Located in the heart of South Carolina, the capital city of South Carolina is a busy college town, an economic and medical center, and a family friendly hometown. Spending time in Columbia with your toddler is a pleasure because the city has several activities and attractions with preschooler appeal.
Make Learning Fun
On Wednesdays, children from ages 2 to 5 can check out the galleries at the Columbia Museum of Art (columbiamuseum.org), then head to the art studio to create their own masterpieces inspired by the works they saw. Any day of the week, you can check out an Art Explorer backpack filled with facts and activities to help you and your child explore the museum’s collection. Stop by the Richland Library (richlandlibrary.com) for toddler story time almost any day of the week -- the library keeps an updated schedule of story times on its website. All the pretend play, dress-up and hands-on activities make the EdVenture (edventure.org) children’s museum an ideal spot for toddlers to explore. If you’re not sure your toddler will enjoy the museum, visit on the second Tuesday of the month, when admission is just $1 per person.
Explore more than 25 miles of hiking trails and an easy-to-follow 2.4-mile boardwalk at Congaree National Park (nps.gov/cong). Toddlers will love visiting the more than 2,000 animals that call the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden (riverbanks.org) home. The farm, with its friendly cow, llama and goat, is especially appealing to younger kids. Kids can burn off lots of energy exploring the adjacent garden, too. Hit the playground at Sesquicentennial Park (southcarolinaparks.com/sesqui) -- known as “Sesqui” by the locals. Two playgrounds in the picnic area are for toddlers to climb, slide and jump on.
Money Joe’s (monkeyjoes.com) indoor playground has a separate toddler zone so your little one won’t get bounced around on the inflatables by bigger kids. Bring socks -- they’re required for jumping fun. Parent and child movement classes at the Little Gym (thelittlegym.com) are designed to help kids up to 3 years old boost spatial recognition skills, muscle control, strength, independence and early socialization skills.
Make a Splash
Cool off during the summer at the Maxcy Gregg Park swimming pool (columbiaparksandrec.net). The outdoor pool is an ideal place to play with your toddler on humid Columbia summer days. For year-round swimming fun, visit the indoor swimming pool at the downtown YMCA of Columbia (columbiaymca.org). The pool offers swim time for families several days a week; check the calendar online for the current swim schedule.