COLAtoday City Guide Play Banner

Kid-friendly activities in Columbia

We’re highlighting the best kid-friendly activities that Columbia, SC has to offer — complete with art classes, animal encounters, and outdoor fun.

Leo’s-Landing-sign-in-columbia-sc

Your child won’t forget this playground experience. | Photo by @thedomesticduchess

Table of Contents

We’re not kiddin’ around. From major attractions like the EdVenture Children’s Museum to hidden gems like the the spray pool at Lorick Park, there’s something in Soda City for children of all ages. You’ll have no trouble entertaining the youngsters with this list of 22 kid-friendly activities around the 803.

Feeding-giraffes-at-Riverbanks-Zoo

Feeding giraffes at Riverbanks Zoo | Photo via @mrlashle

🧠 Educational activities

South Carolina State House, 1100 Gervais St. | Free
Dive into civic education with a tour of this capitol building. Ideal for families with elementary-aged kids to learn about state governance and history. Kids will remember look at Cola from the top of the steps.

Riverbanks Zoo & Garden, 500 Wildlife Pkwy. | $19+ | 🎟️ Family memberships available
This 170-acre site introduces children to over 2,000 animals, not to mention the botanical garden. Kids will remember how pink flamingos are in person.

EdVenture Children’s Museum, 211 Gervais St. | $13
Explore the Southeast’s largest children’s museum which boasts hands-on exhibits like a bio lab. Kids will remember Eddie — a giant sculpture of a child that kids can crawl inside to learn about organs like the brain and heart.

Columbia Fire Museum, 1800 Laurel St. | Free
Take your aspiring firefighter to this one-room exhibit which has displays and antiques commemorating the history of Cola’s fire department. Kids will remember the horse-drawn fire engine from 1903.

Anne Frank Center, 1731 College St. | Free
One for the older kids. Located on the UofSC campus, this is the only site in North America to partner with the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. Take a free public tour — ideal for those with children aged 12 and up — of the four-room exhibit which explores the legacy of Anne Frank. Kids will remember the photographs, videos, and original artifacts from this tour.

Mimi Kato: Ordinary Sagas at the Columbia Museum of Art | Photo credit: Drew Baron / Columbia Museum of Art

Mimi Kato: Ordinary Sagas at the Columbia Museum of Art | Photo credit: Drew Baron / Columbia Museum of Art

🎨 All about the arts

Columbia Museum of Art, 1515 Main St. | $5+ | 🎟️ Family memberships available
The CMA is the perfect place to foster a love of art. Kids can enjoy storytelling in the galleries, going on a safari through the art collections, and even summer camps. Kids will remember creating an original piece of art in the CMA studios.

Columbia Children’s Theatre, Brookland Lakeview Empowerment Center, 1218 Batchelor St., West Columbia | $15
These professional plays allow children to foster their love of the arts up close, plus the theater offers performance opportunities and voice lessons. Kids will remember the audience participation.

Columbia Marionette Theatre, 401 Laurel St. | $7
Catch a show and learn about the tradition and artistry of puppetry. Kids will remember the unique, handcrafted marionettes.

columbiaymca_284606765_1213616246076530_2029331879338975868_n

Orangeburg County YMCA is well worth the drive. | Photo by: @columbiaymca

🌊 Splash around

Palmetto Falls Water Park, 6511 Strom Thurmond Blvd., Fort Jackson | $17
Beat the heat with the Splashdown pool and a lazy river. Kids will remember racing down the water slides.

Waterfall Junction, 500 Wildlife Pkwy. | $19+
Located in the Riverbanks Zoo & Garden, this splash zone features a 25-ft cascading waterfall. Kids will remember the life-size replica of T-Rex.

Orangeburg County YMCA, 2550 St Matthews Rd. NE, Orangeburg | $4+
This aquatic park has a lazy river, two slides, and a zero-depth pool. Kids will remember the bowl slide with a plunge pool.

Pool-Jeep-Rogers-YMCA-Columbia-SC

Pool at Jeep Rogers YMCA | Photo via @xsiveliving

⛱️ Pool party

Greenview Pool, 6700 David St. | $3+
This public pool also has water slides and a zero-depth splash pad, plus recreational swimming on weekends. Kids will remember going down the water slide over and over again.

Maxcy Gregg Pool, 1655 Park Cir. | $3+
Enjoy recreational swimming on the weekend at this Olympic-sized outdoor pool. Kids will remember playing marco polo.

Jeep Rogers Family YMCA, 900 Lake Carolina Dr. | 🎟️ Family memberships available
Beyond the eight-lane swimming pool, there are also tennis courts, a basketball gym, child watch hours, and swim lessons. Kids will remember learning how to swim here.

Congaree National Park Trails

The Boardwalk Loop Trail is wheelchair accessible. | Photo by @hdcarolina

🌳 Great outdoors

Sesquicentennial State Park, 9564 Two Notch Rd. | $6+
Before you hit the trail for hiking, kayaking, and paddling, head to the park office for kid-friendly activities — or print them out at home. Kids will remember using the scavenger hunt and trail map on a hike.

Congaree National Park, 100 National Park Rd. | Free
Foster a love for nature by exploring 26,000 acres of SC’s only National Park. Kids will remember strolling the Boardwalk trail

Harbison State Forest, 5600 Broad River Rd. | $5+
You don’t have to leave city limits to get into the great outdoors at this large greenspace. Kids will remember learning about the park at the Harbison Environmental Education Center.

Three Rivers Greenway, various locations | Free
Explore 15 miles of scenic trails perfect for walking, biking, and learning about local history and wildlife along Columbia’s rivers.
Kids will remember the sculptures on Boyd Island.

🧺 Pack a picnic

Irmo Community Park, 7473 Church St., Irmo | Free
Beyond the playgrounds, kids can take walks along the trails with the family, or enjoy a barbecue picnic. Kids will remember coming here for the Okra Strut Festival.

The Horseshoe at the University of South Carolina, 902 Sumter St. | Free
Experience the collegiate atmosphere with a picnic or bike ride around this historic part of campus, featuring beautiful outdoor spaces. Kids will remember the buzzing energy of the campus.

Leo’s Landing at Saluda Shoals, 5605 Bush River Rd. | Free
This inclusive playground blends nature-based elements and accessible play areas, fostering inclusion and friendship. Kids will remember the treehouse village and the sound garden.

Transmission

Each Transmission Arcade game costs 1-2 tokens, four tokens per dollar. | Photo by @transmissionarcade

🎳 Indoor adventures

Transmission Arcade, 1712 Main St. | $1 for four tokens
Introduce young gamers to the arcade classics like “Frogger” and “Dig Dug” — plus, “Mortal Kombat” for the older crowd. Kids will remember discovering all the games from your childhood.

Altitude, 7451 Garners Ferry Rd. | $7+
Bounce out all that energy at this indoor trampoline park featuring high-flying trampolines, courses, and competitions. Kids will remember performing aerial acrobatics.

Frankie’s Fun Park, 140 Parkridge Dr. | Prices vary
Enjoy mini-golf, go-karts, arcade games, and more at this family amusement center for a day packed with fun and excitement. Kids will remember beating their parents at putt-putt.

The Final Door, 930 Knox Abbott Dr. | $27+
Work together to find a solution to immersive escape games, many of which are designed for families with children. Kids will remember solving the puzzle before you do.

Check out our other Guides
Sponsored
If your current vehicle is grinding your gears, it may be time to start the search for a new one.
See what’s in store for Columbia weather over the summer months in the Midlands of South Carolina.
We’re giving you all the pertinent details about some of the elementary, middle, and high schools in Columbia so you can make the best decision for your family.
Hit the town and enjoy a drink after work at one of these cheers-worthy local bars.
Make the most of the warm weather with this list of the best local events and activities happening this summer.
We’re highlighting 20 parks around Columbia, SC.
If you don’t have coffee already in hand, consider this your sign to grab some with our coffee guide, featuring 25+ local coffee shops.
From lifting weights, indoor rock climbing, personal training, dance fitness, boxing classes, and martial arts programs — we’ve rounded up 30+ gyms and fitness offerings around Columbia.
To help make your entire experience at Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE) as smooth as possible, we’ve created a guide that covers everything from gates and parking to food and bev options.
Sponsored
Whether you’re looking for results-driven skincare, relaxing body treatments, or want to sweat it out in the sauna, we’ve rounded up four local spas to check out.
COLAtoday phone
Good news for Columbia.
Get the best local news & events sent to your inbox each morning, for free.