Maymont is an enormous estate in Richmond that is now a park. It also has a children's zoo with pigs, chickens and goats. They have a bobcat, black bears and several birds that are native to Virginia, including bald eagles. It was really beautiful walking around and hiking through the woods and the Japanese garden. There is also an Italian garden but we didn't have time. I want to go back during the spring when everything is in bloom.
For a small city and relatively unknown set of botanical gardens, Lewis Ginter is a surprisingly great way to spend a day. It changes with each of the seasons, giving you a reason to return more than once and ensuring that you'll have a good time no matter what time of year you go.
It's peaceful just to walk around and enjoy the aromas, colors, and great variety that the garden has to offer but there's also a playground for kids, a teahouse with decent food, and a butterfly garden which can be fun.