BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Berkeley County’s only county-owned park officially reopened Saturday after being closed for over three years.
Cypress Gardens suffered severe damage to the trails and buildings during the historic flooding in 2015. Officials originally thought repairs would only take a few months, but several more storms and funding issues slowed down the process.
The ribbon cutting signified the official reopening of the park after speeches by government and project officials.
Once the ribbon was cut, the park quickly filled up with families and nature-lovers looking at all the new things the park has to offer.
A butterfly house, reptile exhibit, boat rides through the swamp, and the scenic trails are all open and ready for people to enjoy.
Some parents say they had no idea so much would be offered.
“I was anticipating just more of a nature walk, I had no idea they had animals and butterflies,” Liz O’Goreman, a parent says.
Another family visiting from Greenville S.C. says their visit to Cypress Gardens has been a highlight of her family’s spring break trip.
“It gets your kids away from video games and the tv, it makes them look at things you don’t get to see every day,” Jennifer Schwartz says.
Officials say they are overwhelmed by the progress made and love that this is a place that is both fun and educational.
“When the flood happened, every building had water in it, when you came in the gate it was all underwater, we had to row a boat in here, water was everywhere, and it was devastating. But today there are no signs of that destruction…just shiny new exhibits and brand-new buildings for the past three years its been sad because we wanted everyone in here but there wasn’t much for us to do,” Heather McDowell, the Cypress Gardens Director says.
Many Berkeley County homeowners say they’ve missed having a place so close to home and won’t be taking Cypress Gardens for granted.
“There are a lot of things I don’t think people realize are available without driving into Charleston,” O’Goreman says.
Officials say the park will be giving free admission every day of the week through June 30 to all Berkeley County residents who can provide ID that shows they live in county lines.
The 170-acre park is back open for good, but officials say to check the park hours before planning a day just to make sure to plan according to see everything they have to offer.