Skidaway Island State Park
What a gorgeous place!!! This place is still on my mind and possibly one of my favorites on the trip! It’s quiet and absolutely beautiful! Instantly I wanted to take a picture of our “yard.” This park is definitely worth visiting if you are in the area. There is so much to see and learn about in a small area. They have great (short 1.5 miles or less) trails. The trail maps give great info about the plants, trees and history of the area. All the trails are worth exploring. The only downside is it’s about 30 minutes to Savannah and Tybee Island.
Immediately we noticed the cardinals that like to hang out in our front yard. Also the pileated wood pecker that liked the trees in the back yard. Since it’s a state park we of course asked for the Junior Ranger book. Cranky kids meant I sent them out right away to get some fresh air and work on their Jr Ranger books. Mama needed peace and quiet.
The first night we were able to walk around and explore the small playground, laundry and bath facilities (only one washer and dryer so that might be tough.) We decided to go to the head of one of the three trails at the park. It had some great brochures about the trails there. We took one about the plants and trees along the trail. They were nicely marked. Dacen really wanted to get to the alligator ponds, but I didn’t grab that map, darn. As it happened we turned around right before the gator ponds, but it was getting dark.
The next day was our Savannah day then Fort Pulaski the day after that. Our last day in the area the kids and I explored Skidaway Island Park while Huck dealt with taxes and did regular work. Poor guy.
We went to the Nature Center/Interpretive Center to see if we could find some answers for the Jr. Ranger books. It was pretty darn impressive! First off almost upon entering there is one room with a giant prehistoric sloth. But this thing is 16-20 feet tall I think! Brielle didn’t care for that room at all, but to get a drink or go to the bathroom you had to go through there. One room had lizards, snakes, etc. – Dacen is very very enthralled by reptiles so he was excited. Unfortunately the naturalist wasn’t there, but would be back soon. Luckily, the marketing lady did let the kids hold one of the terapin turtles. They really wanted to hold the box turtles outside though.
Another room is the bird room. They had great windows looking at 3-4 feeders. There were books and binoculars you could borrow and lots of pictures of birds so you could easily identify what you were seeing. We learned how a woodpecker can repeatedly hammer into trees without hurting it’s head! (There’s an extra layer of cartilage between the beak and the head that serves as a shock absorber. )There were also some great posters talking about the lifecycle of butterflies (Brielle’s class is studying that very thing right now!) There were also lifecycles of the frog (which we love!) and sunflowers. It was neat to be able to compare the differences and similarities! The naturalist was still not around so we decided to check out some binoculars and a bird book and go on our bike ride.
We rode our bikes down the Big Ferry Trail we had started to explore the other night. At the beginning and end of the loop is the Alligator pond. It’s actually kind of unnerving not knowing if there’s one there, where it is and how many there might be. We had been told there is one. And I’ve seen how they can blend in to the logs, etc. So we were very careful and watchful. To Dacen’s disappointment we never did find one. I think I may have found the hole/den he dug into some tree roots though. Speaking of roots. This trail was marked ok to ride your bike, but I wasn’t prepared to mountain bike! I thought for sure someone would wreck due to the slippery pine needles or the mass of roots we found ourselves in sometimes. But all was well!
Other exciting things that were marked on the trail:
Bobcats. I have no idea how prevalent they are, but since we were on bikes I was less afraid than if we had been hiking.
Freshwater Slough (pronounced sloo)
Shell Middens (discarded oyster shell hills)
Liquor Still – this was impressive! They still had some of the artifacts left over. You could see some of the barrels had ax marks in them. It was funny to be teaching the kids about prohibition.
Earthworks – These were small hills that were built up for troops to hide behind. Like a trench but above ground. Often dug by the slaves.
They did a great job describing in a simple way each of the areas. You can read about them here.
Nature Center Visit #2
As it turns out we loved this place and visited at least 3 times maybe even 5! We loved looking for various birds, and visiting Pierre (he has an elegant French waiter looking mustache!) and Penelope and holding the box turtles! The naturalist, Vicki, loved the kids and they loved her. She introduced us to the baby alligator which is on loan from the University. She allowed the kids to hold the box turtles. She got out a couple of snakes for them to meet. She also got out the glass snake which is actually a legless lizard! It looks like a snake and has the name, but it’s a lizard.
The Tale of 2 Trails
Our travel day usually isn’t very productive, but luckily this place was positioned just right so both our arrival day here and our leaving day we were lucky to be able to do some exploring. I was determined to hike the other 2 trails – The Sandpiper and Avian Loop. And I’m so glad we did! We thought Huck couldn’t join us as he had to mail some stuff for taxes. But he managed to get it done fast and catch up to us! These trails were awesome! Especially the first part of the first trail. We experienced several different habitats in a small amount of time/space. (The first 6 in the list below were seen in the first 15-20 minutes of our walk!)
Tidal Creek/Oyster beds *see below for sidenote
Liquor Still site
Black Needle Rush
Again, you can go to this link to read about them.
* At the tidal creek we noticed they had bags and bags of oyster shells. We knew oyster shells deteriorate slowly. They seemed to be using them to hold up the banks. Vicki came by with a preschool group and we learned that they were trying to encourage/create oyster beds here. By stacking the old shells here, I guess the oysters will seek shelter here and form new beds.
We learned so much here! Short, but sweet, I’m so glad Skidaway Island was our home for a few days!
Check out all of the pics here including some great examples of Nature’s Art! Can you find the eye of the needle or the heart-shaped swirls?
One and Only Ivan
Never too old
P110002At the playground4
Me and my sweetie
Big Ferry trail
Caden's box turtle
Dacen's box turtle
Brielle's box turtle
Working and cooking
Papa and Brielle, Splendor champs
Fam on a bench
What's up there?
Jr. Ranger work
Eye of the needle
Jr Ranger patches