Thank you Coastal Discovery Museum for partnering with us on our Hilton Head Adventure.
Meeting local wildlife up close. Listening to the ocean’s song in a shell for the first time. A butterfly landing on a little arm. One of the best ways to learn about a new place is to be hands on and you can do all these things and more at the Coastal Discovery Museum in Hilton Head. Here you can experience the beautiful Low Country up close.
From the moment you arrive at the Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn, you are welcomed by Hilton Head’s history and beauty. The Spanish moss hanging from the trees give it a distinctly Southern character and canopy a beautiful former plantation home built in the 1850’s that now serves as the museum’s Discovery House. The museum is conveniently located a short drive from the resort area of Hilton Head right off the main road. We stayed at Disney Hilton Head and were there in about 10 minutes.
The museum offers several options to get up close and personal with Low Country wildlife and learn and have fun at the same time. There are animal specific options like Meet Low Country Snakes or Owls: Creatures of the Night or you can explore for Horseshoe Crabs, the living fossil. You can register for these events online before you visit to secure your spot. The fees range from $12-7 per person. The Coastal Discovery Museum also offers adventures on water as well such as a Dolphin Research Excursion or a Shrimp Trawling Excursion ranging from $55 to $25 per person.
A great option if you have littles or younger children is the Critter Meet and Greet which is what the kids had fun doing on our visit. Joe Maffio, owner of critter management brings some of his friends ranging from the slithery to the cuddly and with the help of staff, kids can hold and discover the animals first hand. My daughter was borderline obsessed with the adorable bunny and my son being a typical little boy said holding the snake was his favorite. ( I declined. Haha!) You do not need to register for this one but there is a small fee for adults and kids.
The Karen Wertheimer Butterfly Enclosure was my favorite part of the visit. I have been to other butterfly gardens before and I have never seen so many butterflies in one place. There were breathtaking brushstrokes of color everywhere I turned from the blooming flowers and all the butterflies. The butterflies is populated with native butterflies from May through October and I can tell you June is an incredible time to visit to see butterflies.
Along with being beautiful and nature at its very best the butterfly enclosure is also educational. It shows the life cycle of the butterflies with examples which my kids were very excited about because they had been talking about it at preschool and kindergarten. There are also informational panels which show how to attract butterflies to your own yard.
Along with the Butterfly Enclosure, you can also tour the beautiful Camelia gardens. There are over 120 varieties on display with the best times to visit being the spring and fall. You can visit the Heritage Gardens to see plants with historical significance to the Low Country and visit the Carnivorous Garden to see fascinating plants like the Venus Fly Trap.
On the grounds there are 3 boardwalks that allow visitors to walk out and explore the marsh and beautiful wetlands. There are educational panels discussing the importance of the estuaries and detailing the Low Country marine life found there. There are also telescopes for getting a closer look which the kids loved.
The grounds are also many trees on the Honey Horn property some dating back to the 1800’s with one Southern Red Cedar Tree dating back to 1585! There is also a Bird’s Eye Theater and a Grape Arbor for more opportunities to get out and explore Low Country Nature.
The Kid Zone at the Discovery House is a great place for kids to get hands on and learn about Hilton Head and the Low Country through fun and play. There are tanks of small marine life for them to have a closer look at horseshoe crabs and terrapin turtles.
Put on period costumes to learn how Colonists dressed and play Colonial games. Discover the many examples of Hilton Head seashells and listen to the song. This was Ethan’s first time finding a shell big enough to hear the sound and it was such a sweet moment.
Caitlin enjoyed the puzzles and she’s never met a cuddly toy she didn’t like. There are several stuffed animals that are examples of animals local to Hilton Head. There are also puppets and artifacts such as pottery and the kids can participate in a scavenger hunt. The Kids Zone is a wonderful interactive way for the kids to have fun and learn at the same time.
From the Critter Meet and Greet, to the beautiful Butterfly Enclosure, to the fun Kids Zone in Discovery House, the whole family had fun at the Coastal Discovery Museum.
It’s a wonderful stop to add to your family’s Hilton Head Itinerary. It’s a great way to let the kids be hands on and learn that Hilton Head is more than just the beach but is also rich in history and natural beauty.