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.
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.
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.'
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.