The Coastal Discovery Museum in Hilton Head, located on the historic and beautiful Honey Horn Plantation of Hilton Head Island, provides a huge variety of opportunities to discover the fascinating ecology and history of this coastal area. Exhibits, tours, cruises and interactive programs all work together to offer a stimulating education to visitors and local residents.
The museum inhabits three acres of land in Honey Horn on the north side of the island. This location furnishes a view of Jarvis Creek and the salt marsh. A trail with a deck runs along the marsh with postings that provide interesting information about this rich environment. The deck, with a view of the Intracoastal Waterway in the distance, is a great place to stop and have lunch.
Throughout the grounds, outdoor exhibits display a native collection of island flora, while intermingling important historical facts. Models of the original saxon vats used to create indigo dye in the 1700’s are displayed. Indoor and outdoor exhibits allow for year round enjoyment of the museum. The Sea Island Classroom provides activity centers, while the History Time-line Exhibit displays intriguing island yore.
The most popular activities at the Coastal Discovery Museum are the multitude of tours and cruises offered Monday through Friday. They encourage visitors of all ages to embrace a strong ethic in the preservation of natural coastal and historical resources. Among the fascinating and enjoyable excursions are the nature tours which include beach and butterfly discoveries, along with walking or bicycling tours of Pickney Island.
The history tours feature the forts of Port Royal, the “Old House” Plantation and the Red Trolley. Enjoy leisurely walks through the history of Honey Horn, the Salt Marsh and a nature hike through the woods. The Terrace Talks at Honey Horn render discussions of the early years of Hilton Head, the Civil War era, nature of the low country and how Hilton Head changed after the bridge was built connecting it to the mainland.
The Museum offers two water adventures that attract many enthusiasts. The dolphin and nature cruise runs for an hour and a half and directs attention to the habits of the Bottlenose Dolphin and other sea creatures of the area. For something a little different, the guided nature kayak trip takes guests through the tranquil and secluded Jarvis Creek salt marsh. Salt marshes are compared only to the abundant rain forests as one of the most biologically fertile habitats on the earth. Kayakers may observe herons, egrets, otters and oysters as they experience this rich island culture. Reservations for the cruises and tours are made at the front desk.
The Sea Turtle Protection Project is a combined effort between the Coastal Discovery Museum and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. This endeavor focuses on the nationally threatened Loggerhead Sea Turtles that nest on the beaches of Hilton Head during the summer months. The project’s mission is to watch over and defend the nesting of these sizeable reptiles, by policing the beaches from May to October. Once the nests are established, project members work to protect the eggs. If they find nests in spots that are less secure, they are carefully moved to safer locations to shield the baby turtles. Hatchlings are watched over until they begin to leave the nest. Records are kept to record the population trends for preservation purposes.
As visitors to Hilton Head are attracted to these turtles and their nests, the museum offers guided evening Turtle Talk & Walk tours to educate the public concerning this species and threats to their continued existence. The Loggerhead Sea Turtles are protected by State and Federal regulations. The trained museum staff offer the safest way to experience the life and nesting of these treasured reptiles.
Take your pick of the fascinating activities offered by the Coastal Discovery Museum on Hilton Head Island. If you find it hard to choose, spending a day or two soaking in all the museum has to offer would certainly be gratifying. It’s a great way to combine cultural activities with vacation fun for the whole family.
Coastal Discovery Museum
100 William Hilton Parkway
Hilton Head Island,SC 29925
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