Designed first as a European-style garden showcasing plants in all four seasons, Airlie is a glorious example of what conservation, restoration and preservation can do. Having suffered a serious share of hurricane damage since it was built in the early 1900s, the gardens continue to thrive. Throughout the 67 lush acres in this Southern garden, azaleas, magnolias, and camellias flourish near two freshwater lakes that attract waterfowl. Take note of the greatest specimen in the gardens: a gargantuan 468-year-old Airlie oak. May through October you can flutter among 300–400 butterflies in the huge butterfly house. The last tickets of the day are sold a half-hour before closing. Sorry, no pets.
300 Airlie Rd., 8 miles east of downtown via U.S. 76, Wilmington, North Carolina, 28403, United States