Often referred to as a Lowcountry “gem,” Cypress Gardens is a magical outdoor retreat where visitors of all ages can create lasting memories and engage with nature.

After torrential flooding damaged the 170-acre site consecutive years since 2015, forcing it to close for nearly three years, the Berkeley County tourist attraction reopened—new and much more improved— this past April. Nearly 3,000 guests flocked to the Moncks Corner site to witness new features, part of the $2.1 million renovation project, and to enjoy some of the property’s most beloved attractions.

There are endless opportunities for entertainment and relaxation at Cypress Gardens. Take a tranquil boat ride through the swamp—the same one that served as the setting for a famous scene in the romantic movie “The Notebook,” among other movies—and marvel at the centuries-old blackwater bald cypress/tupelo trees towering overhead. There are 80 acres to explore; and the waterway journey is sure to convince boaters why Cypress Gardens has for years served as one of the Lowcountry’s top romantic outdoor spaces to celebrate nuptials—facility rentals also available.

Also stroll through the indoor butterfly garden and watch orange and yellow Painted ladies flutter through the air, landing on colorful blossoms and park-goers alike. Dozens fill the Butterfly House, sparking awe and wonder inside the hearts of both children and adults. Observe all stages of the miraculous metamorphosis process—some caterpillars crawling along the surrounding lush greenery.

Or maybe the children want to experience the always epic feeding time with Boss and Alley—the park’s resident alligators. At more than 13 feet long, Boss boasts the title of the Palmetto State’s largest gator in captivity, according to park staff. And it’s not uncommon to spot both gators sunning—even together at times—along the shore of their enclosure.

But they aren’t the only reptiles available for viewing.

Tour the popular swamparium to learn more about a variety of reptiles and amphibians—from venomous snakes to varieties of fish, indigenous to the area.

To burn some calories, tavel the 3.5 miles of scenic walking trail before lounging back on one of several new wooden swings.

Soak in the Southern sunlight or stop and snicker at the chatter of the tropical birds, often heard spouting salutations or other humorous phrases to passers-by—a white cockatoo named Tritan the most vocal of his feathered friends.

The park also includes free Wi-Fi, thanks to a partnership with Google, and educational classrooms for students to study about nature and history.

Wherever family or friends choose to roam on the property, be sure to snap photos and take video of the day’s merriment—remembering to return for new adventures and spread the news about why Cypress Gardens solicits smiles and still the area’s best kept secret.

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