Family Travel

Kerry Egan



Who knew state government could be so much fun?

Posted 5/20/2013 12:59:00 PM

Sometimes the best outings are the ones you never expected or planned. I ended up on the grounds of the State House on a recent Saturday spring afternoon with a friend and our passel of energetic children after eating in the Vista and not wanting to part ways quite yet. Both my and my friend's kids are still talking about how much fun the grounds of the state capitol are.

"Next time we meet, please can it be here? Please, please?" one begged.

"This is so much better than any playground ever!" said another.

"No, even better than an amusement park!" Now that's high praise.

I wouldn't have thought of this as a fantastic outing, but my kids would disagree.

So what did they love? Well, apparently the enormous shrubs are fantastic for games of hide and seek. The ancient trees are perfect for swinging on and playing house under. The steps are great for running up and down. The balustrade at the top is perfect for looking over and making yourself nauseous from the height. In short, a kid wonderland. Who knew?

And my friend and I got to walk around the beautiful gardens and talk uninterrupted while they ran like maniacs.

I'm sure some day we'll go inside to tour the building, and look at the statues, and talk about the history (both distant and recent) of the place and its monuments and flags, but this was not the day. This was a day to soak in the flowering trees and white irises and little kids galloping on the grass.

The South Carolina State House grounds are located at the corner of Gervais and Assembly streets in Columbia. They are free to visit, and open all the time.

Insider Tip: The restaurants on Main Street and in the Vista are an easy walk. It’s a great way to let kids burn off energy before or after sitting still for a meal!