On Jekyll Island, waves lick the 10 miles of beaches as kayaks cut through the salty water, cyclists roll over 20 miles of paved trails, and riders on horseback clop through hushed maritime forests. All visitors to the barrier island can partake in myriad active, relaxing, or educational activities while immersed in its lush natural landscapes, where dunes give way to beaches filled with hermit crabs and shell collecting and where birders clutch binoculars to examine avian habitats and decode gulls' sign language. The island's public golf club, open since 1898, hosts two 18-hole courses and one 9-hole course on manicured greens and rolling terrain. In the summer, the Summer Waves Water Park provides a cool escape from the heat with six slides, a wave pool, and a lazy river. For indoor adventurers, exhibits at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center illuminate the lives of the shelled reptiles, and a museum preserves relics of the wealthy families who used the island as their gilded getaway and a place to bury their expired money. The Jekyll Island Authority oversees all conservation and development on the idyllic island, existing to continually improve the park and its amenities.
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Clad in hard hats and construction vests, kids in the Builders of Tomorrow exhibit load wheelbarrows with giant Lego dacta blocks, which they then use to fill in the wooden frame of a small house. Whether they realize it or not, these budding builders are learning—working with the Legos stimulates gross and fine motor skills, and tools such as a pulley system encourage creative problem solving. This interactive, play-based style of learning extends through all 10 exhibits at The Sandbox, which keep young brains on track to one day develop advanced adult skills, such as singing all the deductions on your tax return. In addition to overseeing exhibits that cater to infants through 8-year-olds, the museum's staff organizes programming such as Parents Night Out, Kids Night In, field trips, and facility rentals for celebrations such as birthday parties.