Greenville Museum of Art, fun, free and inspirational things to do with kids

The Greenville Museum of Art indulges visitors with hundreds of paintings by American and Southern artists from the 18th century to present. The current attractions are two superb water color collections by Andrew Wyeth (through October 16) and Mary Whyte: Working South (through September 18). Admission is free. The art museum is open Tuesday to Saturday 11AM – 5PM and Sunday 1-5PM.

Art museum featuring Mary Whyte and Andrew Wyeth collections

Excited to see Mary Whytes watercolor collection

Upcoming Events

• September 4 – Music in the Galleries – Enjoy the gentle sounds of guitar music.
• September 18 – Highlights and Insights, an annual tour that touches on current exhibitions, art studios, and a discussion of the Museum’s history
• September 24 – Painter Anthony Conway discusses Jasper Johns
• October 9 – Art in Motion for Families with Percussionist Jeff Holland
• October 16 – The 26th Annual Antique Show
• October 23 – Original Art from 65 Years of Golden Books

My daughter really enjoyed the Art Detective challenge, where she had to identify 6 paintings inside Mary Whyte’s Working South exhibit.

Clues to find best of Mary Whyte art prints

Art Detectives have fun exploring the Working South exhibit

More fun kids things to do near Heritage Park

Be a textile worker at the Upcountry History Museum
• Kick into super fun gear at The Children Museum
• Let your imagination flourish at the Main Public Library
• Take the free guided tour of the historic Kilgore-Lewis House and Garden

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Exciting Events at Musgrove Mill State Park: Battle of Blackstock by Candlelight, Ghost Tales, Christmas at Rose Hill Plantation

Musgrove Mill State Historic Site’s was the scene of a bloody American Revolution battle. “On Aug. 19, 1780, 200 Patriots rode to strike what they thought was an equal number of Loyalists at Musgrove Mill.

Musgrove Mill State Park - free admission

Musgrove Mill State Park - free admission

Instead, they found themselves badly outnumbered, the Tories having been joined by 300 provincial regulars from the British post at Ninety Six. Retreat was impossible, a frontal assault suicidal. So the Patriot forces took a strong defensive position and lured the Loyalists into a fierce fight that turned into a near rout after the British attack collapsed.” – Musgrove Mill State Historic Site.

Musgrove Mill State Historic Site regularly holds special events, including encampments and living history programs. Here are some exciting events coming up this fall and over the Holidays:

Archaeology Day at Musgrove’s Mill – October 18, 2008, 10 AM – 4:00 PM
Have you ever wondered how archaeologists find and identify artifacts from American Revolutionary War battlefields like Musgrove’s Mill? Visit Musgrove Mill State Historic Site to learn about the methods used and what studies have been done at the site to shed light on this important battle. Project archaeologists will be on-site showing and discussing how they found and identified artifacts. Archaeological tours will be offered throughout the day and kids will be “digging” for artifacts.

Tales of Union County at Rose Hill Plantation State Historic Site – October 24 and 25, 2008, 7 PM – 10 PM
Journey into the spooky past with the “Tales of Union County”! Enjoy local ghostly tales and spine-chilling legends in a family setting with marshmallow and wiener roasts, apple bobbing, and other fall festival activities. Sip a cup of hot chocolate, or hot apple cider by the flickering light of the campfire listening to folklore and legends of the Upstate. There may even be a ghost or two…

Battle Of Blackstock’s Anniversary Celebration at Blackstock Battlefield Historic Site – November 22, 2008, 1 PM – 3 PM

Revolutionary War rifles replicas

Revolutionary War rifles replicas

Musgrove Mill State Historic Site will be presenting the Battle of Blackstock’s Anniversary Celebration, featuring an interpretive talk, a Ranger-led tour of the battlefield, a firing salute, and commemorations by the Daughters of the American Revolution.


The Battle By Candlelight
– December 13, 2008, 6 PM – 8 PM $4 adults, $3 seniors (65 and older), children 15 and under FREE
Experience Musgrove Mill State Historic Site in the dark! The event will feature candle-lit tours of the Musgrove Mill battlefield and historic presentations of the Battle of Musgrove’s Mill from the Patriot and British point of view.

Horse-shoe Robinson illustration by E.O.C. Darley

Horse-shoe Robinson illustration by E.O.C. Darley


While at the park learn about Mary Musgrove (the mill’s owner daughter, whose house ruins can still be seen inside the park) and other brave South Carolina women who sacrificed their life to help the Patriots win many battles during Revolutionary War. Mary became legendary with the 1835 publishing of the romantic novel “Horse-shoe Robinson: A Tale of the Tory Ascendancy”.

Christmas at Rose Hill Plantation – December 12-14, 2008, 6 PM – 8:30 PM, $5 per person
Come experience what Christmas was really like in the years before the Civil War. Enjoy the Rose Hill Plantation as it might have been in the antebellum era. The mansion will be decorated for the holiday season during the month of December, and there will be a special Evening Open House the weekend before Christmas: December 21 and 22 from 5 PM until 8 PM, and December 23 from 4 PM until 6 PM

Where
Musgrove Mill State Park is located off I-26 near Clinton, less than half an hour drive from Greenville. Admission to the park is FREE. Operation hours: Park 9 AM – 6 PM daily; Visitor Center 10 AM – 4 PM Monday through Friday, 10 AM – 5 PM Saturday and Sunday. More information at (864) 938-0100. Here is the custom Google Map with some incredibly fun and mostly free family attractions in the Upstate.

History buffs take the short drive to Cowpens National Battleground park, site to the most important Revolutonary War battle of the Southern Campaign. Admission is free.

Experience the extraordinary American Revolution battles at Musgrove Mill State Historic Site!

Upstate Treasures: historic Pendleton and Belton’s SC Tennis Hall of Fame and the Blue Ridge Depot (free family attractions near Greenville)

Tennis has a proud history in South Carolina, and much can be found in the South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame dowtown Belton, just 30 miles southwest of Greenville. The Tennis Hall of Fame is housed in the Belton’s Ruth Drake Museum on the historic 1910 Southern and Blue Ridge Railway Depot.

SC Tennis Hall of Fame

It features portraits of the inductees painted by Belton native and one of country’s best known artists Wayland Moore. Moore paints the portraits during the winter months, and they are unveiled during the Wachovia Palmetto Championships, played in Belton each year first week in June. Though 2007 the SC Hall of Fame has 45 inductees.

SC Tennis Hall of Fame portraits

You can also enjoy memorabilia donated by the inductees: old trophies, tennis racquets, pictures and an umpire’s chair used in Wimbledon. The Hall of Fame is FREE to attend and is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM. Address: 50 North Main Street, Belton, SC, (864) 338-7751.

The Ruth Drake Museum focuses on the agricultural, railroad and industrial history of Belton and the Upstate. The newly renovated award winning museum features permanent and monthly changing exhibits as well as a coffee house and a gift shop.

Bowler

Belton 1910 Southern and Blue Ridge Railway Depot
A train whistle was heard once again as the Historic Belton Train Depot celebrated the grand re-opening of the facility on March 25, 2007. This event celebrated the two-year long reconstruction project for the historic Southern-Blue Ridge Combined Railway Train Depot in Belton, SC.

Belton Depot

Upcoming Events at Belton Depot

1. August 16 – October 4: Key Ingredients: America by Food, A Smithsonian Institute Traveling Exhibit and a world record attempt for the World’s Largest Cake Walk! All festival attendees and vendors are encouraged to register before 11:00 AM to participate. This event will be included in the Alternative Book of World Records, contact Alison Darby (864) 958-5264 for details.

2. October 2 through 4: The 4th Annual Heritage Days
15 traditional skills artisans will share their folk art and talents at the historic Belton Train Depot. This year’s artisans include a split oak basket weaver, a Cherokee beader, a wool felter, a gunsmith, a camp cook, a leather crafter, a country dance master, and a redware potter.

3. Live concerts are held each 2nd and 4th Saturday night at 6:00 PM.

Pendleton Walking Tour, Old Stone Church, Ashtabula and Woodburn Houses

While in the area make sure to drive up to Pendleton the “old Charleston of the Upstate“, that luckily escaped being burned during Civil War and now delights visitors with over 30 historic houses, churches and many exquisite antique shops. Here are lots details, driving directions, open hours and admission fees.

Farmer's Hall Pendleton photo

The entire town is on the National Register of Historic Places. Among the highlights: Farmer’s Hall (oldest in the nation that’s in continuous use), Hunter’s Store (most popular mercantile store in the region), Old Stone Church (where Andrew Pickens, Gen. Anderson and John Miller are burried), Ashtabula (the 1st licensed tavern in the Upcountry) and Woodburn (birthplace of African-American activitist Jane Edna Hunter).

Journey back in time along the SC National Heritage Corridor!

Exotic plants, dinosaurs and amazing nature sculpture at the SC Botanical Garden (free things to do with kids around Greenville)

SC Botanical Garden welcomes you to 295 acres of woodlands and streams, award winning exotic gardens, a 70 acre arboretum, and miles of gentle hiking trails decorated with incredible nature based sculptures. The garden grounds are free to attend and open year around from dawn till dusk.

Nature based sculpture at SC Botanical Garden

Notable attractions to see at the SC Botanical Garden

1. Bob Campbell Geology Museum – come see Clemson’s oldest tiger the Saber-toothed cat, hunt for gems, admire beautiful glowing rocks like the rose quartz and pegmatite and dig up some fossils. Open Wednesday to Saturday 10AM – 5PM and Sunday 1PM – 5PM (closed on Clemson University holidays). Admission fee: Adult $3, children $2, under 2 years is FREE. Free admission on every 3rd weekend!

Mining headframe at the Geology Museum inside SC Botanical Garden

2. Fran Hanson Discovery Center – home to the Botanical Garden visitor center provides maps and area attractions info. It features the Elizabeth Belser Fuller gallery and selective art by prominent SC artists. Kids will enjoy exploring the interactive exhibits inside the Nature Discovery room. Open Monday thru Saturday 10AM to 4PM.

Welcome to the SC Botanical Garden at Clemson

3. Hanover House – 1716 French Huguenot house, listed on National Register of Historic places. Open Saturday 10AM -12PM and Sunday 2PM – 4:30PM; closed on home football games. Call (864)-656-4789 for group tours reservations.

Hanover House photo

4. Nature-based sculpture – country’s largest nature-based outdoor sculpture collection by artists from all over the world.

Inside the tree sculpture at SC Botanical Garden

5. Hosta Garden – one of the largest collections of hostas in the Southeast featuring a lavish pond waterfall and shaded walking trails.

Smelling pretty Japanese plant at SC Botanical Garden

6. Hunt Family cabin – 1826 pioneer cabin located near the pretty Duck Pond it’s a great place to experience grassroots heritage programs held throughout the year.

7. Clemson Southern Caboose – legacy of the Class of 39th. This little red train will delight kids of all ages. Make sure to stop by the Heritage Garden nearby to learn more about Clemson University history.

Clemson Southern train photo at SC Botanical Garden

We were amused by the old-school disciplinary methods applied to the young soldier pupils. Must have been something quite important since they dedicated a plaque to it!

Disciplining pupils old school!


More area attractions and FREE things to do with kids:

• Pendleton historic houses (Farmer’s Hall, Ashtabula, Woodburn) and art district
• Duke’s World of Energy Museum
• Stumphouse Tunnel and Issaqueena Falls
Hagood Mill and Pickens County Museum of History and Art

Here is the Google Map with all the free and under $5 must see attractions around Greenville, Oconee and Devils Fork State parks.

Hosta Garden

Discover the beautiful gardens and mysterious dinosaurs of the South Carolina Upcountry!

Must see waterfalls in the South Carolina Upcountry (fun things to do outdoor with kids)

Here are some free and highly rewarding outdoor activities near Oconee State Park and Lake Jocassee in the breath-taking (I know I used this term a lot…but it’s so true) South Carolina Upcountry and Western North Carolina. Your kids will remember these trips for ever. To help you plan ahead here is a custom Google Map with these waterfalls as well as other area attractions worth shouting about.

Issaqueena Falls and the Stumphouse Tunnel
Issaqueena is the most visited waterfall Isaqueena riding to her love and the only one with a “Romeo and Juliet” like love story. Legend has it Issaqueena rode her horse great distance to warn her (white-man) husband about fast approaching Indians seeking revenge for her marriage betrayal. Some say she died during the quest others speak of a happy ending. Either way the power of love prevailed.
The hike from the viewing area to the bottom of the fall is short but strenuous. I had to piggy back carry my 4 years old but we were rewarded with an up close view of the 200 feet gorgeous waterfall.

While in the area visit the Stumphouse Tunnel where big railroad dreams crushed but the blue cheese flourished. 1,500 Irish-immigrants workers and their families came to Stumphouse Mountain to work on the tunnel meant to complete the railroad from Charleston all the way to Ohio. In the 1850s “Tunnel Hill was a rough town with more saloons than churches”. The tunnel supposed to be 5,863 feet long and its deepest point 236 feet below the surface. However the massive granite stone posed significant challenges and workers could barely get to 200 feet a month. Stumphouse Tunnel

It was hard back-breaking labor of 12 hours a day six days a week using only sledge hammers, hand drills and black powder. The Civil War and constant lack of funding put an end to the project and Tunnel Hill faded into history.

In 1940s Dr. Paul G. Miller from Clemson University noticed the tunnel ideal conditions for curing blue cheese: year around temperature of 59 degrees and 85% humidity.

Issaqueena Falls and the Stumphouse Tunnel are located on Hwy 28 between Walhalla and Oconee State Park.

Whitewater Falls
Upper Whitewater FallsAt 700 feet the Whitewater Falls are the highest falls series in the East (the Upper ones are 411 feet). The falls are close to Devils Fork and Oconee State Park and you can get to the park from highways 28, 107, 11 and 130. You will need to pay $2 daily admission fee. A half mile trail takes you to a breath-taking viewing area; beware the last segment has steep boardwalk steps. There is no trail to reach the base of the Upper Whitewater falls.

If you travel with little kids make sure to point out the funny cartoon sign remind them how dangerous the waterfall area can be. It worked well with my daughter.

Oconee Station Cove Falls
You can access the trail leading to the Cove Falls from Oconee Historic Station parking lot or Oconee State Park (connecting from the Oconee Trail). This is by far the longest (~3 miles round trip) and most diverse hike around a peaceful pond, through odd shaped trees, into a deep eerie forest, and along an intimate and refreshing creek. Fun at the bottom of Cove Falls
At the end it’s all worth it. The fall has a wide base area which makes it very popular with kids as they can hop around the rocks and get in the water safely.

Table Rock Falls
The Table Rock State Park has lots of mini waterfalls along the 1.9 mile Carrick Creek Trail that loops around the Nature Center. This is the only recommended trail for hiking with young children. With a fall every other minute it provides instant gratification to the little ones and perfect photo background. Right above the Nature Center it’s a fantastic rock-sliding and swimming spot little children just adore. This is the perfect “bribe” to keep them hiking on your way back.

Bridal Veil and Cullasaja Falls
These are separate falls located along scenic Hwy 64 Boy rock slides in Cullasaja river between Highlands and Franklin, the NC gem and gold mining star. Yes is the other Carolina but very close to the border and worth shouting about!
Bridal Veil is the only one I know of that you can drive through it. Cullasaja river boasts the teens’ favorite rock-sliding and swimming spot in the area. Motorists stop frequently to take photos, enjoy the incredible views and just have a laugh watching the children jump Tarzan-style into the river.

Make sure to stop by the Jackson Hole Gem Mine for some rubies and sapphires rock-hounding. Your kids will love that.

Downtown Greenville Reedy River Falls

An oasis of relaxation downtown Greenville

An oasis of relaxation downtown Greenville

One can’t forget the 60 foot falls nestled along scenic Reedy River feet away from downtown Greenville. Relaxing with loved ones along the river walk has become a weekend tradition for the Upstate capitol city.

You can picnic, walk, jog, bike, feed ducks and geese, play freesbie with the dog and enjoy the free entertainment at the pavilion.

Little kids love splashing about at the man-made water park or take part in classical story tales at the Children’s Garden. Everyone is invited to a funny quirky “Mice on Main” scavenger hunt downtown and to greet elephants, lions and giraffes at nearby Greenville Zoo!

History lovers and art collectors must visit Pendleton, “the Charleston of the Upstate“. The entire town is on the National Register of Historic Places. Notable attractions: Farmer’s Hall (oldest continuous operating hall in the country), Hunter’s Store, Ashtabula (1st licensed tavern), Old Stone Church (where Andrew Pickens and Gen. Anderson are buried) and Woodburn (centuries old 4 story mansion and farm)

Safe hiking and happy waterfall viewing in the Carolinas!

A great weekend in Greenville: free things to do and places to visit with the kids

Greenville is the most picturesque, family friendly and travel attractions bountiful city in South Carolina, if not the Southeast. Falls and bridge downtown Greenville
It offers a variety of free and fun things to do and see; Downtown it’s easily accessible and offers wide sidewalks peppered with cafes, restaurants and free entertainment. There is always something going on downtown.

Where else can you admire 60 foot waterfall right in the middle of the city?

Here is a list of activities you can do while visiting Greenville.

Free activities
• Mice on Main scavenger hunt, the fun way to stroll up and down Main Street.
• Picnic, walk, bike, learn about the city’s history or just play at the incredible scenic Falls Park along the Reedy River. Pay your respects to Shoeless Joe, Carolina’s beloved famous baseball player in the 1900s.
• Live the fairy tales at the outdoor Children’s Garden
• The SC Botanical Gardens has the country’s only nature-based sculpture collection; it also features thousands of ornamental plants varieties and natural woodlands and streams
• McPherson Park opened in 1884 is the city’s oldest park and features a log cabin, putt-putt golf and tennis courts.

• Drive to Pickens (about 20 miles west of Greenville) to see Hagood Mill “Where Memories are Made” the only still commercially operating grist mill and home to many folk and arts festivals. Stop by the Pickens County Museum of History and Art to see some great collections like Andrew Pickens duel pistols and the old jail cell.

Activities under $5
• See elephants paint Famous Elephant Painter and Siamang monkey call out their love at the Greenville Zoo inside Cleveland Park
• Visit the state’s largest planetarium at the Roper Mountain Science Center

• History lovers and art collectors visit Pendleton, “the Charleston of the Upstate” just 30 miles southwest of Greenville (hwy 76 and 28). The entire town is on the National Register of Historic Places. Notable attractions: Farmer’s Hall (oldest continuous operating hall in the country), Hunter’s Store, Ashtabula (1st licensed tavern), Old Stone Church (where Andrew Pickens and Gen. Anderson are buried) and Woodburn (4 story mansion)

Parking and getting around downtown

Free parking in the weekends and evenings (on non-event days) at:
• River Street Lot
• Bowater Garage
• Irvine Street Lot
• W. Washington Street Deck (Bus Transfer Station)
• Richard Street Garage
• Augusta Street (near the Stadium)

Ride the trolley for free on Main Street. For a calendar of events in the Greenville area visit www.greatergreenville.com

2009 Update! Finally, The Children Museum is now open!

Cooler than NASCAR!

Cooler than NASCAR!

The museum is located downtown, near Greenville Museum of Art, the Public Library and The Little Theater.

This place rocks!
Kids can launch a satellite, race a Formula 1 car, perform live and record music, remote control a cool crane, shop at a supermarket, get digested in a giant stomach, play with laser and much, much more…

Admission is $12 (free for kids under 1) and the museum is open Tuesday to Sunday 9AM – 5PM (noon on Sundays).

Enjoy your family weekend in awesome Greenville, South Carolina!

Mice on Main scavenger hunt free family adventure in Greenville

What better way to explore downtown Greenville than through a scavenger hunt? For the past 5 years “Mice on Main” has become one of the city’s greatest travel attraction the whole family can do for free. Hidden downtown are nine little bronze mice for kids of all ages to discover.
Sunset in downtown Greenville
Based on popular children’s book “Goodnight Moon” the activity is fun, educational and a great way to keep kids engaged throughout the evening.
You can pick up a hunt hints brochure at most hotels and the Visitor Center located on Main Street near the entrance to Falls Park.Marvin and Goodnight Moon book at Mice on Main Greenville

During your Sherlock Holmes adventures you will enjoy some of the city’s landmark hotels, banks, historic figures, business and entertainment establishments.

Marvin Jr. at Mice on Main GreenvilleThere is no need to rush, take your time, break for coffee, beer or even deer along the many delicious restaurants and bar the city has to offer.

For other exciting free family things to do in Greenville see my other posts: scenic Reedy River walk and a kids fairy tale visit at the Children’s Garden.

Happy hunting in friendly downtown Greenville South Carolina!

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