The 100 buildings along the banks of the St. Marys River north of Yulee belong to the huge White Oak Plantation. The plantation goes back to a land grant to Andrew Way in April of 1768, but since 1982 the land has been the home to African rhinos, grazing giraffes, and fast-moving cheetahs.
Philanthropist Howard Gilman developed the 7,400 acre plantation into not just a site for the conservation and propagation of endangered species, but also as a conference and seminar center for the study of the environment, the arts, and public policy. Mikhail Baryshnikov even held a dance studio on the estate.
Since earlier this year, new owners Mark and Kimbra Walter have placed the emphasis on research and the training of a new generation of students concerned with preserving endangered animals. Tours can be arranged by telephoning (904) 226-3285.