25 Adventures in Charleston, SC for Older Kids


I wistfully remember storytimes at the library and playdates at the park when my biggest hurdle was enforcing toddlers to share.

Now my days are spent entertaining a 7 and 9 year old and while this list of activities has plenty of gems (ET at the Terrace Theatre and World of Squirrels at the library) here is a listing of places that are perfect for older kids to enjoy the outdoors and learn more about Charleston’s history.

#1. Sewee Education Center
This center educates all about the lowcountry’s ecosystem with some pretty cool taxidermy displays. There’s also trails and red wolf habitats.

#2. Birds of Prey
While up near Awendaw check out this rehabilitation and educational center for the 5 birds of prey. The Vulture Restaurant is pretty neat and no, it’s not for humans!

#3. Awendaw Green Barn Jam
This is going to be the summer we finally make it out to the weekly Wednesday evening jam session, perfect for families.

#4. Hampton Plantation Historic Site
Hiking is one of our favorite things to do with our kids and this trail looks easy and the historic house makes a perfect background for family photos.

#5. Sewee Shell Ring Trail
Beware the mosquitoes but this is my favorite hiking trail to take our kids on. It is a relatively short trail through the woods ending at a boardwalk with historical facts and a pretty neat shell mound dating 4,000 years old.

#6. Awendaw Passage of the Palmetto Trail
Want an adventure outside? Hike the palmetto trail beginning at the Awendaw Creek canoe launch or at Buck Hall Recreation site. We normally begin from the canoe launch and just walk until we get tired and then turn around.

#7. Caw Caw Interpretation Center
If you want to show your kids a gator in the wild, go here. There’s a reason pets aren’t allowed.

#8. Edisto Serpentarium
Have a kid who loves snakes and reptiles? Go here.

#9. Beaufort Drive-In Theatre

#10. Old Santee Canal Park
With Cypress Gardens closed due to the thousand year flood, Old Santee Canal Park might be the closest thing you’ll get to swamp education.

#11. Charleston Tea Plantation
Until I experienced this myself with kids in tow, I would have chalked this place up to a tourist trap. It isn’t. Or at least us locals should go check it out. They have a behind the scenes tour of how tea is produced (from farm to table) and then you get to take a trolley-ride through the tea fields to see how the leaves are harvested. And free tea to sample.

#12. Charles Towne Landing
Pick an overcast cool day and take bikes. If you go on 6/3 or 7/1, make sure to check out the canon shootings.

#13. Zipline
Charleston Zip Line Adventures (Awendaw)
Wild Blue Ropes (James Island)

#14. Rock Climbing

#15. Fort Sumter
We’ve lived in Charleston 15 years and I still haven’t been to where the Civil War began.

#16. Fort Moultrie
Underground bunkers and a replica of a WWII war time office continually amazes my kids.

#17. The Hunley
Only open on the weekends and you need a reservation in advance.

#18. The Charleston Museum
An enormous replica of a whale (that once lived off Charleston’s harbor??), arrowheads, guns…this is right up a boy’s alley. Each Thursday afternoon they offer a Hands on History workshop for kids older than 5.

#19. Mace Brown Museum of Natural History
A hidden gem at the College of Charleston.

#20. Gateway Garden Walk
Connects various churches and graveyards downtown.

#21. The Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon
Totally looks like a tourist trap but they offer historical tours and it was the first jail!

#22. Sea Turtle Care Center
When my kids were young they enjoyed seeing the turtles; but are now old enough to actually learn about the turtles.

#23. Charles Pinckney National Historic Site
A beautiful place for kids to run around and learn about the SC representative who signed the Constitution.

#24. Morris Island Lighthouse Tour

#25. McLeod Plantation Historic Site
Learn about Gullah culture and the history of a working plantation.

Don’t forget to check out this list of free/minimal cost programs and 63 places off the beaten path in Charleston for more kid friendly activities.

Enjoy your summer!



Charleston’s Summer Events for Kids: MamaCamp Plan

Only a few days of school remain…are you wondering how you’ll fill all those endless hours of childhood boredom?


Check out this list of free to minimal cost events for kids in the LowCountry.

Charleston Co. Library’s Summer Reading Events

Dorchester Co. Library’s Summer Reading Events

Berkeley Co. Library’s Summer Reading Events

Piccolo at the Library

Piccolo for Children

Charleston Co. Parks Summer Series

Movies at Terrace Theatre

Movies at Regal Grande Theatre

Movies at Tides Hotel on the Beach at Night

Movie Nights at Wannamaker Park

ExtraValue Days at CCPRC Waterparks

The Charleston Museum: Kid Tours (Wednesday’s) and Hands on History (Thursday’s)

Barnes & Noble Story Time 

Charles Towne Landing Toddler Forest & Canon Shootings

Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry Programs

Awendaw Green Barn Jams

Historic Charleston Foundation Kid Programs

Family Fun Nights at Mt. Pleasant Recreation Pools  (word on the street is if all goes well, the Jones Center pool will open back up on June 12)

City of Charleston Programs

Charleston Library Society Storytimes

Time for Tots: Old Santee Canal Park

Join me tomorrow when I post activities for older kids and don’t forget to check out 63 Places off the Beaten Path in Charleston for more summer fun inspiration.



Fine Art and Kids: 3 Tips for Taking Kids to an Art Museum

{Recently I was able to attend a media day for the re-opening of the Gibbes Museum of Art following their 2 year renovation. I was lucky to meet the very talented Merideth Garrigen of A Spot in Time photography. Unless otherwise noted, all photographs in this post are kindly provided by her. Thank you Merideth!}

I know you’re probably thinking…

Fine Art + Kids = NOT A GOOD IDEA

But I promise…
Fine Art at the Gibbes + Kids of any age = A great way to cool off in this summer heat

Whether a Monet or a homemade kid portrait, I love art.

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source for these 3 photos: The Local Goodness}

There’s just something therapeutic when you pick up a paint brush and express yourself on a blank slate of canvas.
It’s equally cathartic to walk through an art museum and ponder what the artist was hoping to convey.

But the thought of taking my kids to an art museum can easily send on heart palpitations.
Grimy hand-prints, a kid’s inside voice that closely resembles yelling, feet running down corridors of art…
Enough to make any brave mama pause for a moment to consider her sanity.

But passing on a love of fine art to our kids doesn’t have to be something complicated or evoke fear.

It’s simply being brave enough to expose them to it.

I’ve broken down our local art museum into what kids of different ages would appreciate. While these 3 tips/age ranges are focused on the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, I think they can be applied to most art museums in the country.

Take as few kids as you can, pick one exhibit to focus on, and don’t feel bad if you simply enter, enjoy some free AC, and then be on your merry way.

And parents, one note of advice: You may want to only take one kid at a time. 
{I for one can handle one loud talking, hands everywhere, feet running 8 year old. Add a feisty six year old into the mix and it’s simply too much for me on my own. Plus, kids love getting one on one attention from a parent.}


PreSchooler Age: First Floor
Admission to the first floor of Gibbes is free! Don’t feel bad if you only enter to take advantage of the cooling air conditioning. We recently walked Duval Street in Key West and stopped in at numerous art galleries simply to get a break from the oppressive heat.

On this floor, youngsters can watch artist in residence at work, take part in kid classes, or grab a bite to eat and take out to the garden in the back.

The artist in residence program is really neat because your kids can watch artist create masterpieces and give you an opportunity to ask questions to the artists.

Elementary Age: Second Floor

You and your kids will be entranced as you walk up marble ensconced steps to the breathtaking rotunda that was previously carpeted. Intricate details on the window trim, previously hidden under coats of paint, has now been exposed with the original walnut stain. {I could go on and on about the renovation changes – it really is amazing that the beauty of the building was there all along – it just happened to be covered up with paint & carpet for decades.}

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The second floor holds a miniature portrait exhibit – the selfies of the 1700 & 1800’s. It’s thought provoking to think before photography was widespread, miniature portraits were how family and friends were held close. In this day of Instagram feeds, realizing the time it would take for a portrait to be painted and then that portrait was your one keepsake of someone – how priceless.

This exhibit left me feeling nostalgic but also blessed to be able to take photograph after photograph of my kids.

Further into the second floor is The Mary Jackson gallery of sweet grass baskets, including a huge piece that took Jackson 3 years to make specifically for the Museum. It is her largest basket ever made. Make sure to ask the Gibbes how they hung the basket using magnets.

Teenagers: Third Floor
This new gallery space is perfect for teenagers and those wanting to reflect on deep intellectual thoughts while viewing special exhibits.

An unraveled Confederate flag. Burnt artwork. Monuments being torn down.

All things to consider as you view The Things We Carry, a contemporary art exhibit focusing on the troubled history of race relations in the American South.

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Words cannot describe this exhibit.
Allot plenty of time to process and reflect on the meaning found in these masterpieces.

We were lucky to have the Museum curator guide us through this exhibit and explain in detail each piece of art. If a tour guide is available for this part of the museum, I highly recommend it.


So let’s go inspire our kids to be artists!

Be brave, take the kids one at a time if you can {that’s what I’ll be doing}, and check out your local art museum.

Find some AC this week & Stay Cool!


{A huge thanks to the Gibbes Museum of Art for inviting me to their media day. The renovations are stunning and I can’t wait to show their fine art to my children.}