Gather the grandkids and head out to explore the Lowcountry

abredeson@islandpacket.comJuly 23, 2012 

When Susan Asnip's grandchildren come to visit Hilton Head Island, she makes sure to show them a good time.

Asnip and her husband, Bill Asnip Sr., have lived on the island for 38 years and have 13 grandchildren.

When their two grandsons, John and Will Quattlebaum, visit from Charleston, they like to visit the horses at Lawton Stables in Sea Pines. They also like to walk the trails at the Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn.

But Asnip said their favorite place to spend time is at the Dolphin Head Recreation Area in Hilton Head Plantation. Since the Asnips live near Dolphin Head, they spend a lot of time there when the grandkids are in town. They play on the playground. They walk the beach. And they play with the fiddler crabs.

"They just love going to the beach at Dolphin Head," Susan said. "And then we go to Todd Ballantine's old book, 'Tideland Treasure,' and we can identify what we found."

Whether you're exploring nature, listening to live music or taking in a history lesson, the Lowcountry has much to offer. From beaches to museums to rainy day activities, there are plenty of opportunities when it comes to entertaining the kids when they're in town visiting Grandma and Grandpa this summer.

Asnip said she hopes her grandchildren know there is more to the Lowcountry than golf and tennis.

"I want them to experience all the nature," she said. "I just want them to know that you can get so much pleasure out of such simple things and have such a great vacation."

THE GREAT OUTDOORS

With 12 miles of beaches on Hilton Head Island, there are many options for outdoor fun.

Play in the sand. Frolic in the ocean. Go kayaking or parasailing. Book a dolphin cruise. The possibilities are as endless as the ocean is wide. Call one of the marinas on the island for more information.

When you're not at the beach, take the kids for a hike through nature at the Sea Pines Forest Preserve, the Newhall Preserve or the Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge on Hilton Head.

And if you're looking for something to do outdoors near Beaufort, look for sharks' teeth at The Sands in Port Royal, or take a trip to Hunting Island State Park to go fishing, camping or hiking.

STORY TIME

If you're looking for something quiet to do indoors with the little ones, check out one of the free story times offered throughout the area.

The Beaufort County library system offers a variety of story times in the summer. Those with grandkids up to age 3 are welcome to stop by the Hilton Head library at 11 a.m. Mondays for WeeReads Storytime. The same program is offered at 11 a.m. Wednesdays at the Bluffton branch.

Ages 2 and older are invited to hear bedtime stories at 6:45 p.m. Aug. 16 at the Hilton Head library and 6:30 p.m. Aug. 20 at Panera Bread Company in Bluffton.

Children ages 4-7 are welcome to attend Magic Carpet Tales for Children at 4 p.m. Aug. 15 at Bluffton library, at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 28 at Hilton Head library and at 4:30 p.m. Aug. 28 at Lobeco library. Details on Hilton Head story times: 843-255-6529; Bluffton: 843-255-6510; Lobeco: 843-255-6475

Stop by Barnes & Noble on Hilton Head for free story time at 11 a.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays. Details: 843-342-6690

The Storybook Shoppe in Bluffton offers free story times for children ages 4 and older at 10 a.m. July 25, Aug. 1, Aug. 8 and Aug. 15. Two- and 3-year-olds can stop by for story time at 10 a.m. July 28, Aug. 4, Aug. 11 and Aug. 18. Details: 843-757-2600

LIVE ENTERTAINMENT

For family-friendly nighttime entertainment, make sure to save time for two of Hilton Head's favorites -- Gregg Russell and Shannon Tanner. Both have been entertaining locals and visitors for decades.

Russell performs at 8 p.m. every night, except Saturdays, through Aug. 24 and every night Aug. 30 through Sept. 2 under the old Liberty tree in Harbour Town. Tanner performs at 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday through Sept 2. The performances are free.

MUSEUMS

If you want your grandchildren to learn a little something during their summer vacation, take them to one of the many museums in Beaufort County.

The Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn on Hilton Head, offers exhibits, guided walks, dolphin and nature cruises and more. Hours are from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday; admission is free. Details: 843-689-6767, www.coastaldiscovery.org

The Sandbox: An Interactive Children's Museum, located at 18A Pope Ave. on Hilton Head, is geared toward ages 9 and younger, and encourages kids to have fun using their imagination. Museum hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Cost is $7 a person ages 1 and older. Details: 843-842-7645, www.thesandbox.org

The Penn Center on St. Helena Island is the site of Penn School, one of the first schools in the United States designated for freed slaves. The campus is open to the public and free to visit. There is a cost to visit the museum, though. It is $5 for adults and $3 for children. Hours are 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Details: 843-838-8552, www.penncenter.com

The Verdier House is the only historic house in Beaufort regularly open to the public as a museum. The house is open for tours every hour on the half hour, starting at 10:30 a.m. and ending at 3:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. A guided tour costs $10 for adults; children are free. A free exhibit at the house documents the Union occupation of Bay Street in Beaufort during the Civil War. Details: 843-379-6335, www.historicbeaufort.org

Explore the history of the U.S. Marine Corps and the Port Royal area at Parris Island Museum at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island. Stroll through galleries and view exhibits, artifacts and displays of Port Royal's role in the military at this 10,000-square-foot Marine museum. There is no cost to visit the museum, which is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. Tell the guard at the front gate you'd like to visit the museum and the Douglas Visitor's Center. Make sure to have a valid driver's license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance on hand. Details: 843-228-2951, www.parrisislandmuseum.com

Visit local sea creatures and learn about the Port Royal Sound estuarine system at The Lowcountry Estuarium. The private nonprofit organization works to conserve the local environment through education. Visitation is free and available seven days a week by appointment only. Details: 843-524-6600, 843-263-7969 or email estuarium@islc.net

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The Sandbox: An Interactive Children's Museum

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