Looking for a fun way to explore our state’s different sources of plant- and animal-based products? The SC Agritourism Passport Program is an incentive program where people can earn free goodies for visiting places that are probably already on your to-do list! The good news is there are nearly two dozen farms not far from Greenville and Spartanburg. Visiting farms is more than a fun, family activity; it’s also a field trip-worthy educational opportunity!
Are you looking for a day trip that is a little more spooky? These Halloween trips are worth the drive! You will find special Halloween-themed events in South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee that will make for a memorable time with your family. These events go all out with spectacular light shows, costumed characters, and out-of-this-world Halloween displays. Let us know how you’re celebrating Halloween in 2023 in the comments.
We found some great day trip activities to celebrate Halloween this year. They are not only entertaining, but they will get you exploring a new town. These festivities make a great day trip or a weekend getaway! We’ve compiled extra info if you decide to make a trip of it!
Halloween Trips to Georgia
If you’re thinking of making a weekend out of Halloween this year, check out our Guide to Travel in Georgia for ideas to fill out your itinerary.
Stone Mountain Pumpkin Festival
1000 Robert E Lee Blvd, Stone Mountain GA
The Glow By Night Experience is a journey through a storybook tale that comes to life with thousands of glowing lights, massive carved pumpkins, jack-o-lanterns, bubbles, fog, and plenty of kid-friendly, glow-in-the-dark adventures after dark.
September 16th- October 29th, 2023
Adult (ages 12+) $39.95 / Child (ages 3-11) $34.95 / Children two years and younger are free.
In addition to all of the fun Six Flags Over Georgia normally offers, guests will experience Halloween-themed extras. Live character interactions and shows top off the list of themed things you can expect. Kids Boo Fest is spooky fun for all ages, including trick-or-treating, family-friendly rides, and other fall activities.
September 16th – October 29th, 2023 (select dates)
Augusta is hosting its annual historic cemetery tour. Notable “spirits” come to life! This ghost tours aims to increase awareness of Augusta’s past by connecting current residents and visitors with the people and places that still influence us today through their contributions to Augusta’s cultural legacy.
Select Dates September 15th through October 29th, 2023
SCarowinds tickets begin at $45, Great Pumpkin Fest tickets are general admission tickets
SCarowinds is one of the Carolina’s biggest Halloween events and a top Halloween themed destination, happening September 15, 2023 through October 29th, 2023. The theme park has evening events that contain haunted mazes, scare zones, live entertainment, and more. It is a scary event, not for small children!
The Great Pumpkin Fest
Carowinds’ fall and Halloween event for families, the Great Pumpkin Fest has all the regular Carowinds fun, plus great fall and festive Halloween activities with just a tiny bit of spooky. It’s happening Saturdays and Sundays September 16th, 2023 through October 29th, 2023. Enjoy a haybale maze, craft corner, soapy mummy pit, trick-or-treat trail, festive games, live entertainment, and lots more!
Hop aboard for a train ride to the pumpkin patch! When guests arrive at the patch, kids will choose a pumpkin and decorate it with provided supplies. There will also be a maze and games at the patch to enjoy for about 40 minutes before heading back aboard the train to return to the museum.
October 21st and October 28th, 2023
Purchase tickets in advance. They range from $17 to $120 depending on the seating class purchased.
SC State Museum- Dark History Tours
Visit the SC State Museum for a special kind of history tour full of spooky legendary tales from South Carolina’s history. Tours are self-guided and are available every day, or you can attend an educator-led guided tour any Saturday in October at 10:30 am or 2:30 pm. These tours are included in regular museum admission.
So, you’re thinking about taking the family to a farm or petting zoo near Columbia, SC for a fun day spending some time with all kinds of farm animals. It’s hard to resist a photo of your child petting or interacting with a cute animal at a farm or petting zoo.
But, you’re not sure which farm to visit, or, you might be thinking “are there any petting zoos near me?”
We’re here to tell you “Yes!” There are quite a few petting zoos and farms to visit! We’ve pulled together a huge list of petting zoos and farms where you can interact with animals.
Is There a Petting Zoo Near Me?
Yes, there probably is a petting zoo on this list near you! In Columbia, SC there are more than 7 awesome petting zoos, and there are a few great options with just a short drive.
Petting Zoos Near Columbia, SC
Goat Daddy’s Farm
Pet, feed, and learn about animals at Goat Daddy’s Farm. We would suggest setting aside at least 1 to 2 hours of your day in order to get the full Goat Daddy’s experience! There is so much to see and learn and even some opportunities for hands-on experiences!
In Elgin, SC
The farm is open to the public every Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm.
Admission: Age 2 and under- free, Under 12 – $5, Over 12- $10. Prices subject to changes.
Schedule a tour to visit Little Creek Farm and your family will get to meets ducks, sheep, goats, pigs, an emu, and so much more! Your crew will get to help on the farm, feed animals, brush a horse, and of course, pet the animals. One hour tours are just $50 for up to 5 people and $10 per additional person.
In Lexington, SC
Not open daily, schedule a tour
Lots of opportunities to interact with animals and learn about farm life
Much more than a petting zoo, this huge zoo has not only animals but a ropes course, gardens, a carousel and climbing wall, and outdoor playgrounds. As far as the animal encounters and petting zoo components, you can feed the giraffes and lorikeets and pet animals in the farmyard all for a small fee, around $2 for each cup of feed or per person.
In Columbia, SC
Hours: 9 am – 5 pm daily, closed Thanksgiving and Christmas
Admission: $24.99/adults, $21.99/kids ages 2-12
Parking: $5 per vehicle
Animals: The ones you can interact with are the giraffes, goats, sheep, and lorikeets.
Looking for a mountain vacation rental to witness the colors of fall pour over the mountainside? It may seem early, but the time is NOW to book vacation rentals in the mountains for the fall season. The mountains of North Carolina are famous for their dramatic shows during fall when the leaves change. There’s no better way to enjoy it, than with a hot cup of coffee in your jammies at sunrise. Here’s a list of vacation rentals where you can enjoy the fall colors.
Are you looking for day trip ideas near the Columbia, South Carolina area? You have found our official Kidding Around Day Trip Headquarters! We have compiled our ever-expansive list of day trip offerings to one page, where you can easily find your desired trip, fuel your wanderlust, and still have the kiddos back by bedtime! Happy adventuring!
Are you in need of free school supplies or clothing for your students this upcoming school year in and around Columbia, SC? With the school year quickly approaching, families could be feeling extra financial pressure and we understand all the supplies, clothing, bookbags, etc. add up quickly! Fortunately local churches, community groups, schools, and organizations are planning quite a few free back-to-school supply events. Whether you’re in need of supplies, lunch boxes, backpacks, or even clothing we’ve got a lengthy list of places for you!
It is estimated that families will spend, on average, about $750 to get their kids ready to head back to school. While that number is shocking and stressful for so many, our Columbia community has done a fantastic job at putting together back-to-school supply drives and free events for families in need.
These events are fun and often include live music and free cook-out-style lunches in addition to a school supply giveaway. Celebrate back to school! The easiest way to get free school supplies for kids is to look for these community events. Below are several options for your kiddos to get what is on their school list in Columbia, SC.
Free School Supplies Events for Kids Near Columbia, SC
2023 Build a Backpack Event
When: July 15th, 2023 9 am to 2 pm Where: Greenview Community Center, 6700 David Street, Columbia, SC Details: Free school supplies from vendors, presented byt he CMMS Foundation Build a Backpack Event
Back To School Bash Drive Thru – Richland County Recreation Department
Multiple Events! When and Where: July 28th, 2023 at 6 pm at North Springs Park, 1320 Clemson Road, Columbia, SC August 3rd, 2023 at 6 pm at Meadowlake Park, 600 Beckman Road, Columbia, SC August 4th, 2023 at 6 pm at Friarsgate Park, 1712 Chadford Road, Irmo, SC August 10th, 2023 at 6 pm at St. Andrews Park, 920 Beatty Road, Columbia August 11th, 2023 at 6 pm at Hopkins Park,150 Hopkins Park Road, Hopkins, SC August 12th, 2023 at 11 am at Eastover Park, 1031 Main Street, Eastover, SC
Details: This is a drive-thru event where school supply stations will be set up throughout the parking lot. Students must be present and in the car in order to receive supplies. Supplies are a first come, first serve basis so plan to be there a few minutes early! For more information contact Melanie Comans at 803.741.7272 x 112. Richland County Back To School Bash Drive Thru
Back to School Bash
When: July 29th, 2023 from 11 am to 3 pm Where: 550 N. Parason Street, West Columbia Details: Free school supplies, free food, live music, and fun Back to School Bash
Community Back to School Bash
When: July 29th, 2023 from 10 am to 1 pm Where: Church of Our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ of The Apostolic Faith, 1632 Germany Street, Columbia Details: Free community event with free school supplies, free food, and community resources. There will be story time and bounce houses! Community Back to School Bash
Back to School Event: His Hands Family Outreach Services
When: July 29th, 2023, 10 am to 11 am Where: Irmo Community Park, 7505 Eastview Drive Irmo, SC Details: Arise Church will be giving away bookbags stuffed with school supplies to children (while supplies last). There will be music, bouncy houses, free food, free sports physicals, sno cones and more! Free Bookbag Giveaway
Back to School Bash- For Children and Adults With Hearing Loss and Their Families
When: July 29th, 2023, from 9 am to 11 am Where: Seven Oaks Park, 200 Leisure Lane, Columbia Details: Free haircuts, free school supplies, snacks, information on resources, and visits with Juliet the therapy dog. This event is for families impacted by hearing loss. Register in advance.
TCC Verizon – School Rocks Backpack Giveaway
When: July 30th, 2023 1 pm Where: TCC Verizon stores
Details: It’s the 11th anniversary of the School Rocks Giveaway and students can receive one backpack stocked with school supplies. This event giveaway is a first come, first serve basis so plan to be there early! School Rocks Backpack Giveaway
Back to School Bash: Rhema Word Restoration Ministries
When: July 30th, 2023 from 2 pm to 5 pm Where: 908 North Brickyard Road, Columbia Details: Free school supplies for kids K5- college. Free food, waterslide, bounce house, games and more. Back to School Bash
Richland School District 2 Back to School Bash
When: August 5th, 2023, 10 am to 12 pm Where: R2I2, 763 Fashion Drive, Columbia Details: Free backpacks and school supplies (limited quantity) plus children’s activities, vision screenings, sports sign-up, job recruitment, and more! Richland 2 Back to School Bash
Post 215 Back to School Bash
When: August 9th, 2023, 6 pm to 8 pm Where: Columbia SC Louis D Simmons American Legion Post 215, 2433 Chappelle Street, Columbia Details: Free fun and school supplies for kids Post 215 Back to School Bash
Back 2 School Bash
When: August 12th, 2023, 10 am to 2 pm Where: Lorick Park, 1600 Lorick Avenue, Columbia Details: Free food, games and school supplies. This event is put on by Healthy Blue and The City of Columbia Parks. Back 2 School Bash
Yell Out for Youth
When: August 26th, 2023 from 12 pm to 3 pm Where: MLK Park, 2300 Greene Street, Columbia Details: Free food, games, ice cream, school supplies, parent giveaways, and free vendors Yell Out For Youth
Gamecock School Supplies
When: Throughout the school year Where: Student Success Center Details: This service is ONLY for undergraduates of the University of South Carolina. While this service is a little different than other events listed, we wanted to get the word out to any families that have college students! The Gamecock supply closet is the newest service of the Student Success Center and offers free school supplies such as notebooks, scantrons, dry erase boards, calculators, and much, much more. Students can utilize this service once every two weeks and all undergraduates are eligible with their valid Carolina Card. Gamecock School Supplies
Are you looking for fun parks or playgrounds near Columbia, SC? If you’re looking for the best places to play outdoors in or near Columbia, you’ve come to the right place. Our Parks: Columbia, SC list includes parks with playgrounds, walking trails, and hiking trails, nature parks, art parks, splash pads, parks with picnic areas and picnic shelters, and a whole lot more about our favorite places to play!
There are so many options when it comes to parks and playgrounds. These parks have great playgrounds, wide open spaces, basketball courts, picnic tables, walking trails, or just amazing outdoor spaces. We have reviewed some of our absolute favorite places to play, but we also have lots more coming soon!
Great Parks and Playgrounds Around Columbia, SC
Looking for playgrounds in or near Columbia where the kids can play? There are so many cool options in the Midlands! Pick one of these fun playgrounds and get playing outdoors!
With a beautiful little lake, playground, easy hiking, free splash pad, and cheap boat rentals, Sesquicentennial State Park is the ultimate family day kind of park! Pack a picnic and get going! Enjoy the shaded picnic tables and benches beside the lake.
Experience local art for free at West Columbia Interactive Art Park
What’s at the West Columbia Interactive Art Park? Kids and grown-ups will enjoy walking along the paths of this interactive art park in West Columbia. Play the drums, and enjoy the murals, sculptures, and time together. There are even some very family-friendly places to eat out in the park and nearby
In the summer Lake Murray Public Park is the place to be for outdoor play in the water and sand. There’s also a great picnic area to enjoy the fresh air and lake view.
Congaree National Park
Congaree National Park is a unique park with old-growth forests for hiking, cool boardwalk trails to explore, and out-of-this-world kayak trails.
Want to walk or hike on Columbia’s hiking trails?
These walking trails and hiking trails near Columbia are perfect for a little hiking or getting out those bikes and strollers.
Emily Douglas: Splash pad, large climbing structures, huge green space
Woodland Park: Walking trail, pickleball, large green spaces, huge playground
Looking for more of the best parks in Columbia?
Our coverage of parks and playgrounds is growing and we’ll have more on Columbia’s best playgrounds soon. But you’ll also find great information on the area’s outdoor places to play at websites for local town and city recreation departments.
Are your kids excited to search out some colorful Easter Eggs at the Easter Egg Hunts in Columbia, SC this year? Maybe you’re looking for more Easter things to do, like catching up with the Easter Bunny for a special bunny photo. Or, maybe an Easter craft activity is more to your liking. Either way, we have a totally huge list of Columbia’s Easter Egg hunts and Easter events to help you out.
We hope it’ll help you make the most of the Easter season in Columbia, SC with your family!
We’ll be adding to this list throughout the Easter season, so check back soon for all the best Easter events in Columbia, SC!
April 8, 2023: 10 am to 1 pm- Children’s Easter Egg hunt that includes a cow train, wagon rides, bubbles, playground, obstacle course, and photos with the Easter Bunny. Tickets are $15 or $10 for those not participating in the egg hunt.
And now for a different kind of egg hunt! Visit Lexington parks and match each egg to the correct location.
Print your form or pick one up at the Lexington Town Hall.
Submit your form by April 10th for a chance to win!
More Egg Hunts in Columbia, SC
Easter Bunny Photos: Columbia, SC
Photos with the Easter Bunny are a time-honored tradition. Where can you can get a photo with the Easter Bunny in Columbia, SC?
Visit these events to snap a picture with the Easter Bunny.
Easter Bunny Photos at Columbiana Centre
100 Columbiana Circle, Columbia, SC 29212 Bunny Photo Experiences run March 17th, 2023 through April 8th, 2023 Photo package costs range from $40 – $50. You need to either pay $20 at booking and select photo package at your appointment or select the desired package at booking. (Your $20 booking fee will be applied toward the package purchase.)
Free Easter Bunny Photos at Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops
Head up to Greenville, SC or Charlotte, NC for an opportunity to get a free professional, printed 4×6 photo with the Easter Bunny at Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops. Registration opens March 25th, 2023, and you will definitely want to register in advance.
Choose a hunt that fits the age of your children and their temperaments. A fast, competitive child might enjoy a free-for-all egg hunt, but some children might find the same hunt frightening and sadly leave without a single egg.
No one wants tears at an Easter Egg hunt, right?
So, find out . . . What are the rules for this egg hunt?
What are the ages of kids hunting together?
Is there a limit of eggs per kid?
How large is the event? (The larger the number of kids hunting at the same time, the greater chance there will be some aggressive behavior from the kids hunting.)
How much waiting is involved?
Easter is mid-April this year which means the day could rapidly go from a cool early morning to a hot late morning or afternoon depending on the weather.
Think layers. Keep them on if it’s cooler, or take off a layer if it gets warm or if your kids get hot from running around.
Remember the sunscreen. The UV index can catch you by surprise this time of year.
Footwear should be something kids can run in. Tennis shoes are best. Keep those toes covered so they don’t get stepped on or bit by ants.
Many of the public hunts offer bounce houses for the kids to play in so be sure your kids wear socks.
Plan time to park. Give yourself at least 30 minutes before the hunt is scheduled to begin for parking and registration. If your egg hunt has an age requirement for a specific time, your child will likely only be allowed to hunt at that time.
Bring water and snacks if you think the kids will get hungry waiting for the hunt to start.
Stash some backup eggs in the car. If your kiddo isn’t able to collect any for whatever reason, you’ll be glad you did!
Looking for free activities in Columbia, SC? You can fill up a day in Columbia without spending a dime! We’ve compiled a list and it is packed full of free and cheap ideas for you. Grab your family and make some fun-filled memories together for free. Here’s our list of free things to do in Columbia, SC with kids!
Go on a walk: Head to Columbia’s Riverwalk for a walk with your family. With more than 20 miles of riverwalk and trails, it’s the perfect place to enjoy the outdoors. You can find shade under the trees and bridges, and parking is free!
Have a picnic at the Horseshoe at the University of South Carolina:The Horseshoe at USC is a perfect place to have a family picnic and spend the afternoon. Bring some outdoor toys and bikes and enjoy the weather together. While there’s plenty of shade, you will need to bring a little money to park.
Cool off at a pool or splash pad: One of the most fun things to do in the summer is taking your kids to a pool or splash pad. While the Maxcy Gregg and Greenview Pools have a small fee ($3 – $4 depending on age), the splash pads and spray pools are free and open to the public.
If you are looking for a great park with shade to avoid those famously hot Columbia days, Hollywood Park is an excellent choice. For the days you’re wanting to be more immersed in nature, check out Doko Meadows Park.
If you are needing an all-inclusive playground, then Leo’s Landing is definitely the park to go to.
Go Swimming at Lake Murray: Pay $5 to park at the closest parking lot or use the free parking and walk. Either way, enjoy the beach and swimming area on a sunny day with your family.
Go see an outdoor movie: The Icehouse Amphitheater in Lexington shows movies every now and then. Be sure to check their schedule for upcoming shows and other events. You can also enjoy a summer movie for free at Doko Meadows park.
Head out for a hike: There are plenty of hiking trails in Columbia. From paved multi-use trails to longer, more rugged trails, you’ll find something for you and your family to enjoy. Check out our list of some of the best hiking trails with free admittance in the Columbia, SC area.
Cayce Riverwalk | Main Entrance: 201 Naples Avenue, Cayce, SC
Columbia Canal and Broad River Trail | 312 Laurel Street., Columbia, SC
Saluda Riverwalk | Candi Lane, Columbia, SC
Guignard Clay Quarry Loop | 634 Old State Road, Cayce, SC
Peachtree Rock Heritage Preserve | 883 Peachtree Rock Road, Lexington, SC
Congaree National Park Hiking Trails | 100 National Park Road, Hopkins, SC
Stroll down Main Street for Soda City Market: Every Saturday from 9 am – 1 pm, vendors gather on Main Street for a European-inspired street market for the Soda City Market. Everything sold is unique, hand-crafted, and produced in the Southeast. While strolling and perusing what the vendors have to offer, you’ll hear music and be able to do a lot of people-watching.
Throw a frisbee around at one of the disc golf courses: Grab your disc golf frisbee and play disc golf for free. Udisc has a list of courses in the area.
Go on a public art tour: You can treat this as a scavenger hunt if you’d like, but there are plenty of public art installations around Columbia that you can visit for free. One Columbia has an interactive map for you to find art spots.
Grab the family and head to one of the many Columbia area farmer’s markets! One of the most popular, The Soda City Farmers Market in Downtown Columbia, has tons of vendors and is a lot of fun for the entire family. You can also check out The Market at Icehouse, located at the Icehouse Amphitheatre in Lexington.
First Thursdays on Main: First Thursdays on Main include free live music and even free admission to cultural venues, like the Columbia Museum of Art on select First Thursdays. Food and other items are available for purchase.
Attend a FREE event at Congaree National Park, like the Ranger Guided Owl Prowl hike. You might get a chance to see or hear one of these amazing creatures in the wild! But even if you don’t, you’ll learn a lot and have some fun!
Play pickleball: Pickleball has become quite a popular hobby in the last few years! There are several public pickleball courts all throughout Columbia that operate on a first-come, first serve basis:
Go Geocaching: Have you ever been geocaching? We can assure you that this is an activity that your whole family will get hooked on! Geocaching is an outdoor game, very similar to a treasure hunt, where you use GPS to locate different “treasures” hidden by others.
Richland County has set up an interactive geocaching game where you can learn how to keep our waterways clean, experience local art, and hunt for geocaches! Start by downloading a “Drains Aren’t Dumps Passport” and you will quickly be on your way to discovering awesome treasure.
Decorate, Hide, and Find Painted Rocks: Most of us are familiar with discovering painted rocks hidden throughout the city, but what you might not know is that there is a Facebook group called Columbia-SC Rocks! People will post pictures of their decorated rocks and give hints as to where they can be found. Along with hunting for them, it’s super fun to paint a few with your kiddos, go around to some of their favorite places, and hide them for others to enjoy.
Visit the Sandhill Children’s Garden: The Sandhill Children’s Garden is located near the Farmer’s Market on Clemson Road, across from the Sandhill Shopping Center. Here you will find beautiful gardens, birdhouses, neat flowers, and much more. There are sometimes even small events that take place here. Looking to introduce your children to volunteer work? The Sandhill Children’s Garden is almost always looking for new volunteers to keep the gardens looking spectacular!
Kids Eat FREE in Columbia: While you’re out and about on your free things to do adventure, grab a cheap meal by taking advantage of these kids eat free deals.
Free Things to Do Inside in Columbia, SC
Go Bowling: There are several bowling alleys in the Columbia area where kids up to age 15 can bowl for free in summer. You’ll still need to rent shoes or bring your own.
Participate in a DIY-U Lowe’s Event: Lowe’s has both in-store and online DIY workshops that are completely free! Workshops for kids usually take place once each month and are led by Red Vest experts. This is a GREAT hands-on activity that your kids will love! Be sure to register in advance for these events!
Tour the South Carolina State House: Want to get a little education with your activity? Head to the State House for a free guided or self-guided tour. Tours are given every half hour from 9:30 am – 3:30 pm Monday through Friday when the chambers are not in session. The State House is also open for tours each Saturday. You do not have to make a reservation, but you can call ahead if you’d like to.
Visit Fort Jackson’s military museum at the U.S. Army Basic Combat Training Museum for an educational trip in disguise. Guests can directly interact with soldiers, ask questions, and learn about the history and evolution of combat training.
Visit the Melton Observatory on the USC Columbia campus. You’ll get a chance to use their huge telescope to check out the sun, moon, galaxies, planets and more!
Bonus! Are you a homeschooling family? The SC State Museum offers FREE admission to homeschooling families. The South Carolina State Museum is a great place to go explore and learn something new!
Free Events in Columbia, SC
What’s free and happening soon in Columbia, SC? This is a list of upcoming events that are free! That means there is no admission cost to attend these events, and may mean there are free crafts, entertainment, food, and more! However, there may be charges and fees for activities or food at some of these events so do check event websites for details.
Just click on each event for more information.
Bonus: Cheap Things to Do in Columbia, SC
Looking for a few more fun things to do for cheap? If you’re looking for some great family activities that won’t break the bank, we have a couple more ideas for you!
Petting Zoo Meet & Greets
Ready for animal fun? Bring the family to Two Girls and a Farm for just $20 for a family of 4. That even includes a bag of animal feed.
Need to have your child’s car seat checked in Columbia, SC? It’s true what they say, “you can never be too safe”, especially when it comes to your children! And car seat safety is absolutely no exception!
I’ve been there, trying to make sense of the manuals, all the straps, struggling to get everything pulled tight…it’s stressful to say the least. If you’re expecting, or even if you’ve had a car seat installed in your car for years, we’ve got all the info you’ll need to have your seats double-checked by the experts and set your mind at ease.