COLUMBIA, S.C. — Easter came early this year -- April 4 -- ushering in Spring Break for kids in school. If you haven’t already scheduled something to do with your family's time off, WLTX has some suggestions.
Go outside. Take a walk or a bike ride around a park and enjoy the scenery. That face mask will come in handy helping to block not only the coronavirus but the pollen that’s floating around out there. City of Columbia's parks are open and some are featuring brand new playground equipment, perfect for an afternoon of play and maybe a picnic.
For those wanting a little more of an adventure, go bigger:
- Congaree National Park, Hopkins: While some sites at the Longleaf Campground and portions of the Visitors Center remain closed, the park’s hiking and paddling trails, canoe/kayak launches, restrooms and picnic shelters are open.
- Sesquicentennial State Park, 9564 Two Notch Rd, Columbia: The campground is closed for renovations until June 1, but you can still take advantage of the walking trails, playground, dog park, seasonal fishing, paddleboats and scavenger hunt activities. Sesqui is a popular spot in the Northeast can get crowded. There is a fee for entry -- $6/adult, $3.75/seniors age 65 and older, $3.50/children ages 6-15. Children age 5 and under get in free. Park hours: 8 a.m. to dusk
- Harbison State Forest, Broad River Rd, Irmo: Over 2,000 acres of forest with 18 miles of hiking and biking trails. The northeast side of the park is bounded by the Broad River that has access points for launching canoes and kayaks. Call for trail conditions: (803) 896-8897. Parking permits required, purchased in parking areas. Main gate hours: 9am – 4:30 p.m.
- Saluda Shoals Park, 5605 Bush River Rd, Columbia: There are two Easter Egg Hunts planned for this weekend -- The Egg-cessible (Accessible) Hunt on Friday at Leo's Landing and Saturday's Egg Hunt in the Park -- that eager hunters need to pre-register for online.
Pick strawberries. Strawberry season has officially arrived and the fields at Cottle Strawberry Farm in Lower Richland are ripe with berries. You can pick your own (sampling a bit as you go, you know, for quality control purposes) or pick up some freshly picked berries at one of Cottle’s satellite locations in Columbia. Farm hours are 9 a.m.- 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. on Sunday. Check the website for hours at roadside stands at Bower Parkway and Harbison Blvd, 5143 Forest Drive, and 714 Clemson Road in Columbia, and 1835 ½ Sunset Blvd in West Columbia.
Pick up some plants. The Midlands Spring Plant & Flower Sale is returning to the South Carolina State Farmers Market April 8-11, 2021. Wander through stalls featuring plants, garden essentials, Certified South Carolina produce, springtime décor and more. Food vendors and the Market Restaurant will be open for business. Hours: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Admission and parking are free. Wagons will be available for rent, but visitors are encouraged to bring their own due to a limited quantity. The South Carolina State Farmers Market is located at 3483 Charleston Highway in West Columbia.
Make some noise! The South Carolina State Museum is celebrating spring break with extended hours April 3-11, free general admission for kids 12 and under, and a new exhibition, Make Some Noise: The Science of Sound. The exhibit -- presented in English and Spanish -- will explore many different aspects of sound, including how sound travels and how it is measured, as well as how humans and other animals hear and produce sound. General admission to the State Museum is $8.95 for adults, $7.95 for Seniors, FREE for children (ages 12 and under) from April 3 - 11, and free for museum members all year. Planetarium shows are an additional charge. Due to the museum’s need to manage guest capacity, online advance ticket purchase is highly recommended at scmuseum.org.
Although closed Easter Sunday, the museum will open over the rest of the Spring Break holiday (April 3 – 11) as follows: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday through Saturday and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 11.
The State Museum is also offering Virtual At-Home Spring Break Camp sessions, Monday through Friday, April 5 - 9. These daily morning camps will focus on a different theme for each session, including astronomy, art, history and more. Campers can participate on their own and/or families are welcome to join in and work together throughout the session. Camps are $25 for the general public and $20 for museum members. Registration is now open on the museum’s website at scmuseum.org