PHOTOS BY CAROL WEIR
The programs and excursions on this page are presented by the Coastal Discovery Museum, 70 Honey Horn Drive on Hilton Head Island. Reservations are required for all tours and programs. For more information or to register, go to www.coastaldiscovery.org or call 843-689-6767. Shown above is the Museum’s live butterfly enclosure.
UNCOVERING THE ROOTS OF RECONSTRUCTION: Fridays at 9:30 through May. A partnership with the Coastal Discovery Museum, Hilton Head Island Land Trust and the Mitchelville Preservation Project offers a new tour to visit two historic sites connected to the Civil War and Reconstruction eras on Hilton Head Island.Visit the site of the self-governing community of Mitchelville (est. 1862) to learn about the Port Royal Experiment and how freedom and reconstruction impacted the new citizens who lived there. Nearby, join a guide for a tour of Fort Howell, built in 1864 to protect the town of Mitchelville. Learn about the 32nd U.S. Colored Infantry troops who built the fort, the methods used to construct it, and the importance of its preservation. Preservation Project. Sept.-May: Most Fridays 9:30-11:30am. Please check event calendar to confirm. $15 adult / $10 child (ages 6-12). No children under 6 please.
FORTS OF PORT ROYAL: Wednesdays at 10am. During the Civil War, Hilton Head Island was occupied by Union forces early in November 1861. The island’s proximity to Charleston and Savannah made it an important strategic location for the Union and was occupied throughout the War. On this guided history tour, learn about the Battle of Port Royal and the historic sites of Fort Walker and a later era Steam Cannon used for coastal defense. Wednesdays from 10-11:30am. $12 adult / $7 child (ages 7-12). No children under 7 please.
MARSH TACKY HORSE TOUR: Descended from horses brought to the Lowcountry in the 1500s, there are now around 300 Marsh Tackies left in existence. Learn about the history of these adaptable horses and take a trip to our historic barn. There you will meet the museum’s two resident horses Comet and Hawk and learn about their care and conservation. (This activity does not involve riding the horses). Sept.-May: Fridays from 2-3:pm. $10 adult / $5 children (ages 4-12). No children under 4 please.
PLANT SEEKERS: Step off the beaten path with our curator on this exclusive tour and learn to identify some of the remarkable plants on our property – from the largest trees to the tiniest flowers. Some are edible, others are used medicinally; some attract insects, others are natural repellents. Discover how plants provide for us and other animals and learn how they communicate with each other. Mondays at 3-4:30pm. $15 adult / $10 child (ages 6-12). No children under 6 please. Limited to 6 participants.
ISLAND STORY: Hilton Head Island has a fascinating history, from the earliest Native Americans inhabitants that harvested oysters and hunted Black Bear to the modern day residents and visitors who flock here to play tennis and golf. The island has gone through numerous changes and uses by diverse groups of people, from logging to farming, to hunting and finally today mostly as a tourist retreat and home to over 35,000 full time residents. Learn from a museum docent about these changes, and the tale of its participants from Native Americans, to Gullah islanders to modern day residents. Sept.-May: Tuesdays at 3-4pm. $7 per person (ages 7+). No children under 7 please.
DOLPHIN AND NATURE CRUISE: (March - October only). Take a boat trip on Broad Creek into Calibogue Sound. This museumled tour will share information about the salt marsh, the sound and the dolphins and other creatures that live there. Location given when making reservation. $19 adult / $13 child (ages 1-12). 3pm Wednesdays and Fridays. Reservations required.
MAY RIVER MARITIME CRUISE: See a true historic southern coastal village from the water. A captain who grew up here will point out Old Town Bluffton’s historic landmarks as you are surrounded by the beauty of the May River. Learn about the dolphins, oyster, shrimp, fish, sharks, sea birds and other inhabitants of this unique environment. Tuesdays and Thursdays. 10:30am-noon. $35 adult / $25 child (ages 4-12).
EXPLORE PINCKNEY ISLAND: 2-4pm September-May; 9-11am June - August. Pinckney Island, between the bridges to Hilton Head Island. A brief historical and natural history overview is given by a Coastal Discovery Museum docent, followed by a walking tour of this National Wildlife Refuge, including salt marsh and maritime forest. Wildlife may include variety of birds, alligators and marsh inhabitants. $12 adult / $7 child (ages 4-12).
SALT MARSH DISCOVERY: 10am Fridays Sept. through May. As one of the most productive environments on the planet, the salt marsh functions as a filter and nursery for the coast. Learn from a museum docent how marsh plants adapt to the salt water, and why we should protect this interesting ecosystem. $10 adults, $5 child (ages 4-12).
EXPLORE HONEY HORN WALK: 11am- 12:30pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays., Begin your Honey Horn experience with this guided tour around the museum’s picturesque and historic grounds. Visit the salt marsh, see historic buildings, and learn about the gardens, plants and trees on site. Your museum guide will share stories about Honey Horn’s past and its natural history. $10 adult, $5 child (ages 4-12).
BEACH DISCOVERY: 2pm on Tuesdays September-May; 10am Tuesdays June- August, Fish Haul Beach Park, Hilton Head Island. Join a museum naturalist on a nature tour of the wonders and creatures that inhabit our local beaches. Ever wonder who lives in those holes in the sand? Or, when sea turtles come ashore to nest on Hilton Head Island? Learn about the horseshoe crab that has been lurking in our coastal waters for millions of years. Come explore our ever-changing marine environment at hidden Fish Haul Beach along Port Royal Sound. With its mud flats and sandy areas, this beach is ideal for finding beach creatures, shorebirds, and sea shells. Learn about how our beaches are formed and changed with each cycle of the tide. Meet docent at the picnic tables near the beach pathway for an orientation before heading to the beach. $12 adults, $7 child.
BUTTERFLY ENCLOSURE AT COASTAL DISCOVERY MUSEUM: (Tours only occur between May and October) 11am on Fridays through October; Tours resume in May - 3pm on Tuesdays and 11am on Fridays. Tours of the Karen Wertheimer Butterfly Habitat will give participants an up-close and personal look at the native butterflies. Learn about the different stages of a butterfly’s life cycle and see a living caterpillar and chrysalis! Reservations are required. $10 adult and $5 child (ages 4-12).
KAYAKING ON JARVIS CREEK: 10am Tuesdays through Thursdays, Jarvis Creek Water Sports, Hilton Head Island. Join a certified guide for a closer look at the salt marsh aboard a stable touring kayak. Venture into creeks and inlets to view local wildlife, such as wading birds and dolphins. $32 adult, $28 child (ages 5-12 with adult). No children under 5 please.
LOWCOUNTRY REPTILES: Wednesdays at 3pm through November. Resume in March, please check the calendar at www. coastaldiscovery.org. The Coastal Discovery Museum will feature alligators, snakes, and turtles for you to take a closer look at the fascinating and unique characteristics of these local reptiles and amphibians. You will have a chance to interact with a few live critters and discover the importance of these often-misunderstood animals. Learn how to protect these amazing creatures and safely enjoy sharing the Lowcountry with them. This family friendly indoor experience is also a nice escape from the afternoon heat or rain! $10 adult, $5 child (ages 5-12).