The capital of South Carolina, Columbia offers many great things to see and do, including excellent museums, parks and restaurants. Visit the Columbia Museum of Art, stroll along the scenic Riverfront Park, stop by the South Carolina Military Museum and explore the Riverbanks Zoo & Garden. Best Things to Do in Columbia, SC with kids include the South Carolina State Museum, EdVenture Children’s Museum and Saluda Shoals Park.
The Columbia Museum of Art is more than just a modern art museum; it is also a thriving social hub of Columbia community. The museum holds several world-class permanent collections. The museum’s Renaissance and Baroque art donated by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation includes treasures such as Botticelli’s Nativity. The Columbia Museum of Art is one of the top Columbia attractions.
The extensive European collection also boasts Monet’s mesmerizing View of the Seine. In addition, the Museum has extensive Asian, Contemporary, Modern, American and Vogel collections. The museum also has monthly visiting exhibitions and it organizes block parties, concerts, art classes, lectures, tours and many kids’ programs.
Where else can you go from an African forest to the Australian plains and Carolina’s bogs in one day but at the Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden? Opened in 1974, the 170-acre zoo and garden is located along the magnificent Lower Saluda River. The zoo section is designed as a series of realistic and natural habitats for about 2,000 animals from all over the world. You can meet a baboon with diabetes, feed friendly giraffes and observe lions, koalas and much more. If you are looking for fun things to do in Columbia SC with kids, this is a great place to visit.
Each habitat also has special graphics and interactive computer programs to help visitors learn about the animals and their world. The Botanical Garden consists of lush woodlands, theme gardens, historic ruins, rare plant collections, the ruins of an old textile mill and a beautifully restored log cabin that serves as interpretive center.
Starting at the end of Laurel St., Columbia Canal and Riverfront Park is Columbia’s most popular jogging and biking trail that takes you for two and half miles along the lush banks of the Broad River. The park is a lovely place to relax, take a slow hike, sit on the bench and meditate while watching the river waters pass by. If you are wondering what to do in Columbia, South Carolina today, this is a great place to start exploring.
You can also learn a lot about the history of Columbia, since this park was the site of the original Columbia waterworks, the first textile mill in the world that was operated by electricity and the oldest South Carolina hydroelectric plant, which is still in operation.
Feel free to roam through the old mills, look at the old pump houses, or sit on the bank and throw your fishing line into the water. This lovely park also hosts annual outdoor music concerts such as Riverfest and Greekfest, along with a few smaller ones.