Columbia was the very first city in America, and the first capital named for Christopher Columbus, founded back in 1786, as noted by DiscoverSouthCarolina.com. It has such a rich history to explore, but the city offers a whole lot more.
Whether you’re here to scope out the Columbia homes for sale or only for a visit, these places are especially ideal for bringing the whole family.
The Riverbanks Zoo and Garden
The Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is one of the state’s top attractions. It not only hosts one of the country’s best zoos but some of the most spectacular botanical gardens. On one side is the zoo, which houses 350 different animal species from across the globe, including the geographic habitats of North America, Australia, Asia, and Africa. There are various demonstrations of the creatures here too, including gorilla feedings, penguin and sea lion presentations. Over on the garden side are 70 acres of themed gardens that include over 4,200 exotic and native plant species. There are all sorts of gardens to explore, including a children’s garden with a splash zone and giant treehouses, a rose garden, and a fabulous walled garden, among others.
Congaree National Park
This national park is a must-visit, a place that draws many to Columbia in the first place. It preserves the country’s largest tract of remaining old-growth bottomland forests. The lush trees growing here are some of the tallest in the eastern U.S., forming one of the highest and most stunning temperate deciduous forest canopies left on Earth. Not only is there a boardwalk to hike but as the Congaree River flows through, it’s a great place to kayak.
The kids are sure to be thrilled with the name but don’t worry; there’s a lot more than soda at this downtown market. Held on Main Street on Saturdays throughout the year, there is a wide range of vendors selling everything from fresh fruits and veggies, tasty local and regional foods, handcrafted items, and more. From there, you’ll be able to check out many of the favorite businesses found on Main Street. The Mast General Store, for example, offers penny candles, outdoor gear, souvenirs, gifts, and clothing.
EdVenture Children’s Museum
Anyone traveling with kids won’t want to miss the chance to bring them to this outstanding institution that encourages children of all ages to learn through interactive museum experiences. It’s the largest children’s museum in the entire Southeast region of the U.S. It offers exhibits that are sure to keep everyone enthralled, like the Flight exhibit which introduces visitors to the forces of flight and the world of aeronautics. You can experience the sensation of flying in a real Boeing 757 cockpit, right from the pilot seat. There are opportunities to learn about inventions, animals, cooking, and careers – those would-be newscasters can even test their skills in a newsroom and learn how news is created.
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