Just north of historic Charleston, South Carolina, is the military-infused city of Goose Creek. Recognized by "Bloomberg Businessweek" as the Best Place to Raise Kids in South Carolina in 2011, the family-oriented community includes a blend of child-friendly indoor activities for days when the weather doesn't cooperate. Its location also enables convenient access to the surrounding metropolitan area's attractions.
Goose Creek Recreation Commission
Offering everything from karate to arts and crafts, the Goose Creek Recreation Commission's Casey Community Center (goosecreekrecreation.com) is the city's go-to arena for indoor youth activities. From Irish step to hip-hop, an extensive lineup of dance instruction serves as a guaranteed energy-expender for little ones as young as 2 years old. For the musically inclined, voice and guitar lessons provide both basic and advanced training for kids ages 6 and older. Welcoming children of all ages, Romp n'Roll Playtime is an area favorite. Kids enjoy an indoor play gym while caretakers engage with the children and each other. Prices, times, dates and ages accommodated vary widely across programs, and the most current information is posted at the GCRC's website.
Royal Lanes Bowling
A classic kid-pleaser, bowling at Royal Lanes (royallanes.net) promises to deliver smiles. With a variety of programs just for children and a smoke-free policy, the center works hard to strike a welcoming balance for young bowlers. Open to children as young as 4 years old, the structured youth bowling program combines coaching and tournament play. Royal Lanes also participates in the Kids Bowl Free campaign, which allows school-age children to receive coupons for free games each day during summer vacation. And when a school holiday during the year rolls around, a low flat fee enables children to bowl as much as they want until 5 p.m. Also part of Royal Lanes' kid programming, the Bowlopolis program engages children in an interactive bowling experience.
Goose Creek Library
The Berkeley County Library System's Goose Creek branch (bcls.sc.gov) serves as a haven for youngsters. In addition to having a half-hour story time each Tuesday, the library receives new featured children's books and DVDs monthly. Older children might enjoy the library's popular Anime Club, which meets once a month to show anime-genre films and promote Japanese culture. Children younger than 13 years of age require written permission to participate.
Just Outside the City Boundaries
Goose Creek's proximity to a more urban setting is part of the suburban city's appeal. Just 15 minutes away, the adjacent city of North Charleston features an exciting roster of indoor activities for children. The Carolina Ice Palace (carolinaicepalace.com) hosts general ice-skating as well as structured figure skating and ice hockey instruction. The GloZone Fun Center (theglozone.com) offers LaZer Tag, Glo Golf and a LaZer Maze. Both Frankie's Fun Park (frankiesfunpark.com) and Chuck E. Cheese's (chuckecheese.com) house extensive arcades. And for bells and whistles of a different sort, the North Charleston and American LaFrance Fire Museum and Educational Center (legacyofheroes.org) displays fire-fighting history exhibits, two dozen fire trucks and hands-on educational activities. Just across the street from the museum is Monkey Joe's (monkeyjoes.com), a party and play venue with climbing walls, jumps, slides and a Mini Monkey Zone for the youngest guests.