Brookgreen Gardens working to recover after financial loss due to pandemic

Updated: Mar. 17, 2021 at 8:00 PM EDT
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MURRELLS INLET, SC (WMBF) - Many businesses are looking at 2021 as a year of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of those businesses is Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet, which also suffered some big financial losses due to the pandemic.

Because the attraction is mostly outdoors, officials said, fortunately, they were able to keep most areas open throughout the pandemic.

However, they still lost around 30% in ticket sales revenue last year compared to 2019. Lauren Joseph, the marketing director, said March and April are the busiest months for the attraction.

“People are coming for spring break. Lines out to get in, lines out of the highway and of course, we had none of that,” Joseph said.

The pandemic forced tourism in the area to come to a halt. Businesses like hotels and restaurants were temporarily shutdown. Spring break trips and summer vacations were canceled.

However, Joseph said while ticket sales dropped, membership increased in 2020 compared to 2019 with many locals looking for something to do while staying safe.

“We’re really glad that some of our locals, a lot who had never been to Brookgreen, took advantage of coming here and wandering around our acres of inspiration,” she said.

Still, Joseph said the loss in revenue has made it difficult to keep up with operational costs, including the Lowcountry Zoo and the Floyd Domestic Animals exhibit.

Food for the animals is $65,000 a year.

“We still have animals to feed. We still have plants to take care of. We still have sculptures to maintain so there’s all of these that still have to happen,” Joseph said.

To help recover, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is hosting a virtual benefit concert called “All Together for Aminals” for members only on March 31.

It’ll feature performances from country artists like Old Dominion and Brad Paisley.

Half of the proceeds will go directly to Brookgreen Gardens.

To become a Brookgreen Gardens member, click here. To donate to Brookgreen Gardens, click here.

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