Magnolia Plantation

Youth Programs at Magnolia Plantation & Gardens

Boy Scout Merit Badge Programs
Field Trips
Outreach Programs
Birthday Parties
Zoo & Nature Center

Tori Luke talks about Magnolia's youth programs


Magnolia Plantation & Gardens, with its historical significance and diverse natural habitats, is an ideal location to host educational programs for children of all ages. Students can re-live history at the plantation, which was established in 1676 and has experienced events such as early colonization, the Revolutionary and Civil Wars and Reconstruction. The history and contributions of the slaves who operated the rice cultivation here are interpreted inside restored cabins in which they lived. Wildlife is in abundance here, with the swamps, marshes and woodlands on the plantation. The Audubon Swamp Garden is home to one of the region's most diverse nesting grounds of many species of herons and egrets. Alligators can also be safely observed at many locations throughout the swamp.

Boy Scout Merit Badge Programs at
Magnolia Plantation


Cost: $25 (includes 2 merit badge programs, lunch and admission to gardens)
Accompanying adults: $10 (admission and lunch)
Cash, Check, Visa, Mastercard and Discover accepted

Registration: 8:30am to 9:00am - Programs start at 9:00am

Location: 3550 Ashley River Road, Charleston, SC 29414

Reservations required. Contact
to be added to the class roster.

October: No Classes Scheduled


Saturday, November 5, 2016
Environmental Science and Fish & Wildlife Management


Environmental Science: Write a short report on water pollution AND report on an endangered species.

Fish & Wildlife Management: Construct and set out bird houses or feeders and record what specias use them.


Saturday, December 10, 2016
Citizenship in the World and Bird Study


Citizenship in the World: Watch or read the news for discussion of current events AND visit the U.S. State Department's website and a foreign government's website.

Bird Study: Construct and set up a bird house, feeder or bath and record what species use it.

Boy Scouts

Magnolia Plantation offers Boy Scouts opportunities to earn merit badges with study sessions and workshops.

Classes are scheduled on Saturdays throughout the year. Merit badge studies offered are:

  • American Heritage
  • Archaeology
  • Art
  • Bird Study
  • Citizenship in the Nation
  • Citizenship in the World
  • Collections
  • Communications
  • Environmental Science
  • First Aid
  • Fish & Wildlife Management
  • Forestry
  • Genealogy
  • Indian Lore
  • Insect Study
  • Mammal Study
  • Nature
  • Photography
  • Plant Science
  • Reptile & Amphibian Study

In addition to our study programs, scouts are also offered opportunities for service projects and Eagle Scout promotions.

Camping is also available to scouts and troops participating with programs or projects. (return to top of page)

Camping at Magnolia Plantation

Magnolia's primitive campgrounds are available to organized youth groups. To make a reservation, contact Kimberly Zuercher, Magnolia's youth program coordinator. Kimberly can be reached at 843-571-1266, ext. 201 or

Field TripsField Trips

Magnolia Plantation offers discounted rates for school field trips. Classes can choose from our guided tours.

The Nature Train and Nature Boat tours take visitors through the wilderness while looking and talking about the native plants and animals. The Slavery to Freedom Tour interprets the history of the lives and contributions of the slaves that worked on the plantation. For younger students, an alternate slave history tour is available. The Plantation House tour focuses on the history of the Drayton family and the antiques and artifacts on display. All of our tours have been audited by teachers in the district and do conform to the state's education standards.

Attractions included with the basic admission include the Zoo & Nature Center, which features a collection of domestic and wild animals, the Orientation Theatre, a twenty-minute film on the history of Magnolia Plantation and the Horticultural Maze.

Group rate (15 or more) is $12 per student garden admission and one guided tour. All additional tours are $6 each. One chaperone per six children is required. Additional adult garden rate is $16, including a guided tour. Advanced booking is required. (return to top of page)

Field Trip Request Form


Outreach ProgramsOutreach Programs

Animal programs are available for outreach programs.

Live animals, including spiders, snakes and alligators and natural history artifacts can come to the schools to give students an up-close and personal experience they will not soon forget, as they learn about animal adaptations, behaviors and environments. It is not every day that a child can have a tarantula walk across his or her hands, feel the smooth scaly skin of a snake or meet and touch an alligator in person!

The outreach programs are best suited to single classrooms (up to 30 students) to allow for a better learning experience. Programs can be tailored to specific topics.

Our programs are also available for school science fairs and events.

The outreach programs are available at no cost to public schools in the Charleston area. Contributions are accepted to help fund the programs. (return to top of page)

Birthday Parties

If you are looking for an unusual way to celebrate a birthday, we can help! Birthday celebrations with a host of animals in attendance make for a memorable time. Children can visit the Zoo & Nature Center, explore the Horticultural Maze and stroll through the garden paths. Children can also search for shark teeth in our fossil pit and keep what they find!

The birthday area has picnic tables and is conveniently located next to the Zoo & Nature Center.

Use of the Carriage House, Conservatory, Pavilion or Veranda are not included.

The fee for a birthday party is $100 for the first 20 guests (2 and under are free) and $5 for each extra person. Advance payment required. Birthday parties cannot be scheduled for special event days. Call in advance for availability.

Tours can be reserved for only $5 per person!

Other guided nature, history, or animal programs are available upon request and can be customized with advanced notice. (return to top of page)

Zoo & Nature CenterZoo & Nature Center

Magnolia Plantation's Zoo & Nature Center is home to a variety of domestic livestock and animals native to the region. Visitors have a unique opportunity to interact with white-tailed deer as they roam freely through the zoo. Goats, turkeys, chickens and other farm animals that likely would have been found on a working plantation also roam the zoo. Exhibits feature a collection of native wildlife, including grey foxes, bobcat, birds of prey and a reptile house.

Many of the animals that reside here are from wildlife rehabilitation centers, where they were rescued as orphans or treated for injuries and were not suitable to be released. Magnolia Plantation has a long-time working relationship with local wildlife rehabilitators and also helps support them financially.

The Zoo & Nature Center is included with basic admission. It is one of the featured attractions for school groups and education programs. An outdoor classroom is adjacent to the zoo. (return to top of page)