ESCAPE THE HEAT WITH INDOOR ACTIVITIES FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY
Ah, the great outdoors, where humidity renders eyeglasses completely opaque, the no-see-ums attack us, and the summer sun wants nothing less than to roast our skin to an angry red.
Sure, it’s not all bad. But the fact is there are times where the great outdoors can be a little bit too much. There comes a time when a little air-conditioned comfort is called for, when we yearn for some kind of indoor diversion while we recharge for our next outdoor foray.
The Lowcountry has you covered — quite literally, as you can enjoy these activities under a roof. Whether you want to unwind and take in a movie, flex your creative muscles, start a friendly family competition over a round of bowling or simply let the kids tire themselves out, there are a wealth of indoor options at your fingertips.
CAN YOU ESCAPE?
Across the country, escape rooms have exploded in popularity. On Hilton Head and in Bluffton, there are a few different possibilities for testing your puzzle-solving skills with friends. Match wits against mind-bending riddles that only unlock further mysteries until you have found your exit and earned bragging rights. Race to beat the clock, or sandbag it, let your friends figure out the clues and enjoy a few more minutes of air conditioning.
PLAY, EXPLORE & LEARN
The Sandbox: An Interactive Children’s Museum has long been a mainstay among Lowcountry families, and for good reason: It’s home to a wonderland of activities for young kids, from interactive playsets to building tools and arts and crafts. Is your kid ready to play pirate, put on a puppet show or strap into the cockpit of a jet plane? They’ll do all that and more among 2,500 square feet of fun for kids up to age 8 and their families. Drop in and explore, or check out the regular schedule of programs and events. And the fun is easier to find than ever: A second location recently opened in Tanger Outlet 2.
HIT THE LANES
Located in the lively Buckwalter Place in Bluffton, Station 300 is the place to knock down some pins. This clean, modern bowling alley offers 24 lanes and all the high-tech options, from self-setting pop-up bumpers and automatic digital scoring to 12 projection screens that let you watch the big game while you bowl. Get some tasty grub delivered to your lane right from Zeppelin’s Bar & Grill, and let the kids run free between frames at the fabulous arcade. It’s one-stop fun for the family, and the only place in the Lowcountry to test your bowling prowess.
Want to create your own beautiful home décor, perfect for livening up your space and garnering more than a few likes on Instagram? Hammer & Stains in Bluffton hosts a variety of workshops that let you try out your craftier side. From paint to wood to rustic metal, you’ll create a unique home item all your own while enjoying a few sips of liquid inspiration.
On Hilton Head, flex your crafty muscles at The Art Café, where you can paint your own pottery from a selection of hundreds of different pieces. Your unique work of art will be available for pickup two days later, or you can have it shipped home. Looking for a night out? On Wednesdays, drop off the kids for an evening of pottery and games while you enjoy dinner at Rockfish Seafood & Steaks at Bomboras downstairs.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION
There’s nothing like catching the latest blockbuster on a rainy summer day — and no place to do it like the Lowcountry. For a community our size, we’re blessed with an abundance of cinematic options. We’ve got theaters that focus on smaller, independent flicks; theaters that pair the experience with a carefully curated wine list; and massive multiplexes that let you recline in luxury while you watch this summer’s superheroes fight whichever aliens they’re fighting right now.
CLAIM YOUR PRIZE
For many of us, the flashing lights and digital cacophony of an arcade ignite the nostalgia of childhood days spent blasting digital aliens out of the sky and fishing for stuffed animals with a tiny metal crane. Those days are back at Adventure Cove Mini Golf & Arcade on Hilton Head. Test your luck — and your skill — on the hottest new games and collect tickets to trade in for awesome prizes. You can rake in fistfuls of candy, or save up for top-shelf items like Nerf guns and cool gadgets. If you really want to play like a high roller, test your mettle and your coordination on Key Master and you could claim big-money prizes from video game consoles to Beats headphones. Then get a dose of fresh-air competition at the two masterfully designed mini-golf courses.
COASTAL DISCOVERY MUSEUM
While the Coastal Discovery Museum might be best known for its sprawling natural campus at historic Honey Horn, there is plenty of indoor enchantment that awaits. The Discovery House, the main building at the museum, is home to 6,000 square feet of activities including a kids’ zone, a gift shop, regularly rotating art displays and interactive exhibits that guide you through the Lowcountry’s history using videos and interviews with influential islanders and historic figures. There are also exhibits highlighting our native ecology, but to see it up close and personal you’ll want to step inside the Tom Peeples Discovery Lab, where you can find live animals like alligators and snakes, as well as an active beehive.
There’s something about bounce houses that just sends kids into a frenzy. And we get it: It’s freeing to get inside and give gravity the old heave-ho while you rocket around in complete safety. Which probably explains part of the appeal of Island Playground, an indoor garden of inflatable bounce houses, slides, basketball hoops and climbing surfaces. Beyond the inflatables there are climbing ropes, rock walls and “American Ninja Warrior”-style structures that let kids burn off energy and have a blast. “They’ll sleep well tonight,” you’ll think as you enjoy the grown-ups corral, with its free Wi-Fi and comfortable seating.
STEP UP TO THE PLATE
America’s pastime is back in a big way, with kids discovering baseball and adults rediscovering their old major league dreams. There’s nothing like feeling the crack of the bat when you connect with a fastball, but if you missed your shot at the majors you can still bring the family out to hit a few balls. Bluffton’s Riverside Sports Academy has rolled out some great new indoor batting cages perfect for getting a few swings in. Sign up for a session, or get a membership that includes agility training and more.