Parents of younger children might be thrilled to hear that a hands-on interactive children’s museum is coming to Bluffton this summer.

The Sandbox Children’s Museum on Hilton Head Island will open a second location July 1 at Tanger 2 Outlets. The 4,500-square-foot space is located near H&M, diagonal to Eddie Bauer, said Nancy Fish, executive director of the Sandbox.

“It’s a really exciting time in the history of The Sandbox,” Fish said.

The children’s museum opened in December 2005 on the south end of Hilton Head with the mission of offering a place for children to learn and explore through hands-on discovery and imaginative play.

Earlier this year, Tanger Outlets approached the museum about creating a play space in the Bluffton outlet mall.

“What a great opportunity to create a play space, just a place for the families that are out shopping or enjoying the day to get together and learn,” said Keri Olivetti, president of the Sandbox board of directors.

While the Hilton Head location is focused on children up to age 8, the new location will be aimed at children through age 12.

The new location will focus on STEM activities. STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and math. The museum will feature a “Makerspace,” where children can create and invent.

An art studio will include a chalkboard wall, weaving wall and mounted easels.

The design of the Bluffton museum will reflect the local culture, complete with a shrimp boat as the main play exhibit.

The new facility will allow the museum to offer more programming, Fish said. The Sandbox currently provides a free, weekly kindergarten readiness program called DIG – Discover, Imagine and Grow – at the Hilton Head and Bluffton libraries, but there is a waiting list.

“With this additional space, we can see what the needs of the community are, and create that programming that’s going to help each and every child continue that learning process,” Olivetti said.

For July, The Sandbox will offer a special introductory admission price of $5 a person for anyone over the age of 1. Museum memberships will include both locations.

For more information, call 843-842-7645 or visit

Amy Coyne Bredeson of Bluffton is a freelance writer, a mother of two and a volunteer with the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance.