My heart is racing, my head is spinning, and my energy level has been challenged! Am I finishing a road race? Prepping to speak publicly? Making a major life decision? No! I am enjoying a love-filled week with my grandchildren! Oh yes, their parents as well.
Bill and I have become experts in entertaining young ones when they visit the Grand Strand area, and at the same time, we have experienced attractions we might never have enjoyed. So, what exactly have we done with Abigail, 8, and Soren, 6, this week you ask. Let me spell it out for you!
Even on arrival day, the fun began as we played mini-golf at Jurassic Golf. Eighteen holes of crazy golf, with 6 of us attempting to play in an organized fashion – Not! Even within the chaos, we managed to enjoy ourselves, surrounded by dinosaurs, water, and many other families doing the same!
Today’s adventure was the Ripley Aquarium. We met a family from my daughter’s neighborhood that was also vacationing in the area and together we spent several hours exploring this wonderful spot. Of course, Bill and I wanted to take our time, read every placard, and spend time with each species, but with the kids moving much faster and constantly wanting to show us things, our pace of exploration was a tad quicker than usual! Highlights for me – and the kids – included the African penguins, an amazing octopus and a plethora of fish!
- The octopus was confined to a very small area which provided a really up close and personal encounter. This giant octopod lives for only 3-5 years and may grow to be 100 pounds. They usually die shortly after mating – what a shame!
- The African penguins were adorable and were living in a very cleverly constructed area where visitors could crawl through a tunnel and stand up in the middle of the habitat to view the penguins. These penguins mate for life, equally share guarding the eggs during incubation, and fast during their six week molting period. We even got to witness the daily “Penguin Parade” where three penguins are chosen each day to parade through the entryway of the aquarium!
- The fish were too plentiful to enumerate although I got a kick out of the “Old Wife,” named for the grinding or grating sound the fish makes when it is captured. Really?
- Loved the “sawfish” as well as the sharks and eels and beautifully colored fish of all kinds! Bill even tried his hand at petting a stingray!
My son-in-law, Ed, had the opportunity to play golf at one of the many, many, many golf courses in the Myrtle Beach area. While he played, the rest of us traveled to Pawley’s Island to Parlor Doughnuts, our new find in the world of doughnuts. Abigail and Soren loved their picks and their mom, Kelsey, enjoyed her caramel latte as well! In fact, she enjoyed it so much she returned the next three mornings to repeat the process!
From there we drove to the MarshWalk, the half-mile boardwalk along the marsh in Murrells Inlet. We watched the goats on Goat Island for a while and then discovered the pirate ship playground at Mojo’s, one of the many restaurants located on the MarshWalk. After playing Jenga, the kids enjoyed the playground including discovering gems and coins in the sand surrounding the pirate ship structure!
Upon returning home, we painted pumpkins and regrouped for dinner at Hot Fish Club. Kelsey and Ed both enjoyed their lobster dinners as seafood is not on the top of the list on menus in Indiana! We viewed a gorgeous full moon on our way out of the restaurant – a gorgeous night all around!
What an action-packed day today was! Bill and I skipped the first adventure this morning as Kelsey and Ed took the kids to the Hollywood Wax Museum in Myrtle Beach. Abigail and Soren were able to view life-size wax figures of numerous stars including Indiana Jones, Audrey Hepburn, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, Frank Sinatra, Bill Murray, The Rock, Lady Gaga, and many more. Not only could the kids see the characters, but at each exhibit there was a Prop Station so they could totally interact with the stars – dance with Bruno, explore with Indiana, and sit and chat with Audrey, just to name a few!
How silly of me to think that perhaps they would be scared of the wax figures! Another highlight here at the museum was a laser maze, which they experienced 5 or six times!
After a few hours of rest and relaxation at home, it was time to depart for the Pirate Voyage Dinner and Show. This is a new attraction in Myrtle Beach and is a Dolly Parton production, with another location being in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. After donning their pirate hats, we made our way to our seats where we were served dinner – soup, chicken, bbq, corn, potato, and apple pie – while we witnessed an amazing show of a competition between the Crimson Pirates and the Sapphire Pirates. The production included everything from a juggler to a sea lion, and from amazing gymnasts to various audience participation segments! Oh, and we can’t forget the mermaids!! The looks on Abigail’s and Soren’s faces throughout the entire dinner show made it all worthwhile to me – and of course Bill enjoyed it more than one can imagine – kid at heart that he is!
As with most major attractions, following the show, the exit was – you guessed it – through the gift shop, so of course Abigail left with a mermaid and Soren with pirate action figures! It was a wonderful night!
Today was another golf day for Ed, and the rest of us went to the beach! Seventy-nine degrees in mid-October is a wonderful thing! The kids played in the sand, marveled at the number of starfish on the shore, and begged Grandpa to bury them!
Dinner tonight was at Uncle Mikey’s, a fun pizzeria, always packed, always understaffed, always a hoot! Uncle Mikey himself took Soren into the kitchen to show him how he throws the pizza dough and we all had a wonderful Italian dinner. Following our meal Kelsey met a girlfriend from home on the MarshWalk for a drink, and then later was able to connect with a friend she taught with in New York, who was in the area for a wedding!
After a wonderful whirlwind week, this morning the Acker family packed the car, posed for a picture, exchanged lots of hugs and kisses and hit the road for their 12-hour road trip back to Indiana. Surprisingly, Bill and I were able to keep up with the youngsters all week long, but there’s no guarantee that energy level with continue!
Stay Calm and Travel On…