Located in the heart of South Carolina, Columbia is a southern city with both old-world and modern charm. With it's three rivers, abundant greenery and quick access to educational and cultural institutions, there's no lack of fun-filled things to try with your tiny tot. Whether your toddler enjoys a quiet morning listening to stories or is more into an ultra-energetic adventure, Columbia kids (and visitors) can take their pick of activities for the small-set.
If you have a water-baby on your hands, spend a sunny summer afternoon at one of Columbia's pools or spray stations. Take a dip in Maxcy Gregg Park's pool (1806 Blossom Street, Columbia) or try out Greenview Park's pool (6700 David Street, Columbia). If your little one isn't quite ready for a full-on swim session, cool off on a hot summer day at one of the area's spray parks. With sprinkling water and shallow spray pools, Emily Douglas Park (2500 Wheat Street, Columbia) and Hampton Park (117 Brandon Ave, Columbia) are easy options for sun-soaked toddlers.
The Columbia Art Museum (columbiamuseum.org) has a full supply of family fun for your mini-Monet. Instead of just touring the museum's world-class exhibits, check out an Art Explorer backpack. These artsy bags of fun include binoculars for viewing the art even better, colored pencils, a sketchbook, hands-on activities to try out and a compass. Columbia is also home to the Southern states' largest children's museum. The EdVenture Museum (edventure.org) packs an educational punch with hands-on exhibits, some for toddlers only; if you don't want your toddler mingling with older kids, My Backyard is a pint-sized campground for little learners who are under age 3.
You don't have to wait until your 2-year-old heads off to school to get in some serious learning. Columbia kids can try out a range of classes that are designed specifically for the tiniest of learners. If you are looking for an alternative to banging on pots and pans, your toddler can learn a thing or two about music at Columbia's Gymboree (gymboreeclasses.com). While she's there, try out a sports, movement or gymnastics class, too. Nature-loving tots may enjoy the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden (riverbanks.org) Backyards Buds classes. Little bookworms can get a jump on literacy at one of the story time classes at the Richland Public Library (myrcpl.com).
When the weather outside just won't cooperate, get your little one's energy out at an indoor play place. Columbia's Monkey Joe's (monkeyjoes.com) features enough inflatables and slides to keep your tiny tot busy all day long and includes a toddler-only play space. If you are looking for more of a social scene, Bouncerific (bouncerific.com) is an indoor inflatable play-space that holds once-a-week play groups. Todders who can't get enough of tumbling, somersaulting and other awesome acrobatics can try out gymnastics for the pint-sized set at Carolina Gymnastics (carolinagymnastics.com) or the Little Gym of Columbia (thelittlegym.com/columbiasc).
- Columbia SC: About Columbia
- City of Columbia: Parks & Facilities: Maxcy Gregg Park
- Columbia Museum of Art: Family Fun
- EdVenture: Early Childhood Programs
- Monkey Joe's: Columbia
- Bouncerific: Play Groups
- Carolina Gymnastics
- The Little Gym of Columbia, SC
- City of Columbia: Parks & Facilities: Greenview Park and Pool
- Richland County Public Library: Children's Storytimes at RCPL
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