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Posts Tagged ‘Educational Things to Do’

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.

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.

This article includes:
How Much Time Do I Need to Visit Riverbanks Zoo?
Tips and Tricks: Visiting the zoo in Columbia, SC
When is the best time to visit Riverbanks Zoo?
Riverbanks Zoo Map: Getting around
What should I bring to the Riverbanks Zoo?
Can you feed animals at the zoo in Columbia?
What other rides and attractions are at Riverbanks Zoo?
Can I bring food and snacks to the Riverbanks Zoo?
Special Events at Columbia’s Zoo
What is Bridge to the Wild?
The New Darnall W. and Susan F. Boyd Aquarium & Reptile Conservation Center

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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? 

Indoor Guide to Columbia, SC

Never Be Bored Indoors

Indoor Things to Do in Columbia, SC

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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Explore Revolutionary War History With a Hike Through the Blackstock Battlefield in Enoree, SC

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Have you checked out Blackstock Battlefield in Enoree, SC? One of the benefits of living in South Carolina is the chance to bring history to life by visiting the hundreds of historical sites across the state. We’ve visited Musgrove Mill State Historic Site many times, as it covers all the bases for my kids: Revolutionary War battlefield to explore, Tyger River trail to hike, and Horseshoe Falls to cool down in. But did you know Musgrove Mill manages a second battlefield?

Located only 7 miles to the north, Blackstock Battlefield preserves the site of the Revolutionary War battle where the infamous British Lt. Col. Tarleton was foiled in his attempt to defeat Patriot Brig. Gen. Sumter in 1780. We recently received a tour of Blackstock Battlefield during the South Carolina 7 Wonders Expedition, and wanted to share with you more on this little-known historic site just 40 minutes from Spartanburg!

Revolutionary War Action

Some months after the Battle at Kings Mountain, Sumter had gathered troops in preparation to attack the British post at Ninety Six. The British summoned Tarleton from his pursuit of the “Swamp Fox” Marion down near the coast to intercept Sumter, and the British Lt. Col. managed to secretly cross the Broad with his feared Dragoons before a defector informed Sumter he was being pursued. Sumter chose to make a stand at Blackstock’s Plantation on the Tyger river as Tarleton raced towards his position with his cavalry and mounted infantry.

Historical Map of Blacksotck Battlefield
Historical Map of Blackstock Battlefiled

When the British caught up with Sumter, they were at a disadvantage; they had gotten ahead of their infantry and artillery in hopes of catching Sumter unawares, and instead were themselves caught in the open under heavy fire from the high ground. After suffering heavy losses and regrouping, Tarleton retreated to join his infantry and artillery – but without half of his men, who had been lost in the battle. Sumter was badly wounded, and was evacuated overnight. Tarleton pursued the Patriots for two more days, and although he claimed a victory for dispersing Sumter’s militia, it was a costly defeat for the British in that they lost numerous officers, horses, and equipment. The Battle of Blackstock’s was a precursor to the action later at Cowpens. 

Blackstock Battlefield view

On Your Visit to Blackstock Battlefield

Directions: From Exit 44 on I-26, go east on SC Hwy 49 about 5.5 miles to the Blackstock’s Historical Marker. Turn left onto Blackstock’s Road, then go about 1.2 miles and turn right onto Monument Road. Continue until the pavement ends, and park in the parking area before the gate. 

For the best vantage point of the battlefield, continue up the gravel road to Monument Hill. Standing with your back to the monument, Blackstock’s Ford of the Tyger River is down the hill to the right. The open meadow was much larger when the Blackstock family lived there, and the British would have come charging up the hill to meet the forces lined up along the top. On the far end of the meadow was where the house and barn were located. 

Take a Hike

The parking area is also the trailhead for the Blackstock Battlefield Passage of the Palmetto Trail. This 1.6-mile loop descends to the Tyger River, and then follows the river for about ½ mile before climbing up to the battlefield. Skirting the edge of the open field, the trail re-enters the woods and returns to the parking area. 

The SC Park Service asks that you remain on signed roads & trails while visiting the battlefield. Going off-trail can be hazardous, especially to children, as there are many deep holes from when the area was logged and the stumps were buried. On our visit, we also saw fire ants, bees, and snakes. Highlights of our hike included seeing an eastern box turtle, taking in the view from Monument Hill, and experiencing another piece of the Revolutionary War puzzle that we have been piecing together during our southeastern travels.

Blackstock Battlefield Monument and fencing

Things to do near Blackstock Battlefield

After hiking the Palmetto Trail Passage, my kiddos were more than happy to make the 15-minute drive to Horseshoe Falls, a small waterfall on a tributary of the Enoree River that is located in Musgrove Mill State Historic Site off Battlefield Trail. Just across the Enoree is the main portion of the State Park, including a Visitor Center and British Camp Trail. A little farther to the east is another State Historic Site, Rose Hill.

Just to the southeast is the Enoree Ranger District of Sumter National Forest. In addition to camping, cycling, OHV, fishing, horseback riding, and hunting, the Enoree is home to the Enoree Passage of the Palmetto Trail, with 36 continuous miles of trail linking Newberry, Laurens, and Union counties.

If you are headed north, towards Spartanburg, on your way home, you will pass near Glenn Springs, a small community with a lot of history, as well as by Croft State Park.

Blackstock Battlefield Passage of the Palmetto Trail
Blackstock Battlefield is open 9 am – 6 pm daily.

Musgrove Mill State Historic Site
Admission to Musgrove Mill is $3 adults; $1.50 SC seniors; $1 children age 6-15; age 5 & younger free.
Musgrove Mill is open 9 am to 6 pm daily.

Carolina Raptor Center: Here’s Your Chance to Hang Out with Raptors!

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Carolina Raptor Center is located just north of Charlotte in Huntersville, NC. The center is home to falcons, hawks, owls, eagles and vultures from all over the world. Visitors can view these magnificent raptors up close, and learn about their individual stories and unique characteristics that help them survive in the wild.  The center also offers educational programming for groups. KAG contributor, Maria Bassett, shares a visit she and her children took to the Carolina Raptor Center.

What is a Raptor?

Raptors.  We see them in the sky far above us, soaring and circling, their sharp eyes keenly searching out their next meal.  They don’t sing, or entertain us with their bright colors at our feeders. They don’t visit our backyard feeders at all (except maybe to snack on the songbirds themselves). In fact, we rarely get the chance to see anything but their silhouettes overhead. And yet they catch our attention. What makes these birds so unique? If you want to know, you will find the drive to Carolina Raptor Center well worth it!

Raptor Center

Raptors are meat eating birds that catch their prey with their talons (unlike other birds who may eat meat that catch their prey with their beaks- think birds and worms, or penguins and fish).  They are equipped with many special features that give them the ability to accomplish this task.  From sharp talons, to third eyelids and tiny bones that act as sun visors, you’ll be amazed at all you’ll learn in just a few hours at the center.

Raptor Center question and answer with an owl

How About a Field Trip?

Educational groups who plan a visit to the center can schedule a presentation from a very knowledgeable staff member.  Our group was able to view and learn about three different raptors. We learned about each bird’s special features, how they train the raptors, where the birds come from, what they eat and more, all while getting an extremely close view of these magnificent creatures.

This presentation was easily the best part of our visit. The children (and adults) in attendance were so excited to see each bird as our guide brought them out. The guide kept everyone interested and engaged.  Being a homeschool family that likes to school as much as we can through experiences, I have to say, this was one of the best educational presentations we’ve ever had the pleasure to view.

Raptor Center presentation

Fieldtrip groups also have the added benefit of a significant per person discount. The center has pre-planned programming, but will also customize for your group.  Homeschoolers, you do not have to be part of an organized group to schedule these field trip programs!  Gather some adventure-loving homeschool families with children of similar ages and make your own group! 

Raptor Center owl

The Trail

The trail at CRC is open to all paying guests. The trail area is where you will view the center’s various raptors in their habitats.  It’s a mostly shaded, gravel path and easily walkable. We had a few strollers in our group who had no problem with the path. Along the trail you’ll see raptors divided by their types; a grouping of owls, a loop of falcons, a section of vultures, the eagle aviary, and lineup of hawks. This allows you to easily compare them within their raptor families.

The trail also contains an exhibit showing the center’s raptors who regularly help out in the educational presentations, as well as an exhibit showing some of the work the raptor hospital onsite does regularly. The hospital is not regularly open to the public; however, they offer a behind-the-scenes tour and the exhibit “A Day in the Life of a Raptor Hospital.”

Raptor Center enclosure

Spending the Day at Carolina Raptor Center

If you plan to spend a large portion of your day at CRC, you should know that there is no onsite food vendor. The gift shop sells snacks, ice cream bars, and popsicles. If you plan to have lunch, you’ll need to bring it with you. (There isn’t much in the way of fast food nearby, either.) 

The center has several places to picnic, one is alongside a nature play area.  The play area contains teeter totters made out of sanded logs, a sand pit, sliced log blocks, a wooden play house, and a small area where children can view pictures of raptor nests and try to recreate them with nearby materials.

Getting to CRC

Carolina Raptor Center is located about 20 minutes north of Charlotte.  As you approach the center, follow signs for the nature preserve.  As you pass the preserve, you’ll soon approach the raptor center on your left. The first entrance is for the raptor hospital, the second entrance is the clearly marked main entrance to Carolina Raptor Center.  Google Maps brought us right to the visitor center parking lot with no problem.

Address:
Carolina Raptor Center, 6000 Sample Road, Huntersville, NC 28078

Admission and Hours

Hours are 10 am to 4 pm daily. They close from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm, meaning the gift shop, ticketing and restrooms are closed from 12:30 to 1:30 pm, but guests already on the Raptor Trail do not have to leave.

Admission: $12 adults, $10 seniors, teachers, military, $8 Students ages 4 and up, Free for children ages 3 and under.

Bring the Learning Home

Here are some great books you can find on Amazon or at the library about raptors:

  • Birds of Prey (Peterson Field Guide)- J 598.9L
  • Discovering Birds of Prey by M.J. Thomas- J 598.9 T
  • Animal Lives: The Barn Owl- J 598.97
  • Eyewitness Book: Eagle and Birds of Prey- J 598.9

Your family might also enjoy reading My Side of the Mountain, by Jean Craighead George, as well as the sequels.  The main character in these stories trains a peregrine falcon to help him hunt as he tries to live on his own, off of the land.

Consider having students bring a sketchbook and sketch a few of the raptors they see.  Clearly label the sketches.  When you get home, have students look up information about the raptors they drew.  Consider a writing assignment, creative poster, flyer, brochure, or some other type of assignment that incorporates the sketches.  Similarly, families could take photographs of the birds and complete a family project, like a bulletin board or scrapbook, about what they learned.

Love Raptors?

Enjoy your visit to CRC?  Looking for a little more?  Consider visiting Caesar’s Head State Park this fall to observe the migration of thousands of raptors as they pass above the cliff on their way to their winter homes.  Check out the Kidding Around Greenville story on Hawk Watch.  You are likely to only see them from the sky, but they are still quite impressive.