Finding things to enjoy with children, especially in summer, ought to be an easy proposition for everyone: parents, grandparents and other relatives, and even older siblings.
Of course, about 30 options for miniature golfing dot the Grand Strand, and various scenic parks and playgrounds, as well as the beach, are open daily for youngsters to work off energy, and for adults, perhaps daydreaming and relaxing. Here are five ways to feel young again with children:
Animating childhood for adulthood
Cartoons have consumed a whole gallery through Sept. 22 at the Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum in Myrtle Beach.
“Animation B.C. (Before Computers): A History of Art in Motion” gives a glimpse into how art, math, science and technology were synthesized through the 20th century to produce such legendary characters as Betty Boop, Felix the Cat and Woody the Woodpecker, as well as Fred Flintstone, Mr. Magoo and Popeye.
Everyone walking through this exhibit can be a kid again, and flash back to a time when Saturday morning cartoons filled ABC, CBS and NBC’s time slots till noon. Look up close at cels, or hand drawings, of figures that came to life on screens and televisions to the tune of 12 cels to produce one second of animation.
Mel Blanc, who voiced decades of Warner Bros. for characters in “Looney Tunes” and “Merrie Melodies” episodes, became an institution, as the words “That’s All Folks” memorized on his gravestone, but June Foray also made her mark, letting us hear Granny in the Sylvester and Tweety adventures, Rocky from “Rocky & Bullwinkle,” as well as Karen and the schoolteacher in the “Frosty the Snowman” Christmas special from 1969.
Parents might be tempted to try out the sound-effects booth after their youngsters take a turn pushing a loud buzzer button, closing a door, and producing the likeness of raindrops and thunder.
Seating is provided in two areas to let cartoons take guests back to when tube TVs filled living rooms. Near the start of the gallery, recline in a theater seat to give Gertie the Dinosaur her just due as a pioneer. A short, silent movie enhanced with piano music shows Gertie’s debut in 1914, all from a dinner bet. Watch this 70-foot-long, 20-foot-high girl chew up a tree in seconds, and raise her left or right foot on command from her creator, Windsor McCay. Gertie also will banish Jumbo the elephant to a lake, but the pachyderm will fire back, shooting water to give Gertie a splash.
Nearby, thumb through a flipbook, another early form of animation, and see an elephant, pig or horse flex their legs through the pages.
Read a quote uttered by Yosemite Sam in a storyboard from “Bugs Bunny’s Christmas Carol,” from 1979: “Razin, cassin’, frankin’ ...”
Another cel shows a cast from another animation empire, Hanna-Barbera, with Yogi Bear and 14 friends.
One whole wall of cels recounts cartoon characters made famous from commercials, such as cereal spokesmen Trix Rabbit, Toucan Sam with Fruit Loops, and Tony the Tiger touting Frosted Flakes, “They’re great!”
Children have two rooms in which to dress up, for “Alice in Wonderland” at a tea party, and with capes and all, the “Superheroes,” which include Superman, who before his TV and movie fame, started off as a comic strip in Cleveland.
Patricia Goodwin, executive director of the museum, spoke of the “incredible collaboration” to mount this exhibit, with help from student artists at Coastal Carolina University. Elizabeth Miller, the museum’s exhibition and program coordinator, showed how the 50 panels, made through graphic design, enhance the titanic role these cartoon folks made, and still make, for everyone growing up.
On its opening day earlier this month, Janie Campbell of Murrells Inlet brought her two grandchildren visiting from Alpharetta, Ga., near Atlanta. Alan Fralick, 10, liked being introduced to Gertie, of whom he had never heard. His sister, Hannah Fralick, praised all the interactive elements across “Animation B.C.” and the extra insight into Mickey and Minnie Mouse’s debut in Walt Disney’s “Steamboat Willie” from 1928.
At age 12, Hannah Fralick said although she had long outgrown “Dora the Explorer” series, she’s moved on to the likes of “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “Looney Tunes.”
Both siblings took part in a “Scooby-Doo Scavenger Hunt,” each filling out a card of 13 questions after finding clues across the gallery, then drawing some cartoon images they could add to a wall. Remarking on another colossal series with a cat named Tom and a cute, little mouse, Hannah Fralick thought of a another search she’d like: “Find Jerry.”
Sue Hudgins, from the museum’s board of directors, visited on a Friday morning with a 4-year-old grandson, whom she called “crazy about Daffy Duck.”
“This brings back great memories,” Hudgins said.
Goodwin said this exhibit specializes in smile making because “it doesn’t matter what age you are.”
And for anyone who wonders about the full name of Scooby-Doo’s partner, it’s Norville “Shaggy” Rogers.
Get enchanted at Brookgreen
Brookgreen Gardens, which opens at 9:30 a.m. daily, has debuted “Enchanted Storybook Forest,” a collection of storybook playhouses created by local builders, architects and organizations, with such themes as the Snow White Cottage, Treasure Island Ship, and Dr. Seuss House. Each is based on a classic children’s story or nursery rhyme. Visit this expanded playground next to the “Whispering Wings” butterfly house, both through October – the latter costs an extra $3 for ages 13 and older, and $2 ages 4-12.
Also, Brookgreen stays open until 9 p.m. Wednesdays-Fridays through Aug. 9 for “Cool Summer Evenings”:Wednesdays Thursdays and Fridays Fridays
The gardens are on U.S. 17, between Murrells Inlet and Litchfield Beach, across from Huntington Beach State Park, and most events are free with admission, which lasts seven consecutive days: $14 ages 13-64, $12 ages 65 and older, and $7 ages 4-12. Bring chairs and blankets for performances. Details at 235-6000, 800-849-1931 or www.brookgreen.org.
Catch a movie, for free or a bargain rate
Free or bargain movies abound for two-hour outings this summer, inside and out, so for the latter, bring chairs and blankets for comfort, and check for weather conditions:“MOVIES AFTER DARK,” “MOVIES AT MCLEAN,” parks.nmb.us/ Page.aspx?id=128 “MOVIES IN THE PARK,” www.conwayparksand “MOVIES UNDER THE STARS,” www.marketcommonmb.com “POPPY’S SUMMER MOVIE MAGIC,” www.stonetheatres.com/#/ summer-movie-magic- grand-14/4528638952 “SUMMER KIDS SERIES”
Hobnob with nature
Get out and soak in some of Mother Nature’s best attributes, at these places, each with a slew of programs to learn about such subjects as native crabs, sea turtles and waterfowl:MYRTLE BEACH STATE PARK HUNTINGTON BEACH STATE PARK www.myrtlebeachsp.com www.southcarolinaparks.com HOBCAW BARONY www.northinlet.sc.edu
Choose to amuse
Amuse yourself in a group or as a spectator. Both Myrtle Beach amusement park sites have suspended chair swing rides, which go up and around for a speedy breeze. Notice, too, how the Wave Swinger at the Pavilion Nostalgia Park at Broadway the Beach goes clockwise, like a merry-go-round in England, whereas Family Kingdom Amusement Park’s Yo-Yo moves like a carousel in the United States: counterclockwise.FAMILY KINGDOM AMUSEMENT PARK www.familykingdomfun.com NASCAR SPEEDPARK OCEAN DRIVE PAVILION AMUSEMENT PARK www.odpavilion.com PAVILION NOSTALGIA PARK and CAROUSEL PARK WATER PARKS www.myrtlewaves.com www.wild-water.com www.familykingdomfun.com