Myrtle Beach Area

See Saltwater Aquariums, Live Reptiles, Interactive Displays

03/31/2010  | 
historic places

When most people think of Myrtle Beach, S.C., they think of fun in the sun, warm beaches, outstanding live entertainment choices, a magnitude of restaurants, shopping galore and of course, golf! What most people don’t often realize is the expansive opportunities available for educational outreach for students.

One of the newest attractions to the Myrtle Beach area is found just a short drive inland to Conway, S.C. The L.W. Paul Living History Farm depicts farm and domestic life in Horry County from 1900–1955. Visitors to the farm will have the opportunity to sample the everyday life of a Horry County farm family living during this era. Guests on this working farm will be able to observe and participate in activities that would have been commonplace on traditional family farms. Plowing with mules, making lye soap, grinding grits, blacksmithing, curing meat, preserving vegetables, milking cows, and harvesting crops are only a few hands-on activities the farm offers. Events at the farm change with the seasons. As the farm year progresses, events and demonstrations change to interpret the activities that take place on the Farm annually.

A popular attraction for students for both sight-seeing and learning is the Myrtle Beach State Park. While the park itself is surrounded by nature’s beauty, with the Atlantic Ocean as a spectacular backdrop, the educational features rival the excitement of the beach. The nature center offers saltwater aquariums, live reptiles and interactive natural history displays to help students understand the significance of the park. An outdoor wildlife habitat complete with bird feeders, bird houses, a butterfly garden, bird baths and a nature sculpture is available for viewing even when the nature center is not open. Miles of walking trails throughout the park lends itself to a number of botanical references. The most enjoyed Sculptured Oak Trail allows you to experience what the woodlands of the Grand Strand used to look like, as you pass through a forest of oaks, wax myrtles, hollies, poplars, and magnolias, which is the home of a diversity of birds, reptiles and amphibians.

At Ripley’s Aquarium, the staff believes the more students learn about the world’s oceans, the more likely they are to protect and preserve them. In an effort to promote marine science education, Ripley’s Aquarium has developed a number of fun, hands-on educational programs written to meet the state standards in the areas of math, science, English and social studies. Lesson plan packets are available to teachers following each activity and a number of various programs are in place for all ages, from pre-school to high school. From Pollution Revolution for grades four through eight where this interactive program challenges students to be creative in cleaning up an oceanic oil spill, to Shark Attack! For grades five to 12, where students uncover the truth behind the myth that sharks are ferocious predators that prey on helpless vacationers in the ocean, Ripley’s Aquarium keeps learning exciting and engaging at all times, for all ages.

Brookgreen Gardens has long been known as a botanical haven to their countless visitors. With a wide variety of programs for all age groups, Brookgreen Gardens gives students a chance to explore with their senses in this natural wonderland. A long range of topics are covered, such as art, history, science and music. A few of the programs available include Ricefield Creek Excursion for grades three to12, where students will explore the remnants of South Carolina’s rice plantations on Brookgreen’s pontoon boat,The Springfield. The program emphasizes the history of South Carolina’s rice culture and its impact on the Lowcountry region. Native plants and animals will be observed in secluded habitats.

The springtime is the most popular for “Where Art and Nature Meet”, designed for students grades 7-12, to allow for a stroll through the gardens to learn about the property’s history and sculpture collection through the eyes of its founders, Archer and Anna Huntington. Students will learn how the Huntingtons designed and developed Brookgreen and observe selected sculptures by Anna Hyatt Huntington and others.

A favorite among many, “Priscilla’s Posse” was developed for students in grades nine through 12. Through songs, lectures and photographs, Ron Daise recounts the historical visit of Thomalind Martin Polite of North Charleston to Sierra Leone, West Africa in May 2005. Polite is the seventh generation descendant of “Priscilla,” a 10-year-old Sierra Leonian, who was captured as a slave in 1756 and brought to a rice plantation in South Carolina. Cultural links with Gullah and Sierra Leone are explored, including language, dietary practices, crafts, rice production and the Bunce Island Slave Castle.

Whatever the age, whatever the subject, Myrtle Beach offers it all!

Myrtle Beach Area

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