Saturday, March 21, 2009

Maclay Gardens State Park - Tallahassee, Florida

The beautiful and historic gardens at Maclay Gardens State Park in Tallahassee are now moving into full bloom. If you want to visit, now is the time!

The park entrance is located one-half mile north of Interstate 10 on U.S. Highway 319 and features more than 1,000 acres of beautiful North Florida woods, hills and lakes, which surround the famed 28-acre ornamental garden that is one of the most beautiful in the United States.

Used for farming during the 19th century, the state park area had become a hunting plantation by 1900. The historic Maclay House and several other structures on the grounds were built between 1906 and 1909.

The gardens themselves got their start in 1923 when Alfred B. Maclay purchased the property for use as a winter home. He and Mrs. Maclay soon began planting flowers in what they came to call "Killearn Gardens" and by the time of Mr. Maclay's death in 1944, the gardens had attained note as one of the most beautiful locations in the country.

In 1953, Mrs. Maclay and her children gave 307 acres containing the gardens to the people of Florida as a lasting memorial to Mr. Maclay. Renamed Maclay Gardens State Park, the property has grown to become a major state park incorporating 1,176 acres. In addition to the gardens, which are open during the spring blooming season, the park features swimming, hiking, picnicking, biking, fishing and more. Admission to the park is $4 and there is another $4 fee to enter the gardens themselves.

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