There are so many amazing places to see and things to do in South Carolina with your family. And there are some places and some things that are more special, more enchanting, more magical when seen through the eyes of young children. There's a time and place for every adventure. Here are seven adventures to do before your littlest ones turn 7 years old.
1. Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden in Columbia is consistently rated one of the best zoos in America, and it's an amazing place for visitors of any age. And the new 3-acre children's garden, called Waterfall Junction, is an absolutely magical place for young children. Kids can play in the garden's waterfall and run through it's stream in the new splash pad, look for tadpoles in the ponds, pretend to be a bunny in the rabbit tunnels, and run and leap through the leaves in a playground built high up in the air in tree houses.
2. Children's Museum of the Upstate in Greenville has so very much to love, both for small children and their grown-ups. From a wind tunnel to a three-story climbing structure to an incredible water play space, TCMU is a truly great place to visit. It's so great, in fact, that it is the only children's museum in the entire country that has been named a Smithsonian Affiliate, giving TCMU unprecedented access to Smithsonian resources and travelling exhibits. Kids might not care about that honor, but they'll be amazed at this museum.
3. When the lights go out at the Columbia Marionette Theatre and the first giant marionette saunters on stage, the magic begins. Columbia Marionette Theatre is one of the few dedicated puppet theaters in America, and it's well worth a visit with a child who can see the impossible come to life right before her eyes.
4. Myrtle Beach has the very best miniature golf courses in the world, and people of all ages are sure to find the perfect course. For young children, though, there's no mini golf course quite as charming as Captain Hook's Adventure Golf. With its snapping crocodile and flitting Tinkerbell, a trip to Neverland was never so much fun.
5. Pirate's Voyage Dinner and Show in Myrtle Beach is a dinner like no other. With high-flying pirates and real mermaids, children just might be convinced they've gone back in time and out to sea. And kids won't be the only ones having fun. This dinner show is ridiculously fun for adults, too.
6. Is there anything more fun for kids than a scavenger hunt? Mice on Main in Greenville is an ingenious scavenger hunt down Main Street. Adorable, tiny bronze mouse sculptures hide among the buildings. Children race along, using the clues from a poem, to discover them. You can see where the little mice have been rubbed golden by the thousands of children charmed by their new little friends.
7. South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston is an amazing place, with sharks and turtles and jellyfish. But what's most enchanting and mesmerizing to little children are all the chances to actually touch sea creatures. From horseshoe crabs to rays to a giant whale bone, the aquarium is one place where kids don't have to keep their hands to themselves. And if you're lucky, you'll encounter a staffer carrying around a snake, baby alligator or some other interesting creature, so get the camera ready and introduce yourself.