Are you planning a trip to Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, SC? Some call it the Riverbank Zoo, some call it the Columbia Zoo, no matter what you call it, we know you’ll enjoy a trip to this popular Columbia, SC zoo.
With over 2,000 animals spread across 170 acres, plus a brand new aquarium and reptile complex, there is so much to explore, learn and do! We will share all of our tips, what to expect, and how to prepare for your day of wild, memorable fun at this awesome zoo in Columbia, beside the Saluda River.
The Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is made up of two large sections. You have the zoo side and then you have the botanical gardens side. This is where Waterfall Junction, the popular splash pad and play space, is located.
Have you been thinking about a visit to Fox Farm in Lexington, SC? Are you looking for a budget-friendly way to enjoy farm activities and a petting zoo with your family? At Fox Farm there are hayrides, horse rides, and animal pettings and feedings available at a really great price! We recently went here and have everything you need to know in order to have a farm load of fun!
Looking for more farms to visit? Be sure to check out our list of more fun farms!
Loads of Fun and Learning at Fox Farm
Your family will love the quaint and welcoming atmosphere at Fox Farm! There is a lot to love about this locally-owned farm, but one thing that really stood out to me were all of the great opportunities for hands-on learning. From feeding farm animals to riding horses and everything in between, your children will be able to experience so much during your visit!
You Must Schedule Your Visit in Advance
Fox Farm is open for family visits most Saturday’s throughout the year. However, it is important to note that they are by APPOINTMENT ONLY. This is to make sure they have enough staff available in order to give you and your family the best experience possible. To schedule your visit you can email email@example.com or call 803.351.2462.
In my experience, scheduling our trip was pretty simple. The owners responded to my emails quickly and were easy to work with. When our initial date didn’t work out, they were very helpful in offering new dates and times that would work with both of our schedules.
Fox Farm is Super Budget Friendly!
At Fox Farm you truly get your money’s worth and then some! For just $7 per child, your kiddos will be able to enjoy all of the exciting things the farm has to offer – horse riding, animal feeding, a hayride, and playground. Adults are able to ride on the hayride and enjoy the barnyard for FREE. Horse rides for adults are an additional $3.
What is There To Do at Fox Farm?
One unique thing about Fox Farm is that they offer horse rides! Saddle up and enjoy being led down the path and back again. Both of my kids (1 and 3 years old) loved riding the horses! My son was able to ride by himself and although he started off a little nervous and unsure, he very quickly loosened up and had the best time. They allowed me to ride on the same horse with my 1-year old which was so fun and memorable.
Barnyard and Animal Feedings
Head over to the barnyard to get up close and personal to several of the farm animals! Staff members call you into groups where they will then lead you around the barnyard and hand out food for feeding. Throughout your adventure, you will have the opportunity to pet and feed a donkey, alpaca, pony, sheep, rabbits, and more!
Almost all of us have been on at least one hayride, but the hayrides at Fox Farm are unlike any other. Also referred to as “CRAAAZY Time”, your kiddos will have a lot of fun giggling and playing along with the driver throughout the ride. Along with this silly, bumpy ride you will also be able to see more of the property.
The play area is in the middle of the farm and has several great obstacles and activities for kids. They’ve got traditional swings, bucket swings, slides, and my son’s personal favorite, the tractor to “drive”.
Schedule Your Next Party at Fox Farm!
Have a birthday party coming up? You might want to consider Fox Farm! Each party costs $200 and includes all of the activities mentioned above – hayride, horse riding, and a trip to the barnyard to feed and pet the animals. There are also a few add-on options available such as heater rentals for the cold months, BB gun shooting, and even the option to have a horse dressed up like a unicorn…talk about a memorable birthday!
Fox Farm 133 Virginia Pine Lane Lexington, SC 29073
What is your favorite memory from Fox Farm?
Find even more fun around Columbia, SC!
10 Tips & Tricks For the Best Day at Riverbanks Zoo: Columbia, SC
So Many Great Opportunities for Hands-On Fun at Fox Farm in Lexington, SC
Enjoy the Rivers of Columbia on Three Rivers Greenway Trail: West Columbia Riverwalk, Cayce Riverwalk, Saluda Riverwalk
Get Ready for a Fun Halloween Night: Boo at the Zoo in Columbia, SC
Feed and Pet Goats, Pigs & More: Goat Daddy’s Farm, Elgin, SC
Enjoy a Saturday with the Gamecocks at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, SC
Have you ever been to Hollywood Park in Columbia, SC? If you’re looking for a playground that offers shade, has great play equipment, an open green space, and a picnic shelter where you can enjoy snacks or lunch we’ve got just the place for you! Hollywood Park has all of these things and more. We recently went there and think it is a wonderful place to enjoy some fresh air and playtime with your kiddos!
Hollywood Park: Charming, Cozy, and Quiet
Located on the edge of downtown Columbia, in the cozy Hollywood Rose Hill Neighborhood, you will find Hollywood Park. The park itself is such a charming hidden gem. You will be welcomed with raised flower beds that are maintained by the neighborhood residents and a beautiful walkway leading into the park.
Hollywood Park is completely fenced-in, making it an ideal place to go with little kids or large groups. While there is no designated parking lot for this playground, there are plenty of on-street parallel spaces. Another thing I noted while visiting this quaint play area was that there are no restrooms. Be sure to plan accordingly!
Awesome and Shaded Playground at Hollywood Park
The playspace at Hollywood Park is a perfect size and has tons of fun climbing equipment! One thing I really liked is that the majority of the play area was covered by large shade sails. This made a huge difference in keeping the equipment cool. The playground is made up of sand so keep in mind that close-toed shoes are ideal!
There are two main play structures at Hollywood Park. One is much larger and fit for older kiddos. It has an awesome climbing wall, archway for climbing, and even monkey bars. The playscape for younger children is equally as awesome with a fun tunnel to crawl through and slides perfect for their size! While there are some swings at this park, there are no bucket swings.
Hollywood Park Has a Great Green Space
Another thing to love about Hollywood Park is the awesome green space! It is the perfect size for so many activities and open play. Bring a large blanket and have a fun family picnic, some bubbles for your toddlers, balls, or even play a fun game of tag. My son and his friend had a great time kicking a soccer ball around!
Picnic Tables and Shelter
At the main entrance, you will see a huge covered picnic shelter with lights and a few picnic tables underneath. We sat here to have our lunch and it was perfect! There are also several other picnic tables found on the outskirts of the green space. These tables are under the trees and are shaded, making it a great place to read books, enjoy some snacks, or a place for littles to take a rest.
More Things to do Nearby
From Hollywood Park, you are about 5 minutes from the “Five Points” area of downtown Columbia. Here, you will find great clothing boutiques, coffee shops such as Drip, and several places to get sweet treats or delicious meals. We would recommend trying out Gourmet Shop, Hometeam BBQ,Pawley’s Front Porch, or The Baked Bear if you’re looking for something sweet.
Also within a 10-minute drive from Hollywood Park, you will find the University of South Carolina, SC State House, and The Vista area. The Vista is where you can find more shopping, restaurants, and coffee shops. You could even pack up a wagon or stroller and take a walk around the beautiful and well-established neighborhood streets all around. Whatever you decide, we hope your family has a great time exploring!
Stepp’s Apple Orchard is a family-owned orchard in Hendersonville, NC. They have u-pick apples, lots of fun family activities on weekends, and pretty amazing cider and pumpkin donuts.
Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard is the very first u-pick apple orchard in Henderson County and has been in operation for more than 50 years. They know what they’re doing, and we had to go check it out for ourselves. Honestly, I went for the pumpkin donuts. I love apple cider donuts, but pumpkin? Yes, please!
One thing that stood out to me immediately was just how super nice and helpful everyone at the orchard was. They have u-pick apples, pre-picked apples, a big store that sells homemade soap, t-shirts, and honey, a bakery, corn maze, pumpkin patch, jumping pillow, apple canon, and wagon ride. Some of these activities are only available on weekends, which I’ll tell you about in this review.
Are you looking for a great way to enjoy the beautiful rivers at a riverwalk? Columbia, SC has several riverwalk options on the Three Rivers Greenway Trail and the Saluda Riverwalk? No matter what time of year, the riverwalks within the Three Rivers Greenway Trail provide a fantastic place to exercise, take a leisurely stroll with your family, enjoy a picnic, fish, learn how to bike ride, and so much more. Below we’ve got all you need to know about the West Columbia Riverwalk, Cayce Riverwalk, and newly developed Saluda Riverwalk!
Fall is just about here! Time for corn mazes, fall festivals, and apple picking! One of the local favorites is Sky Top Orchard near Flat Rock, NC. Read on for local mom Jackie Vest’s tips and things to expect when you visit Sky Top Orchard, so you can make the most of your visit!
The Sky Top apple season starts in August and runs through the Sunday after Thanksgiving, giving families plenty of opportunities to seek out their favorite varieties of apples. This orchard has over 22 different kinds of apples to choose from! They also churn out a regional sensation: apple cider donuts!
As soon as you pull up to the orchard and open your car door, you are drawn in with the delicious fried cidery-sugary smell wafting through the air. Plan on buying at LEAST a dozen. If you come on a busy weekend, you’ll need to wait in line for them, but don’t let that stop you!
Apple picking is an enjoyable activity for kids of all ages. While you may need to walk a bit to the row of choice, the picking is quick and easy work. Many apples are available low to the ground, easy picking for even the smallest kiddos. My boys (ages 5 & 7) hopped off the hayride, took off down a row, and filled up their bags before I even caught up with the little stinkers!
The orchard also offers plenty of play structures, Bee Train, a Gold Rush Gem Mine, a honeybee hive (in which kids can usually spot the queen bee behind the glass), a bamboo forest, some farm animals like sheep, chickens, goats, and peacocks, and plenty of delectable goodies in addition to the apples and cider donuts.
Pies, jellies, hot cider, fudges, and frozen apple cider slushies, to name a few! Outside food is acceptable and there are plenty of picnic tables or areas to spread a blanket – just be mindful of bees and limit sugary foods.
The orchard also does a great job accommodating large groups with hayride tours, apple picking, and educational programs which teach kiddos everything they could want to know about how apples grow through the seasons. This is a favorite field trip destination!
Bring cash or check – while they do accept credit cards, their wifi can be spotty so their credit card processing system isn’t always working.
Try to go on a Monday or early week. The weekends can get pretty busy.
Wear sneakers or other walking shoes that are okay to get dirty.
Bring quarters for feeding the farm animals.
Sky Top has real bathrooms now. No more having to use a port-a-potty.
Apple varieties are planted in accordance of when they are in season. They plant the earliest apples closest to the entrance and it progresses further away as the season goes on. In other words, the later in the season you visit the orchard, the further you will need to plan on walking to pick apples.
There are plenty of already-picked apples to choose from if you want all the fresh flavor without the work.
You must pre-pay for apples and you are required to pay for at least one peck per 6 people (around 10 pounds). A basket is provided.
Did you know you can “snow” tube in the fall at Black Bear Snow Tubing? You can! No snow is required thanks to Black Bear’s super-fast tubing mat, the only one like it in the United States! We got to visit Black Bear and try this “snow” tubing and let us tell you, fall snow tubing is where it’s at. Move over pumpkins, there’s a new fall favorite in town. Here’s everything you need to know to plan your visit to Black Bear Snow Tubing this fall.
Thanks to Black Bear Snow Tubing for providing tickets so we could bring this review to our readers.
Fall snow tubing opens September 2, 2023, at Black Bear Tubing!
How can you snow tube without snow?
The special green and white mat in use at Black Bear comes all the way from Germany. Purchased for use at Black Bear because this mat outperforms all its competitors when it comes to speed. In the winter the mat is covered in snow, but in the fall, you can tube right on the mat.
This means even in warm winters with little snow, tubing is still an option for family fun. So, what we have learned is, snow is not required for super speedy “snow” tubing runs.
Fall is awesome at Black Bear Snow Tubing
No crowds, fewer lines, fun music, and a pretty view of changing leaves across the valley make fall an awesome time to visit Black Bear Snow Tubing. You’ll get more rides down the hill in your tubing time than in the winter. It’s not cold. It’s not wet.
You can even get yourself some apple cider donuts, coffee, or cocoa and enjoy them on the covered rocking chair back porch, overlooking the tubing hill. We tried it and we are convinced, fall is perfect for snow tubing!
Summer tubing, without snow, runs weekends through October 29th, 2023.
Winter tubing, with snow, runs weekends beginning mid-December. (If the weather is too warm for snow, tubing will still be open using the mat.)
Visiting Black Bear
First off, we love nearby Hendersonville, NC, and the drive up from downtown to Black Bear Tubing through the changing leaves was gorgeous. When you arrive at Black Bear, just follow the signs to park and then head towards the fun!
Visit the video shed first where you’ll watch a very short safety video. It’s just a couple of minutes long and it plays on a loop. While you’re there, sign the waiver for yourself and the kids.
Bring your waiver across to the lodge where you’ll pay, get your stickers, and also where you can purchase treats and beverages like apple cider donuts, coffee drinks, cocoa, and more.
When you’re ready to tube, you’ll head down the stairs, grab your tube and jump in the line for the tube tugging line that will bring you to the top of Black Bear’s 600-foot-long tubing run. Staff will hook you onto the line.
At the top, you’ll be unhooked from the line and then walk your tube to the run. Staff will help you get your tube into position and push you off down the 80ft vertical drop.
Up to 4 people can go down the run at a time, and you can hang onto other tubes if you want to all go together. Want extra fun? Just ask the staff at the top to spin you going down.
Once you’re at the bottom, pull your tube back over to the tube tugging line and you’ll be off on another run before you know it.
Clean portapotties are available beside the video shed, as well as an outdoor handwashing station.
Who can tube at Black Bear?
First, kids under 4, and under 35 lbs, cannot be on the slope. They can use the slope-side playground for some fun while bigger kids tube.
Second, kids ages 4 to 6 must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
Third, there is a maximum weight of 300 lbs.
My kids, ages 11 and 14, had a blast. Initially, my 14-year-old was a little not sure he wanted to come, thinking it was not going to be very exciting and that he was too old for such things. He was so glad he came. And, in fact, we saw lots of adults taking runs down the slope, too. I had planned to go down once or twice, just to be thorough in my review, and ended up going down a lot more because it was really fun!
It’s one of those life things that are just plain fun for anyone. Escape from whatever is bugging you to the fresh air and whip down that hill on a tube. Laugh with the kids. Enjoy them, even as teens and preteens, asking you to go down the run with them. There are not enough moments like that in the world, if you ask me.
We really loved the family atmosphere at Black Bear. They do not allow alcohol or any open profanity. All the staff were super friendly and helpful. When I wasn’t tubing myself, I could clearly see where my kids were at all times from the covered porch. It was really brilliantly arranged for a couple of hours of low-stress family fun.
Tubing on the mat was really fun. No heavy coats, no wet gloves. It was all the fun of snow tubing without the cold, with the added benefit of short lines and no crowds. We had a great time and think you’ll enjoy it, too!
Plan Your Trip to Black Bear Tubing
1-hour tickets are $30 each, and 2-hour tickets are $40 each. (2023 prices)
Open until October 29th for summer tubing, and then opening mid-December for winter snow tubing.
Saturday: Open at 10 am, last ticket is for 7 pm. Sunday: Open at 12 pm, last ticket is for 5 pm.
Would your family enjoy a farm experience, complete with adorable animal interactions and fun learning experiences? Little Creek Farm, right outside of Lexington, SC, might be just the spot you’re looking for. Local mom and Kidding Around guest contributor, Mary Thomas, brought her kids for a day at Little Creek Farm.
They all had such an amazing time she wanted to share their experience so others could enjoy this amazing little farm. In this article she’s telling us all about their visit, and how you can plan your own visit to Little Creek Farm!
What is Little Creek Farm?
As a mom, I’m always looking for new experiences to share with my two young boys (ages 7-9). If you have an hour to kill and are looking for a neat activity, I highly recommend Little Creek Farm (LCF).
This hidden gem is a privately owned animal sanctuary that provides permanent placements for abused, neglected, or disabled livestock. Located right outside of Lexington, SC, LCF offers farm tours, weddings, birthday parties, and photography venue rentals.
My family and I planned a tour for our youngest son’s birthday back in December. Booking was super easy and convenient, not to mention very reasonably priced, just $50 for a one hour tour for up to 5 people. You can add additional people for $10.
LCF is not quite visible from the road, but once we pulled up the driveway we were surrounded by horses and other livestock. We managed to keep the birthday plans a surprise from my son, so having the privacy of a hidden venue added to the experience- he was so excited!
The Little Creek Farm Tour
We were greeted by Anne Kershner, the owner, who explained what all the tour would involve. Anne was super helpful with planning this trip. Prior to arriving, we had discussed taking family photos at the venue.
She so kindly took our photos on the front porch which was decorated with the cutest Christmas decorations. My family and I loved them so much, we decided to use them as our Christmas cards!
Anne gave us some background information about the farm and what animals we would be visiting during our time at LCF. After the photos, we met Diddley, the 27-year-old horse. My sons were able to pet, brush, and give treats to him. While the boys were busy at work, Anne was telling them Diddley’s background and other horse facts.
After loading some feed for other animals, we continued on our tour. We stopped by a garden and Anne explained all the produce LCF locally grows to feed the animal residents. My sons were able to help resource some of the vegetables they would need to feed the other animals we would be visiting.
From the garden, we stopped at the bunny cages. Here my sons were able to feed the bunnies and learn from Anne all of their names.
The next stop was the chickens. Anne was very generous and gifted each of my sons an egg. She explained that they could eat the egg or “grow” a chicken. She explained the incubating process to them and the life cycle of a developing chick.
Of course, my sons opted for the latter choice, so now we currently have an incubator and are rotating chicken eggs in hopes of hatching one (LOL, thanks Anne!).
Our tour continued on as we met a mini donkey, goats, a sheep, an alpaca, ducks, an emu, and pigs. Not only did we get to learn about all the animals, but we also learned about composting. At each stop, Anne was educating the boys on every animal each step of the way.
I am thankful to Anne for allowing my family and I to visit LCF. I was surprised how much of the tour was interactive, as it was a new experience for us all.
I enjoyed watching my sons light up with excitement every step of the way. I was able to snap some photos of them during this learning experience. I used to own a photography business but gave it up once I had the boys. This trip reminded me of my passion and why I had fallen in love with photography in the first place.
More at Little Creek Farm
Little Creek Farm also offers birthday parties for kids, parties and events for adults, and a rental photography location. You’ll find more about all these offerings under the “book now” tab on the Little Creek Farm Facebook page.
Plan Your Tour
I hope that by my sharing our experience at LCF that you will reach out to Anne and schedule a tour. All the proceeds the farms gains goes 100% back to the animals. LCF is easily accessible online through the Little Creek Farm Facebook page, where you are able to see their availability and book your visit.
If social media isn’t your speed, Anne can also be your point of contact to book via email or phone.
One-hour tours are $50 for up to 5 people, and $10 for each additional person.
Peachtree Rock Heritage Preserve near Columbia has a hidden falls hike. It is not very well known or overly crowded. But, it is home to the midlands’ only naturally occurring waterfall. It’s about 20 feet high but not a ton of water. It is more impressive after rains, but don’t go too soon after unless you love mud.
Looking for an easy hike for little ones that has a water feature? The Peachtree Rock Heritage Preserve trail is considered a baby trail with very little incline. However, it is not stroller or wheelchair friendly.
About Peachtree Rock Heritage Preserve, Lexington County
The Peachtree Rock Heritage Preserve is 460 acres of land managed by South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and the SC Chapter of the Nature Conservancy. The preserve consists of sandstone formations and outcrops, pines, and wetlands.
The walk from the preserve parking lot to the giant Peachtree Rock, an inverted pyramid, and the falls and creek is just about half a mile. The trail is mostly flat with a few spots that have a brief 30-degree uphill stretch. Also, the path is typically clear.
Remember, it will also be half mile walk back, but again, one of the easiest if you’re just starting.
Pets and playing along the path are very welcome as more experienced hikers aren’t often bursting past. Toddlers and young children love exploring the trail and touching the water.
Or, if you want to do the full loop, it is 7.5 miles, so there is something for everyone. Further along the path is the historic site for Peachtree Rock Moonshine Still and “little Peachtree Rock”. Plus, you can even spy some fossils, making it a decent homeschool field trip.
Note, there are NOT bathrooms and water fountains are not around, so come prepared. Please, use the BATHROOM before. Verizon customers typically receive decent cellular and data reception.
Peachtree Hike: Things to Bring
For a fun, safe hike, you might want to bring:
a map image of the trail so you don’t end up on the long portion (blue trail, stay to the left)
charged cell phone for photos and emergencies
bug spray and maybe sunscreen unless you want a very fussy afternoon
water and a trail-friendly snack
good shoes, for hiking and snake protection
clothes that can get dirty
carrier for baby/toddler in case they get tired
bonus, a durable, cheap toy to explore with you or nature scavenger hunt, or the like to keep kids engaged
Have you been thinking about a trip to Goat Daddy’s Farm? Want to have a family day trip out to the country where you can hand-feed and pet a variety of animals? At Goat Daddy’s Farm, not only will your family have the opportunity to do just that, but you will also gain great knowledge about animal care.
You’ll be able to discuss any questions you have with friendly and knowledgeable staff, and have the opportunity to purchase your own goat milk products made from the goats right at the farm. So, what are you waiting for?