Kiawah Island may be famous for its golf courses, tennis courts, and gorgeous high-dollar homes, but there’s much more to the island that you may have yet to discover. Here are 5 family-friendly Kiawah Island adventures for nature lovers and curious visitors.
From gators to birds to butterflies, the Heron Park Nature Center has a team of passionately knowledgeable tour guides waiting to walk you through all the fascinating history and habitats the island has to offer. Here are just a few of the educational adventures that await you at Kiawah.
If you’ve spent any time on Kiawah, you’ve probably encountered a ‘gator or two, but what do you really know about them? Did you know that in winter they lay dormant on the bottom of a pond or in underground dens scooped out with their own claws and jaws? Learn about that and much more during the two-hour Alligator Adventure tour, which is offered at Kiawah throughout the year for $20 per person.
Back Island Birding
They say that a bird lover’s paradise awaits at Kiawah. The island has well over 220 species of birds! The Nature Center’s birding experts are waiting to take you to remote locations to explore natural habitats while learning all about the natural history of the island’s vast avian wildlife. Comfy shoes, a camera, and drinking water are recommended in hotter months, but the program is offered throughout the year. The three-hour tour is $35 per person, and anyone age 16 and over can get in on it.
Who doesn’t love butterflies? Lucky for us, Kiawah offers a family-friendly tour through the Sanctuary gardens for autumn butterflies. You’ll get to use nets to catch and gently examine butterflies to discover about the resources these stunning creatures have lived on in the island. The walk is stroller accessible, one-hour long, and $12 per person. It’s recommended that you were clothes you don’t mind getting dirty.
Night Beach Walk
Kiawah’s Night Beach Walk may have a pretty beach and a sky full of stars to offer you, but there’s so much to learn. Ever wonder why sea turtles cry as they lay their eggs in the island’s dunes? Or why ghost crabs have hairy legs? Or why the sea sparkles in shades of green? The point of the walk is for the whole family to learn about the island’s nocturnal creatures and their habitat. The tour is offered late spring and early fall, it is an hour-and-a-half long, $15 a person, and available to anyone. Note: persons under age 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Oh, and don’t forget the insect repellent and comfy walking shoes.
Historical Sunset Cycle
If you like to cycle your way through Kiawah, you’ll love the Historical Sunset Cycle, offered year round on Sundays only or by request. Learn about where the word kiawah came from and explore the island’s history and ecology while enjoying a beautiful sunset view from your bike. The tour is an hour-and-a-half-long, $15 per person, and available for anyone. Note: participants under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. They also recommend wearing comfortable clothing and bringing along a bottle of water.
Call the Heron Park Nature Center to learn more about current tours and schedules. What will be your first adventure?
Here’s some beautiful nature shots taken by my friend Erin Southerlin who just seems to enjoy “happy accidents” with her camera. Take a mini Lowcountry safari vacation. Look carefully at the shot of the bridge- there’s a dolphin crashing the picture.
There are fewer than 50 living albino alligators in the WORLD and one is making his debut at our local aquarium. The reptile lacks melanin in its eyes and skin, leaving him a translucent white, light-sensitive and particularly vulnerable to predators in the wild.
He’s been in town for several weeks already getting acclimated to his new home and he’ll be ready to meet everyone this Saturday. He is a seven foot, 100 pound 10 year old gator who was born wild but raised in a Florida zoo.
He will live in the aquarium’s renovated Blackwater Swawmp exhibit along with life-sized cypress trees, rattle snakes, screech owls and a host of other new species.