Rich in both culture and history, South Carolina holds onto its deep-rooted Southern charm. Some of the more popular towns such as Georgetown and Charleston, offer visitors a plethora of attractions and entertainment options. Museums, zoos, aquariums, wildlife parks, military sites, historic districts, and beautiful architecture are enough to keep visitors busy throughout their stay. Lovers of the outdoors will appreciate South Carolina’s blue water bays, beaches, salt marshes, and estuaries. In a state bustling with family-fun activities, here are the top 25 things to do with kids in South Carolina.

1.Carolina Children's Garden

Carolina Children's Garden
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The Carolina Children’s Garden is a two-acre, green oasis located in northeast Columbia, on the Clemson University/Sandhill campus. The park has twelve themed gardens where children get to enjoy fresh air while exploring, playing, and learning in a natural environment. Trees, wind chimes, birds, butterflies, and insects create an idyllic outdoor setting. Whimsical displays encourage imaginative play. The centerpiece of the grounds is Winnie The Pooh's garden, complete with Eeyore's house, Owl's house up in a tree, and a sandpit for digging and creating. The garden is open daily from 7:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Guests enjoy free admission year round.

900 Clemson Road, Columbia, SC, Phone: 803-788-5700

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2.Settlemyre Planetarium

Settlemyre Planetarium
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Located in the north-central region of South Carolina, the Settlemyre Planetarium is housed within the Museum of York County. A totally digital, full-dome theater, the planetarium offers programs on a wide variety of scientific topics. Visitors will watch in awe, as they learn about how to find constellations, moon positions, planets, and even the Milky Way Galaxy. The Settlemyre hosts specialty productions such as, Carolina Skies, The Halloween Show, and Spooky Space. Admission is free with museum entry. Shows run daily, although the planetarium is closed on Sundays and Mondays.

4621 Mount Gallant Road, Rock Hill, SC, Phone: 803-329-2121

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3.Children's Museum of the Lowcountry

Children's Museum of the Lowcountry
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The Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry is a non-profit organization with a mission to create an inclusive and empowered learning environment for children and families with diverse backgrounds. The museum’s unique experiences stimulate curiosity and spark children’s imaginations via an emphasis on play. A number of different programs are offered throughout the year. Small Scientists Society explores scientific concepts that are developmentally appropriate for children ages three to five years old via a 12-week program. Art Room Surprise offers kids the chance to explore and create using a variety of different artistic mediums. Full-day camps are offered during spring, summer, fall, and winter breaks.

25 Ann Street, Charleston, SC, Phone: 843-853-8962

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4.South Carolina State Museum

South Carolina State Museum
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The South Carolina State Museum hosts four floors of displays featuring history, art, natural history, and science and technology. A variety of permanent and changing exhibits are offered at the museum, which also houses a planetarium and an observatory. The on-site Stringer Discovery Center is a family engagement space full of activities designed for children ages six and under. A kid’s construction workshop, reading nook, tree house and a stage with costumes are a few of the attractions. During a month-long Halloween event, the museum transforms into Oz. Guests enjoy a 4-D viewing of The Wizard of Oz, themed activities, and an adventure along the yellow brick road. The museum offers day camps and field trips for school-aged children.

301 Gervais Street, Columbia, SC, Phone: 803-898-4921

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5.The Museum Greenwood

The Museum Greenwood
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The museum and railroad center offer a number of exciting attractions. The Main Street exhibit gives guests an opportunity to experience the life and culture of Native American tribes and early settlers, as well as life at the turn of the century. A cinema, general store, and railroad depot provide an interactive learning experience. The Carolina Cave and Doc Rhodes Gems and Minerals exhibits feature information about mining, gems and fossils; while the Epic Journeys exhibit narrates the world’s greatest animal migration stories. At the railroad center, lively tours of restored 1900s locomotives and train cars allow visitors to experience early American travel. Hours to the museum vary. Special events and summer day camps are offered.

120 Main Street, Greenwood, SC, Phone: 864-388-7800

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6.Alligator Adventure

Alligator Adventure
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Located in North Myrtle Beach, next to Barefoot Landing, Alligator Adventure is one of South Carolina’s most outstanding tourist attractions. Recognized as one of the biggest reptile facilities in the world, guests to the park will get an up-close-and-personal view of alligators, frogs, lizards, snakes, and tortoises. The animal park features other unique animals such as bobcats, squirrel monkeys, flamingos, and more. Daily shows give the audience a chance to experience live alligator feedings and snake handling. Hours vary throughout the year. Kids three and under are free.

Hwy 17 at Barefoot Landing, North Myrtle Beach, S.C, Phone: 843-361-0789

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7.Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon

Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon
© Daniel Meunier/

The 1771 Old Exchange Building is a Charleston landmark and the site of some of the most important and tragic events in South Carolina history. In the 1700s, the Exchange hosted political leaders as they debated and approved portions of the U. S. Constitution. The venue also entertained President George Washington by hosting a series of lavish dinners and events. Most notably, however, the Exchange was Charleston’s center for public slave auctions, making it one of the most harrowing landmarks in American history. The Provost Dungeon, located within the Exchange, held captive prisoners of war, British soldiers, private citizens, and enslaved people. Self-guided tours of the exchange are supported by on-site docents.

122 East Bay Street, Charleston, SC, Phone: 843-727-2165

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8.The Children’s Museum of the Upstate

The Children’s Museum of the Upstate
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The Children’s Museum of the Upstate has two locations. At the Greenville location, children of all ages are invited to explore, discover, and imagine within several specialty exhibits. In Great Outdoors, kids go on a camping adventure complete with tents, sleeping bags, canoe rides, and campfires. During Blast Off, kids explore physics concepts and technology within a wind tunnel and spaceship. Other learning environments include Grandma Betty’s Farm, Construction Zone, Climber, and more. The museums’ Spartanburg location specializes in interactive exhibits geared towards children five years old and under. A giant water table, tree house, and children’s market are just a few of the offerings. TCMU programs include story time, open art studio, science projects, and sensory-friendly activities.

300 College Street, Greenville, SC, Phone: 864-233-7755

130 Magnolia Street, Spartanburg, SC, Phone: 864-553-7952

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9.The Center for Birds of Prey

The Center for Birds of Prey
© livingstonphoto/

The Center for Birds of Prey offers visitors a unique insight into the lives and adaptations of nearly 50 powerful bird species. Educational programs engage both children and adults in an awe-inspiring experience, which first includes a guided walking tour of the grounds, followed by a flight demonstration. During the flight demonstration, guests watch and listen as the guide describes the hunting and flying techniques of hawks, falcons, owls, eagles, and vultures soaring overhead. The center’s outdoor exhibit area consists of several aviaries housing more than 30 species of birds of prey. A tranquil, two-acre area of the property named Owl Wood is home to owls from around the world. Tours run Thursdays through Saturdays.

4719 Highway 17N, Awendaw, SC, Phone: 843-971-7474

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10.Ghost City Tours of Charleston

Ghost City Tours of Charleston
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Ghost City Tours take place in Charleston's Historic District, within a 10-minute circumference of the area’s most popular hotels. Considered one of the most haunted cities in America, visitors will learn about the Holy City’s not-so-holy past. A history teeming with early pirates, bloody battles, crimes, vices and sin lends itself to a salacious tour experience. During the tour, guides lead a stroll to the area’s most haunted locations and introduce ghosts of the past through storytelling. The Ghosts of Liberty Tour is a family-friendly tour that begins at 8 p.m. The Death and Depravity Tour, which begins at 10 p.m., is best suited for adults and teens ages 16 years old up.

Charleston, SC, Phone: 888-859-5375

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11.GHS Swamp Rabbit Trail

GHS Swamp Rabbit Trail
© Kevin Ruck/

Located in Greenville, the 22-mile, multi-use greenway known as Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail connects the area’s parks, schools, and local businesses. The trail snakes along the scenic Reedy River on a historic rail bed, surrounded by green trees and tall grasses. There are half-mile markers and .1-mile stencils along the path. Visitors may walk, run, bike, or skate the trail. No motorized vehicles are permitted. Dogs must be on a leash no longer than six feet. Parking and restrooms are available at various points along the trail. There are several restaurants, markets, cafes, and places to grab a brew within a mile of Swamp Rabbit Trail.

4806 Old Spartanburg Road, Taylors, SC, Phone: 864-288-6470

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12.Barrier Island Ecotours

Barrier Island Ecotours
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Barrier Island Eco tours offers boat and pontoon cruises up the intracoastal waterway to Capers Island Preserve, a pristine barrier island just a few miles north of Isle of Palms. These family-friendly excursions boast sightings of bottlenose dolphins, turtles, ospreys, pelicans, bald eagles, herons, egrets, and other animal life. Private charters offer a full day of fishing, crabbing, shelling, and exploration of the salt marshes. Evening festivities include beachside cookouts, bonfires, s’mores, and outdoor games. During the summer months, a marine biology day camp is offered to children ages five to 12 years old. Kids who attend camp get to see, touch, and learn about the ocean’s inhabitants and seaside wildlife.

50 41st Avenue, Isle of Palms, SC, Phone: 843-886-5000

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13.South Carolina Aquarium

South Carolina Aquarium
© Felix Mizioznikov/

The South Carolina Aquarium features an enormous population of sea life. Innumerous fish species, turtles, eels, seahorses, otters, and large marine mammals are visible in the aquarium’s crystal blue tanks. An on-site salt marsh aviary is home to herons, and contains a large petting pond where sting rays, turtles, puffer fish, horseshoe crabs, and sea urchins swim within a fingertip’s reach. At the 385,000-gallon Great Ocean tank, guests will come face-to-face with sharks and a 220-pound loggerhead sea turtle. The aquarium offers printable curriculums for teachers to use during field trips. The venue also hosts a homeschoolers’ club and large-group aquarium sleepovers. A snack bar, gift shop, and a professional photo booth create a memorable family experience.

100 Aquarium Wharf, Charleston, SC, Phone: 843-577-3474

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14.Paris Mountain State Park

Paris Mountain State Park
© Liudmila/

Paris Mountain is located in Greenville, South Carolina. Once a very a rural retreat, the park and Camp Buckhorn campsite now bustle with visitors year-round. The facilities are top-notch and include 39 paved campsites, 13 of which offer tent pads. An additional five trailside campsites are available on the north Loop. The park’s office headquarters are located centrally, along with a renovated bathhouse. There is endless acreage to explore, with 15 miles of hiking and biking trails. Visitors will enjoy a refreshing swim in one of four lakes. Boating, paddle boating, canoeing, and fishing are additional activities permitted on park grounds. A playground and five picnic shelters are available for use. A gift shop is on-site.

2401 State Park Road, Greenville, SC, Phone: 864-244-5565

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15.Sadlers Creek State Recreation Area

Sadlers Creek State Recreation Area
© pressmaster/

Sadlers Creek State Park is located on a peninsula jutting into Lake Hartwell. The lake itself is a reservoir of the Savannah River. The park hosts a total of 52 RV and tent campsites, and 14 tent-camping-only sites. There are also five large group camping sites. Thirty-seven lakefront campgrounds provide scenic views of wildlife and recreational watersports on the lake. The lake sports a 10-foot fishing dock that extends deep into the cove. There are two boat ramps that provide access to the 56,000-acre lake. A lakeside pavilion seats up to 150 people, and there are two picnic shelters. Sadlers Creek is a perfect choice for family reunions and other festive gatherings.

940 Sadlers Creek Road, Anderson, SC, Phone: 864-226-8950

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16.Classic Carriage Tours

Classic Carriage Tours
© Paul James Bannerman/

Classic Carriage Works offers visitors a relaxing way to explore Charleston's historic streets by horse and carriage. Knowledgeable guides offer in-depth descriptions of the city’s most notable landmarks. A history tour, civil war tour, and early morning tour are a few of the offerings. The Slavery to Freedom tour is a humbling experience that won’t soon be forgotten, as passengers are given an intimate look into slave life, while learning about the Middle Passage, the Stone Rebellion, and the Red Summer Riots of 1919. The tour also celebrates Angela and Sarah Grimke, black heroes who diligently worked to abolish slavery. Visitors may book private tours and school field trips.

10 Guignard Street, Charleston, SC, Phone: 843-853-3747

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17.Coastal Discovery Museum

Coastal Discovery Museum
© MassimilianoF/

Designed to deliver a complete low-country experience, the Coastal Discovery Museum artfully blends nature and history into its fun, family offerings. The property’s gardens include native plant species, carnivorous plants, colorful Camellias, and a butterfly habitat. Three wooden boardwalks stretch into Jarvis Creek, a tidal creek that borders museum grounds. Large signs display information about the cultural and natural significance of the surrounding estuaries and waterways; visitors also learn about local marine life. The museum guides tours of the salt marsh by land and by water, on boat or kayak. The Kids’ Zone, located in the Discovery House, hosts an abundance of learning activities for kids, as well as an opportunity to interact with horseshoe crabs and Myrtle the turtle.

70 Honey Horn Drive, Hilton Head Island, SC, Phone: 843-689-6767

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18.Edisto Island Serpentarium

Edisto Island Serpentarium
© David Davis/

The Serpentarium is dedicated to preserving and teaching about reptiles from around the world. Exhibits feature alligators, turtles, lizards, and snakes. Visitors will love searching for baby alligators and slithery snakes in the site’s lush, tropical atrium. Inside the showroom, replicas of natural habitats feature a variety of reptiles, including venomous and non-venomous snakes. Outside, the Green Pond houses over twenty adult alligators, while “Alligator Alley” is home to younger adults and smaller alligators. Youth alligators born and raised at the venue reside in the Nursery Pond. Daily shows teach about reptile identification, adaptations, and the role of reptiles in the ecosystem. Live feedings are presented daily. The Serpentarium hosts field trips and educational outreach programs.

1374 Highway 174, Edisto Island, SC, Phone: 843-869-1171

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19.EdVenture Children's Museum

EdVenture Children's Museum
© familylifestyle/

There are three exciting EdVenture locations one each in Hartsville, Columbia, and Myrtle Beach. Each facility is filled with themed, life-based attractions. Children will love learning and role-playing in exhibits such as, Busy Bee Farm, Wags and Whiskers, Neighborhood Market, and more. In the Aha Factory, kids learn to fold origami, make art prints, and compile collages. Tinker Tech and Open Workshop give youngsters a chance to explore switches, wires, pieces, and parts, as they design and build from imagination. The Myrtle Beach facility emphasizes astronomy and aviation. Here, kids explore STEM through interactive exhibits like the spaceship climbing structure, flight simulator, light beam projector, and more. EdVenture locations host youth cooking classes, field trips, and summer camps.

146 West Carolina Avenue, Hartsville, SC, Phone: 843-309-9149

211 Gervais Street, Columbia, SC, Phone: 803-779-3100

3061 Howard Avenue, Myrtle Beach, SC, Phone: 843-839-0475

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20.Greenville Zoo

Greenville Zoo
© beltsazar/

The Greenville Zoo features over 200 endangered species and showcases animals from South America, Africa, and Asia. A variety of primates, wild cats, large mammals, exotic birds, gators, and other reptiles are represented along the zoo loop. There is also an area dedicated to farm animals. As an added bonus, families can rent out Safari Adventure Packs, which include a variety of interactive activities and games to inspire learning and fun. The zoo offers age appropriate educational programs and summer camps for toddlers, kids, and teens. School field trips and homeschool excursions may be organized through the zoo.

150 Cleveland Park Drive, Greenville, SC, Phone: 864-467-4300

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21.Hollywild Animal Park

Hollywild Animal Park
© Ian/

HollyWild was started by the Meeks family in the 1960s. The zoo started as a private collection of farm animals and native species cared for by the family in their backyard. In 1970, the Meeks added Donna the Elephant and officially opened as a public zoo. Soon after, wild cats, exotic primates, bears, rhinos, camels, Appaloosa horses, zebras, deer, macaws, and many other animal species were added to the zoo’s population. Since many of the early animals were domesticated, they were frequently used in movies and shows. Today, there are more than 500 animals included within the park’s 100 acres. Much of the park is safari-style, so animals are free to roam and interact with visitors.

2325 Hampton Road, Wellford, SC, Phone: 864-472-2038

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22.Fort Sumter National Monument

Fort Sumter National Monument
© Enrico Della Pietra/

Fort Sumter, a sea fortress built on an island in the Charleston harbor, is one of the most notable landmarks in American history. The American Civil war, which stemmed from dispute over the enslavement of black Americans, created division between Northern and Southern states. In 1860, South Carolina, a slave-holding state, declared succession from the union. The following year, in 1861, South Carolina bombarded Fort Sumter, which was occupied by the U.S. Army, an event that incited the Civil War. Accessible only by boat, the site’s museum is located within the fortress. Its exhibits teach about the construction of the Fort Sumter and its extensive war history. Guided tours and field trip opportunities are offered year-round.

1214 Middle Street, Sullivan's Island, SC, Phone: 843-883-3123

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23.Old South Carriage Company

Old South Carriage Company
© digidreamgrafix/

The unique charm and cultural richness of Charleston transports visitors back through 300 years of history. The Old South Carriage Company presents narrated horse-drawn tours that cover over 2.5 miles and 30 city blocks within the Holy City. Guests clip-clop along while taking in the beautiful architecture and historical landmarks of the city. Certified guides with an artistic flare for storytelling promise to deliver an informative and entertaining experience. The carriage company also offers walking tours, where guests meander by foot to historic battlegrounds, towering mansions, beautiful waterfront views, hidden alleyways, and the famous Rainbow Row.

14 Anson Street, Charleston, SC, Phone: 843-723-9712

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24.Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum

Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum
© lumachina_99/

The naval and maritime museum includes all-access tours of military vessels such as aircraft carriers, destroyers, and submarines. Guests may also visit and learn about the ten most significant military aircrafts in history; including various attack aircrafts, bombers, helicopters, and even drones. The Vietnam Experience is a specialty exhibit spanning 2.5 acres, which features life-like holograms of Marine officers and 3-D set production. The Medal of Honor Museum is an interactive exhibit that tells the stories of American history’s most courageous war heroes. Audio tours are available. The museum offers youth educational programs geared towards history, science, aviation, marine science, and space. A variety of resources are available to teachers guiding field trips.

40 Patriots Point Road, Mount Pleasant, SC, Phone: 843-884-2727

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25.Riverbanks Zoo & Garden

Riverbanks Zoo & Garden
© EBFoto/

Riverbanks Zoo & Garden is home to a variety of animal and reptile species from around the world, as well as an extensive network of globally inspired botanical gardens. A daily schedule of live exhibits offer interactive and memorable ways to learn about wildlife. Shows include a sea lion demonstration, penguin presentation, gorilla feeding, live aquarium dive, and opportunities to touch and learn about some of the zoo’s more passive creatures. A variety of expertly crafted school and homeschool programs are designed to support teacher-led and parent-led field trips. A half-day preschool is on-site, and the zoo hosts a summer day camp for all ages. Family events include activities such as a safari scavenger hunt and pizza night.

500 Wildlife Parkway, Columbia, SC, Phone: 803-779-8717

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25 Fun Things to Do in South Carolina with Kids of All Ages