My First Trip to the Greenville Zoo

By Tina Michelle Cameron

Today I went to Greenville for the first time and went to the Greenville Zoo. It is in the middle of the city on a cute little side street not far from the interstate. As many of you know, I love animals and I am a volunteer at Riverbanks Zoo going on 2 years.giraffe pic

The Greenville Zoo is smaller than Riverbanks, but it does offer a wide variety of animals to see. It has a park/playground area and picnic area near the entrance. It is very affordable, and the map is easy to read. Despite the hot weather, there was a breeze and it was slightly overcast at times. Apparently, when I arrived at 1:20 pm I had just missed all the school buses leaving, so it was perfect. There were only about 15 people walking around.

flamingo picThere are a variety of animals to see from different species of monkeys, to lions, to an alligator, snapping turtle, and a red panda. The food prices were reasonable, and the staff were very friendly. The animals are surrounded by lots of trees and plants and they all looked happy. There are also areas for small kids to play in.

So, if you are looking for a short-day trip, Greenville is just up the road about 90 minutes. Enjoy the pictures of my afternoon.

 

Hometown Tourists

By: Ashley Whisonant

congaree park

This past weekend, my boys and I had absolutely no plans. This is a very rare occasion. Between soccer games, play dates, vacations, and birthdays our weekends have been jam packed. My husband and I wanted to spend the free day as a family, outside enjoying the beautiful fall weather, but we didn’t want to drive too terribly far.

Enter Congaree National Park!

Just a 50 minute drive from Lexington, we packed the car and headed down to arrive at nine. With lunches in book bags, we first stopped at the Visitor’s Center. They had tons of displays for the kids to look at and learn from. We also picked up two scavenger hunts for them to complete as we “hiked.”

congaree parkThe trails were perfect for my two and five year old. There was tons to observe and only a small amount of mosquitos! The trails did have some roadblocks because of trees falling, but the boardwalk was amazing. It stretched close to a mile over some swamp areas. That area was my favorite!

After two hours of hiking around, we stopped at the picnic tables to have lunch before heading home. It was the perfect morning! Don’t miss out on this amazing park in our backyard!

Local Trips

By: Sherree Thompson

Our family has been quite the road-running group this summer. We have taken mostly day trips, but we have had a few over night ones as well. Yes, I know, summer just started, but what can I say?

Table Rock

Table Rock

Our fist trip was actually before school was out. We headed to the mountains to show the kids what a mountain actually is. Since Table Rock is so close we thought hey, why not? After all, I don’t think one can really describe its beauty in terms a 4-year-old can fully grasp. They need to see some things themselves to get the true impact of such a sight.  Jay and I have hiked Table Rock before so we knew it wasn’t something we could have our little ones tackle quite yet. We did, however, hit the base of it to show them the creeks and to spend some time goofing around. We also checked out the waterfall, which was stunning, although the kids didn’t think so. One day they will appreciate it, but just not yet.

Table Rock

Table Rock

Next we had a fantastic beach day at The Isle of Palms. What a fun place that was! We parked in a county (at least I think it was county) park right at the beach. There were bathrooms (real bathrooms, not a port-a-john), changing rooms, a playground, grilling areas and even a small snack cart in case you needed a little treat. It really was the perfect spot for a family fun day!

Isle of Palms

Isle of Palms

Then over Father’s Day we headed out for our first “camping” trip with the kids. I say “camping” with a grain of salt because although we had a fantastic time and the facilities turned out to be truly appropriate for a first outing, it wasn’t what we had thought it was going to be. We headed down to James Island. We thought we would save a few bucks and get the “primitive” campsite and really give the kids a true woodsy camping experience.

Camping

Camping

We got there kind of late…okay, we were late. It was after-dark late. We checked in and headed to our spot. We parked, walked to the entrance trail, and saw a giant football field. There were tents pretty much along the entire boarder of the field. We laughed at our “primitive” spot and carried on with our setup. As we were heading back to the car we noticed frogs everywhere. Not like one here or there, but like you had to really watch where you step or you would squish one. The kids really enjoyed playing “spot the frog.” The kids did great sleeping in the tent, even though we forfeited our dry run of camping in the back yard.

Folly Beach

This county park was really geared towards families. They had a splash pad, bike trails, a water park and free access to Folly Beach. Folly Beach was awesome. There was a channel that runs along the shoreline. During high tide it fills and then it’s super suitable for small kids. I think we had more fun in the channel than in the actual ocean waves.

Let me just say that for each of these trips, we maybe spent $150. The county and state park system is a true jewel on the wallet. Anyway, in addition to this, I have had the pleasure of reading the book of John with some really great ladies, meeting a cool bee keeper in Sumter, eating some delicious BBQue from different parts of the state, and celebrating a sweet someone turning three.

So there it is – well, the highlights anyway. This type of schedule will continue on, my house will remain a mess, but we will be living life and enjoying all that South Carolina has to offer. May you find yourself in such a place! Happy Summer!!