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I Spy A Critter Safari Bike Ride, Hilton Head Is. (Free Hilton Head kids activities)

Creature feature bike ride: your kid’s ticket to adventure

The Hilton Head Is. “I spy a critter ride” is a 10-mile route perfect for kids because it’s a treasure hunt for the island’s collection of permanent  “creatures”  – an alligator statue, a peacock stained glass window, a giant pelican, dolphin door,  heron and horse statue as well as a few live critters – a trio of macaws, a Clydesdale, ponies, goats and a deer.

To make the adventure semi-educational, have your little ones complete the nature rhymes we paired with each “animal” sighting.

For more local kids’ bike safaris, email anne@southernmamas.com .

Start: The Shops at Sea Pines Center (71 Lighthouse Road, Hilton Head Is. 29928.) Purchase a $5 day pass to enter The Sea Pines Resort by entering through the Greenwood Gate. From there, stay on Greenwood Drive to the Fraser Traffic Circle (approximately 2.5 miles) and take the first right off the circle onto Lighthouse Road. Follow this road and the Shops at Sea Pines Center will be located on your left. Rent bikes at the Sea Pines Center at Peddling Pelican or bring your own. Sea Pines has other bike rental shops in also. More info here. Pick up a free Sea Pines bike trail map or download one here.

Alligator: The first critter of this biking safari you actually visit on foot – an alligator statue in the middle of the Sea Pines Center outdoor shopping plaza just outside Truffles Café, next to a fountain.

Fill in the blank: This American alligator may appear to be smiling, but don’t forget what’s beneath. Deeply set in each the upper and lower jaws are 40 sharp “_”

Answer: Teeth

 

 

Peacock: Take the bike path north following Lighthouse Road toward Harbour Town. (.8 miles) Turn left on Lighthouse Lane. Pedal .3 miles to 31 Harbour Town Green. (You’ll pass a great, upturned tree on your left with roots that are great for climbing). At 31 Harbour Town Green, look up at the window on the fourth floor to spy a stained glass peacock.

Why does the peacock have such a magnificent tail? To attract a “_”!

Answer: Female.

Or

“Peacocks are the name for the men. But the females
are known as “_”

Answer: Peahens

Either continue straight to take a break at Harbour Town. (Climb the 114 stairs to the top of the Harbour Town lighthouse, hit the Gregg Russell playground or check out live Lowcountry animals  – including an alligator – at the Nature Center at Sea Pines. More info about the Nature Center here.) Or continue with the bike safari, returning the way you came. Once back on Lighthouse Road, turn right, following it to Plantation Drive and turn right following the bike path trail to South Beach Marina Village. (using your trail map).

Eagle: (Warning: this detour is not on the bike paths but on residential road loop) Take a detour en route to South Beach by following the Plantation Drive path past Baynard Cove Road to Baynard Park. Leave the bike path and turn right on Baynard Park. Pass Marsh Drive and take the second right onto Marsh Drive. At 11 Marsh Drive, a eagle swoops down from a live oak tree.

This bald eagle looks like he’s up for fight. His name comes from an old English word, “balde,” meaning “_”

Answer: White

Sidetrip: While in the area, check out the nearby  Stoney-Baynard Ruins, which includes a self-guided tour of ruins of the old Baynard antebellum plantation. The main house as well as attendant slave quarters, are permanently preserved within six-acre Baynard Ruins Park. This site is listed in National Register of Historic Places and is on the only tabby ruins of a main plantation house on Hilton Head Is. Details & directions here. 

Pelican: Continue on Marsh Drive until it rejoins Baynard Park again. Turn left on Baynard Park and return to Plantation Drive. Turn left on Plantation Drive and return to the Baynard Cove Road. Turn right on the Baynard Cove Path headed to South Beach.

At 46 South Sea Pines Drive, just past Audubon Pond Road, en route to South Beach Marina Village, is a giant pelican statue.

What a funny old bird is the pelican. His pouch holds more than his “_”

Answer: belly can. (Pelicans’ throat pouches can hold 3 gallons of water, 2 – 3 times the amount their stomachs can
hold).

Bottlenose Dolphin: When you arrive at South Beach Marina Village (224 S. Sea Pines Dr., Hilton Head Is. 29928) , check out the door on the South Beach pool and you’ll find a wrought-iron version of a favorite Hilton Head creature, the bottlenose dolphin.

For dolphins, having little or no sense of smell has no bearing. This mammal makes up for it with a sharp sense of “ ____”

Answer: hearing.

Macaws: Take a break in South Beach by visiting some live creatures, a trio of macaws – Captain, Cherokee and Kiwi _ at Jake’s Cargo shop in the courtyard next to The South Beach Inn.

When it’s time to eat, these members of the parrot family aren’t meek. They crack nuts and seeds with their powerful “_”

Answer: beaks.

 

 

.

 Great Blue Heron: Take the bike trail back the way you came, along South Sea Pines Drive. At 117 North Sea Pines Drive, spy a blue heron smack amid the bushes.

Atop of trees with other herons, they nest. But when it comes to hunting, these large wading birds like solitude best, catching meals solo with blade-like bills and S-shaped “_”.

Answer: necks.

 

 

.

Alligator: Contine on Sea Pines Drive to Sea Pines Plantation Club. Lounging on the ground in front of the Plantation Club pool is a large alligator squirting water.

Pretend you’re a reptile wizard. The name ‘alligator” is from Spanish “el lagarto” meaning “_”

Answer: The Lizard

 

 

 

.

 

 

Horse: Following your map, take the bike path to Greenwood Drive to Lawton Stables (190 Greenwood Drive, Hilton Head Is. 29928). Next to the gift shop is a sweet statue of a little girl and her horse.

A male horse is a stallion; a female horse, a mare. A baby horse is a foal. This might sound silly, but a young female horse is called a “_”

Answer: Filly

Don’t leave without visiting the Lawton’s free animal farm which includes goats, sheep, pot-bellied pigs, ponies, rabbits, a deer named Callie and a Clydesdale named Harley (who loves visitors bearing carrots and apples). Pony rides and horseback riding available for a fee. More info here.

Sidetrip: While in the area, visit the nearby Sea Pines Forest Preserve, a 605-acre preserve that includes easy trails to various points of interest including the 4,000-year-old Indian Shell Ring, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The walks range from 25 minutes to one hour. Bicycles are not permitted on the nature trails, so please park your bicycles at the locations provided. Open from sunrise to sunset. More info here.

To finish the safari, take the Plantation Drive bike path back to Lighthouse Road. Turn left and return to The Shops at Sea Pines Center. (71 Lighthouse Road, Hilton Head Is. 29928.)

Enjoy your I-spy-a-critter ride.

Contact anne@southernmamas.com