An Adventure to Grayson's Island
Alternate Extra-Long Title: Why Winter is the Best Time to Explore Lowcountry Nature with Kids.
One warm day a few weeks ago, we made a promise to have an Adventure. Without any expectations, we hopped into the car with a shoulder bag worth of snacks and headed to Palmetto Islands County Park in Mt. Pleasant.
As per usual, the 'Big Toy' playground was a-buzz. Kids from toddlers to tweens enjoyed challenging obstacles under the natural canopy. And while a whole afternoon can be spent here, today's destination was the Park Center. Actually (as our kids like to say with a clarifying tone), our destination was under the Park Center -- the flotilla of vacant peddle-boats.
With a reasonable $6 paid, we grabbed some life-jackets and, without delay, peddled away to explore. Now, here is the key part: we were the only ones on the water. And during our hour-long excursion, we only saw a handful of people along the wooded edge of the oblong pond.
This gave us some time to really observe and talk about our surroundings. By this I mean: we surveilled a feeding stork, visited with a patient box turtle, placed a spider onto his own small boat, and watched two deer off in the woods. We talked about water and weather and why algae grows. We talked about being quiet and kind and why ripples travel across the water.
It goes without saying (but I'll say it anyway) this wouldn't have been possible during most of the warmer months of the year; too many people create too many distractions. But without the people, it was just us and nature and us.
With a lengthy loop of the pond complete, it was time for the unexplored. The kids spotted a small island (and by small, I mean about the size of a sofa) and decided to claim it in the Spirit of Exploration. A landing party cleared the down debris, inspected for signs of occupants, built a small bridge to the neighboring landmass, and declared the island in the name of its discoverer.
The kids didn't complain once about the weather, the temperature, or length of our trip; this is really the domain of the adult. As long as the juice boxes flowed freely and the promise of a lollipop was upheld, all was right in the world.
In fact, after our boat ride, we spent another two-and-a-half hours exploring the park. An afternoon rain shower finally sent us home.
After we regaled our adventures at home, they asked if we could go back the next day ... which we did.