If you haven’t been, here’s why you must go!
Our family recently took a family vacation to Charleston, South Carolina. The last time my husband and I were in Charleston we didn’t have any children and we enjoyed the pleasures of Down Home Southern Cooking. We walked around the romantic waterfront and sat in front of the iconic Pineapple fountain while watching the sunset project beautiful hues of pink and purple onto the bay. We walked around the entire historic district taking in the sights of various mansions, quaint alleyways, and hearing ghost tales of years that have gone by. One thing about Charleston is that the historic district remains the same, not much had changed in the past 10 years since we were there last. Except, this time we had two little ones with us.
We didn’t have much time at the Pineapple fountain before one of the children had a meltdown and didn’t want to get a picture as a family, but we tried anyway. The meltdown probably came from a long day of excitement, playfulness, and good food as there is a lot of amazing things to do in Charleston with children. Every day the kids were exhausted, ate well, and couldn’t wait to get out of the hotel the next day to see where we were going next. One thing to make sure of when you travel to Charleston with the kids is to make sure they get a good, hearty breakfast. There are so many amazing breakfast places in the historic district and we found them by simply asking our concierge where to eat. There is an amazing place on Meeting Street called Toast that has homemade biscuits the size of my hand. They may be large but they are not heavy. We visited Toast on several occasions as they had some interesting breakfast items that we wanted to try, and the food was consistently good.
Anywhere we travel, if there is an aquarium or zoo, it is a must stop on our itinerary. It had been 10 years since I was last at the Charleston Aquarium so I didn’t recall exactly what was there. Our first stop was to the outdoor enclosure which was a nice surprise. It was a large pool containing several rays. If the rays come close to the surface of the pool you can actually touch them. Now if you have recently seen Finding Dory, there is a part in the movie where the animals in the “touch pool” don’t really liked to be “touched” and when the kids put their hands in the water they all start to find hiding places. I felt like this scene played out when we were at this pool as the rays clearly didn’t want us to touch them because they all stayed at the bottom! There were two windows on the bottom of the pool that you could look in and see the rays swimming around happily and that kept the kids occupied for some time.
Inside the aquarium they have several great exhibits including their large tank with a sea turtle that is my size in height. They put on various educational seminars about every half hour at various exhibits throughout the aquarium and these seminars really kept the interest of the kids. One seminar was about alligators and crocodiles, and at the end of the seminar our children actually had the opportunity to pet an alligator, which was a huge excitement for a 5-year-old. After talking with another employee about what fish and rays eat, she gave each of us a small cup with uncooked shrimp. The kids put the shrimp on the end of a rod and then they feed the rays. This was a interesting experience because the rays come up to the glass and use the glass as guidance to find the food. They are quite aggressive when it comes to food and the large rays would push the smaller rays to the side to get the food. Again, pure excitement for the kids! I would highly recommend a half-day to do the aquarium, and try to schedule it so you can see the seminars.
The Children’s Museum of Charleston is another must when visiting Charleston with the kids. It is all one floor and there are seven large rooms each with a different theme. I personally like the castle themed room, but the pirate ship was a huge hit with the kids. The seven rooms are: the arts and crafts room, the castle room, water play room, large building blocks room, pirate ship room, the baby play area, and grocery shopping room. Each room was designed to have the kids engaged in some type of activity and they were able to dress up in various characters in some of the rooms. It was fun to see the kids dressed up like pirates and running around a pirate ship yelling at each. I also enjoyed the grocery store because the kids have a shopping list and then they must go around and pick up the items. Once they have retrieved all of the items they bring them to the kids sized check-out line and the parents can scan their items. The kids pay with fake money and they can bag their own items.
If you have little ones under the age of two, there is a whole area that is enclosed so the kids can’t get out. They have soft pillows, slides, climbing stairs, and big foam blocks for the little ones to play. The time flew by so fast when we were here that we didn’t get to go outside to ride the big fire truck or do any of the other outdoor activities. I would highly recommend the Children’s Museum for either a half-day or if the weather is nice and you can play outside, a good 6 hours.
Check out next week’s ezine when I talk about how to survive at a plantation with kids!
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