Charleston with Children – Part 1


It’s hard to believe we’re shopping for school supplies already. It seems the summer barely started! But there’s still a little time to squeeze in some fun before the school bell rings. Whether you live in Charleston or need one last weekend getaway, we have tons of activities for families and children of all ages.

In our two-part blog series we’ll share some of our favorite kid-friendly things to do in Charleston. Help us add to the list: post a comment here or share some ideas and photos on our Facebook page.

Photo/South Carolina Aquarium

South Carolina Aquarium

One of Charleston’s most popular attractions, the South Carolina Aquarium is a perfect pick on a particularly steamy Charleston day. The aquarium showcases wildlife found locally and around the state of South Carolina. Rotating exhibits highlight creatures from afar. The newest exhibit is “Madagascar Journey,” and the stars of the show are four ring-tailed lemurs who keep visitors entertained leaping from rope to rope. Ring-tailed lemurs live in rainforests and deciduous forests located in southern Madagascar, but they are threatened by habitat loss. The aquarium also has a Sea Turtle Hospital, which you can tour for an additional fee. Be sure to check out the schedule of daily activities, including interactive dive shows in the great ocean tank.

Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site

Charles Towne Landing, the birthplace of the Carolinas in 1670, is a great place for children of all ages. Older children will enjoy exploring the “Adventure,” a 17th-century replica trading vessel, docked at the park and available for tours. If you have younger ones in your family, visit the Animal Forest, a natural habitat zoo that is home to the species of animals those original settlers would have encountered in their new homeland – bison, puma and black bear. The park has 7 miles of nature trails, all of which, are open to bikes (no bikes in the Animal Forest, though). Strollers are available free of charge.

The park hosts a number of events throughout the year, including living history demonstrations and monthly 17th-century cannon firing demonstrations. This way you can sneak in some history lessons among the fun.

Photo/Children's Museum of the Lowcountry

Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry

The Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry is geared toward children ages 3 months to 12 years with its many interactive activities (admission is free for children under 12 months). Highlights include a water area with toy boats, a pirate ship for climbing and exploring and an art center overflowing with craft supplies and paints. A toddler play area is appropriate for little visitors as is the grocery store equipped with pint-size shopping carts and vegetable bins. Be sure to check out the website for a list of regular programs, such as art classes and princess story time. Please note the museum is closed on Mondays.

Water Adventures

Older children and teenagers won’t be bored for a second on one of Charleston’s many eco adventures or water tours. Rent kayaks or stand up paddleboards for a solo water adventure. Or take a guided tour through Shem Creek in Mount Pleasant (a well-known dolphin playground) or to Morris Island to collect shells or sharks’ teeth. Check out our online list of water tour companies.