Nature Center moving into new, more convenient location

The Nature Center is getting settled in its new location with plans to open by the time summer crowds start rolling into Ocean Lakes.

Crews have moved the center’s contents and display cases from its longtime home on Lovestone Drive to the new, more convenient location behind Sandy Mart. 

The center’s new building, a former lake house, has been renovated, including new floors and a fresh coat of paint on the inside and outside. New Nature Center signs are already up as crews put the finishing touches on the building.

While the heavy lifting is over, teammates are busy building the new displays and filling the glass cases with shells, fossils and other natural wonders for guests to enjoy and learn about. 

The new center is on track to open in time for the busy summer season – if not sooner.

The Leonard Raker Nature Center Discovery Lab is getting a new home so it will be more conveniently located near the hub of activity at the Camptown Center. The Nature Center – known for its hands-on exhibits and knowledgeable staff – has operated off Lovestone Drive in the southern part of the campground. The Nature Center opened in 1993.

“This is a much better spot,” said Craig Culbreth, Ocean Lakes Recreation Director.

The new Nature Center will keep the mainstays that visitors love while adding some new features. The popular sea turtle exhibit will be expanded. A new hurricane display will be installed. And the alligator exhibit will be overhauled.

And the new location boasts a feature not found in the center’s former spot: green space alongside a lake. The new center's back deck fronts Magnolia Lake, which lends itself to more outdoor activities and hands-on demonstrations.

“We’re so excited about this new location. Not only is it more convenient for guests to access, it opens up so many more opportunities to take our already popular Nature Center to a new level,” Naturalist Brandy Cloos said. “I’m eager to get moved in, set up and get ready to greet guests starting this summer.”

An opening date for the new Nature Center hasn’t yet been set. Stay tuned. Hours this summer will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Parking will be available at the center. To get to the new center, take Ocean Lakes Drive to Magnolia Lake Circle, turn left at site Z67. The new center will be on your right.


Better Wi-Fi experience on the way for Ocean Lakes guests

Ocean Lakes is working to provide a better Wi-Fi experience for our camping guests, with crews busy this month installing new equipment.

The new equipment will improve the Wi-Fi connection in the campground. Demand on the network has quickly increased as guests use multiple devices and stream shows and movies.

The new system, which will double the amount of equipment to better handle the volume, is expected to be up and running before spring break.

“Guests will simply have a much better Wi-Fi experience,” said George Burton, Ocean Lakes IT expert.

Crews are installing new equipment, moving from section to section in the campground. Sections will be without Wi-Fi for a couple of days as the new equipment is installed.

Guests still will be able to connect to Wi-Fi in other spots in the campground, including the Meet n Eat, Café and Recreation Center.

Guests can keep an eye out for the new SSID connection, which will be dubbed “Starfish.” You can start using that connection once it starts appearing as an available network. There will be no password required at this time.

The new system will work in the camping sections of the campground. Annual lease site holders will still have to arrange for their own Wi-Fi service.

Thanks for your patience as we work to improve the network and provide a better Wi-Fi experience for our guests.


Conversion to all-digital TV | What you need to know

We are getting some questions about the conversion to all digital TV, which is still more than a year away in the Myrtle Beach area.

Spectrum (formerly Time Warner Cable) plans to go to an all-digital signal, which will require users to have a digital adaptor to continue to see their favorite TV channels. The conversion in the Myrtle Beach area is planned for mid-2018, a Spectrum official said Thursday.

Until that conversion, annual lease site holders do not need the digital adapters to get their channels.

Other tidbits about the digital conversion to know:

n  When Time Warner makes the switch to digital, customers in annual lease sites at Ocean Lakes must have a digital box for each TV in their house. Two boxes are included free with the lease. Customers can pick those up from the Spectrum office. (The closest Spectrum office to Ocean Lakes is in Garden City Beach at 2520 U.S. 17 South, Unit 10 in the Oasis Plaza).
n  The digital conversion will NOT affect campsites. Campers will still be able to watch TV without a digital converter.
n  Ocean Lakes does not have the digital boxes and will not be getting any. You will need to contact Spectrum.

Still have questions? Contact Spectrum at 1-844-725-4318. TIP: When asked for your address, give the Ocean Lakes mailing address (6001 S. Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach, SC 29575) and your site number as the “apartment number.”

We’ll keep you updated as we learn more.


Hang your special ornament on the official Ocean Lakes Christmas tree

There are the traditional glass bells with hand-painted greetings, the handmade frames holding photos of families, a Santa playing baseball.

They’ve all graced a limb on the official Ocean Lakes Family Campground Christmas tree through the years – all carefully crafted or selected and hung on the tree by Ocean Lakes guests.

For decades, our guests have played a key role in decorating our official Christmas tree in the Recreation Center, a 12-foot live beauty.

Decorating a Christmas tree is all about family, after all, and our guests make up the Ocean Lakes family.

“It’s an Ocean Lakes family tradition,” Recreation Supervisor Rhonda Boatwright said. “The families look forward to it – it’s special.”

Our tree-trimming party is set for 6 p.m. Saturday in the Recreation Center.

Our tree-trimming party is set for 6 p.m. Saturday in the Recreation Center. This isn’t the usual tree lighting where you stand back and cheer as the lights are switched on. This is a fun, hands-on, tree-decorating party with live entertainment and snacks.

Bring your ornament to decorate the tree or just help us hang ornaments from our collection. 

The tradition of having guests bring a special ornament started in the '80s, in part to help fill up our massive tree. Our guests have embraced it through the years, crafting ornaments that still tell their stories years later: The series chronicling the engagement and first anniversary of a young couple; the matching mitten ornaments from 2006 - one bearing the name of each family member; the handmade frames, all alike, that proudly display the same family year after year for more than a decade.

“The guests are proud to put their ornaments up there,” Boatwright said. “They are always thankful for the opportunity.”

Recreation teammates sort through a box of ornaments from the early 2000s.

Pick out your special ornament and join us Saturday!