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SC Grand Strand warm, quiet in spring

By Steve Palisin
spalisin@thesunnews.com

If any season might be greeted with a welcome hug in Myrtle Beach, it’s spring. Sure, the warm-weather attractions aren’t open yet, but there’s plenty to see and do – and without crowds.

Here’s what’s going on now at major outdoor attractions along the Grand Strand:

Myrtle Beach State Park

Spring hours/admission: 6 a.m.-10 p.m. daily; $5 for adults, $3 for ages 6-15, $3.25 for South Carolina residents 65 and older.

Programs: Most meet in nature center (1-4:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays, closed April 4-6); most are free with park admission.

Details: On U.S. 17 Business, one mile south of Ocean Boulevard/Farrow Parkway. Info: 843-238-5325 (nature center); www.myrtlebeachsp.com.

Alligator Adventure

Spring hours/admission: 9 a.m.-7 p.m. daily; $19.99; $17.99 for 62 and older; $14.99 for ages 4-12; 3 and younger, free.

Programs: Special shows daily on lemurs (9:30 a.m.), alligator handling (11 a.m. and 1, 3 and 5 p.m.) and reptiles (10 a.m., noon and 2, 4 and 6 p.m.).

Details: In Barefoot Landing, U.S. 17 in North Myrtle Beach. Info: 843-361-0789; www.alligatoradventure.com.

La Belle Amie Vineyard

Spring hours/admission: 10 a.m.-5:30 for wine tastings; wine shop open until 6 p.m..

Programs: Blues & Jazz Fest (April 5); April Music Fest (April 19); Key West Music & Wine Fest (May 3); Nantucket Music & Wine Fest (May 15). For festivals, open noon-5 p.m. Saturday; admission varies.

Details: 1120 St. Joseph Road, Little River, S.C., just west of North Myrtle Beach Middle School. Info: 843-399-9463; www.labelleamie.com.

Brookgreen Gardens

Spring hours/admission: 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. daily (in April, open until 8 p.m.); $14; $12 for 65 and older; $7 for ages 4-12.

Exhibits: “Equine Spirit: The Horse in American Art,” through April 20.

Programs: “Children’s Butterfly Activity Afternoon,” 1-4 p.m. March 30 at Whispering Wings Butterfly House and the Enchanted Storybook Forest, giving kids a preview of butterfly exhibit, along with finger-painting, coloring, storybook reading and craft-making. Also, tips given on adapting yards at home to attract monarchs, with free milkweed seed packets given to first 200 guests who visit butterfly exhibit. 15-minute visits March 30: $1; otherwise, 30-minute walk-throughs are an extra $3 ($2 extra for ages 4-12) through October.

Also: “FrogWatch Training,” 10:30 a.m.-noon April 5 and noon-1:30 p.m. May 8 (reservations: 843-235-6016). “Plantacular Sale,” April 12-13. “Into the Wild” lecture about butterfly conservation, noon-1 p.m. April 22.

Details: U.S. 17 between Murrells Inlet and Litchfield Beach, S.C., across from Huntington Beach State Park. Info: 800-849-1931; www.brookgreen.org.

Hobcaw Barony

Spring hours/admission: Welcome center open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays and some Saturdays; free.

Tours (reservations required): Barony tours, including Hobcaw House, generally 10 a.m.-noon and 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays; $20. “Hobcaw Barony Behind the Scenes,” 1-4 p.m. March 26, and April 1 and 18, and 10 a.m.-1 p.m. April 30; $30. Bellefield Plantation tour, 1-3 p.m. April 2 and 2-4 p.m. April 17; $20. “Birding on the Barony” tours, with Jerry Walls, a naturalist from Hemingway, S.C., 8 a.m.-1 p.m. on third Saturday monthly, including April 19 and May 17; $35.

Details: The 25-square-mile preserve is on U.S. 17, just north of Georgetown, S.C. Info/reservations: 843-546-4623; www.hobcawbarony.org.

Huntington Beach State Park

Spring hours/admission: 6 a.m.-8 p.m. daily through April 6, then until 10 p.m. through Nov. 2; $5; $3 for ages 6-15; $3.25 S.C. residents 65 and older.

Atalaya open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily for self-guided tours for $2 extra (also, docent tours at 2 p.m. Sundays-Fridays and noon Saturdays through October; free with admission to home); optional 45-minute audio tour ($4).

Programs: “Coastal Kayaking,” 10 a.m.-noon Mondays, starting April 7, through October, in guided salt-marsh tour from Oyster Landing in Murrells Inlet, S.C.; $35. Register at 843-235-8755 by 4 p.m. the previous Sunday. Other programs available, many free with park admission.

Details: U.S. 17, between Murrells Inlet and Litchfield Beach, across from Brookgreen Gardens. Info: 843-237-4440 (nature center); www.southcarolinaparks.com/huntingtonbeach.

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