat on the edges down below and dangled their feet in the water to cool off. There were several ponds throughout, one with large goldfish (not sure if they were Koi or not) but they were each at least a foot long; another pond nearby had some ducks and geese on it. Several of the trees were huge with intricate exposed root systems, and one tree displayed many lovers' initials carved in hearts (oh, you college students)!

I don't know if it's an annual event, but students from the fashion design classes at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU--a short distance away) had designed and made skirts from some of the trees on the grounds...some quite elaborate with ruffles and flounces, some very simple. They all appeared to be made from a light beige material (I didn't check out what it was), but it gave all the skirts a "Colonial" feel and look. It was a cute display inspiring chuckles at the ingenuity...and just at the appearance of skirts on trees, period!

Including our frequent rest stops along the way, we spent a good four hours there. My thigh muscles were screaming by the time we left from the frequent uphill climbs we had to make, but the exercise would probably be nothing for someone who is fit and exercises often (which I am not/do not). I am also 63 and a former smoker (quit 5 years ago), so that probably had something to do with how I felt.

We asked a staff member in a golf cart when the trams ran, and were told they only ran on the weekend. We had walked thru about two-thirds of the grounds when a (two-section) tram loaded with passengers passed us. Think I saw a sign somewhere that indicated the tram ride was $3.50/person (didn't notice if it was cheaper for kids or Seniors). The tram wasn't near an official tram "stop" so wasn't about to pick up new passengers just anywhere. We figured we'd made it that far, we'd just keep plodding ahead. The map I had printed from the Internet gave no "real" indication of how far one attraction was from another, and we passed up the Animal Farm because of having to climb a huge hill to get to it. The very end of our trek required a climb up a huge hillside with dirt/gravel/grass walkways and very few railings or handholds. The only other alternative was to totally retrace our steps and repeat our meandering to that point. I saw older folks in less better shape than I was and wondered how they'd made it that far.

There is almost too much to see in one visit, but given the amount of walking involved, I'm not sure I would want to walk the grounds again...but think I'd like to come back and visit the mansion (there were several tours mentioned).

5 Thank clamj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,463 reviews from our community

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chesapeake, va
Level Contributor
60 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“Maymont is a beautiful treasure...something for everyone”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 April 2010

This was our third trip to Maymont. We come back because of the beauty. The gardens are spectacular, especially in the Spring. Our favorite place to go is the Japanese Garden and the falls. We arrived at 3:30 pm and toured the Nature Center. The cost for 4 people was $11. Most of the displays were in bad shape, broken, or closed altogether. The only highlight was the otters at the end of the tour. The other tanks of fish and turtles are not exciting, nor worth paying to see. (skip the nature center)
We spent most of our time in the gardens. We did not tour the house this time as we have seen it before.

1 Thank katrinaalvarez
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
United States
Level Contributor
87 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
“Better than I expected.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 November 2009

I was not excited about going to Maymont, but I must admit the grounds are beautiful and the house itself was amazing if you are a history buff. Was originally planning on spending and hour or so and ended up spending 3 hours here.

1 Thank rfmnj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Richmond, VA
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“If you do only one thing in Richmond, Maymont should be it!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 October 2009

The turn-of-the century estate of the Dooley family, Maymont is a wonder that I am still discovering after more than fifty visits. At her passing in 1925 Sallie May Dooley gave Maymont to the city of Richmond to be used as a public park, and it is free to the public.

This estate truly has something to do and see for everyone. Tours of the original mansion are offered daily, and there is a very interesting exhibit in the basement detailing the lives of household servants in the early 20th century. The barn area has an assortment of farm animals to see, pet and feed. Their newest exhibit revolves around birds of prey and a beautiful pair of disabled bald eagles are the highlight of the exhibit. The Italian Gardens have blooming flowers almost year round and the Japanese Gardens are ablaze with spectacular colors in the fall. Last but not least, the nature center has a range of exhibits about local wildlife and the James River ecosystem.

You can spend all day exploring trails that crisscross the estate and still not see everything. Bring a lunch and enjoy a wonderful day at this magnificent Richmond treasure.

5 Thank kkyle60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
53 reviews
35 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 98 helpful votes
“Nature Center Farm Area”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 September 2008

We always enjoy seeing animals, wild and domestic. Maymont has a variety and there's many things to see at this estate within the city of Richmond. We focused on the Nature Center and enjoyed it very much. The grounds are well kept and the animal areas very clean. A great place for children - they were squealing with delight!

More photos of Maymont and other Richmond sights on my photo album: http://www.theherbsplace.com/gallery/richmond2008

1 Thank TheNatureInUsdotcom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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