Body Worlds Vital at SC State Museum, Columbia fun and exciting things to do with kids

Recently we visited the SC State Museum to see the renown Body Worlds exhibit. We took advantage of the special $1 admission (1st Sunday of the month) and ended up paying $20 total (adult and child tickets). We spent over an hour browsing the galleries and gift shop and we were impressed.

In the elevator leading up to the 4th floor gallery

So excited to see this!

My 7 years old daughter became fascinated with the heart and the circulatory system (see cool facts below). She took the time to complete the survey and gave the exhibit a rave review.

Body Worlds tickets allow full day admission to the entire museum
• $18 adults ($8 members)
• $15 seniors ($7 members)
• $12 children 3-12 ($6 members)

• Tue 10AM – 8PM
• Wed,Thu and Fri 10AM – 5PM
• Sat 10AM – 6PM
• Sun 1 – 5PM

Body Worlds Vital is the latest installment in the Human Saga by Gunther von Hagens. It features 200 real body specimens, presented without skin using plastination, so you can see bones, muscles, tendons, nerves, blood vessels and all of the internal organs. You get a deep understanding of how the body works when is healthy and what happens when is sick. Smart displays drive the healthy lifestyle point home: respect your body or else.

Revealing posters lining up the exit of the Body Worlds exhibit

In your face...smoking kills people!

Things to know before you go
• Come early. We arrived at opening time and got in real fast. Most importantly we were able to browse all the stations at our own pace, taking time to see the displays and read all the explanations. Two hours later there were at least 200 people in line waiting to be allowed in the exhibit…not to mention those waiting at the museum check-in line!

• Not sure whether this is right for you and the kids? Check out the exhibit video, Family Guide and FAQ provided by the state museum. There is enough visuals to help you decide.

• Tickets are non-refundable and are good for just one entry. The Body Worlds exhibit closes on April 15, 2012.

People lining up to enter the Body Worlds exhibition

People lined up to see the remarkable Body Worlds Vital exhibit

Cool Body Facts
• At birth, humans have 300 bones. As a baby grows, however, many of the smaller bones fuse together so that adults have just 206 bones. Half of the bones are in the hands and feet.
• The brain uses 25% of the oxygen you take in. It transmits signals to the body at 100 miles an hour.
• Lungs are made up of about 600 million spongy bags called alveoli. Lungs are the only organs in the body light enough to float on water.
• If all the blood vessels were laid end to end, they would extend about 60,000 miles, far enough to circle the Earth twice.

We also enjoyed the Body Worlds gift shop, especially the pictures of plastinates from the animal kingdom. It’s fun to compare the inner workings of the human body to that of other animals.

Animal plastinate pictures at the SC State Museum gift shop

This is how you do it

While inside the museum check out the 125th Anniversary exhibit of the Great Charleston Earthquake of 1886, the greatest quake ever recorded in the eastern United States (biggest than the one in Haiti!).

Be smart, have fun in beautiful South Carolina!


Visit Edisto Memorial Gardens on the way to Charleston, Hilton Head or Savannah (free things to do)

Edisto Memorial Gardens: imagine 150 acres filled with roses, azaleas, camellias and many other floral beauties spaced among Yoshino cherry, giant oaks and century old cypress trees. This is as close to Eden as you can ever get. And is FREE for everyone to enjoy!
Edisto Memorial Gardens Located in Orangeburg, “The Garden City”, and easily accessible from I-95 and I-26, the Edisto Memorial Gardens is a must see family attraction on your way to Charleston, Hilton Head or Savannah.

My 3 years old and I did just that this past weekend and we had a blast at the prestigious Festival of Roses, one o the top tourist events in the Southeast. It really made our trip to Beaufort much more enjoyable.

Attractions and fun things to do
1. “Smell the roses” at the Display and Test Garden featuring award winning roses The Rose Display Garden
from the All-America Rose Selections, Inc. There are 4,000 plants representing over 75 varieties of roses.

2. Take a stroll along the 2,600 feet boardwalk through scenic Horne Wetlands Park. This takes you into Tupelo/Cypress Swamp along the North Fork of the Edisto River. Edisto is the world’s longest black water river crossing eight South Carolina counties all the way to the Atlantic Ocean.

3. Admire the peaceful Water Wheel, the most photographed feature at Edisto Memorial Gardens, added in 1941 to supply water to the nearby pond.

Specially for Kids
1. Feed ducks and geese at the pond located by the park entrance. This is a real kids magnet!Kids feeding ducks and gees

2. Splash at the Water Spray Park, a 6,000 sq. feet spray pad, playground, picnic shelter and restrooms. The park is open in the weekends in May and September and all week long in the summer.

3. Live the fairy tale during the Holidays at the Children’s Garden Christmas.

For the Whole Family
1. Test your skills at the 18-holes disc golf course located behind the Test Garden.

2. Picnic and take beautiful family photos at the Centennial Park in front of its impressive palmetto tree fountain.

3. Enhance your senses at the very romantic Sensory Garden a favorite spot for all “love birds”. It features plants with distinctive texture and fragrances and described by plaques in both English and Braille.Romantic Sensory Garden

The only negative I found is the amount of litter throughout the park. I hope this is a temporary glitch mainly due to the large crowds visiting the Festival.

Edisto Memorial Gardens is located on Highway 301 four blocks from downtown Orangeburg.
Here is a Google Map to the garden
The garden is open year around seven days a week from dawn to dusk.

Bring your loved ones and smell the roses at Edisto Memorial Gardens!

Columbia Canal and Riverfront Park: unwind in the outdoors, admire wildlife, experience Columbia history and have family fun for FREE!

The Columbia Canal and Riverfront Park is the city’s secret jewel. At the confluence of 3 Rivers (Congaree, Broad and Saluda) and minutes from downtown, EdVenture and the State Museum, Riverfront Park is an oasis of outdoor relaxation, amazing history and abundant wildlife, the entire family can enjoy every day for free!

Paved walking trail along the Riverfront canalPart of the Capitol City Passage, connecting Fort Jackson to Congaree Riverfront, the park is open daily untill 9:00 PM.

With emergency call stations spread thrChildren biking by the river in Columbiaoughout the 3 miles lighted and paved trail and regularly pattrolled by park rangers, the park is very safe.

All day there are people walking, bicycling, jogging, fishing or just having a romantic picnic by the outdoor amphitheater. Romantic Picnic at Columbia Riverfront Park

Travel Tips: Bring your water or juice bottle along; there is a water fountain at the restroom near the park entrance, so you can refill there. Once you go over the bridge there is no drinking water on the trail.

Little kids can also enjoy a very nice playground across from the parking lot. There is no shade, so in the hot summer days make sure you keep them hydrated.

Historic sites you can admire along the river trail

1. The Columbia Canal, built between 1819 and 1824 was a major transportation route before the Columbia Water plant Riverfront Park entrancerailroad boom and the Civil War; home to the world’s first hydro-electrically powered textile mill (later destroyed in the war) and current municipal water plant (originally built in 1906).
Broad River bridge sight of Civil War battle in Columbia
2. The 1865 Civil War battle over Broad River bridge where Sherman’s troups prevailed and the Columbia’s mayor had to surrender the city.

3. The ruins of the state’s first prison, built in 1868 and operating until 1993. Always overcrowded some say it is still haunted by its formers “guests”.

4. The one room Little Red School House open 1867 through 1913

Little Red School House at Riverfront Park in Columbia5. The archeological site of where Native Americans used to live more than 10,000 years ago.

6. The large rounded granite boulders spread all over Congaree river; these geological wonders

Gray Blue Heron on granite boulders by geological Fall Lineare the result of North American and African tectonic plates collision and remnants of the Appalachian Mountains.

Amazing wildlife and flora

Water Snake by the canal at Riverfront Park

Over 350 birds species use the river for nesting or migrating. Among these you can spot the red-tailed hawk, the the crested cormoran, the great blue heron, and the bald eagle.Soft shelled Turtles by the River Walk in Columbia.

There are plenty of reptiles like water snakes, alligators and soft-shell turtles.
Riverfront Park also features the rare Spider Lily, unusually growing in the boulders crevaces that border the Congaree river.

Spider Lily at Riverfront Park Where:

312 Laurel StreetColumbia, SC 29201 – (803)-733-8613
Take I-126 into Columbia then exit onto Huger Street. Go south on Huger Street two blocks, then turn right onto Laurel Street. Follow Laurel Street to the main parking lot. The park entrance is right by the AT&T building.

See more breathtaking Canal and Riverfront Park photos in my slide show.