Downtown Aiken: The Perfect Place for a Scavenger Hunt with the Kids

By:Kerry Egan

Date:4/29/2015

Check out historic and beautiful downtown Aiken, SC.
Downtown Aiken is full of painted horses such as this patriotic beauty.

Want to explore lovely Aiken, South Carolina's, historic Laurens Avenue, but have little ones with you who might not be so interested in art galleries and antique shops? Make it a scavenger hunt for the entire family to enjoy!

Just print out this page (or pull it up on your phone), read the questions aloud and challenge your little ones to discover the hidden gems in downtown Aiken.

Starting out:

1. Begin in the lovely, park-like median in the middle of Laurens Street, at the corner of Laurens and Barnwell, on the north side of Barnwell. Stop and listen.

Can you find where that lovely gurgling sound is coming from? In the center of the median is a little garden, and in the center of the garden is a fountain, given by the Aiken High School's class of 1964.

2. Now, can you discover how much people once paid for a train trip to nearby Augusta, Georgia? The historical marker in the garden will tell you: 25 cents in 1902. The trolley lines once ran down the beautiful, leafy median.

3. Cross to the east side of Laurens and turn right to cross Barnwell. Now head south down Laurens Street. You'll continue to head south on this side of Laurens Street until we tell you to cross over to the other side.

Can you find a flowery gateway? The lovely wrought iron fence and arbor at 146 Laurens St. NW is covered in Carolina jessamine, South Carolina's state flower. If you’re lucky, it will be blooming and you’ll get to experience the intoxicating smell.

4. Now, can you find a flowery horse? A fiberglass horse sculpture, painted with flowers, stands in front of 120 Laurens St. NW. Horse sculptures, all painted differently, are dotted all over Aiken. How many more will you find?

5. Now, can you find the time? A big, stand-alone clock anchors the corner of Laurens and Richland streets.

6. Look up. Can you find a tiny horse, way up high? There's a little horse sculpture atop the address sign at 110 Laurens SW. By now, you may have noticed that there's lots of horse imagery in Aiken. Horses even appear on the street signs. Aiken is the heart of horse country in South Carolina and locally known as Thoroughbred Country.

7. Can you find a painted lady and some chairs for her to sit in? You can find them in the mural painted on the side of the building at the corner of Laurens and The Alley.

8. Walk down to the corner of Park and Laurens. Can you find two children playing in the water? The whimsical fountain in the middle of the intersection of Park and Laurens Streets is called the Morgan Fountain, in honor of former Mayor Thomas Redman Morgan. It was under his leadership that the gardens and towering trees along Aiken's roads were planted.

9. Turn right to cross Laurens Street. Can you discover whose bank sits here? The words high atop the building will tell you that it's “The Farmers & Merchants" bank established in 1906.

10. Turn right and now head north on Laurens. Can you find a patriotic ride? This horse, painted with the American flag on one side and the South Carolina flag on the other, sits in front of City Hall.

11. Peek inside the Holley Building. Can you discover what type of building used to be here? The tile in the floor will tell you that the building used to be home to Holley Hardware Co.

12. Keep walking and cross Richland Street. Look for a sign. What angel watches over Laurens Street? A sign on the building at 135 Laurens indicates that the archangel Michael brings healing. The store that put up the sign is gone, but the angel remains.

13. Walk to the corner of Laurens and Barnwell. Here is your reward for finding the secrets of Laurens Street. Betsy's on the Corner serves the most delicious ice cream sundaes and milkshakes. Enjoy!

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