In 1917, Walter Bellingrath was overworked. He was Mobile’s first Coca-Cola bottler, and stress wreaked havoc with his health. His doctor prescribed a getaway. Walter bought an abandoned fish camp on the Fowl River to create a country estate to escape Mobile.
His wife Bessie loved flowers and gardens, so they beautified the property they called Belle Camp. When they invited the citizens of Mobile to come take a look, nearly 5,000 people showed up to see the flowers in April 1932.
And so Bellingrath Gardens was born, its earliest and oldest gardens heavily influenced by the couple’s trips to Europe.
Plan Your Visit
Location: Theodore, Alabama (SW of Mobile)
Address: 12401 Bellingrath Gardens Rd, Theodore AL 36582
Hours: 8 AM to 5 PM daily, closed Christmas
Fee: $14 ages 13+ ($8 ages 5-120 for gardens, or $22 for gardens ($14 ages 5-12) plus museum home tour. Seasonal discounts offered.
Pets are not permitted on the grounds. A pet motel is provided free of charge at the parking area. No smoking is allowed in the gardens.
Restrooms are located at the entrance buildings and at Live Oak Plaza.
Much of the grounds are accessible, but there are certain areas with stairs or gravel surfaces that are not. The house tour is not accessible.
A cell phone audio tour provides interpretation of stops within the gardens, and is marked on the garden map you receive upon entry.
Between Thanksgiving and New Years, evening hours from 4 PM to 8 PM enable guests to enjoy Christmas lights throughout the gardens.
From downtown Mobile, Alabama, take Interstate 10 westbound for 11 miles to exit 15A.
Join US 90 (Spanish Trail) west towards Theodore. After 2.8 miles, turn left on Bellingrath Rd.
Continue another 8 miles and make a left onto CR 18. Signage will direct you to the parking area within the gardens.
Walk through Bellingrath Gardens with us by viewing our photographs from our visit. Click to open the gallery.