In case you didn't know, body builders create perfectly formed mini-body builders when they make babies. It's just one of those science facts. Buff babies are great fun, too, because you can take them on roller coasters way before other kids. Buff or not, your kids may enjoy the following locations and activities, with one festival starting this very weekend.
Charleston Carifest 2016
To celebrate and preserve Caribbean culture, the annual Charleston Carifest showcases art, culture, and education, starting on Thurs. June 23. The festival will feature events like a symposium, a parade down King Street, a Caribbean church service at Grace United Methodist Church, and a festival village in Brittlebank Park. On Sat. June 25, the festival village will host performances from reggae artists, including Charleston's own Dubplates, from 5-11 p.m. Each year's fest has a new theme, and this year's will focus on indentured heritage, a history of labor that started in 1835 when a large number of European indentured servants traveled to Jamaica for work.
Kids and adults alike can explore the S.C. Aquarium in search of their favorite aquatic creatures. The aquarium offers a variety of exhibits, including Shark Shallows, Mountain Forest, Coastal Plain, Saltmarsh Aviary, and Touch Tank. There are also plenty of daily programs, along with special events, held each summer to enhance your experience, such as the Fourth of July celebration, Sea Stars and Stripes. For even more unique opportunities offered by the aquarium, become a member and open the door to a number of events and experiences like the Capers Island Overnight Kayak and Hiking Expedition, movie nights, and Discovery Trawls.
Cast-Off Fishing Tournaments
For a day of family fun outdoors, both kids and adults are welcome to enter one of this summer's Charleston County Parks cast-off fishing tournaments. If fishing isn't your thing, but a day on the pier sounds serene, spectators are welcome as well. Tournaments include a variety of age groups and fun prizes for winners. Don't forget your coolers and beach chairs, which are welcome on both Folly and Mt. Pleasant piers. The next tourney will be held on Sat. June 25 from 6 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Folly pier.
Tides Summer Movies
Every Wednesday night at 8 p.m. on Folly Beach, families are invited to bring their beach chairs and blankets for movies under the stars and on top of the sand in front of the Tides hotel. Guests can look forward to flicks like Frozen, Shark Tale, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and the classic Jaws, which we assume won't make you want to jump right in the ocean upon viewing. Movies are weather permitting and run every week until mid-September.
If you love Charleston, baseball, or both, come out this summer to support the Charleston RiverDogs. You can literally bring the whole family on Mondays with the RiverDogs Dog Days games — that's right four-legged friends are invited to every Monday night home game. Parents looking to wind down after a long day may enjoy Take Me Out Tuesdays, which feature two for $20 ticket deals, and Thirsty Thursdays, where beers are only a buck. Friday night games feature a fireworks show, and Sunday games are Kid's Club days where kids under 12 eat for free, and their driving-age parents score free parking.
Charleston County Waterparks
Sometimes when you want to cool off, you don't want to go through the sandy hassle of trekking to the beach. That's where Charleston County's three waterparks — Wannamaker County Park's Whirlin' Waters, James Island County Park's Splash Zone, and Palmetto Islands County Park's Splash Island — come in handy. Open every day from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., these parks all offer concessions, lockers, lounge chairs, and shower facilities. Your kiddos will be safe under the watchful eyes of trained lifeguards, and you can kick back and relax.
Charleston County Main Library
There are 18 public libraries in the Charleston area, and each one offers its own set of free (and fun) summer activities. The main library, located in the heart of downtown Charleston, hosts loads of events throughout the summer, from board game get-togethers — check out the upcoming one on Sun. June 26 from 2-6 p.m. — to children's choirs and kids' movies.
Folly Family Fun Night
Now through Aug. 2, families can head to Folly River Park for Family Fun Night every Tuesday from 5-7 p.m., a brand spankin' new series of free summer events. Guests can look forward to performances from the Charleston Performing Arts Center and the Charleston Mermaids belly dancers, along with interactive fun from Dragonfly Kids Yoga. Vendors include Sweet Lulu's Bakery, Kool Katz Italian Ice, Mardi Gras Snowballs of the Lowcountry, and more.
Redux Contemporary Art Studio
Redux is a cool place to visit — free art exhibitions are fun for the whole family — but it's also the location of some pretty neat kids' art classes. Two new programs start on Mon. June 27, Art Throughout History with Chambers Austelle, and The Fish Unit, with Russ Bratcher. The week-long camps cost $150 for non-members, and include lots of hands-on action, with Jackson Pollock-like drip paintings in Austelle's class, and linoleum carving in Bratcher's class. Head online for more details on these programs and others.
Ever played disc golf? It's kinda like golf ... but with a disc. We know, that really cleared things up. Head North up Route 17 to play some disc golf in Sewee Outpost's forest, where guests can play all day for five bucks. After hitting the 18 holes, stick around for an Awendaw Green Barn Jam. Held every Wednesday night from 6-10 p.m., this year-round concert series is BYOB and pet and kid-friendly. And like that golf game — it only costs a Lincoln.