Kids rule at the North Charleston and American LaFrance Fire Museum

“So where do you want to go today? The Fire Museum or the Aquarium?” “The Fire Museum!!!” shouted the girls in unison. “It’s so much fun to drive the fire truck!”

And that settled it. Off we went for the second time in 3 days. No complaining from me. The admission is FREE for kids and only $6 for adults (compare this to $37 I would have paid at the Aquarium…)

Fire Museum magnet, the fire simulator

Look mom, I'm driving the fire truck!

The very affordable entertainment is not the only advantage. The North Charleston and American LaFrance Fire Museum is a modern facility filled with exciting fire education exhibits. From the 18 exquisitely restored antique fire pumpers to the fire truck simulator, from the fire pole slide to the smoke house hazard demonstration, there is something fun for everyone to do.

Here are the highlights:
The most popular activity for kids is a virtual drive in a brand new, authentic firetruck cabin. You start the simulation by touching a blue screen, then the engine roars, the seats vibrate, and the fire siren goes wild. You can push a different pedal to sound the horn out loud. The adrenaline kicks in as you wind your way to the busy city traffic all the way to the fire scene. Good job, future firefighter!

The wonderful 7 seats LaFrance Fire Cabin

The wonderful 7 seats LaFrance Fire Cabin

Think you know what can start up a house fire? Think again. After you watch the 15 minutes house fire hazards and prevention demo you’ll be amazed how easy it is to destroy a home. Luckily the show also gives you great tips to prevent such a disaster.

Theater Fire Hazard Demo

Theater Fire Hazard Demo

The firefighter training station has engaging hands-on exhibits. Can you hold onto a 300 lbs fire hose in an emergency? Prove it at the awesome LaFrance Fire Museum in North Charleston!

Firemen in the making...hold that hose!

Firemen in the making...hold that hose!

Fire! Fire! Fire! Everyone down the fire pole, then through the fire chute, c’mon let’s go put up that fire. Even Spot our little dalmation puppy toy is ready to lend a hand.

Fun sliding down the fire pole and chute

Fun sliding down the fire pole and chute

Grownups will be delighted to browse the country’s largest American LaFrance collection of fire apparatus, all perfectly restored to working conditions.

Like the 1857 Button and Blake 16 men hand pumper that required 30 volunteer firefighters to continuosly drive water into the tub then pump it out onto the fire. At this exhibit you can also get an audio simulation of a 19th century Charleston home fire rescue.

1857 hand pumper that started American LaFrance

1857 hand pumper that started American LaFrance

My favorite is the beautiful red and white Liberty, a 1911 Type 5 Double Tank Fire Truck, one of the most popular LaFrance models ever.

Beautiful white and red double tank fire truck

1911 Liberty Type 5 Double Tank Fire Truck

Other notables:
• 1785 Richard Mason Hand Fire “Enjin”
• 1886 Silsby Steam Pumper
• 1911 “Type 8” Roadster
• 1912 “Metropolitan” Steam Pumper
• 1926 “Type 75” Triple Combination
• 1958 GMC Pitman Chicago Snorkel #1

The Fire Museum is located at the Tanger Outlet entrance and is open Monday to Saturday from 10AM to 5PM. Added bonus, there is a Visitors office inside the museum so you can get coupons and discounts tickets to various Charleston attractions right there and then. Like the 5th Annual Battle of Charleston reenactment on April 18 – 19 from 9AM to 5PM (battles held both days at 2PM) at the Legare Farm on Johns Island. Tickets are $10 adults, $5 for children 5-12 and free for those 4 years old and under. Here is the events schedule and photos from previous years.

Happy Junior Firefighter

Happy Junior Firefighter

Here is a map with the Fire Museum and other under $10 family fun activities.

The cherry on our cake was when the girls received free firefighter hats. What’s not to love?


5 Responses

  1. […] My 2009 favorite, the American LaFrance Fire Museum in North Charleston. Drive a real fire truck, slide down a fire pole, learn how to prevent fire in your house and check […]

  2. How can you people be so happy about your company when lynn tilton is driving it into the ground!! She cant give you the budget you need to go ahead with the buissnes but she can spend 88mil on buying up onther bankrupt company such as polorid?? But she cant put any money into american lafrance???? Sounds to me like alfs days are numbered considering all the people that have been left go at all the facilities!!! TAKE CARE OF WHAT YOU HAVE BEFORE BUYING UP MORE DISTRESSED COMPANIES PLEASE!!!!!

  3. Hi Krista

    This is a travel blog about family attractions in South Carolina. I’m in no way associated with ALF or the Fire Museum. This post is just about the good times we had with the kids at the fire museum in Charleston.

    Thanks for stopping by

  4. Only want to say your article is impressive. The clearness in your post is simply striking and i can take for granted you are an expert on this field. Well with your permission allow me to grab your rss feed to keep up to date with incoming post. Thanks a million and please keep up the solid work

    • Hi Briana

      Thanks for your kind comments. I do my best to provide information that is both useful and fun for parents.

      For this post I cannot take all the credit…most of the technical data about each fire engine and the fire-fighting history comes from the museum exhibits.

      Feel free to get the RSS and to link to my blog.

      Thanks again and I hope you will visit some of these places.


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