Sue Rodman is the publisher of Field Trips with Sue, an award-winning blog about things to do in Atlanta with kids.
Jekyll Island, Georgia was once the winter escape for some of America’s richest families. Members of the Jekyll Island Club, as it was called, included William Rockefeller, Joseph Pulitzer, J.P. Morgan and William Vanderbilt.
Now the Island is a playground for the public and offers a variety of activities ranging from environmental education to plain old fashion beach fun. Here are five things my family likes to do there.
1. Learn some history
In addition to being the winter retreat for some of America’s most elite families, Jekyll Island has also played a significant part in America’s history. In 1910, Senator William Alrich convened a secret meeting of financiers on Jekyll Island to create a proposal for banking reform that was the forerunner of today’s Federal Reserve. Theodore Vail, the president of AT&T participated in the first transcontinental telephone call while at Jekyll Island.
Today, the Jekyll Island Club National Historic Landmark District is a 240-acre, riverfront compound and one of the largest, ongoing restoration projects in the southeastern United States. Visit the Jekyll Island Museum which showcases more than 7,000 historic photographs of the islands unique heritage.
2. Make some fishy friends
The Tidelands Nature Center is operated by 4-H and offers hands-on marine environmental science programs. In addition to a small collection of sea animals in the center they offer kayak tours, nature walks and special hands-on programs for kids.
We participated in an identifying fish program and my kids are still singing the parts of a fish song to the tune of “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.”
3. Check out the turtles
Stranded sea turtles are often found along Atlantic coast beaches. While most are dead, a small but increasing number are still alive. The Georgia Sea Turtle Center is a haven for these sick or injured turtles. In addition to the sea turtle hospital, the center is also a museum. Exhibits explore sea turtle conservation, rehabilitation, and their amazing journey from egg to adulthood. Visitors can also see the turtles being rehabilitated or adopt one and track it’s progress. Check out the special weekly programs including turtle walks during the season.
4. Catch a wave
If you need a break from the beach and are looking for a little more excitement than the hotel pool, try Summer Waves Water Park. In addition to a huge wave pool there are slides of various heights, a lazy river and play structures with dumping water.
5. Beach yourself
Driftwood Beach, also known as Boneyard Beach is along the northern end of Jekyll Island. The name comes from the remains of many trees which have been preserved by the salt air and water from the ocean. It’s a beautifully eerie place and the kids loved running and climbing on the gray trees. I loved the beautiful photos.