Planning an Educational Vacation the Whole Family Will Love
Taking a family vacation can be a challenge, especially when ages and interests vary. Instead of limiting your activities to waterparks and cinema, take the time to explore your family’s options. Spend a day touring a museum, visiting a butterfly farm, or learning about endangered species – adding a little bit of educational fun to the mix can enrich your vacation and your kids will have a blast! Here are five ideas for an educational vacation for families visiting our locations:
DISCOVER AND LEARN
What: Salt Marsh Discovery
Location: Hilton Head, SC
Admission: Adults $10; Children $7 (ages 4-12)
Each summer, the Coastal Discovery Museum of Hilton Head Island, SC teaches visitors and locals the role that the Salt Marsh plays in the coastal ecosystem of the area. The Salt Marsh is considered one of the most productive ecosystems on earth because it filters water and is home to a variety of plants and animals. Learn more about this unique environment from an expert by making your reservation. Reservations are required and this event is held on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. When you visit the Coastal Discovery Museum website, be sure to check out the many other tours and programs that are offered throughout the year.
Where to Stay
What: The Smoky Mountain Gold & Ruby Mine
Location: Cherokee, NC
Admission: No admission fee to enter
If your kids enjoy getting a little bit dirty, check out the Smoky Mountain Gold & Ruby Mine, located in downtown Cherokee, about an hour away from Sapphire. The facility provides the equipment, and there is no admission fee to enter, only a small fee for gem mining or gold panning kits. Pan for gold and gems – including emeralds, rubies, sapphires, amethysts, garnets, topaz and more. On your way out, stop by the mine’s gift, jewelry and rock store for a free gemstone identification from one of the facility’s professionals. If you’re interested, the gem experts will cut and polish your stones and then set them in jewelry settings for you. The mine is open daily from March to November.
Where to Stay:
EXPERIMENT WITH NATURE
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC
Admission: Adults $27.99; Children $17.99 (plus taxes)
WonderWorks in Myrtle Beach has become one of the most enjoyed attractions for families visiting the Grand Strand area. Located at Broadway at the Beach, the WonderWorks building looks like it was uprooted and dropped upside down, drawing much attention for its appearance and also for what it holds inside. The three-story museum offers explorers the chance to examine subjects of space, science, math and magic, while presenting experiments and hands-on activities in an entertaining way. WonderWorks also features a challenging outdoor ropes course suspended over a lake, as well as a Lazer-Tag facility. Some of the museum’s exhibits include an Inversion Tunnel, Hurricane Shack, Anti-Gravity Chamber and Space Zone. For children younger than 4 years, check out the Children’s Museum at www.cmsckids.org.
Where to Stay:
- Country Club Villas
- Sandy Shores III
- Schooner Beach & Racquet Club
- Schooner II Beach & Racquet Club
- Jade Tree Cove
- Peppertree By the Sea
EXPLORE THE CIRCLE OF LIFE
What: Butterfly World
Location: Coconut Creek, FL
Admission: Adults $29.95; Children $21.95 (ages 3-11); Under 2 – free
Within six miles of Pompano Beach and within twenty-four miles from Hollywood is the tranquil Butterfly World, where visitors can explore a butterfly’s habitat, spot hundreds of colorful species, visit the Live Bug Zoo, and add a little educational fun to their vacation experience. According to their website, Butterfly World was the first butterfly house to open in the U.S. in 1988, and it is currently open seven days a week. Visitors are able to catch a glimpse into a working research center, stroll through gardens and natural habitats, explore different species of butterflies, birds and vegetation, and more! While you’re there, don’t forget to stop by the Bug Zoo – one of the most fun and interesting parts of your tour at Butterfly World!
Where to Stay:
FACE YOUR FEARS
What: Coral World Ocean Park
Location: St. Thomas, USVI
Admission: Adults $20+; Children $11+; Family Day Pass $65+
Coral World Ocean Park is a very popular stop for guests in St. Thomas, allowing visitors the chance to come face-to-face with aquatic wildlife. From the Marine Gardens, to the Turtle Pool, the Caribbean Reef Encounter, to the Shark Shallows, there is so much to see and do at the Ocean Park. While you’re there, dine at The Beach Café or The Shark Bar, and shop at the park’s two gift shops – Go Fish and Currents to find your perfect souvenir! Coral World offers entertainment for the whole family, as well as safe encounters they will remember forever. Swim with the sea lions, sea turtles and even sharks, or visit the only Undersea Observatory Tower in the Caribbean 100-feet offshore. The possibilities are endless at Coral World, and the whole family will learn something new from a day at the park. Call for seasonal hours.
Where to Stay: