Are you looking for a unique, family-friendly place to visit with your kids near Greenville? Garden Gate Rabbit Park is just the place. Read below to find out all about Anna’s visit to this special local rabbit park that welcomes visitors.
Spring is usually filled with images of rabbits, painted eggs, and baskets. Build springtime memories with a visit to South Carolina’s only Rabbit Park!
Looking for more family fun? Find more amazing things to do near Greenville, SC in our huge list.
Mom Review: A Rabbit Lover’s Heaven
Bunnies have always been a dream pet for my little girl. Not ready for a new pet in the house, we searched high and low for a place where she could interact with bunnies and learn about them. In our search for rabbit centers beyond an ordinary pet store, we discovered Garden Gate Rabbit Park of Durbin Creek, Fountain Inn, Laurens County.
What is Garden Gate Rabbit Park?
The Origins of the Park
Privately owned, it is a rabbitry and a home to as many as 130 rabbits. Founded by a former school teacher and unabashed rabbit lover, Ms. Loretta Hayward and her rabbit-loving family has transformed their home to raise and promote purebred rabbits for over 20 years.
She is also a rabbit photographer. She specializes in rabbit portraits and has published children’s books featuring their rabbits and woodland creatures that visit their property.
A Rabbit Lesson
When we arrived at Durbin Creek, we were given an orientation about Garden Gate Rabbit Park, it’s history and mission. We then listened to a talk about rabbit care and proper feeding by co-founder and Ms. Loretta’s husband, Mr. Benjamin Hayward.
Rabbits are known to like carrots, but they also love eating beans, apples, hay, herbs and the list goes on forever. In short, we were reminded that since they have a wide palate, we should also not overfeed them. Rabbits can catch human diseases easily, so we made sure our hands were clean and no one in the group carried a cold.
We also learned that the Haywards take every measure to ensure that the rabbit shelters are kept clean, free of moisture and always the right temperature.
Having learned as much as we can, the rabbit cuddle fest immediately began. The cutest, softest and plumpest rabbit was waiting to greet our birthday girl. It was an Angora bunny, with soft and velvety fur. Then one after another we got to meet other rabbits.
It was hard to remember all the names and different breeds, but as listed on their website, the Park is known to raise litters of Beveren (BEW), Dutch, English Lop, Holland Lop, Jersey Woolie, Mini Rex, Netherland Dwarf, Rex, Sable, Standard Chinchilla, Silver Fox, Flemish Giant & Thrianta.
Each time a rabbit would be brought out, Ms. Hayward would give us the rabbit’s history, then we had the spectacular opportunity to sit with the rabbit on our laps, gently stroke its fur and enjoy the rabbit’s company to our hearts content. Yes, we had the chance to cuddle each and every rabbit. Some were almost the size of my daughter, like the Flemish Giant.
We met and cuddled so many rabbits, we left with so much rabbit knowledge that our heads were spinning with delight. We left with free rabbit calendars and also purchased Ms. Hayward’s children’s books full of these cute creatures so we can look at them again and again.
One tip: bring a notebook so your kids can make a list of each breed and their characteristics and go home with a primer on rabbits. You can match the pictures later on and they can have their very own rabbit journal.
Visits are by appointment only. Scheduled visits begin April 1, from Monday to Saturday. There is a $85 fee good for up to a group of four people. A $10 additional fee per visitor is added. A standard visit lasts 60-90 minutes. Please see their Garden Gate website for more info.
Garden Gate Rabbit Park
600 Griffin Rd.
Fountain Inn, SC 29644