Saturday, June 11, 2016

Shannon Tanner's Most Excellent Pirate Expedition - Hilton Head Island,SC

Our family has been enjoying the beautiful beaches, delicious dining and many family-friendly adventures in Hilton Head Island, SC for the last five years. It's a short four hour drive from Charlotte, NC and is the perfect answer for a fun, picturesque family vacation.

During our most recent visit we had the opportunity to participate in Shannon Tanner's FREE Family Show at Shelter Cove Harbour, which runs Mon-Fri at 7PM and 8:30PM 6/1-9/2/16. This show is a must see for families visiting Hilton Head Island - our kids were instantly engaged as they sang, bounced and scrambled their hair to Shannon's songs and dances. Many Tuesdays they have fireworks at 9:30PM! During the show we learned about Shannon Tanner's Most Excellent Pirate Expedition, my kids were enthralled with the idea. We had been looking for a water adventure that was a good match for our 1, 3 and 7 year old's interests. I figured if the pirate expedition was as appealing to as the show, booking was a no-brainer.

It was easy to book online at, and I was pleased that there were no additional costs for the online convenience (mama hates fees). Tickets can also be purchased the night of the show or the morning of the excursion (if tickets are still available). The expedition kicks off from Shelter Cove Harbour Wednesdays and Fridays at 8:30AM and goes until about 10:30AM.

Adults are $30, kids 3-12 are $25 and kids 2 and under are free - which was great because little bits is hit or miss on any participation as a 1 year old. The pirate adventure included skull adorned pirate bandanas (you can hide your treasure in it too!), an eye patch, a foam dagger, a tattoo and a portion of the recovered treasure. From the moment we arrived Shannon was in full pirate-captain character, he welcomed each kid as he and his mates helped them pirate-ify. E loved the foam dagger and spent lots of time making pirate gestures and faces as he and S bounded around their scurvy new crew.

Shannon's enthusiasm and gift for story-telling ensured that the kids were occupied throughout the two hours we spent together. Shannon led them exploring through the harbour to find clues about the missing treasure, incorporating the kids into the story line. We boarded the large boat donned in pirate paraphernalia. Once aboard there was a good amount of shade. Usually HHI has a nice breeze along the harbour, but the day we went was about 99.9% humidity and holy pirate booty - we were melting. I would recommend bringing a personal fan and some water if your expedition day is as toasty as ours was. The older two were not at all phased by the temperature - they were too busy pirating, but did drink water. Shannon and his crew seemed unphased by the temperature and kept the show fun and exciting throughout.

We took our seats on the large white boat and we were off on the treacherous seven seas! Well - it was the harbor - and luckily the water was very calm and avoided potential sea sickness. The kids learned the proper way 'educated' pirates talk - it was cute. My husband, mother and I really enjoyed the way that Shannon crafted his script to speak the language of fun and excitement for the kids while also being charismatic and quick-witted for the adults. There were lots of interactions between the kids and the pirate crew as we searched for our stolen treasure.

During our voyage we saw two dolphins swimming nearby who 'helped' us figure out where the treasure had been taken. The kids were able to get out their aggressions in a healthy water-based way as they doused Stinky Slimy Slim with water blasters until he decided to join our family of good pirates and return the treasure.

Once the treasure was re-captured each child got to share in a few pieces of pirate gold and jewels to take home with them. Once back on land they each received a chocolate coin - what a sweet victory - and had the opportunity to get their daggers signed by the crew. The kids couldn't stop talking about what a blast they had together and all the pirate hi jinx that had ensued.

If you're bringing your family to Hilton Head Shannon Tanner's Most Excellent Pirate Expedition won't disappoint - I'm not the only one who gave this tour two swords up - check out their Trip Advisor Page here. To follow Shannon and all his crew's excitement follow them on Facebook here, and on Twitter here.


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