WELCOME TO GARDEN GATE RABBIT PARK!
“Garden Gate Rabbit Park”
An extraordinary experience!
Meet the bunnies that are pictured on Garden Gate’s note cards, calendars and popular books!
Visit with our famous show rabbits!
Garden Gate Rabbit Park
Scheduled visits begin April 1 each year.
We may schedule some early spring visits March 30-31 weather permitting.
Visits to Garden Gate Rabbit Park are by appointment only.
Visitors enjoy meeting and learning about several breeds of rabbits, holding the bunnies, getting pictures taken with the rabbits, special presentations, custom programs, themed tours, games, etc.
Call and let’s plan your visit!
Scheduled visits are Monday-Saturday.
$45 donation/fee 1-5 people
$5 each additional visitor is added.
Standard visits last approx. 60-90 minutes.
Specialty parties and programs are customized for your group size and requests. Special rates apply.
Every time you visit there are new bunnies to meet, new stories, games, and seasonal changes.
Everyone needs a break! Schedule a ” break” at Garden Gate Rabbit Park!
Bring your lunch or plan a southern hospitality “TEA!”
The Rabbit Park is closed Sunday, holidays
and during the winter season (Dec-March).
Autumn days are wonderful times to enjoy our rabbits!
Sunday is the Lord’s Day ~ See you in church!
MEET THE BUNNIES!
Our pictures show you every bunny and every one
is having a wonderful time!
What is Garden Gate Rabbit Park?
Garden Gate Rabbit Park is the name of our rabbitry or rabbit farm that is home sweet home to over 130 rabbits as well as the residence of the Hayward family. We raise many breeds of rabbits here and several varieties of some of the breeds. We raise purebred rabbits that have won several awards and not only are champions but are also registered with the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA). Our rabbits are purebred pedigreed animals that make wonderful pets.
Glenn poses with a pair of show winning Rex rabbits!
Where is Garden Gate Rabbit Park?
Garden Gate Rabbit Park is 20 mi. south of Greenville, South Carolina in the Fountain Inn area of Laurens County. The Hayward’s country home and rabbit park on Durbin Creek is the inspiration for Loretta Hayward’s stories and poems published in her children’s book series that are illustrated with her extraordinary photographs of their rabbits.
You may contact us by Email: Loretta@gardengatecards.us
Or by calling 864-876-3914
What is the History of Garden Gate Rabbit Park?
“Over 20 years ago our family homesteaded on 16 acres along Little Durbin Creek. We cleared some of the forest to make an entrance and plot for our home. With hard work and help from my parents and their Allis Chalmer tractor we got the work done. My parents moved here to be part of our country life on Durbin Creek!!
Our first introduction to raising rabbits was a “gift” pair of bunnies from a friend we met while living in Greenville. Our boys got more involved when one of our neighbors gave us their old wooden hutch that the boys were able to help repair. Our sons helped their dad replace the hutch door and wire mesh. We bought 2 white New Zealand rabbits to start our first New Zealand rabbit family. We added various breeds through the years. We fell in love with Rex next when we visited a rabbitry in the Greenville area. Our rabbit hutches did not multiply as quickly as the rabbits! So the family went to work designing and building 6 and 8 (hole)door hutches. We met many rabbit loving families and read many books! Dutch rabbits were our next pursuit. We learned that a family in Saluda raised Dutch rabbits for show and we made a visit to their rabbitry. Our first Dutch buck & doe was purchased that day and we learned that Mr Brewer was an ARBA judge and the District 9 director! We learned about ARBA and joined the rabbit club in Saluda. Our first rabbit show that we attended was in Georgia! We started showing when we took one New Zealand to the show in Decatur, GA where we won an award with our buck!! We enjoyed the rabbits, people and variety of activities at the ARBA shows. We have attended ARBA conventions and seen over 23,300 rabbits under one roof!( It is amazing!!) Of 48 breeds we have raised 22 breeds here at the Rabbit Park so far! Our Garden Gate Card business was established in an effort to share with other families the beauty of God’s creation and the joy we have received~as well as feed all those hungry rabbits!!
Through our photographs of our adorable rabbits we have been able to tell stories and inspire people of all ages! As people asked more about our work with rabbits they requested an opportunity to visit with our rabbits too! Families shared their rabbit stories with us and scheduled time to come out to our home for the pleasant time we offered to meet our fancy and rare rabbit breeds. So our rabbitry truly became a rare and wonderful rabbit park experience! Letters, and complimentary cards and phone calls reassured my family that all our work was blessing the hearts and lives of people all over!”
“Our real rabbits have a real story to tell
and every visitor to our rabbit park becomes part of our amazing tale!”
Can People Visit Garden Gate Rabbit Park?
Yes! People that have met us at various events and library programs know how much we love introducing people to our adorable rabbits!
“Our rabbits enjoy company as much as we do!”
Garden Gate Rabbit Park schedules visitors in the spring, summer and fall seasons of the year.
Appointments must be made in advance with serious intentions of keeping those appointments. Calls may be made a week or more in advance. However, when you are requesting a particular date it would be best to contact several weeks ahead.
Garden Gate rabbits travel with the Hayward family to speaking engagements and to many events-especially in the spring time of the year! That is our busiest season! There are many public and private engagements which are scheduled weeks and even months in advance. We are happy to make appointments for couples, families and various groups to visit the actual Garden Gate Rabbit Park on dates that are available!
A fee/donation is requested for anyone visiting Garden Gate Rabbit Park.
The fee/donation helps offset the many expenses of the Rabbit Park and also pays for the staff that is preparing rabbits and assisting at the time of your visit. The fee/donation is based upon the number of people in your group, the amount of time requested, the age group and additional entertainment added to the visit. Your visit is a special occasion and can include a variety of additional entertainments each time you return to our rabbit park! (you may request puppets, games & program & party themes etc.)
When you schedule your visit there is a basic $45 fee/donation (for 1-5 people visiting 60-90 minutes). An additional $5 per person is added when there are more than 5 people coming. In case of rain your visit will be rescheduled.
For your extraordinary visit we prepare well in advance making your day unforgettable! People love the unique opportunity of seeing so many breeds of rabbits and petting real Garden Gate bunnies! It takes much preparation for your scheduled visit. Our family staff plans for your visit well in advance. They work and plan for days choosing & grooming bunnies, getting carriers ready, and preparing the grounds. Then after your visit there is much work returning to routine schedules, completing regular chores and overall cleanup.
A consent agreement form is also signed in order for groups to visit the Rabbit Park.
“There is nothing like a visit with our bunnies!”
When you contact us tell how many of your family or group will be visiting and what their ages are. Please let us know what day of the week you prefer and what time of day you are requesting. If you have to leave a message- we will reply promptly and let you know what dates are available. In preparation for a visit we send a consent form that will need to be completed for your family and all that are visiting.
This is a great time to take pictures of your family members with our rabbits!!
Please let us know if anyone in your family or group is having a birthday or if the park visit is a special celebration etc. We will make it a special occasion for those attending on their birthday!!
The Appointed Day of Your Visit to Garden Gate Rabbit Park.
We enjoy preparing for your visit and prepare days in advance for the special time we will have together! The rabbits get prepared too and we plan to make your time with us to be unforgettable! Your appointment is important and we will call and contact you to verify that everything is ready for your visit and commitment to come. If you need additional information you can email or call us. Need to know the best route to drive to the rabbit park? We can provide directions too!
Need to make changes? Let us know in advance if the date scheduled to visit must be changed. Often people bring additional friends and neighbors and we are happy to have them.
If you want southern hospitality served with iced tea or lemonade (made with our cold well water) please request refreshment when scheduling and confirming the details of your visit. An additional charge is made for pitchers of iced beverages.
We request that everyone bring sturdy footwear or walking shoes.
Did you know that rabbits clean themselves? They wash their own paws, faces, & ears and even clean themselves after their visitors play and pet them! That is a good reminder to wash your hands and come with a clean happy face! Any one with a cold or runny nose, (sneezing, coughing) should wait until they are well to come to visit the bunnies. The rabbits could contact that illness or infection. Sickness for a rabbit can develop into pneumonia and even death. Loss of a rabbit is the loss of a friend to our park.. Our rabbits are valuable and a treasure we do not want to lose.
A close up visit with our Standard Chinchilla rabbits!
Prepare children for your visit.
Children love bunnies and like to show their excitement! (Do they learn that from their mommy or daddy?) We like to prepare children that are visiting a bunny for the first time. We can help children to know how to behave around young rabbits. Our rabbits do not bite. Our young bunnies are learning and may taste your sleeve or even lick your hand. Our concern is that children do not put an exploring finger into the mouth of a bunny!
Bunnies are timid and shy. Loud shrieks, noises, screams, running and quick movements will alarm some rabbits causing them to panic in fear or franticly over react. Rabbits get hurt or injured if there is a panic. Baby rabbits are fragile and sensitive to their surroundings.
Remember you are visiting real bunnies. Some rabbits will be let loose during your visit! This extraordinary experience is planned for your enjoyment. When you sit still the rabbits will hop over to you and visit. Everyone will be smiling and giggling as they take time to pet the rabbits. There is plenty of time to talk and ask questions! There is plenty of room and many rabbits to see! When everyone behaves kindly everyone has a good time!
People must remember to be calm and casual around the rabbit tables and wagon. Please remember when you are excited to smile and politely laugh. (excitement takes many forms and we can learn to show our joy without screaming, wild behavior, waving our arms and jumping about)
We avoid injury by not running or jumping. Do not chase the loose rabbits. No hollering or screaming is allowed.
♦♦♦ ♦♦♦ Petting Rabbits ♦♦♦ ♦♦♦
(Young Children need to be supervised and shown how to pet rabbits.)
Pet a rabbit by smoothing down the bunny’s fur.
Learn to pet a rabbit rather than pat. ( we pet rabbits and pat dogs!)
Stroke the fur along the bunny’s back.
Bunnies like the attention and your soft voice.
Do not pick up the bunnies or rabbits.
Ask to hold a rabbit and our staff will give you a rabbit to hold while you are seated.
Do not put your finger on the rabbit’s mouth.
(we do not teach the bunny to nibble on fingers)
Do not touch the bunny’s eye.
Be kind one to another! Be kind to the rabbits too.
They will be gentle friends all of their lives when they are properly treated.
♦♦♦ ♦♦♦ ♦♦♦ ♦♦♦ ♦♦♦ ♦♦♦ ♦♦♦
Family Fun and Great Photo Opportunities!
Garden Gate Rabbit Park is a great place for families to visit! Everyone enjoys the unique experiences of seeing and holding Garden Gate bunnies. Gathering together and sharing in the fun and activities has not been duplicated anywhere else in the country. Bring your cameras! Take pictures of your visit and as the family enjoys the bunnies and rabbits!! These are the memories everyone will continue talking about for years. All the experiences and delightful poses in your pictures will be enjoyed for days and even years later!
We enjoy meeting your families and often meet grandparents and great grandparents too!! Some have brought their young children and carefully supervised their 3 & 4 year old meeting a rabbit for the time. Sometimes young children are more reserved and prefer to touch a rabbit when they are older but still like to watch their parents with a rabbit . We know how much parents like to have pictures of their children with bunnies too!! This is a great opportunity for mom, dad or a grandparent to take pictures!
NOTE: Garden Gate Rabbit Park does not have a photo studio for photographs to be taken . We get many calls and emails from mother’s of infants wanting special pictures made of their precious baby. There are several professional photographers that would gladly work with those special situations and requests. We recommend that families wait until their baby is older before posing them with a rabbit.
Preparation For Your Visit.
Welcome to real “country” living here along Durbin Creek in Laurens County!! The countryside is beautiful but the ground is rough in areas and uneven. Watch for wild turkey, Canadian geese, deer, cows, horses, raccoons and oppossums on the way to our rabbit park! Please wear comfortable shoes that will protect your feet when walking. Save your beach clothes and beach shoes for when you are going to the beach. This is farm country where you will meet friendly folk that wave and say “howdy!” Wear clean casual clothes. Since visitors enjoy our country activities and also like holding our rabbits when they visit we suggest that you wear garments that will protect you, and your legs.
“You will be visiting with frisky furry funny bunnies
here in our country rabbit park where you will have
a fuzzy fun time in no time!!
Our facilities Are Limited.
There are no city drinking fountains, food vending machines, modern restrooms, or sidewalks for wheelchair access etc. Our park is in the country at our home along Durbin Creek. We have seating and benches (though most people prefer standing and moving about our rabbit activity areas.) Let us know your ideas. Let us know if you have special requests. Special arrangements can be made in advance for particular rented supplies or facilities. We can make special arrangements (party or picnic) for additional charges.
We can tailor your visit to fit your social gathering. Cold bottled water or beverages (non alcoholic) can be made available. A chemical outhouse is available here ( restroom) Extra preparations must be made for a picnic area or meal if you are interested in eating after your visit. Any additional expenses will be added to the fee according to your desired requests.
An Experience of a Lifetime!
Visiting Garden Gate Rabbit Park is exciting, educational and fun! As time allows we have games and activities guaranteed to bring smiles! There are some surprises always in store for our visitors! Time flies while you visit so be sure to come prepared to take some pictures. We work to make this a special occasion for you. The memories you take home will be a pleasure for years to come.
Please tell us if you are interested in purchasing any of our beautiful picture books (we have authored 3 books in the “On the Banks of Durbin Creek” series, Garden Gate posters, note cards, calendars etc.(illustrated with our cute rabbits!) We want to be prepared!!
For Children’s Classes- we have extra handouts! (Request ahead of scheduled visit so we are prepared)
We look forward to hearing from you! The Hayward Family
Please contact us at Loretta@gardengatecards.us Call 864- 876-3914
Speaking Engagements & Garden Gate Rabbit Park Invitations.
Loretta Hayward and her family travel with their rabbits to various events upon invitation. They share their excitement & joy of raising & showing rabbits with a variety of audiences! Loretta is an experienced teacher, author, illustrator/ photographer and public speaker. With a variety of programs and assorted presentations they provide great entertainment and helpful information. Programs are adjusted to a range of themes and audiences.
Garden Gate Rabbits make a birthday, picnic or business event an unforgettable day! Your guests will agree we are EXTRAORDINARY!!! Children and adults are thoroughly entertained by the vast differences in our rabbits whether petting English Lops, gathering around a Flemish Giant or giggling at the antics of a Netherland Dwarf! ( In fact adults actually appreciate our programs even more than children!!) It is a great opportunity for pictures and inspiration!!
Email: Loretta@gardengatecards.us Call 864-876-3914 (9:00-8:00 EST)
Plan your next event.
Our rabbits are invited to a huge variety of events. Many of the public events are listed on the left “Events” section of our home page of our website. Events for the public are listed with details and location. Private events are frequently scheduled but not listed. Please contact us in advance with any questions you may have. The fee charged to attend your event with our rabbits is based upon the size of the event (number of people), time frame, distance to your location and the number of our family needed for the programming. Our Basic fee starts at $95 for a small gathering. Most events have record attendance when our rabbits are invited!
Our birthday parties are great fun and far exceed everyone’s expectations!
Consider inviting us to your
Family & Senior Citizen Outting
Farm Day, Camp Days, Hay Rides
Family Fun Day
Easter & Seasonal Fairs (Pumpkin Festival Christmas Fair )
Educational Skill Development (Story telling, writing etc.)
Classrooms & School Events,
Picnics & Barbeques
Customer Appreciation Days
Workshops & Craft Classes
Art in the Park & Handcraft Fairs,
Scout meetings (earning badges),
4H–Classes and Rabbit Shows
Private: Birthday Parties, Spring Break & Breakfast
High Tea & Garden Parties
Etiquette & Tea party
There are facilities available at libraries, schools, recreation centers, park pavilions, churches, fair and camp grounds, farms and club houses where you can hold an event and we can meet.
Our rabbits are taken to indoor or out door events.
Indoor Events: Preparations include good lighting, moderate temperatures, and low noise levels allowing for conversation and good communication.
Outdoor Events: Preparations include a shaded location in the summer, with wind break, and low noise levels allowing for conversation and good communication with regard for the safety of all the children in attendance.
For Educational /Youth Groups, Scouts, Children’s Classes in art, crafts, Reading & Writing- we have extra handouts! (Request ahead of scheduled visit so we are prepared)
Help us Grow
We would love to do more for our families and school groups.
As we teach and help others to grow and mature into responsible adults we plan for Garden Gate Rabbit Park to grow. We hope to have a pavillion available one day. If you desire to sponsor our educational work, and help us maintain our extraordinary Garden Gate Rabbit Park and also preserve America’s rare rabbits send your donations to:
Garden Gate Rabbit Park,
600 Griffin Rd.
Fountain Inn, SC 29644.
A unique custom made Garden Gate Keepsake Gift will be given for every donation over one hundred dollars.
Garden Gate Cards is our family business that features my photographs of our bunnies for the purpose of printing products to promote rabbits, enrich the lives of families and hopefully make a profit one day that will help pay the expenses of Garden Gate Rabbit Park!!
Every Garden Gate note card, calendar, book or print you purchase supports our work and keeps many other Americans and small local businesses operating-since all of our products are custom made and printed here in the USA!
We sincerely thank you for your patronage!
Teacher (B.A., and B.S. degree), public speaker, author, photographer and illustrator.
For more information please Email: Loretta@gardengatecards.us
This information by Loretta Hayward is not to be copied without written permission.