by Chantel Baul
If Alice Cooper’s 1972 hit, “School’s Out for Summer” isn’t already ringing in your head, it probably is now. No one suffers longer in anticipation of the sunny season than the kids. The last day of school is jubilee. No more tests, no more homework – a reading list perhaps. But for the next two months, the students are free of their academic constraints, rich in both time and energy to partake in summer’s gifts; however, their annual vacation can quickly become a bland, boring stretch if you don’t have anything fun planned for the family. Whether the island is home or a favorite getaway locale, Tybee is a child’s treasure island. If you’re looking for fun, family-friendly things to do that’ll keep the kids active and entertained this season, we’ve got you covered. Put these kid-approved festivities on your itinerary for summer vacation 2016 here on Tybee.
Have a family beach bash.
The number one destination on your list for summer family fun has to be the beach, hands down. Kids are cooped up in classrooms the majority of the year, so let them run wild and free with sand in their toes, sun on their skin and the endless ocean before them. Swimming, building sandcastles and searching for seashells are beach activities that kids hold near and dear. But the coastal fun doesn’t stop there. Rent some bikes from Tim’s Beach Gear and take the family on a seaside ride. Or sign the kids up for surf lessons at one of Tybee’s many surfing and water sport schools. You’re in for a fun time no matter what you do at the beach, just don’t forget to bring lots of sunscreen.
Spend a sunny day at the park.
The beach isn’t the only spot for open-air play on the island. Tybee hosts two beautiful, spacious parks that are the perfect setting for a family outing on a warm summer day. Nestled between the library and the gym just a short walk from the beach, Memorial Park spans 4.5 acres and is equipped with various sports courts, a quality playground and a picnic plot. Families can engage in a friendly game of tennis, beach volleyball or basketball, and little ones can climb, slide and swing on the playground.
Jaycee Park, also within walking distance of the beach, is another great outdoor space kids can look forward to this summer. Here, soccer and softball fields are up for game. There’s also a small jogging track for a fun family race. And keep your blanket and picnic basket in tow with your barbeque favorites for an island grill-out the whole family can enjoy.
Explore ocean life at the Marine Science Center.
If you’re after a fun learning opportunity for the kiddos this summer, then check out the offerings at the Tybee Island Marine Science Center. Dedicated to preserving coastal Georgia’s natural resources and educating the public, the Marine Science Center offers kids a matchless opportunity to marvel at marine life while better understanding our relationship with the ecosystem. Kids will learn all about cool creatures like sea turtles, crabs, sharks, jellies and more through fun beach walks, ocean seining and exciting exhibits in the center. The knowledgeable staff provide seaside tours and hands-on classes most days of the year. And in the summer, the center hosts their Sea Camp Ocean Adventure, an exciting 10-week camp where kids 6 – 11 can get their hands dirty while opening their minds to new sources of aquatic information. The Marine Science Center is so much fun the kids are highly likely to beg you to come back summer after summer.
Keep an eye out for birds.
Tybee Island isn’t just an ideal destination for vacationers and retirees; it receives a heavy stream of bird traffic annually too. And it’s no secret that children love nature, so a bird spotting session is sure to keep the kiddies chirping. The aptly named North Beach Birding Trail is a popular spot among our flying friends. The perfect place for an aviary-themed game of I Spy, the trail is home to a number of full-timers like the black skimmer and the oystercatcher.
Little Tybee Island is another great place to spot birds on the island. The untouched island is a natural wonderland accessible only by boat. Take a family sail on one of Tybee’s many charter boats or kayak there with the kids in tow. Osprey, eagles, and elusive bird species like the curlew sandpiper are known to frequent the little isle.
One celebrated summer guest is the painted bunting, Tybee’s official bird. Donning bright red, blue, green and brown feathers, the bold and beautiful bird can be spotted in the skies above Fort Pulaski or perched on branches in Sally Pearce Nature Trail. The mystical bird is sure to conjure up the child-like wonder in you too!
Movies at the Post Theatre
All this outdoor activity can lead to overheating if you’re not careful, so here’s a great indoor opportunity for the whole family this summer. The hospitable hosts at the Tybee Post Theater are showing family-friendly films all season long in support of school-free summer fun. Popular child-friendly features are showing most weekdays at the theatre, providing you and yours with a special time to bond over funny favorites. It’s just one fun way to stay cool and comfy this summer with the family.