Today I’m covering off on all of the FUN we had back in Columbia after the lacrosse tournament. The city is so easy to navigate that it makes it easy to pack in a lot in just a little bit of time. Here’s how we did it:
Friday Pre-game: University of South Carolina + South Carolina State House
Weekend Lax in Lex: Lacrosse tournament in Lexington
Sunday/Monday Post-game: Columbia Fireflies Game, Riverbanks Zoo, South Carolina State Museum
Sunday/Monday Post Game
Just as soon as the championship game was over and our tent city was cleaned up, we scooted back in to town and checked in at the Hyatt Place Columbia Downtown. It was such an immaculately clean hotel and everyone was just lovely. Located right in the Vista area, it was really convenient to all of the local attractions. I would definitely recommend staying here and would absolutely bring my family back.
John got cleaned up and the four of us chilled in the room for a couple of hours before walking over to Blue Marlin, in the original Seaboard Air Line Railway Station, for dinner. Everything about our meal was excellent!
After dinner we walked back to the Hyatt to retrieve our car and then headed out to the ball game! We love baseball – and especially minor league – so a night out at the Columbia Fireflies game was right up our alley.
It just happened to also be Tim Tebow’s last game with the team and the the crowd was electric! Of course, my boys (all three) were thrilled to be there in the middle of the action.
Spirit Communications Park was extremely nice and I loved all of the nods to the fireflies, being from the south. The mascot’s name is Mason and the team store was the Mason Jar. So cute!
We slept in a little Monday morning before heading right downstairs for a free buffet breakfast. It was really yummy and such a nice perk that I wasn’t even aware of until checking in!
Sufficiently stuffed, the boys and I headed out for the day. Unfortunately, Honey had to work and hung back at the hotel. Our first stop was the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden.
We spent a good three hours exploring each and every exhibit. Everything was so well done, the zoo was immaculately clean and well tended, and our entire visit was incredibly enjoyable. I had heard from many of you that Riverbanks was not to miss, but I couldn’t imagine it being more than any other zoo. I was so wrong – it was outstanding from the minute we arrived.
Highlights included the Walk with the Roos, where you are right there with the animals! Humans have to stay on the path, but the kangaroos are roaming free. They were quite lazy while we were there, however. As soon as we saw this guy we immediately thought of Elsa. She sleeps just.like.this. HA!
The boys loved the Sky High Safari ropes course. It overlooked the giraffes, which was so cool.
Speaking of these long legged friends, we are still talking about feeding the giraffes. We could not believe how long their tongues were and how sweet they were!! Whit is my true animal lover and he could not have been happier doing this.
And finally, can we just talk about the most adorable birds ever?! We were all mesmerized with how cute and friendly they were, landing right on our heads and drinking nectar from our little cups.
When I was telling Mother and Daddy-O how much fun we had they told me that when I was a toddler and Sister was a baby Daddy-O worked in Columbia. Mother brought us to town to visit frequently and said Riverbanks was a highlight back then as well!!
We were ravenous by the time we finished up (and totally would have eaten at Tuskers overlooking the gators and giraffes), but we promised Honey we would pick him up from the hotel to join us for lunch. We headed to Di Prato’s and oh my goodness it was delicious!! We all had sandwiches but the pimento cheese and pita starter was the shining star of our meal. Everything was just SO good. I’ll tell you what, Columbia has some good eats!
We dropped Honey back at the hotel to finish up his day and we headed just around the corner to the South Carolina State Museum for our final stop.
We started with the special Savage Ancient Seas exhibit. Whit was terrified but John couldn’t get enough. We saw a 45-foot long Tylosaurus, the largest mosasaur skeleton ever found in North America, and this Archelon, the largest turtle that ever lived.
Other highlights included the Hands on Science area. We spent so much time in this section exploring the interactive exhibits.
We also loved the telescope gallery and talking to the guide about what we were seeing on the computers (the sun!) and how it worked.
The museum also has a couple of theaters. During our visit, we were fascinated by the Great Escapes: Life in 4-D movie. It transported us right into the middle of the wild to see the tactics animals have developed to survive and thrive in a dangerous world. In the Planetarium we saw From Earth to the Universe. It was a beautiful journey through our solar system, interstellar space and beyond. The boys had never been to a planetarium and were enthralled.
Knowing that we wanted to do Riverbanks Zoo and Garden as well as the South Carolina State Museum, the Columbia CoolPass was a great option for admission. It also includes admission to the EdVenture Children’s Museum but after looking it over I thought my boys were a little too old for it. We did the Ultimate Pass which included a wristband for activities at the zoo (think animal feedings, carousel rides, etc.) and admission to the special exhibit at the State Museum.
While we surely missed Honey, I loved my day with the boys so very much.
This wraps up our Columbia adventure. By arriving early on Friday and extending our visit by one night we got so much more out of the city than just a lacrosse tournament. I really cannot say enough good things about our visit!!
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DIXIE DELIGHTS DELIVERED