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Google and the Gardens
Published Tuesday, November 10, 2009 3:29 AM
By Paul Zoeller
Summerville Journal Scene
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Nothing beats a peaceful boat ride through the swamp -- paddling through the cypress trees as birds chatter overhead and turtles sun themselves on the banks near by or that soft-cuddly alligator on a log giving you the eye. I love alligators and a boat ride through Cypress Gardens swamp in Moncks Corner is the best way to see them and explore a swamp.

This next weekend, Nov. 14, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Cypress Gardens and Google will be co-sponsoring an event to benefit the swamp. The benefit will feature live music, children's activities like jump castles and swamp fishing as well as food. The event is also reduced in price if tickets are purchased in advance from any Berkeley County library while they last.

Trees are mirrored in the blackwater swamp of Cypress Gardens in Moncks Corner.

What do a technology giant and a historic swamp have in common? Not much on the surface but when you think about it, you can search for and map a route to the gardens on Google or find a satellite image of the swamp on Google Earth. Really the biggest connection -- one of Google's data centers and Cypress Gardens call Berkeley County home.

A turtle basks on a log in the swamp.

Whatever the reason, Saturday is a good day to visit the swamp if you have never made it out there before.

The swamp itself used to be one of the areas largest rice plantations. Over the years and through the efforts of the different owners, the swamp has been transformed into a popular attraction as well as the location for several movies including 'The Patriot' and my wife's all time favorite movie, 'The Notebook.'

Camellias in bloom in the Camellia Garden.

Along with a swamp, the 170-acre preserve is covered with gardens, trails and learning centers. A walk along the trails leads visitors past the Camellia Gardens which are in bloom and around the swamp to the Wildflower Field on the other side.

Lily pads dot the water landscape of the swamp

Many sights can be found along the trails or in the learning centers. The Aquarium, full of local fish and reptiles, and the Butterfly House are interesting stopping points. Going into the aquarium was like working in fast food... you don't know what is in the water and feel you were better off not knowing. There are some scary looking creatures roaming the waters around here.

A part of a structure from the movie 'The Patriot 'still sits in the swamp.

By far, one of the best attractions at the park is the boat ride through the swamp. Most area parks give visitors access to the swamp through a series of boardwalks and platforms but Cypress Gardens is different, allowing visitors to tour the swamp by boat. Since the area was first designed to be a rice field, the water is deeper, allowing boats to pass through the trees and under bridges as visitors navigate the swamp.

Visitors navigate through the black swamp, lily pads and cypress trees on a one time rice plantation.

Each season of the year offers a different view of the swamp. It is amazing how the canopy of the cypress can block out the sun during one time of year but blue skies and the sun shine down into the swamp as the leaves fall from the trees.

A palm leaf rests on the surface of the water along a boardwalk.

This next weekend is a good time to go during the Community Benefit Event. It is great that Google is reaching out to support the gardens. I guess I never even thought of Google as a company but as a verb. How often do we 'google' information on the interwebs? This event puts a face to the name I guess.

A peaceful day floating through the swamp.

Go out to the park and listen to some music, eat some food and enjoy the jump castle but don't forget to take a walk along the trails and that boat ride through the swamp. You will be glad you did.

For more information about the event, you could call (843) 553-0515 or... 'Google' it. Sorry, couldn't help myself.

Paul Zoeller is a freelance photographer new to the area. Do you have an idea for a new blog or a question about a current blog? If you do contact Zoeller at

Comments (6)

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Saturday, May 21, 2011 1:12 PM

Beautiful! Great captures of beauty with your talents.

Posted by: Kim Vu
Tuesday, December 01, 2009 10:24 PM

Your photos are gorgeous, some of the best I've seen of the swamp. And the article is very well-written and inviting. Thanks!

Posted by: Woody
cypress gardens
Thursday, November 19, 2009 3:46 PM

Very beautiful and serine images captured

Posted by: Teuschler
Cypress Gardens
Tuesday, November 17, 2009 11:09 AM

We have so many secluded, beautiful sites in the LowCountry. Thank you for reminded us of Cypress Gardens. The photos are evocative. You're the best!

Posted by: LINWOOD B&B
Google in the Gardens
Saturday, November 14, 2009 3:05 PM

Thank you for the beautiful restful article. It felt like I was in the canoe moving slowly though the cool dark waters. Gonna save it to go back to again and again. You have made my mind and body slow down and relax. What a gift!

Posted by: Judy
Great photo spread
Friday, November 13, 2009 6:49 PM


Posted by: Charlie

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