A little over an hour’s drive from northern Virginia, a whimsical world awaits you in the Solomons Island community. The thirty acre property known as Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center, is affectionately named after the owner, Ann Marie. Ann Marie Koenig and her husband donated the land for the purpose of becoming a sculpture garden.
What to expect at the Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center
At the entrance to Annmarie Garden, you will want to snap a photo of The Gateway. The ceramic gates are composed of six tons making it the largest hand-built structure created by pottery studio in the United States.
The first sculpture was chosen to be a memorial significant with the area. A Tribute to the Oyster Tonger, A Chesapeake Waterman greets you at the center of the property surrounded by a small body of water. Bright hues of pink azaleas and black-eyed Susans line the entrance to the arts building. Upon entering the building, a lovely staff member took our admission and handed us a scavenger hunt brochure. Snippets of famous works of art are carved among the trees. The tree pops are great for testing your knowledge of art history.
The two level building hosts rotating exhibitions from artists all over the world. From classic to abstract to paintings and sculptures, the museum appealed to my non-art loving husband. Due to preparation for a wedding, the second floor was closed to tours. There is a studio school, gift shop, cafe serving beverages and snacks and a patio for outdoor seating.
Take a quiet walk through the sculpture garden where 40 works of art are on display. The Annmarie Garden is a member of the Smithsonian Institution’s Affiliations Program with pieces on loan from the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden and the National Gallery of Art.
My child’s curiosity sparked when she encountered Thirteen Talking Benches. Clothed under a canopy of loblolly pines, the benches are carved tiles of plants native to southern Maryland. Meandering through the paths makes it a fun adventure for kids to identify a Dogwood or Poison Ivy bench. In the future, they hope to add a children’s discovery garden and butterfly garden.
Admission in the park
- Admission for ages 12 and up is $3, ages 5 to 11 are $2 and free for children under age 4. The sculpture garden is open daily from 9am to 5pm, while the art building opens one hour later. Annmarie is stroller accessible, but the sculpture garden has both paved and grassy areas.
- The magical walk outside is a quarter-mile in length. Allow at least a half hour to take in all the works that line the trail.
- Classes are offered for all ages and there are a variety of family events including Earth Day Celebration and free Sunday FUNdays.
Enchanted Summer at the Garden
My favorite program is the annual Enchanted Summer at the Garden. You receive a map and clues to search for nearly 50 handmade fairy and gnome homes. Each one is unique and made of different plant materials. It was so much fun seeing my daughter quietly creeping up to see if the fairies were inside their home. She found a shamrock outside one house and I told her that the fairy left it for good luck. Oh yes, this was the highlight of her trip. They now have an annual Fairy & Gnome Home Festival & Tour to coincide with the exhibit. Fairies in the Garden is going on until October 8, 2012. Another ongoing event of interest to your children is the free Summer Public Art Project.
Annmarie Garden is a place full of wonder, imagination and creativity. I cannot wait to return again. Combine the outing with a visit to the quaint town of Solomons Island.