Columbia Area Parks Family Fun Things to Do Family Fun! Grown Up Fun! Learning Something New

Things to Do in the Columbia Area When Family and Friends Come to Visit…

November 7, 2018

Entertaining guests is always a lovely adventure, but the weather can certainly play its part in determining the variety of activities available in town! We’ve taken the time to make two lists of things to do that can keep you and your loved ones busy, whether the sun is shining or not!


Congaree National Park

The only national park in South Carolina, Congaree is a great place to take visitors for a leisurely stroll along their 2.5 mile boardwalk. Be amazed by the champion trees that tower above. The park is a designated Biosphere Reserve, which means it is a super-important site on our planet.

Congaree National Park even manages to make swamps beautiful!

Stop first at the Visitors Center where you and your guests will learn about its establishment as a national park, the trees and wildlife, and a gift shop/bookstore where they can pick up a souvenir or Christmas gift.

The park is open 24/7, 365 days a year!

The Visitor’s Center is open 7 days a week, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM but is closed on Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. 

comet_007340.77_SCC_print_ad_3.75x4.875_03.jpgRiverbanks Zoo

Take your family and friends to one of America’s finest zoos. Riverbanks is home to more than 2000 magnificent and fascinating animals! The layout of the park has you visit various continents as you walk, which makes for an informative, and unique experience!

It’s not a huge zoo, but is certainly one of the best zoo experiences around! Most animals are displayed in their natural habitats.

Lights Before Christmas opens on November 17 and runs through December 30.

Learn more here.

Ride the Soda Cap Connector

Park your car and let the Cap do the rest! Show off our city from the comfort of a minty green Soda Cap Connector bus! From high above the land, you’ll notice sites you’ve not seen before and your guests will marvel at what a very cool downtown, Vista and Five Points we have.

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The lovely skyline of Columbia during early Fall.

The Connector is free to ride, so jump on and off as you like. It runs Tuesday – Saturday. For ride times and updates, read here.

Shop Devine Street

If you’re looking for the finest boutiques and uniques, head to Devine Street… merchants include Bohemian Home (truly lives up to its name), HOFP (if you love art), Non(e)Such for heirlooms-to-be, Unforgettable Fine Jewelers, Brittons (shop for distinguished gents) and ladies’ clothiers including My-Kim, Just the Thing, LaRoque, Pink Sorbet and others.

More info here.


Visit a Local Farm

Agritourism is thriving in South Carolina. Farmers and farm families are realizing the value of having the public interact with them directly on their home turf.

The SC Department of Agriculture lists hundreds of farms on their website, where you can see what farms are offering for every season, county-by-county! 


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The Farm Search page on Over 370 Farms to choose from!

You’ll learn when they’re open and what you can expect from a visit, whether it offers animal petting, homemade treats, produce and meat for sale and more!

Check it out here.





Columbia Museum of Art

Jasper Johns is one of the most influential American artists of the 20th century. His radical vision led to the art movements known as minimalism and pop art.  Johns grew up in South Carolina, spending much of his childhood right here in Columbia.

He never forgot his home state, and in 1999 he gave the CMA 39 works from his personal collection – some by Johns himself; others are by artists he admired, like Josef Albers, Marcel Duchamp, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, and Andy Warhol. 

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Flags I. Jasper Johns (1973).

 “MidCentury Masters – Jasper Johns’ Gifts to the CMA” runs from November 16 – February 24, 2019.

See which other exhibits are currently on display here.

PRINTFILE_QSL-Ad_Discover-Columbia_Nov2018.jpgSouth Carolina State Museum

The South Carolina State Museum features four floors of permanent exhibits on history, art, natural history and science and technology. Explore the diverse and exciting history of South Carolina through fascinating displays on dinosaurs, pre-historic fossils, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, African-American history, historic telescopes and more.

You’ll find South Carolina art featured across all four floors of exhibit galleries and you won’t be able to miss, ‘Finn’, a giant pre-historic Megalodon shark replica!

More info here.

Tour the South Carolina State House

What exactly happens under the copper dome? Find out for yourselves on a tour of the SC State House!

The South Caroline State House on a beautiful day.

Tours start at 9:30 am, and run every hour on the half hour until at 3:30 pm, from Monday to Friday. It’s also open on Saturdays (except on the Saturdays following Thanksgiving and Christmas).

Want more details? Visit their website here.

The Nickelodeon

Located downtown, this avant-garde movie house offers a mix of first run independent films, special curated series, and one-off screenings of films relevant to our community.

Find showtimes here.


Military History Buffs

The Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum is over 100 years old, and is charged with collecting and preserving the military history of our state from the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror.  This Columbia treasure is housed in the same building as the SC State Museum at 301 Gervais St.

Find out about exhibits here.

Items on display at the Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum

The South Carolina Military Museum is one of the largest National Guard museums in the country. Its mission is to honor and chronicle the South Carolina citizen soldier and this State’s martial tradition from its colonial founding in 1670 to present-day operations. The museum is located at 1 National Guard Road. Learn more here.

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© Gardener Media 2018.

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