Maymont Park

1700 Hampton Street
Richmond, VA

Submitted by: Ariele Foster

A 100-acre former Victorian estate with an opulent mansion, gardens, beautiful landscapes and outbuildings, a Nature Center, Native Virginia Wildlife Exhibits, a Children´s Farm and a Carriage Collection

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Why It Works

This place is gorgeous! Strolling around Maymont is part of a perfect day for families, lovers, friends, or individuals. They have beautiful animals, including bison, bobcats and eagles. The Japanese gardens and Italian gardens are breath-taking and a fun waterfall (good for climbing around) functions in the summertime.

What Makes Maymont Park a Great Place?

Maymont Park is accessible to those who drive, bike or bus. Actually, it is a short walk from a popular shopping area, too (Carytown). To circulate about requires a good deal of walking - but of course that depends on how far you want to walk. Paths are paved, with some packed gravel.

yes it feels safe, it is clean and well-maintained.

There are all kinds and ages of people who regularly use the space - year-round. Some may prefer some sections more than others. It could be difficult to explore for those with walking difficulties and no wheelchair.

I would meet friends or coworkers here, host a picnic and definitely show this place to town visitors.

History & Background

Maymont, a 100-acre Victorian-era estate, was originally the home of Major and Mrs. James Henry Dooley, one of Richmond's most prominent families. The Dooleys had extensively landscaped the grounds and built a large Victorian house filled with an impressive collection of furnishings and decorative arts when the entire estate was left intact to the city of Richmond upon the death of Mrs. Dooley in 1925. Maymont was opened to the public as a park and museum in 1925, and quickly became a major civic attraction, hosting events such as a Christmas celebration when the house and grounds are decorated as they would have been in 1893, replete with carolers and carriage rides. The original park included formal gardens, an arboretum, the Dooley’s home, and a carriage house, stone barn, and other outbuildings. In 1942, William B. Thalhimer, the CEO of a family-owned department store, created an exhibit of Virginia wildlife habitats, a mini-zoo of sorts, at Maymont. In 1959, more permanent and improved wildlife and outdoor habitat exhibits were funded by the Thalhimer-Virginia Wildlife Foundation, and in 1962, a local horticultural society converted a stone barn on the property into a nature center. In 1982, a children’s farm was built exhibiting domestic animals. A new 26,000 square foot nature and visitor’s center opened to the public in November, 1999. (excerpted from "Public Parks, Private Partners" 2000, Project for Public Spaces, which features an extensive case study on Maymont.)

Contact Info:

Kate Peeples Director of Public Affairs 804/358-7166

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