An interactive children’s museum sits in the heart of Hilton Head Island and is the perfect destination for a rainy day or if you’re looking for something indoors to let that sunburn heal up. Here’s why you should visit The Sandbox if you’re in Hilton Head!
Tickets were provided for this review but the opinions are solely those of the author.
After asking our readers for recommendations on the best things to do on Hilton Head Island, The Sandbox came up as a favorite activity so we just had to check them out. To say we had fun here would be a vast understatement. The building is unassuming and hidden away from the main roads but once inside, there are no shortage of things to do, most of which are beach-themed and are designed to encourage imagination and creativity.
The Sandbox consists of over 11 hands-on exhibits, including a kinetic sand table, a pirate ship, two dress-up stations, a derby racetrack, an airplane flight experience, a café with a kitchen, a wind tunnel, two arts and crafts areas, a reading nook, and a grocery checkout lane.
The museum opened in 2005 as a place for learning and where kids can play freely in the Lowcountry and has become a favorite family activity ever since. The facility is designed for children ages eight and under but I saw plenty of older kids who were having just as much fun as the younger ones.
There is a separate area set aside for children ages two and under that has a small climbing structure and age-appropriate toys. Charlie’s Perfect Playplace was created specifically for infants and toddlers to safely explore and crawl around.
Every exhibit invites kids to explore, learn, and let their imaginations run wild. My kids loved the grocery checkout line and the indoor pirate ship, which had ladders and hidden stairs. It was so cute and thoughtful. The kinetic sand was a hit as well. They also loved the arts and crafts tables upstairs, which had all kinds of glitter glue and shiny objects to make a drawing. I’m convinced my youngest is going to be some kind of doctor after examining stuffed animals at the vet stations and looking at x-rays.
Free Fun Family Nights
Except for June-August and otherwise noted, the first Friday of every month are Family Friday Nights, where admission is free from 5:30-7:30 pm. Families are invited to come together to enjoy the museum. Weather-permitting, a bounce house is set up in the parking lot outside and those giant, blue building blocks are scattered around for kids to use their imaginations to build with outdoors.
Summer Camps & Parents Night Out
If families come to Hilton Head for vacation and don’t know anyone on the island or have no family members to watch their kids for a date night (sunset cruise, anyone?), then it’s not really possible to get away for a few hours. Over the summer, The Sandbox offers Parents Night Out twice a week on Wednesdays and Thursdays for kids ages 4-10 from 6-9 pm and includes pizza, supervised arts and crafts activity, and playtime.
I thought this was a brilliant idea since it’s hard to find a sitter on vacation. The cost is $35/child and $25/sibling. If you’re a member of The Sandbox, it’s $25/child and $20/member siblings. The Bluffton location of The Sandbox has August Parents Nights Out and the hours are different so be sure to double check where you want to go.
The Sandbox also offers Summer Camp from 8:30-11:30 am select days and weeks in July, again, really catering to families who come to enjoy Hilton Head but want to give their kids something unique to do while they can have some time to relax outside of kid responsibilities. Cost for non-members range from $128-160 weekly and $40/daily rate. Camps are for kids ages 3-10.
Admission, Membership, & Location
Like the children’s museum in Greenville, The Sandbox offers yearly memberships, perfect for families to come to Hilton Head more often or just bigger families who may be able to save money versus individual tickets for everyone. This is also a great experience gift!
Tickets to The Sandbox are $7 for adults and kids. Ages 0-12 months are free. Hours during the summer are Monday-Saturday from 10 am – 5 pm. From January-March, May, and September-December, hours are Tuesday-Saturday from 10 am – 5 pm. The Sandbox is closed on Sundays.
Yearly family memberships are $125 and a Grandparents membership is $150.
No food or drinks are allowed inside The Sandbox and strollers must be left on the porch. There really isn’t room inside the museum. If the museum is too crowded, there is a waitlist for entrance. We went mid-week in the later afternoon in July and it wasn’t crowded. The Sandbox encourages people to call ahead during the busier summer months to see if there is a waitlist. Plan to spend at least a couple hours there since there are a lot of things to do and explore.
The Sandbox has two locations, one in Hilton Head and the other in Bluffton. We only visited the Hilton Head location so this review is based only on that one.
18A Pope Avenue, Hilton Head, SC
1414 Fording Island Road, Suite E-180, Bluffton, SC
Have you visited The Sandbox?