Entertaining a three-year-old all summer is no easy task. Just ask my husband. As a teacher, he takes on the role of summer camp director making sure our son has plenty to do. Fortunately, Charleston is packed with activities designed specifically with children in mind and we've already found some hits in the past few weeks.
Edwin S. Taylor Folly Beach Fishing Pier
I can't tell a catfish from a dogfish, but that didn't seem to matter one bit during a recent visit to the Edge of America. On any given night the Edwin S. Taylor Folly Beach Fishing pier is filled with dozens of fishermen eager to school you and your little ones on the specifics of the Atlantic's aquatic life. A recent visit involved my son running the length of the Pier asking various kids what they were catching. We even saw a seven-year-old reel in a whiting. That said, if you actually know a thing or two about fishing, by all means, bring your poles and catch and release the night away.
The Center for Birds of Prey – Avian Conservation Center
The surest way to stop looking down at your cell phone is to visit The Center for Birds of Prey. It's impossible not to be enthralled gazing up at the Avian Conservation Center's gorgeous hawks, falcons, owls, eagles, and vultures. The flight demonstrations are designed for children and adults alike and the property is a great place to take kids for a guided walking tour.
Splash Pad at James Island County Park
"Mom, I want to move in here!" That was a comment from one squealing child racing around the James Island County Park splash pad last weekend. It seems like a simple concept: Cover a bit of asphalt with sprinklers, then let kids run amok, but let me tell you, it's so much more. It's basically toddler nirvana. Pro tip: bring a change of clothes and plenty of snacks. An hour or two running through the water is bound to work up an appetite and (fingers crossed) lead to a long nap.
Farmers Market Jump Castles
I know you know this already, but the Marion Square Farmers Market jump castles are clutch on a hot Saturday morning. Take your tot to Calhoun and buy them a 30 minute pass. They will exit the bounce house sweat-drenched and smiling and you'll have had a moment to think.
Freshfields Village Music on the Green
If you like Dad rock and drinking wine outdoors, head to Kiawah's Freshfields Village at 6 p.m. on Friday nights. What's essentially a playground for exhausted parents with small children, Freshfields' green space becomes a music venue for one night a week. Let the kids run wild while you sip and stare into the abyss wondering why you didn't go to Paris just once more before having kids ... I mean, parenting is a gift.
Bonus: More family fun
Lowcountry Parent Film Series
Wednesdays through August 1
$4, Free/kids 10 and under
1956 Maybank Hwy. James Island
Follow the yellow brick road to the chocolate factory, hop on your flying bike and corral your friendly crew of sheep, collies, and one brave pig before making your way to the Terrace Theater for a summer of family friendly film screenings. The 12th Annual Lowcountry Parent Family Film Series is back every Wed. through August 1 with favorites like The Sandlot, E.T., Babe, and Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.