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Posts Tagged ‘Educational Things to Do’

Be Amazed at Stingrays, Sea Turtles, & Bald Eagle at the South Carolina Aquarium: Charleston, SC

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Thinking about making a trip to Charleston, SC to visit the South Carolina Aquarium? We were able to experience all the SC Aquarium has to offer and we’re ready to share it with you! If you’re looking for South Carolina Aquarium reviews or information on how to plan your visit, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve got all the info you need to plan your trip and have a blast with your family at the aquarium.

A visit to the aquarium is a fabulous day trip or an awesome part of an educational trip to Charleston.

Thank you to the South Carolina Aquarium for providing media tickets for our review. All opinions are genuine and those of our team member. 

SC Aquarium
Scenes from the South Carolina Aquarium

About the South Carolina Aquarium

In 2019, the SC Aquarium was one of ten recipients of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the highest honor for an aquarium to receive. They received it “not for having a massive living collection of exotic species from around the world, but for keeping its collection’s focus local.” This focus is entirely evident as soon as you step foot into the Aquarium.

If someone asked me what the focus of the Aquarium is, I’d tell them conservation and education. It is easy to see how dedicated this nonprofit is to educating the public on the local species right there in Charleston and throughout the state as well as ways to conserve the beautiful animals you’ll see.

Bald eagle at the SC Aquarium
Bald eagle at the SC Aquarium

My favorite parts of the Aquarium were the two interactive talks given by the volunteers and staff at the Aquarium, which I’ll tell you about shortly. When you visit the beautiful Aquarium, you will no doubt walk away with a greater appreciation for the different climates and environments of South Carolina as well as the incredible work being done by the Aquarium in areas of conservation and the treatment and rehabilitation of sea turtles.

The Exhibits at the SC Aquarium

The South Carolina Aquarium is the perfect sized-aquarium for really getting to understand the different exhibits and spending time learning about sharks, stingrays, sea turtles, river otters, and even the resident bald eagle, Liberty. My daughters and I took our time going through the exhibits and attending the two educational talks and in total, spent about two hours there. We probably could have stayed longer if we had a snack at the Sea Turtle Snack Bar or fed the stingrays!

Spoonbill at the SC Aquarium
Spoonbill at the SC Aquarium

There are two public floors to the aquarium: the first floor houses the sea turtle hospital, the stingray touch tank, the gorgeous balcony overlooking the USS Yorktown and the Ravenel Bridge, and the bottom level of the Great Ocean Tank. The upper level has the kids play area, the salt marsh exhibit, the jelly fish, the mountains to Piedmont exhibits, and the upper viewing area of the giant tank.

There are many hands-on exhibits all throughout the Aquarium, which really any kid will find entertaining and fun. When you enter the Aquarium, you can scan the QR code located at the visitor stand or if you would prefer to print out a copy for your visit, here is a map of the South Carolina Aquarium Exhibits.

The Educational Programs at the SC Aquarium

At the advice of the Aquarium’s public relations staff member, we timed our visit so we could see the Dive Into the G.O.T and Turtle Talk programs.

The Dive Into the G.O.T. was phenomenal! The G.O.T. stands for the Great Ocean Tank, which holds more than 350,000 gallons of water and is 42 feet deep. There is a diver inside the tank who does a question-and-answer session with an Aquarium staff member and then takes questions from the audience.

Diver at the SC Aquarium
Diver at the SC Aquarium

We learned all kinds of cool things about how the volunteers and staff feed the animals in the tank, how they clean the tank, and ways to practice conservation on our own. The Turtle Talk was also amazing. The sea turtle care center is really neat and an active place where the sea turtles are taken when they are stranded or injured. Many are cared for and rehabilitated and then released back into the wild.

Sea turtle hospital at the SC Aquarium
Sea turtle hospital at the SC Aquarium

There are also animal encounters throughout the day. We saw a couple of volunteers and staff offering guests the opportunity to pet a snake. My kids passed on that one unfortunately.

The staff we met were all so, so kind and helpful. They all seemed to really love their jobs and were happy to be working at the Aquarium. The passion they had for the animals and education about them was easy to see.

Also, to add on some more educational fun to your visit, consider doing one of these onsite activities at the Aquarium, which include scavenger hunts, discovery bins, and deeper dives into the exhibits that are grade-level appropriate – looking at you, homeschoolers.

Interacting with the Stingrays

I personally think stingrays are pretty cool and just beautiful to watch, although I’m terrified of accidentally stepping on one while wading on the shore. Yet, seeing them up close and learning about them is fascinating. All of the times I’ve ever seen them in touch tanks and aquariums, they have been very playful and fun.

Stingrays at the SC Aquarium
Stingrays at the SC Aquarium

The ones at the SC Aquarium are no different. They have a huge tank to swim and play that overlooks the Charleston Harbor and it’s just gorgeous. The stingrays will come right up to the edge of the tank like puppies and basically beg for pets. It’s really adorable. They are a little slimy but once I got over that, I was all about it.

You can feed the ocean puppies for $5. I didn’t do that but I saw others who did and they looked like they were really enjoying the experience.

Trading Post at the SC Aquarium

I was really excited to see that the Aquarium has something called “The Trading Post”. If you’re familiar with the Nature Exchange at all at the Roper Mountain Science Center, this is a similar concept. You can bring in up to two natural items found in nature and earn points, which are redeemable for other cool things that the Aquarium has like shark teeth and pretty shells.

There are a few items that the Trading Post will not accept. This includes bird items (nest, egg, feathers), live animals, sea turtle bones, or anything else from an endangered species. 

A great opportunity to find shells and fossils can be found with the Sandlapper Water Tours that launch right around the corner at the maritime center. You can go on a morning eco-tour and then head to the aquarium. 

The trading post at the SC Aquarium

Visiting the South Carolina Aquarium

The Aquarium is located just minutes from downtown Charleston and right next to one of the places you can take a boat tour to Fort Sumter. The view from the deck is worth the experience alone!

You can purchase tickets in advance using the Aquarium’s dynamic ticketing system. Admission is determined by day of the week, school calendars, local events, weather, and holidays. You can see what the prices are for different days and purchase up to 60 days in advance.

There is an on-site gift shop as well as a snack bar, which is open 11 am – 3 pm daily. Parking is easy at the nearby Aquarium parking garage, which is $2/hour.

The Aquarium is open daily 9 am – last ticket sold at 3:30 pm and the building closes at 5 pm
Closed Thanksgiving Day & Christmas Day, closes at 1 pm on Christmas Eve.

South Carolina Aquarium
100 Aquarium Wharf, Charleston
843.577.FISH (3474)

10 Tips & Tricks For the Best Day at Riverbanks Zoo: Columbia, SC

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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.

Free Fridays at Riverbanks Zoo

For a limited time only, residents of Richland and Lexington County can come visit the zoo FREE on Fridays from January 5th through February 23rd, 2024 during regular daytime admission. Proof of residency required. Learn more at Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens



Riverbanks Zoo, Columbia Zoo, Columbia, SC
Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, SC

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.

Waterfall Junction, Riverbanks Zoo Splashpad

It’s so cool, that we have a whole other article focused just on the Riverbanks Botanical Gardens and Waterfall Junction.

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Drive and Learn About Model Trains at AMROC in Columbia, SC

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Did you know that the Associated Model Railroad of Columbia, or AMROC, is regularly open to the public free of charge? Whether you’re an experienced model train hobbyist or just have a young child who likes trains, AMROC could be just right for you! You’ll be able to learn how to drive a model train, how the trains work, all about the different models, and more! See model trains in Columbia, SC at AMROC!

See model trains! Columbia, SC has a free model train museum at AMROC.

What is AMROC? 

Located directly across the street from the Governor’s Mansion, you will find the Associated Model Railroads of Columbia, also known as AMROC. AMROC is an organization made up of several members who build and operate a variety of model trains. They’ve got large “G Scale” models, tiny “N Scale” models, and everything in between. 

AMROC is Open to the Public at No Cost 

Every Thursday, excluding the first Thursday of the month, the members of AMROC open up the building to the public. They begin their demonstrations at 7 pm and are there to educate the community about model trains, give advice on modeling and servicing, and even allow the public to run their own model trains along the tracks. These Thursday events are completely FREE and they welcome all ages to join in on the fun! 

You will need to enter the building on the main level using the door along Laurel Street and across from Finlay Park. There is plenty of on-street parking and a parking garage right next door if needed! 

Kids drive the train displays at AMROC Columbia.

Become a Conductor at the Associated Model Railroad of Columbia 

My husband and I recently had the opportunity to take our kiddos to ARMOC and were greeted with knowledgeable model train engineers who were eager to get us involved. The members answered several of our questions and curiosities, taught us about the differences in each model, and gave us several neat facts about the trains. 

My 4-year-old son was given the opportunity to “drive” one of the model trains and to say his day was made would be an understatement! He was given the throttle and shown how to make the train stop, control the speed, blow the whistle, and make steam come out. He spent the majority of our time there being a little conductor and had so much fun doing so! 

We also had our 2-year-old daughter with us and while she was a bit too young to get as much out of it as my son, she still had fun watching the “choo-choos” and pointing out all the details within the displays.  

Associated Model Railroad of Columbia 

Quick Takeaways: Parent Review and Things to Know

Even though my daughter enjoyed the experience, I think it is best suited for children no younger than 4 years old.

Because of the large models, there isn’t tons of “wiggle room” so keep that in mind as you’re loading up. Strollers would be best kept in the car.

Also, be sure to talk with your kiddos about the importance of not touching the models or trains themselves unless they are given permission.

Happy chugging! 

Upcoming Seasonal Events at AMROC

Along with the Thursday events, AMROC also hosts several other events and demonstrations throughout the year! Some of their upcoming kid-friendly events include:

  • Track or Treat – October 26, 2023 from 7 pm to 9 pm
  • Christmas Show – December 2, 2023 from 10 am to 3 pm 

Associated Model Railroad of Columbia 
1800 Lincoln Street, Columbia 

Have you had the chance to check out AMROC yet?

Free Things to Do in Columbia, SC

Discover more totally fun and totally free things to do in Columbia, SC!

Free Things to Do in Columbia, SC

Search for Owls at Night at Congaree National Park During a Ranger-Guided Hike near Columbia, SC

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Are you interested in learning about Congaree National Park events? Many people don’t know that our national and state parks have pretty cool events all throughout the year. One of them – the Owl Prowl – is quite the adventure at Congaree National Park in Columbia, SC and Kristina has all the details. 

The more I’ve visited local, state, and national parks, the more I’ve learned about the Ranger programs offered, and wow, every single one I’ve been to or done with my kids has been awesome. When I saw an event for the Ranger-guided Owl Prowl in Congaree National Park in Columbia, SC, I immediately signed up. 

Owl Prowl at Congaree National Park
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Moving Through Music: Tempo Music and Arts Brings Outdoor Rhythm and Sound to Columbia Kids

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Are you always on the hunt for something new, educational, and fun for your kids? I know I am! After an extensive search for some new activities for my two-year-old daughter, I ultimately stumbled across Tempo Music and Arts. Little did I know, this was exactly the type of class my daughter and I needed, as we would soon come to find out. 

Tempo Music and Arts in Columbia, SC

What is Tempo Music and Arts? 

Tempo Music and Arts is an outdoor music and rhythm class for infants and toddlers. In fact, it’s currently the only outdoor children’s music class in Columbia, SC. 

Founded by Kim Donovan in 2020, she revealed that “Tempo grew organically as a result of the COVID pandemic. I wanted to bring music to babies in a smart and safe way. Outdoors. It’s important for child development to have sound and music development at the infant stage. Music play thinks of development as a language. Children learn music the same way they learn a language.” 

Donovan is a University of South Carolina graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and a Masters in Educational Leadership. Prior to creating Tempo, she pursued a career in music education at the elementary level for 8 years.

Tempo offers two age-appropriate 30-minute classes every Friday at Senate End’s Campus on the outdoor covered deck (formerly the Market Tea Room). The first class is dedicated only to newborns – 2 years old. The second class is for toddlers aged 2 – 4 years old. 

Donovan adds, “In the infant class, the children sit in their parent’s lap, and in the toddler class, the kids are typically standing with their parent and looking at the movement of their feet. There’s lots of movement going on!” 

Each class has a maximum capacity of 10 students, and everyone maintains safe social distancing at 12 feet apart. 

Tempo Music and Arts class in Columbia, outdoors

How do you register for Tempo Music and Arts Class? 

Tempo offers a couple of registration options for the infant and toddler classes, a fall and spring semester membership, as well as an “a la carte” option. All classes follow the University of South Carolina school schedule. The semester membership is valid for 10 weeks (plus 1 free week for any makeup classes) and is offered at a discounted rate of $120. A la carte is a pay-as-you-go, non-committal option for $20 per class. *Please note, if you choose the a la carte route, you must register at least two hours prior to class. 

Music kits, (which the classes provide at no charge) are available to take home for a $10 fee.

Who are the teachers?

Tempo has a partnership with the University of South Carolina that allows for one second-year and one first-year music education graduate student to teach Tempo as part of their practicum. It’s a rotating practicum, so there are different Tempo teachers each year. The same teachers also teach a Saturday indoor infant and indoor toddler Music Play class (identical to Tempo) at the University of South Carolina School of Music each semester. This is a great weekend alternative for those who are unable to join Tempo classes on Friday mornings. 

Julia Turner, a second-year graduate student in the Master of Music Education program at USC, and Ashley Cobb, a first-year graduate student of the same program, both teach the infant and toddler Tempo classes.

“We believe in a child-centered music environment where we allow the children in the class to guide their musical experiences and freely vocalize to make music, says Turner.

She adds, “The class is also very playful and we have a lot of fun! Children are encouraged to use their music kits, which include rhythm sticks, egg shakers, scarves, and scrapers, and they may drum throughout the class. We also incorporate a lot of pretend play to engage students’ imaginations.” 

Tempo teachers

My Tempo Class Experience 

Upon discovering Tempo Music and Arts, I decided to register my two-year-old daughter, Elle, for the toddler class using the a la carte pay option. Our first class, neither of us knew quite what to expect, and I certainly experienced those first-day jitters! I did, however, come prepared with a quilt in tow after reading the Tempo Music and Arts Frequently Asked Questions portion of their website. Aside from that, we brought ourselves and an open mind.

As we united with the rest of the class on the porch, I immediately felt at ease. I grabbed a music kit with mostly blue instruments and joined a small group of four other parents and children on the porch. As I spread out my pink and white quilt for my daughter and me, teachers Julia Turner and Ashley Cobb began class with nothing short of whimsical excitement. 

Turner and Cobb led with a melodic, “Let’s sing hello to Elle…hello, hello, hello,” and proceeded to sing their welcome song to each of the children by name. 

After the welcome, we did some vocal warm-ups as the children and parents loosened up. 

For the first exercise, we grabbed our “steering wheel” (a flat rubber circle) and all jumped to our feet and mimicked “driving” and honking the “horn” in a song-like “beep beep…oh beep beep!” The children and parents marched around as the kids laughed, played, and practiced “steering.”

After we took our “cars” for a spin, we each quickly grabbed a colored scarf from our kits (each of the music kits contain various matching colored instruments). Ours was blue. Turner and Cobb each grabbed their prospective scarves and crumpled them into a ball cradled by their tightly-clenched fists. With a gentle toss and release, they roared “WHOOOO,” and my daughter and I joined in the “WHOOOO” chorus. We do this rhythmic catch and release several times before we moved on to our blue “scrapers” (two hand-sized foam rectangles).

The teachers led everyone in song, “Scrub a dub dub, a scrub a dub dub” as they pretended to scrub the floor with their scrapers. The kids laughed copying their teachers’ movements, and some even ran around the porch improvising their own moves.

“Alright everyone, should we get out our shakers?” Turner enthusiastically asked the class, holding up a plastic egg. We reach into our music kit for our blue egg, and Elle gently shakes it, releasing a rattling sound reminiscent of a maraca.

Tempo Music and Arts class outdoors

After our shaking session, Turner grabbed her set of rhythm sticks (aka drum sticks), hitting them together in a beautiful cadence. This seemed to be a class favorite, as most of the children grabbed their rhythm sticks and moved toward the center of the circle to take their turn on the community drums (*handmade by two undergraduates). My daughter had been waiting for this moment the entire class, pulling her sticks out of her kit, every couple of minutes in fact.

When it was time for drums, my daughter anxiously shuffled toward the drums. “Boom boom bap, boom boom bap,” she proudly tapped her sticks.

And before we knew it, the class was over as quickly as it began. Each of the kids was asked to select an instrument to play for the closing song. Elle chose rhythm sticks.

“Bye-bye Elle…Bye-bye Elle…We’ll see you next time…we’ll see you next time,” Turner and Cobb serenely sang.

Mom Review: Tempo Music & Arts

To my surprise, my daughter absolutely thrived during her first Tempo class. I seriously couldn’t wipe the smile from my face! To watch her dance and strut with such unadulterated enthusiasm was the ultimate gift as her parent. That was it for me, I knew we would be back. And we were…the very next Friday.

What: Tempo Music and Arts
Where: 302 Senate Street Columbia, SC 29201
When: 9:00 – 9:30 am & 9:45 – 10:15 am Friday

Classes and Activities in Greenville, SC

Looking for more classes and activities? Check out The Premier Guide to Classes & Activities for Kids in Columbia, SC!

Get Lost in Space: Visiting the Melton Observatory at USC

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Have you ever looked up at the night sky and wondered what secrets it holds? If you’re a lover of all things space, then the Melton Observatory at the University of South Carolina is definitely worth a visit. This totally free, educational opportunity is located on USC’s Columbia campus, offering visitors a chance to explore the wonders of the universe in a unique and immersive way.

Here’s everything you need to know about visiting this distinctive destination.

Check out the Melton Observatory for free in Columbia, SC

What is the Melton Observatory?

The Melton Observatory is an astronomical observatory located on the Columbia campus of the University of South Carolina. The observatory is named for the late Dr. William Davis Melton, who was the president of the University of South Carolina in the 1920’s. The observatory features a dome and a 16-inch Cassegrain telescope, which is used for viewing the stars, planets, and other objects in space.

What can you see at the Melton Observatory?

Visitors can use the telescope to view a wide range of objects, including planets like Jupiter and Saturn, as well as star clusters, and galaxies. The observatory also offers a livestream during the hours of their public viewing for free. The Melton Observatory livestream can be accessed on Monday nights from 9:00 pm until 11:00 pm.

I’ve also taken advantage of viewing their past livestreams, available on their website, and admired some of their previous videos of the moon, stars, and planets around us.

The recorded livestreams are a great options for families with young children who can’t quite stay up late enough for a visit to the observatory!

Visit the Melton Observatory for Free!

The Melton Observatory is located at 1429 Greene Street in Columbia and is open to the public on Monday nights from 9:00 pm – 11:00 pm on clear nights. During these public observing nights, visitors can use the telescope to view the night sky and learn more about the stars and planets. If you’re interested in visiting the observatory, be sure to check the Melton Observatory website for the most up-to-date schedule of events and to ensure the skies are clear for viewing.

Mom Review: Free, Educational and Recommended!

Whether you’re a seasoned astronomer or just looking for a unique and educational experience, the Melton Observatory at the University of South Carolina is definitely worth a visit. With its state-of-the-art telescope and knowledgeable staff, this observatory offers visitors the opportunity to explore the wonders of the universe and galaxies around us.

The observatory does welcome children, but particularly due to the expensive equipment, children must be supervised!

I can confidently recommend a visit to the Melton Observatory – it’s a unique and educational experience that will leave you with a newfound appreciation for the beauty and complexity of our universe. And we love that USC brings this experience FREE to the public.

Our family of adventurous natural world explorers really appreciates all that they have to offer. So, if you’re looking for an unforgettable adventure that combines nature, education, and beauty, add a trip to Melton Observatory at USC to your list and share your experience with us in the comments!

The South Carolina State Museum in Columbia, SC is A Must-See

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The SC State Museum is not only huge but so entertaining, educational, and fun. Here’s why you should consider a trip to Columbia, SC to explore it. 

The South Carolina State Museum has been on my list as a homeschooling parent (actually, before that since my daughter was supposed to go as a third-grader and then the pandemic hit). I had heard it was cool but did not know the extent of exactly how amazing it would be. So I hauled my kids out there for a truly fun day trip. And if you’re a homeschooling parent, read all the way through for a special admission tip. 

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Exploring History: A Tour of the Woodrow Wilson Family Home in Columbia, SC

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The Woodrow Wilson Family Home in Columbia, SC offers a unique opportunity to step back in time and explore the Reconstruction Era of American history. As the childhood home of the 28th President of the United States, the Woodrow Wilson House has been meticulously restored to reflect the historical period in which it was built.

Visitors can learn about the Wilson family’s life in Columbia during this time and gain a deeper understanding of the political and social issues that shaped the country in the aftermath of the Civil War. One Kidding Around Columbia reader, Jen H., took her family to the Woodrow Wilson Family Home. Here’s what she thought about the tour.

The Woodrow Wilson Family Home and Robert Mills House
Robert Mills House, Photo Credit: Jennifer H.

History of the Woodrow Wilson Home

Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President of the United State, lived in this home in downtown Columbia as a child. His parents built the house during the height of Reconstruction in 1871.

While the home changed ownership several times since 1874, it currently belongs to Historic Columbia who turned the home into the Museum of the Reconstruction Era. It serves as a reminder of this time and how we can connect it to current events.

The Woodrow Wilson Family Home
The Woodrow Wilson Family Home, Photo Credit: Jennifer H.

Mom Review: Bringing Kids to Woodrow Wilson Family Home

KACOLA reader, Jen H. shares her visit to the Woodrow Wilson Family Home

Register for Historic Columbia Tours

I gathered up my family and headed to the Woodrow Wilson Family Home for a tour of the Era of Reconstruction Museum.

We registered for the tour at the Gift Shop at the Robert Mills house. (All Historic Columbia tours begin here). The kids explored and ran around the gardens as we waited for our tour to start. It’s such a beautiful area with a rich history to boot, and it was fun to imagine what certain spaces were once used for.

The Woodrow Wilson Family Home Tour and Museum of the Reconstruction Era

The tour begins at the Gift Shop. It’s a walking tour and the Woodrow Wilson House is about a block from the Gift Shop, so be sure everyone in the family wears comfortable shoes. 

The Woodrow Wilson House is beautiful. Our tour guide was knowledgeable about the surrounding area and how the Wilsons’ story fits into the history of Columbia.

The interior of the home has been turned into a museum that explains the Era of Reconstruction in the South—the time period after the Civil War ended.

When you head upstairs, you enter Woodrow’s childhood home. Taking a look out the window allows you to imagine how the view has changed over the years.

The Woodrow Wilson Family Home
The Woodrow Wilson Family Home, Photo Credits: Jennifer H.

Throughout the entire hour-long tour, you’ll be able to sit on benches located in some of the rooms but be prepared to be on your feet for most of the time.

Who will enjoy the Woodrow Wilson Family Home Tour with Historic Columbia?

The tour is a great outing for older children 6+ years old. Younger children may not find it interesting, but there’s enough for them to look at (don’t touch!) to keep them entertained for a bit. My 9 year old really enjoyed the tour and asked some really thoughtful questions (our tour guide was so happy to answer these!). My 4 year old was a little bored with all the talking but found things to keep her attention.

Overall, touring the Woodrow Wilson House was a great experience and way to spend our morning in Columbia!

Tickets for Historic Columbia Tours

Tickets can be purchased online at the Historic Columbia website or on-site.

Tickets cost $12 for adults, $8 for youth ages 6 -12. Discounts are available for students, active military and seniors.

More Homes to Explore

Historic Columbia also offers tours of the following historic homes in Columbia, SC:

  • Hampton-Preston Mansion and Gardens
  • Robert Mills House & Gardens
  • Journey to Freedom Tour- includes the Mann-Simons Site and Modjeska Monteith Simkins House

Free Historic Columbia Tours

If you’re interested in exploring and touring other historical homes and grounds in Columbia, be sure to check out your options. Every 3rd Sunday, they offer free tours of one of the homes!

The Museum of the Reconstruction Era at the Woodrow Wilson Family Home
1705 Hampton Street
Columbia, SC 29210

Tours are available Wednesday-Saturday at 10:30 am and Sundays at 1:30 pm.

Columbia, SC

The fun isn’t over yet!

Find more amazing things to do in Columbia, SC! Fun days start here.


Shark at the SC State Museum

Learn more together!

Visit the SC State Museum

Have you been to the Woodrow Wilson Family Home?

Learn and Play at EdVenture: Columbia, SC

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Have you visited EdVenture? Columbia, SC has a wonderful children’s museum that is the perfect combination of hands-on play and educational fun for your family! Keep reading as we will share all the tips and info you’ll need to make your trip to Edventure: Columbia, SC perfect! 

edventure columbia sc

This article includes:
Admission and Fees to EdVenture
Camps, Classes, and Regular Events at EdVenture
Baby & Toddlers at EdVenture
Eddie’s Cafe at EdVenture
Exhibits at EdVenture
Visit EdVenture

Planning Your Trip to EdVenture: Columbia, SC

From babies to pre-teens, EdVenture Children’s Museum is sure to have something for all! Several exhibits make up the two floors of wonder and include activities ranging from science and engineering to pretend play and everything in between. Before we discuss the exhibits, let’s start with some helpful tips to get you prepared for your “edventure.” This children’s museum is closed on Tuesday’s, but is open every other day of the week.

Admissions and Fees to Columbia’s EdVenture

EdVenture Columbia, SC

Tickets can be purchased at the museum or online before you go for $13.00/person (children under 2 are free). Yearly memberships can also be purchased with various price ranges and package deals. EdVenture has a strong belief that EVERY child should have the opportunity to engage in educational fun within the museum. Because of this, they have discounted admissions options for families who receive SNAP, WIC, or Medicaid for $3 entry per person.

Once tickets are purchased, you can leave and re-enter the museum throughout the same day for no extra fees. 

Camps, Classes, and Regular Events at EdVenture

EdVenture offers several extra programs throughout the week and during different seasons including:

  • Spring Break & Summer Camp
    • ages 4-10
    • $198 weekly per child, $30 membership discount for Spring Break
    • $249 weekly per child, 15% discount for members for Summer Break
    • Visit EdVenture Camps online to register.
  • “Toddler Time”
    • Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 9:30 am – 10:30 am
    • Story and themed craft
    • Located on the second floor in “My Backyard” 
    • Free with admission/membership
  • “Tinker Tech”
    • Daily from 10 – 10:30 am and 3:15 – 3:45 pm (closed on Tuesday)
    • Ages 4+
    • Build, create, craft course overseen by EdVenture employee
    • Located on the second floor in the engineering/crafting area
  • “Homeschool Friday”
    • First Friday of each month during the school year (September-May) from 2:00 – 3:00 pm
    • Ages 4-10
    • Hands-on activities and socialization specialized for homeschooled students 
    • Sign up at edventure.org 
  • “Biolab”
    • Daily at 11 am, 1:45 pm, and 4 pm (closed on Tuesday)
    • Ages 4+
    • Explore various biology themes in a fun a creative way
    • Located on the 1st floor
  • “Cooking Lab”
    • Daily at 11:45 am and 2:30 pm (closed on Tuesday)
    • Ages 4+
    • Hands-on activities with cooking in relation to health and the body
    • Located on the 1st floor

A full monthly calendar can be found at edventure.org! 

Babies and Tots at EdVenture 

I was very impressed by all of the thoughtful features throughout the museum for even the littlest of littles! For starters, the museum is well-planned out making it easy to maneuver strollers to and from the exhibits. There is also an elevator located in the middle of the museum that is large enough for the whole family – strollers and all!

On the second floor, in “My Backyard” (the area for those under 3 years old), there is a cozy nursing room complete with a rocking chair, bookshelf, and dark, retractable curtains. 

Eddie’s Cafe

On the first floor, to the right of the main entrance, you can enjoy a fresh lunch or quick snacks. The cafe has a decent-sized menu and serves things such as pizza, sub sandwiches, salads, and a variety of grilled items as well as beverages. No outside food is allowed within the museum. 

EdVenture Children’s Museum Exhibits

More than nine different areas with endless amounts of learning and exploration can be found at EdVenture. We will walk you through each level of the museum and let you know what to expect as you wander around with your kids! 

On the main level of EdVenture you’ll find the majority of the museum’s exhibits.  

EdVenture grocery store for kids

World of Work 

What do you want to be when you grow up? A firefighter? How about a farmer? Or maybe even a chef? You can try it all throughout this exhibit! “World of Work” takes up the majority of the main level of EdVenture.

Your children can climb into a 24 foot life-size fire truck, flash the lights and even create their own fire escape plan. Across from the firetruck, you will find a dairy and produce farm. Here, your children can “milk” a cow, harvest vegetables, climb onto a tractor and collect fruits from the fruit trees to send to the grocery store.

EdVenture farm
Farm at EdVenture

Next, make a “grocery list” and send your littles out on an errand – the Neighborhood Market is always a popular place to be! With small shopping carts, 2 check-out lanes, and realistic foods and goods, your family is sure to have a fun time playing pretend.

Be sure to also check out the Little Spot Diner (situated right outside of the grocery store) and let your kids make you a delicious meal. My favorite thing about “World of Work” is watching my kid’s creativity and imagination come to life in these real-world settings sized just right for them!

Eddie exhibit at EdVenture in Columbia, SC
Eddie at EdVenture in Columbia, SC

Eddie!

You can’t miss him, he’s the world’s largest child measuring in at over 40 feet tall with a heart weighing over 500 pounds! Eddie is his name and he will help teach your children all about body organs and their functions!

You can climb up a set of stairs that will take you into his stomach, intestines, heart, and brain. Eddie is the perfect combination of fun and education as his insides are set up like a jungle gym, but with realistic organs – You can hear his beating heart, the electricity inside of his brain as well as his stomach growling when you listen carefully.

As you make your way up, take a tunnel slide back down to his large shoes (which are each about the size of a car, might I add), and start your exploration again! I love that Eddie opens up a door for parents and caregivers to talk to and teach their children about the wonderful things our bodies can do at such an age-appropriate level. 

The News Room 

Has your child ever wanted to be on TV? If so, head on over to the “News Room.” Here, your child can pretend to be a news anchor or even a producer. With realistic equipment and large TV screens to look up at, this exhibit is sure to be a treat. Be mindful that to get here, you will have to go up a small flight of stairs! 

EdVenture vet

Wags & Whiskers

Get ready to put your children’s pet care abilities to the test! In this area, they will be able to care for a variety of different animals with x-rays, grooming and veterinary tools, and basic pet care needs. Wags & Whiskers teaches your child how to care for the health of their pets through interactive play.

Biolab at EdVenture

Let your child explore their inner scientist in the Biolab, designed to teach kids about biomedical science in a fun way! With teaching laboratories, this exhibit and programming is geared toward kids ages 5 – 14 to spark a lifelong interest in the biomedical field.

Cooking Lab at EdVenture

Enjoy cooking and preparing real food in the Cooking Lab, all while learning about the body, how nutrition is important, and tie all the information together with what is taught in the Biolab.

Outdoor Fun at EdVenture

The outdoor area at EdVenture is made up primarily of water play which is great in the warmer months, but be mindful that your kids may get pretty wet so an extra shirt or full change of clothes isn’t a bad idea! There are also several tricycles and a small, model airplane in this area that kids can climb into and “fly.” 

Seasonal Exhibit

The seasonal exhibit changes frequently to match whatever is going on during…well, each season! EdVenture often has holiday characters such as Santa and the Easter Bunny set up here. You will also find holiday-specific activities, education on different cultural and traditional beliefs, and goodies throughout the year! 

Fly an Airplane on the Second Floor of EdVenture 

The second level of the museum is home to all things science, engineering, and technology, but with a closed-off room dedicated to the tiniest explorers. 

edventure indoor playground
EdVenture

Flight

This part of the museum is full of flight simulators and educational, hands-on displays that teach children about gravity, the solar system, and how/why some things can take flight while others can’t.

My son’s favorite part of this exhibit is the Boeing 757 cockpit where you can sit in the pilot’s seat, explore the gears, and look out of the windshield at a view of the city.

In this area, you can also create and launch your own paper airplane, climb and play in a rocket ship, read interesting facts about aeronautics, and learn to fly in the Boeing 777 flight simulators. 

Maker Works 

In this area, your children will be able to create and build. In the “Open Make” center, there are several recycled materials where your kids can cut, glue, fold and color their own creations. There are also several different styles of blocks that can be found – magnetic, large Legos, KAPLA blocks, waffle blocks, etc. that will put your child’s problem-solving and engineering skills to the test!

This part of the museum is best suited for children 5-10 years old, however, with extra assistance, younger children might also be able to engage in some of the play (especially with the building blocks). 

My Backyard exhibit at EdVenture

My Backyard

Strictly reserved for children 3 years old and younger, here you will find tons of toddler and baby-safe play! There is a treehouse-styled jungle gym, a boat where kiddos can dress up in rain boots and large yellow jackets, puzzles, soft play mats, a ball pit, and several ways to meet the sensory needs of your tots!

As mentioned before, there is also a nursing area and large, family-style restroom within. 

Party Room at EdVenture

Looking for the perfect place to host a birthday party? You might want to check out the EdVenture party room! Parties are $300 for non-members and $260 for members. The birthday packages come with several incentives including all-day admission for 35 guests, discounts in the gift shop, downloadable party invitations, 90-minute private party, and more! You can visit the EdVenture Birthday page to check for dates and find out more. 

Visit EdVenture: Columbia ,SC

EdVenture
211 Gervais Street
Columbia, SC 29201

Hours:
Monday, Wednesday – Saturday: 9 am – 5 pm
Sunday: 12 pm to 5 pm
Closed Tuesday

We want to know…where did your family spend the most time in EdVenture: Columbia, SC? 

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10+ Places to See Dinosaurs Near Columbia, SC

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Do you want to take your family somewhere to see dinosaurs? Have you been searching for “places to see dinosaurs near me”? If you have a dino-loving kid, you probably have been. And, you’re in luck. Because, we have a list of all the places to see dinosaurs near Columbia, SC. Our list includes some fabulous places to learn about dinosaurs right in Columbia, SC,  and also in North Carolina and South Carolina. All of them make a great dinosaur day trip or even a weekend adventure from the Midlands.

 

Where to See Dinosaurs in the Southeast

This article includes:
Where to See Dinosaurs in Greenville, SC
Places to See Dinosaurs in Columbia, SC
Places to See Dinosaurs in North Carolina
Places to See Dinosaurs in Georgia
Dinosaur Traveling Exhibits

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