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A day trip to Maymont in Richmond offers a wide variety of activities for visitors, young and old.

The estate occupies 100 rolling acres above the James River, and it’s easy to forget you’re in the city.

Visitors can first stroll through the original Italian and Japanese gardens, and next join a tour of the opulent 33-room Victorian mansion and view its magnificent architecture. The 12,000-square-foot stone museum will celebrate its 125th anniversary with special events Sept. 23, noon - 5 p.m. During summer hours through Sept. 30, guided tours are available 11 a.m. - 5 pm., Tuesday - Sunday. For a group tour, it’s best to call a day or two before -- 804-358-7166, ext. 329.

Families should be sure to wonder over to the Nature Center to view the wildlife habitats, watch otters play and visit the Children’s Farm where little ones can pet the animals. There is a small fee to visit the center – $3 for children and $4 adults – but the rest of the estate is donation-based visitation except for special events.

Families also can enjoy a picnic on the lawn or even take a carriage ride through the park. A private golf cart tour also is available.

For a description of the estate’s wide offerings, visit

Maymont offers a special animal experience that includes a behind-the-scenes look at the bobcat exhibit. Patrons also can look at the nature center’s giant aquarium system and enjoy a relaxing stroll to see black bears and other wildlife. Individuals can adopt an animal, which helps to feed the many animals there.

Maymont offers seasonal events as well as educational programs and camps. For details, visit

Maymont is the former home of James Henry and Sallie Dooley who purchased the tract of farmland in 1886 and began building the Gilded-Age estate that reflected their status as one of America’s wealthiest families. Major Dooley died in 1922, and upon Mrs. Dooley’s death in 1925, Maymont was bequeathed to the city of Richmond.

Maymont grounds and gardens are open 10 a.m. - 7 p.m., April - September, and 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., October - March. Admission is free. The entrance is at 1700 Hampton St.