Once the estate of rhododendron hybridizer Charles O. Dexter, the famous Heritage Museums and Gardens is situated in historic Sandwich and has become renowned for the Dexter Rhododendrons, its encyclopedic collection of daylilies, hostas and hydrangeas. Not only is it a top 25 museum in Massachusetts, but also the premier cultural attraction on Cape Cod.
Known as the largest public garden in southern New England, Heritage Museums and Gardens is a must visit attraction for enthusiasts who love both beautiful gardens and history. These amazing gardens include 100 full acres of trails, flowers, trees, and shrubs native to Cape Cod, accented with features like a flume fountain and historic windmill.
Along with exploring the spectacular 100 acres of breathtaking gardens, peaceful trails, and numerous natural areas, you can also visit the three exhibition buildings that feature permanent collections of American and folk art, historic artifacts, family-friendly activities, annual special exhibits, outdoor exhibitions as well as a children’s adventure park, a vintage carousel, and a labyrinth.
One of the most popular and sought after attractions currently available at the Heritage Museums and Gardens is the gorgeous hand-carved carousel made by Charles Looff in 1908. This work of art has been thrilling riders for over 100 years, and you can feel free to enjoy unlimited rides on the carousel with your admission.
Another favorite is the Old East Windmill, which has been serving Orleans, Massachusetts for 93 years. Once used to grind wheat, rye, barely and salt, it was later moved to its current location in 1968 where it was restored and fitted with electric drives so it can run regardless of the presence of the wind.
As you wander the magnificent grounds and trails along the banks of Shawme Pond, don’t forget to play and explore the natural world in Hidden Hollow. Nestled between a two-acre dry kettle hole, it features a stimulating and beautiful outdoor setting with a wide range of activity areas so you can enjoy the great outdoors.