There is a destination on Hilton Head Island that combines education, amusement, beauty and several unusual activities for all ages. It is a place of wonder and delight.
It is the Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn.
To understand how unique the Coastal Discovery Museum is, it is important to understand not only the history of the museum but to grasp the fact that the museum celebrates the history of the Carolina Lowcountry on a preserve carved out of a plantation that was part of that history.
Honey Horn plantation, is located along Jarvis Creek, a tributary of Calibogue Sound. The plantation, which was originally (around 1805) 13,000 acres of cotton and rice, has experienced the changes brought about by war, economics and development over the ensuing two centuries. Honey Horn has been reduced to 300 acres out of which 68 acres have been purchased by the Town of Hilton Head and leased to the Coastal Discovery Museum organization.
Discovery is at the heart of the mission of the museum, and I, as an enthusiastic visitor, would have to elaborate, discovery of every aspect of the essence of South Carolina’s Lowcountry and coastal history.
Come Discover For Yourself
Blending the environmental features with the evolving cultural heritage, one can wander through the remarkable collections in the rooms of the Discovery House, the main house and home of the owner, William J. Graham, in the early nineteenth century. Here one can get an insight into every aspect of life on Hilton Head Island when agriculture, not tourism, was the industrial bedrock.
The exhibits and interactive presentations will educate the visitor about the Pirates and Privateers that sailed the waters from the Bahamas to the Caribbean yet called South Carolina home. Famous rogues such as Black Beard, Captain Kidd and others. One can learn about the crops, the wildlife, the flora and fauna and the many aspects of the Lowcountry life cycle. Then, as if transported into another age, leave Discovery House and experience on the 68 acres of the outdoor element of the museum, much of what you have learned.
The Museum’s trails, gardens, live oaks, butterfly enclosure and Marsh Tacky horses are just a few of the fun experiences you will encounter during your visit.
There are plots of land planted with Sea Island cotton and rice. Nature trails lead through the marshes where humans lived long before the arrival of Europeans. Then stop and take in the beauty of the fantastic Camellia Garden.
Lowcountry Marsh Tacky Horses
Possibly the most popular ‘exhibit’ at the Museum are the Marsh Tacky horses who live at the Discovery. These horses are descended from Spanish horses that were brought here in the 16th century. Used by Gullah islanders for plowing, transportation and for hunting, these sturdy horses are making a comeback thanks to the conservation efforts of the Carolina Marsh Tacky Association.
Sea Turtle Protection Project
The Coastal Discovery Museum manages the Sea Turtle Protection Project for the Town of Hilton Head Island. One of the best ways to learn about loggerhead turtles that nest on our beaches is to attend one of the museums Turtle Talks. The Sea Turtle Protection Project tracks all the nests that are laid on the island from May to October, each year, and documents the hatch success rate. You can find out more about the project and adopt a nest by visiting the museum.
The Coastal Discovery Museum hosts 6-8 temporary exhibitions each year. These often offer an insight into local history and culture as well as the environment around us. For more information and schedule of special events, check out the Coastal Discovery Museum site.
Interested in learning more about Hilton Head Island & Bluffton, SC? We enrourage you to contact us online or call 1-843-785-9500 to speak a local expert with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hilton Head Realty.