Located several hours inland from the coast and half day’s drive from Atlanta, there are so many fun family things to do in Columbia South Carolina with kids! The capitol city is also situated in the Lake Murray Country area of the state with plenty of great surrounding suburban areas. Home of USC’s Gamecocks and the fourth largest lake in the state, tourists can find plenty of things to do. These Columbia SC Kids Attractions are designed as the ultimate play destinations for families.
Things To Do In Columbia South Carolina With Kids
Our family loves visiting the Columbia, South Carolina area and it’s so much more than a college town. There are plenty of year round activities for kids, but the city also has some fun seasonal events. The best time of year to visit Columbia is probably the fall season – the weather is gorgeous.
The Columbia, South Carolina Kids Attractions
South Carolina State Museum
The South Carolina State Museum is one of epic proportions that includes: four floors of exhibits, a planetarium, an observatory and a 4D theater. Kids can participate in hands-on learning activities featuring the state history and STEM. My favorite exhibit is the collection of American made telescopes and astronomical equipment at The Robert B. Ariail Collection of Historical Astronomy.
The museum includes a lot of walking, so bring a stroller for young children. They have a play area specifically designed for toddlers.
EdVenture Children’s Museum
If you plan on visiting the South Carolina State Museum, include the EdVenture Children’s Museum on your itinerary. They are located across the street from each other. So you can keep the car in one spot and walk over. EdVenture features creative hands-on play exhibits.
Kids can jump, climb, pretend and play together at EdVenture. I love that their motto: “seeing will be believing and doing will mean remembering” and that’s why kids are encouraged to explore their 10 permanent exhibits. My favorite is EDDIE – he’s a giant 40 feet tall boy that kids can climb into and learn about the inner workings of our anatomy.
The Columbia Museum of Art
Parents can visit the work of mid-century artists and bring the kids for some artistic fun. The Columbia Museum of Art offers interactive family programs where culture and art cross-pollinate under one roof. Kids can listen to story-telling in the galleries, take a safari through the art collections or create artwork together.
RiverBanks Zoo & Garden
Ranked as one of the top zoos in the United States, the RiverBanks Zoo & Gardens is a can’t miss attraction. The lush park is beautifully designed. Kids can meet a zookeeper to learn about conservation, participate in special feedings, ride the kid’s train, climb the ropes course and splash around.
There is plenty of shade and places to relax in the air-conditioning. I recommend visiting anytime of the year, as they always offers special seasonal family events.
Historic Columbia House Tours
Parallel your kid’s history lessons from school with a Historic Columbia House Tour. The homes are located in the heart of downtown Columbia and housed families that helped shape the city as we know it today. They’re open to the public for tours and kids are welcome to join. Hands-on learning and small group tours make it a kid-friendly choice. Don’t forget to check the Historic Columbia event calendar for fun seasonal events.
Lake Murray Outdoor Activities
The various green spaces around the lake and waterfront activities makes Lake Murray a central location for fun. Visitors can rent a boat by the hour to take the family fishing, swim and hike around the lake area. 4th of July is the busiest time on the lake as everyone watches fireworks in celebration.
The Lexington, South Carolina Area
Lexington County Museum
Discover local history and hear the stories of what life what like in the Lexington area before 1865. The Lexington County Museum offers walking tours of that showcase the historical structures and artifacts from the colonial period to the Civil War.
Kids can see what life was like for their age during the different time periods. They can test their skills at outside games like horseshoes, jump rope, marbles, jacks and other games from the 1700s and 1800s. The museum also offers seasonal activities for the holidays.
The Newberry, South Carolina Area
The Newberry Opera House
In the heart of downtown Newberry, The Newberry Opera House has a bustling calendar that doesn’t leave out the young ones. From the ballet to festive holiday favorites, there are several family-friendly shows on their event calendar. I love the idea of planning a family picnic around Newberry’s Memorial Square and catching an evening show. It’s a great way to introduce performing arts to your children.