This spring, Garden & Gun’s Birdwatching, an immersive, multi-site exhibition presented in partnership with Explore Charleston, has taken flight. With three dynamic sites—the Joseph Manigault House, The Dewberry hotel, and G&G’s historic Cigar Factory offices—Birdwatching continues through April 3, but wildlife experiences are abundant in Charleston all year. Encouraging a deeper exploration of the exhibition’s themes, the following offer immersive windows into the area’s wild spaces—and some worthy bird-watching of their own.
For more ways to experience Charleston’s wildlife, visit ExploreCharleston.com.
Avian Conservation Center: The Center for Birds of Prey
As one of the state’s premier avian research and care facilities, the Center for Birds of Prey offers a fascinating look at the region’s winged creatures—and ample opportunities to learn more. With programs, flight demonstrations, and tours each week, the facility is passionate about offering a “better understanding of these majestic creatures and the significant role they play.” thecenterforbirdsofprey.org
Just off Savannah Highway, Caw Caw Interpretive Center is a peaceful oasis filled with natural and historical discoveries. Managed as a wildlife preserve, the park encompasses more than six miles of trails (featuring several trail-side exhibits), elevated boardwalks through the wetlands, and some of the best bird-watching opportunities in the region. ccprc.com/53/Caw-Caw-Interpretive-Center
Founded by Joe Lotts, a longtime veteran of Charleston’s nature tours industry, Charleston Outdoor Adventures offers an unmatched experience of local waters. The group focuses its kayak, boat, and paddleboard trips on Folly Creek and surrounding scenic areas untouched by other tourism or development. The creek and nearby waterways are rich in biodiversity, promising wild sightings during each excursion. charlestonoutdooradventures.com
Since 1992, Coastal Expeditions has been on a mission to connect people to the natural beauty of the Lowcountry. The local outfitter offers an array of experiences, bringing adventurers face-to-face with the region’s rich biodiversity. The Awendaw Creek Paddle and Hike, for example, explores the diverse ecosystem (and its many native birds) from both water and land, while the Blackwater Kayak Tour weaves through the beautiful ACE Basin, home to a wide variety of avian species. coastalexpeditions.com
On Kiawah Island, outdoor adventures are easy to come by, especially when aided by the nature program at Kiawah Island Golf Resort. Hugged by the Atlantic Ocean and a network of salt marshes, the island is home to several ecosystems—from maritime forests and brackish ponds to scenic dunes—and a wide range of tours make them accessible to every kind of adventurer. kiawahresort.com
At Magnolia Plantation & Gardens, visitors can join resident expert Chris Smith for guided bird walks on the first Sunday of each month. Setting off at 8:30 a.m., the tours seek out the many species that call Magnolia home, including hatchlings and migratory birds in the spring. Each ticket includes admission to the gardens and grounds, so guests can continue bird-watching at their leisure when the walk concludes. magnoliaplantation.com
History buffs with avian curiosity can pay a visit to Middleton Place, a National Historic Landmark surrounded by the oldest landscaped gardens in America. Here, guests can embark on a self-guided tour of the historic home before exploring the House Museum, which houses a rare first edition of The Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands, a seminal work by eighteenth-century artist-naturalist Mark Catesby that heavily influenced John James Audubon. middletonplace.org
To catch Birdwatching, visit the Joseph Manigault House, The Dewberry hotel, or G&G’s Cigar Factory offices before April 3. Find hours and information at gardenandgun.com/event/birdwatching, and more ways to experience Charleston’s wildlife at explorecharleston.com.
Birdwatching is an immersive experience curated and artistically directed by Kelly S. Turner and produced by Garden & Gun. In partnership with: Explore Charleston, Silvercrest Asset Management Group, Atlantic Packaging, A New Earth Project, The Charleston Museum, and The Dewberry.