Tag Archives: attractions

Brookgreen Gardens Buzzes with New Honey Bees

Brookgreen Gardens will open to the public a newly installed observational bee hive Monday, June 27. Located in the Deer Savannah in the Native Wildlife Zoo the new hive will allow visitors to the gardens watch honey bees as they work. Visitation to the hive is included in garden admission.


The new bee hive was provided by the Bee Cause Project of Charleston, SC, through a donation raised by Coastal Montessori Charter School of Charleston, SC. The installation was coordinated through Brookgreen’s Creative Education Department to help raise awareness of the importance of honey bees as a major pollinator of not only flowers but many of our food crops.


“It is estimated that bees pollinate a third of everything we eat and play a vital role in sustaining the planet’s ecosystems,” said Ron Daise, Vice-President for Creative Education. “We are partnering with beekeeper, Tom Frances, to help educate make the observational bee hive interesting and informative.” Interpretive signage is planned for the new bee hive.


Brookgreen Gardens, a National Historic Landmark and non-profit organization, is located on U.S. 17 between Murrells Inlet and Pawleys Island, South Carolina, and is open to the public daily. For more information, visit our web site at www.brookgreen.org or call 843-235-6000.

Museum of Coastal Carolina Celebrates 25 Years

Stuart Ingram saw his dream come true when the Museum of Coastal Carolina opened its doors to the public  May 19, 1991. Ingram had envisioned such a museum for 25 years, ever since a young boy questioned him about the fish he was catching in the surf on Ocean Isle Beach. Ingram not only kept the idea of a museum alive; he also embraced the challenge of raising funds, acquiring land, building a museum, and obtaining exhibits. Those who knew him often speak of his imagination, perseverance, enthusiasm and tenacity.MuseumExterior

In Ingram’s own  words, “The dedication of the original building was held May 19, 1991. After a few brief remarks by some of the directors of the museum the traditional ribbon tied to the entrance railing was cut by Mayor Betty Williamson and the guests entered the Museum for a first view of the interior. Without exception the guests expressed their favorable impression of the museum and its exhibits.”

In September of 1992, construction on a 2,100-foot addition to the museum began; it was completed in the early summer of 1993. Construction of a second addition to the museum began in the summer of 1995; it was completed in the spring of 1996. The third addition was begun in August of 1997; it was completed in early 1998. Ingram then turned his attention to the stars. Ingram Planetarium in Sunset Beach opened its doors to the public in May of 2002. Sadly, Ingram passed away just prior to opening day. His wife, Louise, stayed active in both the museum and the planetarium until her death in 2013.

Since its beginning, the Museum of Coastal Carolina has been involved in entertaining and educational activities, programs, and lectures for visitors of all ages. Thousands of school children visit the museum every year, as do summer visitors to the area. During the quiet winter months, the museum remains open to the public two days a week and also hosts a popular monthly Tuesday night lecture series.

Both the museum and the planetarium rely heavily on volunteers. This dedicated group of volunteers helps with administrative tasks, building and grounds maintenance, educational activities, fund raising, and much more. They are the public “face” of the museum and planetarium.

New volunteers are always welcome, especially during this time as the facilities gear up for the busy summer season. Both facilities are open six days a week during the summer. Anyone interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities should call Joyce Houle, volunteer coordinator, at 910-579-1014 or email her at vol.cord@museumplanetarium.org.

If you are a Brunswick County resident and have never visited the Museum of Coastal Carolina, consider joining the fun on March 26 when the museum hosts its annual Family Day from 10-2.  The museum is located at 21 East Second Street in Ocean Isle Beach, NC.

Brookgreen Gardens’ New Holiday Exhibits Open November 27

Brookgreen Gardens’ two new indoor exhibits offer a bright beginning to the holiday season. Open daily from Friday, November 27 (during Thanksgiving weekend) through January 3, 2016, the exhibits are free with garden admission.
“Holiday Memories: Trains, Trees, and Treasures”

"A New Adventure" by Angela Trotta Thomas

“A New Adventure” by Angela Trotta Thomas

Brookgreen Gardens’ 2015 holiday exhibit theme builds upon its previous show-stopping displays of electric model trains (both Lionel and American Flyer), period Christmas trees, and other nostalgia from holiday celebrations of the Twentieth Century.
Featured in the exhibit are paintings of scenes of children, Christmas, and toy trains by Angela Trotta Thomas. Her Rockwell-like paintings have earned her the title of “The Train Lady.”
For children, a new “Thomas the Train and Friends” display is featured in the front of the gallery and, for adults, the “Front Street Georgetown” outdoor train display has expanded to include the historic Town Clock and other structures.

Representing the “Treasures” in the title will be a Tiffany-inspired store window featuring beautiful costume jewelry on loan from the collection of Sherri Duncan.
“Peace on Earth” is the exhibit theme presented by the horticultural department, and its displays represent tranquil and natural settings from around the world.
Brookgreen Gardens, a National Historic Landmark, is located south of Myrtle Beach, SC between Murrells Inlet and Pawleys Island. For more information visit www.brookgreen.org or call (843) 235-6000.

Brookgreen Gardens Hosts Earth Day Forum

Green Amphorae ca. 2012 by Karen HackenbergOn Wednesday, April 22, in conjunction with the current exhibit, Environmental Impact, Brookgreen Gardens will host a forum to discuss the work of area organizations, businesses, and individuals that clean-up, re-plant, and find new ways to protect and preserve our environment. The program is at 3 p.m. in the Lowcountry Center Auditorium and is free with garden admission.

The speakers include representatives from the North Inlet-Winyah Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Santee Cooper, SC Environmental Law Project, Waccamaw Riverkeepers, and Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge. The forum and Environmental Impact are sponsored by the Waccamaw Community Foundation and Green Assets, Inc.

“The exhibit has been traveling the United States since 2013, and we are fortunate to be able to present it to our Grand Strand audience,” said Robin Salmon, Vice-President of Art and Historical Collections at Brookgreen Gardens. Environmental Impact includes 75 works of art by 38 artists from seven countries. Their works present powerful messages about the environment as shown in paintings, prints, sculpture, drawings, and photographs. Environmental Impact is produced by David J. Wagner, LLC, David J. Wagner, Ph.D, Curator/Tour Director, davidjwagnerllc.com.

Brookgreen Gardens, a non-profit organization located on U.S. 17 between Myrtle Beach and Pawleys Island, South Carolina, is open daily to the public. For more information, visit www.brookgreen.org or call 843-235-6000.

Brookgreen Holiday Exhibits

Brookgreen Gardens’ two indoor exhibits will be on display daily Friday November 28 – Sunday, January 4, 2015 and are free with garden admission.

One of the joys of the holiday season is seeing how the horticulture and sculpture departments transform the two galleries in the Rainey Sculpture Pavilion. Their imaginations, creativity, and hours of work help make the season bright.

Presented by the Sculpture Department the holiday exhibit, Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus, features paintings by Tom Browning, the world’s premier Santa Claus artist.  In addition to his Santa art, Tom Browning is a renowned painter of western landscapes and his works are highly acclaimed throughout the United States.

Brookgreen’s electric model train village, including Lionel and American Flyer, has grown significantly since last year, both indoors and outdoors.  It returns with tributes to Hershey, PA, and to Georgetown’s historic Front Street, plus an enhanced Erector Set display and a winter carnival with hundreds of moving parts.

In Signs of the Season in Flora and Fauna exhibition, the Horticulture Department uses natural materials and plants to create a fantasy forest scene complete with a holiday feast for the animals as the centerpiece. The fantasy forest continues outside the window of the gallery to create the illusion of bringing the outdoors – indoors.

The exhibits are free with garden admission and included in admission for Nights of a Thousand Candles.

Brookgreen Gardens, a National Historic Landmark and non-profit organization, is located on U.S. 17 between Murrells Inlet and Pawleys Island, South Carolina, and is open to the public daily. For more information, visit  www.brookgreen.org or call 843-235-6000.


February Programming Aboard the Battleship NORTH CAROLINA

The Battleship NORTH CAROLINA announces the programming schedule for February, 2014.Okinawa six projectiles in air

February 15, 2014
Time: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
$95 per person.  $85 for Friends members or active military.

Learn about and explore the Battleship’s 16-inch and 5-inch guns from the gun houses to the ammunition loading compartments; the 40mm and 20mm guns, and the weapons that they replaced (1.10 and 50 caliber guns). The finest guns are of little use without the means to direct their fire accurately at the target. Presenters will discuss the various types of fire control equipment (directors/optical range finders, radar, computers) and how main and secondary battery plotting rooms and the combat information center operated. Participants will enjoy a lively, engaging, in-depth program with presentations, hands-on experience, and serious exploration for adult learners.

The program is for adults only (ages 16 and up) and limited to 40 participants. It is not appropriate for those who may have difficulty climbing narrow ladders. Wear warm, comfortable, washable clothing, sturdy, rubber-soled shoes and bring a camera! Registration and payment are due by Thursday, February 13th.  Event is $95; $85 for Friends of the Battleship or active military. Program includes a box lunch. Call 910-251-5797 for reservations.

Statewide NC QSO Party
An Azalea Coast Amateur Radio Club Event
Sunday, February 23, 2014 from noon to 10 pm

The Azalea Coast Amateur Radio Club will operate from the Battleship NORTH CAROLINA during the North Carolina QSO Party on Sunday, February 23, 2014. The event runs from Noon until 10:00 pm local time. The purpose of this annual “HAM Radio” event is to allow amateur radio operators worldwide to contact as many of North Carolina’s 100 counties as possible.  This year the Battleship is one of four stations worth “extra points” if contacted. The Battleship is NI4BK and the club looks forward to hearing from many HAMS.      Licensed radio amateurs are invited throughout the year to be guest operators on the air from Radio Central using call sign NI4BK.

The Club will communicate by voice through the Ship’s original cabling and antennas. Morse code communications will originate from the TBM-4 transmitter, placed in service aboard the Battleship in 1941, and restored to operating condition by Club members in 2002, after a 50+ year slumber.

The club hosts and participates in several events at the Battleship during the year, including Museum Ships Day, Battleship Alive, and Pearl Harbor Remembered.  They also spend time restoring the Battleship’s original communications equipment. Details of the guest operator program may be found at the club’s website http://AC4RC.org.

The Battleship NORTH CAROLINA is self-supporting, not tax supported and relies primarily upon admissions to tour the Ship, sales in the Ship’s Store, donations and investments. No funds for its administration and operation come from appropriations from governmental entities at the local, state or federal levels. Located at the junction of Highways 17/74/76/421 on the Cape Fear River.   Visit www.battleshipnc.com or follow  on Facebook.com/ncbb55 and Twitter.com/battleshipnc for more information. Relive with the crew on the Battleship Bloghttp://seastories.battleshipnc.com/. The Battleship NORTH CAROLINA is an historic site within the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources (www.NCCulture.com).



May Programming Aboard the Battleship NORTH CAROLINA

Torpedo damageDesign & Damage Control
May 18, 2013
Time: 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
$55 per person.  $50 for Friends members or active military.

 As the first of the 10 fast battleships which served in WWII, NORTH CAROLINA paved the way for those battleships that followed.  In this four-hour program, participants will explore the ship and engage with experts on ship design. Topics include surviving a torpedo strike, fires, loss of power and countermeasures for magnetic mines and flooding and unwanted waters from flooding; from shoring and shifting fuel oil to triage of casualties and effective communication. An interesting and insightful afternoon awaits inquiring minds.

The tour is limited to ages 16 and older and limited to 48 participants. It is not appropriate for those who have difficulty climbing narrow ladders or over knee-high hatches. Wear cool, comfortable, washable clothing, sturdy, rubber-soled shoes and bring a camera! Water and light snack provided. Registration and payment are due by Thursday, May 16. Program is $50/$45 for Friends of the Battleship or active military. Call 910-251-5797 for reservations.

48th Annual Memorial Day Observance

May 27, 2013
Time: 5:45 pm

On Memorial Day, May 27, 2013, at 5:45 pm, people of all generations from across the State will gather together on the deck of the Battleship to pay their respects. Guest speaker for this 48th annual observance is Rear Admiral Steven H. Ratti, Commander Fifth Coast Guard District.  An emotional ceremony, preceding and concluding with military musical arrangements provided by the 440th NC Army National Guard Band, and a 21-gun salute, the Executive Director of the Battleship, Captain Terry A. Bragg and members of the USS NORTH CAROLINA Battleship Commission invite the public to this free event.

Summer Hours

Starting Friday before Memorial Day, May 24, 2013, going through Labor Day, September 2, 2013, the Battleship NORTH CAROLINA will be open 8:00 am until 8:00 pm with the last ticket sold one hour before closing.

The Battleship NORTH CAROLINA is self-supporting, not tax supported and relies primarily upon admissions to tour the Ship, sales in the Ship’s Store, donations and investments. No funds for its administration and operation come from appropriations from governmental entities at the local, state or federal levels. Located at the junction of Highways 17/74/76/421 on the Cape Fear River.   Visitwww.battleshipnc.com or follow on Facebook.com/ncbb55 and Twitter.com/battleshipnc for more information. Relive with the crew on the Battleship Blog http://seastories.battleshipnc.com/. The Battleship NORTH CAROLINA is an historic site within the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources (www.NCCulture.com).


Lowcountry in your Pocket

The South Carolina Lowcountry is in your phone.  Things to see and do throughout Beaufort County are covered in our app Hilton Head Essentials, published by Sutro Media this month. It’s available for download from the iTunes app store for iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch devices.

More than 800 images with 130 items showcase the coastal area.

It includes a Google map for each entry; one-touch phone calling to each business; one-touch access to the individual website; immediate access to selected YouTube or user reviews; relevant hours and pricing information. Categories include where to stay, where to eat, shopping, attractions, selected upcoming events plus a bit of history and local culture throughout Hilton Head, Bluffton, Beaufort and the neighboring rural areas and towns.

Authors Liz and Charlie Mitchell, long-time South Carolina coastal residents, created the app in partnership with Sutro Media. Their first app Myrtle Beach’s Best was launched in December with a new version published in January.

Updates of Hilton Head Essentials are planned for additional golf and event coverage. Local businesses are invited to follow the authors on Twitter or the Hilton Head Essentials Facebook page or contact the authors via their website.  Event schedules and updated information may be considered for inclusion in future versions. Businesses do not pay to be listed, and the authors base choices on personal experiences and availability of quality content.

The Mitchells also co-authored two travel books published by Channel Lake in the 2010 Tourist Town series. The books available from major booksellers and from Amazon are Hilton Head: A Guide to the South Carolina Lowcountry and Myrtle Beach: A Guide to South Carolina’s Grand Strand. Both books are sold at Sunset River Marketplace in Calabash where the authors appear for periodic special events.

The Hilton Head guidebook also is available in Beaufort at Cuthbert House Inn and at the Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce and in Bluffton at Rose Hill Mansion.

Introducing Myrtle Beach’s Best

Our new travel app Myrtle Beach’s Best is now available for download via iTunes for iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. It’s $1.99 with free updates forever. As you might expect, it’s written in our two strong and opinionated voices. You wouldn’t want any less than honest reviews and opinions of locals when planning your trip, right?

It includes more than 130 insightful entries, richly visual slide shows with 1120 views and a Google map for each entry; one-touch phone calling to that business; one-touch access to the establishment website; relevant hours and pricing information and immediate access to some YouTube or user reviews. You can add your own comments too.

These categories are offered: Attractions, Beaches, Best Dinners, Day Trips, Easy Lunches, Entertainment, Festivals, Golf, Shopping and Top Hotels. 

An alphabetical listing of everything is shown, and it can be sorted by city, by distance from wherever you are, by price or by category:

The introduction to the golf listings offers a slide show of some beautiful Myrtle Beach National courses:

Sutro Media is a new kind of app publishing company, one that bridges the gap between traditional print media and new media outlets. It’s amassing the world’s largest collection of indie travel writing voices to create new products on the exciting and versatile mobile platform.

If you travel, you will find it easy and fun to explore the world using a mobile phone.  You may be standing on a street corner surfing for a reliable restaurant or lying on the couch planning a tour, and the app will lead you by the hand. No need for a phone book, a map or even the Internet to find where to shop, dine or play in Myrtle Beach when you have the app on your mobile device.

Sutro Media currently has more than 60 apps for sale on iTunes and another 175 in the pipeline.

Let us know what you think.

If Wheels Could Talk…

The Ringling Museums & Mansion are a full day of educational fun! I just love stuff like this. Another must-do during off season. The grandeur and splendor that await at this vast estate are amazing, astonishing, and really cool! The stories behind it all are fascinating. And I thought I heard the voices of various animal handlers and performers whispering to me throughout the day….and maybe Mable herself.

At the entrance you are greeted by a bevy of little old ladies waiting to tell you about different exhibits and shows in the visitor center, hand you programs, sell you tickets and make sure you stay on the walkways! (They are rather strict about this.)

The miniature circus exhibit takes up the entire first building that we decided to check out and is based on the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus from 1919. It took the model builder, whom the building is named after, Howard Tibbals, 50 years to create the finished product, referred to as the “Largest Miniature Circus in the World.” He started building it in college in 1956. Pretty impressive that what started as a hobby turned into a life-long pursuit. The second story of the Tibbals Learning Center was closed for renovation when we were there.


The Circus Museum is the second stop with its musty smell of Grandma’s old steamer trunks and attic, but as is also the case, it is filled with costumes, dresses, trinkets and such that were once treasured by their owners and now tell a story of times past and lives lived long ago. There is a collection of parade wagons, some original, some replicas, the difference pretty apparent, but not always. I just loved the ornate hand carved wooden wheels.

Another exciting find here is the original rail car that John & Mable Ringling traveled in all across the country. Plenty of original woodwork, fixtures and glass are still present in the impressive car circa 1905. The restoration is ongoing.

A refreshing stop at the Banyan Cafe’ centrally located on the grounds was perfect timing for lunch. A couple of college aged guys took our orders, fried up and prepped a few chicken strips and sandwiches and had the most amiable dispositions of those we encountered the entire day. Couldn’t help but notice they were also the only employees who appeared to be under age 60. The food was very good, but pricey for small portions, not surprising though since they are the only option, they have AC, indoor and outdoor seating, and they serve cold beer.

On to the Ca’ d’Zan Mansion, while we quickly finished our ice cream cones before they melted in the heat & humidity that engulfs SW Florida year-round. Owners John & Mable Ringling were so enamored with a particular style of architecture from Venice, Italy, Venetian Gothic, that they built their 36,000-square-foot (that’s right, 36,000, I did not misplace the comma) in that style on the expansive shores of Sarasota Bay which somewhat mimicks the canals of Venice.

Ca’ d’ Zan means “House of John” in Venetian  and was apropos since we had Grandpa Jon with us that day. The mansion is heavily roped off and visitors are allowed very limited access to the estate’s 41 rooms & 15 bathrooms. For an extra $5 per person you could access 5 more rooms upstairs, but we declined. Seemed quite restrictive, frankly, what little they would let you tour. Nonetheless, I just loved it!! I could have stayed in there for days daydreaming about fancy dinner parties featuring sideshow acts and a full staff of servants, dessert on the marble terrace overlooking Sarasota Bay while watching the sunset with a couple hundred of your closest friends…ah the life they must have led. By far my favorite part of the day, if I had to choose, which I am glad I didn’t.




Next was the enormous Museum of Art. This place is so big, I almost had to stop and take a nap halfway through. There is almost too much to see…room after room after room. Some of the highlights though are the largest of the paintings, which John Ringling actually built the museum to house. These things are so big!! A single one of these monstrous pieces of art takes up more square footage than my first apartment! You could probably make a day just of the Museum of Art if you wanted.

The courtyard is in the middle of the museum’s two wings. This is a very inspiring location on the property and features casts of original works from the Renaissance, including Michelangelo’s David, in all his glory, as well as many others, several fountains and plenty of flowers and vegetation that stays green all year in this tropical climate.

This was the end of our day at the Ringling Grounds and well worth every dime we spent. There was a special on the tickets that day and I think we spent less per person to see all this than we did at the Sarasota Jungle Gardens just down the road. So if you have limited time in Sarasota–hands down, you must make a day of the Ringling Museums & Ca’ d ‘Zan before devoting time to any other tourist sites. Be sure to have plenty of batteries for your digital camera and take your time wandering through the acres and acres and many thousands of square feet of rich, Ringling estate. And please, be sure to tell Mable I said “Hello” and “Thank you.”