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Adventure Awaits at Lowcountry Celebration Park

Marie McAden Marie McAden
A former staffer with The Miami Herald, Marie moved to SC in 1992. She is passionate about the outdoors, and enjoys exploring the state’s many natural treasures from the Lowcountry to the Upstate.
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With a vibrant shopping center and award-winning beach park, the Coligny area of Hilton Head Island has long been a destination for dining, recreation and fun. The family-friendly activity hub has become even more popular with the opening of a new regional park and children’s museum.

Located on 10 beautifully landscaped acres off Pope Avenue near the Coligny Beach parking lot, Lowcountry Celebration Park features a large open lawn that serves as the venue for an array of community events, including the Hilton Head Oyster Festival, Gullah Holiday Market, St. Patrick’s Day Irish Concert, jazz, pops and songwriter series, and sea turtle talks.

But it’s the Adventure Playground that is the big standout here. Unlike your typical park climbing structure, this one was designed and built to resemble a 17th century galleon, specifically the “Adventure,” the ship English explorer Captain William Hilton was sailing along the Carolina coast when he discovered the island in 1663.

The massive, multi-level playground features an assortment of imaginative ship-themed interactive elements, including cannons that spray a light mist, crow’s nests on each of the three masts, swing bridges, port holes, rope nets, periscopes, ship’s wheels, rope ladders and a dingy, along with giant sails that provide shade. Even the poured-in-place springy rubber surface below and around the structure is fun to walk on.

Hilton Head Island’s unique ecosystems and Lowcountry vibe were the inspiration for other park amenities as well. There’s a water feature with a wading pool that mimics the ingoing and outgoing tides, an oyster shell perimeter path subtly lighted for evening strolls around the park, and a “Setting Sun” sculpture rising out of a lagoon.

The Discovery Trail invites children to “explore” the island along a path of educational exhibits covering everything from life in the island’s mudflats and freshwater lagoons to sea turtles and beachcombing.

With parents in mind, the park also offers free wireless internet access and places to charge mobile devices, two fitness stations, restroom facilities, a shaded picnic area, a pavilion built in the island’s classic architecture and lots of benches and seating.

Other things to know:

  • The Adventure Playground is open from sunrise to sunset.
  • Restrooms close at 10 p.m.
  • Parking is available in the Coligny Beach parking lot or along the road on Nassau Street. There’s also a drop-off location at the intersection of Lagoon Road and Pope Avenue.

Sandbox Children’s Museum

Also located on the park grounds is the new quarters for the Sandbox Children’s Museum, a hands-on play and educational center designed for children through age 12. At 4,000 square feet, the new building is twice the size of the original museum, which opened in 2005 on Pope Avenue.

Like the park, the museum features exhibits and play areas reflective of the island’s environment and culture. The centerpiece is a two-story sandcastle with a reading corner, shadow room, puppet theater, dress-up area and spiral slide. Another favorite is the two-level shrimp boat with a crawlspace underneath the upper deck.

There’s also a cafe, grocery store, vet clinic and flight deck complete with pilot and co-pilot seats, pilot costumes and flight screens with three different flight simulations.

In addition to the play centers, the museum features Lego and Light Bright walls, a light table and 3D holographic sand table, which allows children to experience biomes from around the world by moving the sand around the table. There’s also an art studio, outdoor play area and staff-guided programs.

Marie McAden
A former staffer with The Miami Herald, Marie moved to SC in 1992. She is passionate about the outdoors, and enjoys exploring the state’s many natural treasures from the Lowcountry to the Upstate.