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Five Playgrounds in Spartanburg, SC Your Kids Will Beg Not to Leave

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Ready to get outside and play? These playgrounds in Spartanburg, SC are perfect for playtime! You’ve read about the wonderful playgrounds that Spartanburg and the surrounding area have, but after a long winter of planning indoor activities, here is a reminder of some of the best playgrounds in Spartanburg you can revisit, or check out for the first time.

5 excellent playgrounds in Spartanburg, South Carolina

Movies, Arcade Games, Bowling, and More at The Big E: Gaffney, SC

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Have you visited the awesome indoor entertainment complex, The Big E, in Gaffney, SC? We sent Local mom Rebecca Parrish for a fun day with her family! She shares what her family loves about The Big E in Gaffney, SC and all of the activities you will find there.

The Big E in Gaffney, South Carolina

What You’ll Find at The Big E: Gaffney, SC

Our family took a quick 45 minute road trip north on I-85 to exit 90 to visit Gaffney, South Carolina. Nestled next to the Gaffney Outlet Marketplace (A Simon Center), locally known as the “yellow mall”, The Big E in Gaffney, SC is an entertainment center promising fun for every age. It is a great place to spend the day and enjoy new experiences with your child, or a spot for birthday party joy.

The Movie Theatre

The Big E Gaffney features eight (8) movie theatres screening wide-release new blockbuster movies. They strictly enforce rating policies for ticketing. The theater is comfortable and has a high quality sound system, digital projection, and stadium style seating. You can purchase tickets ahead of time through The Big E online theatre portal, where you will find showtimes, movie ratings, and run times for each moving showing. Ticket prices run from $$8.25 – $10.25, which is slightly more affordable than some other movie theatre chains.

A Bowling Alley

The Big E also has a large bowling alley with 16 lanes where they feature open bowling ($5 per person plus $3.00 per person for shoes) and cosmic bowling ($6 per person) on weekends. You can choose to rent a lane by game or by the hour. Big E has mixed and youth leagues, and they participate in the Kids Bowl Free program in the spring and summer.

The bowling area also has flat-screen TVs and an area for food and beverages. The concessions include a variety of snacks and fries, pizza, wings, and “plates” like chicken tenders and hot dogs/corn dogs.

Bowling at The Big E in Gaffney, South Carolina

Playland Indoor Playground

Younger children will love the indoor playland which involves climbing up levels, over rope bridges, on swings, and down slides. They even have a Ballocity Blast Center, where hundreds of foam balls are propelled out of mini air cannons. The playland is padded, which is always a plus. Parents are welcome to hang out in the cafe area located nearby while their children play. The cost is $7 per child for an unlimited day pass. Be sure to bring socks, but they do have them for $3.00 in case you need to purchase a pair.

The Arcade

The playland shares space with the 60 game arcade area, which houses lots of arcade games (including old favorites like Skee Ball to high-tech games like a Star Wars simulator), and the bumper cars (my personal favorite). Don’t leave the Big E without taking a spin on these spinning, neon-round cars.

The best part about playing is the ease of it; the Big E Gaffney sells a “ Big E Fun Card” that parents can load with an amount of money. This card is used at each of the attractions and the arcade, so rather than keeping up with dollars and loose change, kids or adults just use the card. We found this so simple and a lesson for our child about making smart choices about what he wanted to try. They often run promotions for Fun Cards, which is a good way to get extra bang for your buck!

Bumper cars at The Big E in Gaffney, South Carolina

Laser Tag

By far, our favorite part of our Big E adventure was Laser Tag. For $8 per person, you get an amazing, action-packed game lasting about 10-15 minutes. Individuals are suited up with high-tech vests that react with vibrations and sound, and laser guns (called phasers) that you reload as you play on the multi-level course with teammates. Black lights, glowing barriers, fog, and music add to the excitement; and spectators can watch the action on a screen outside the arena. At the end of the match, points are tallied and a winner is revealed. My son is still buzzing from his victory!

Mini Golf and Zip Line

Outside, the complex includes an adventure mini golf course and a challenging zip line. The day we ventured out, it was too cold and windy to try these. However, the area looked fun for a future warm day when we have some funds for fun!

Host Your Birthday Party at The Big E: Gaffney, SC

Having a birthday party at The Big E would make a epic memory for you kids. You can have a Mini Golf Party, Playland Party, Movie Party, or a Bowling Party. You can even add on laser tag. Parties for up to 10 guests cost around $205. You’ll get access to one attraction, pizza, drinks, ice cream, and arcade cards. You’ll also get a party host to make everything go seamlessly.

Plan Your Trip to The Big E: Gaffney, South Carolina

The Big E Gaffney
1100 Factory Shops Blvd.
Gaffney, SC 29341
Hours vary by day and by attraction.

Does a family outing to The Big E Gaffney sound perfect for your crew?

Meet Rebecca Parrish
Rebecca Raulerson Parrish is a former English teacher turned non-profit administrator who currently works with Women Giving for Spartanburg and Five Twenty Consulting. She serves on the board of the Spartanburg Little Theatre and is proudly balancing books as Treasurer for the Jesse Boyd Elementary PTSO. A native of Lakeland, Florida, Rebecca loves living in Spartanburg, where she enjoys lots of adventures (and four seasons) with her husband, nine-year-old son, dog, bird and three pet chickens.

Va-Du-Mar McMillan Park Makes for a Perfect Afternoon Out

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Are you looking for information about Va-Du-Mar McMillan Park? If you want to know all the reasons this is a great park for kids, you’ve come to the right place. Local mom, Erika, has reviewed all of Va-Du-Mar McMillan Park’s amenities and is sharing why it is one of her kids’ favorite parks. 

Now is the perfect time to enjoy the outdoors, and what better way to do that than to check out one of the wonderful parks that Spartanburg has to offer?

One park worth mentioning, and well worth the trip to Boiling Springs, is Va-Du-Mar McMillan Park, located at 591 McMillan Blvd. Whether you have never heard of it before, or just haven’t had a chance to make it out there, there are multiple reasons to add this park to your “to-do-with-the-kids” list.

Watch! See the New Playground at Va-Du-Mar

parks and playgrounds spartanburg greenville

Want to explore other parks? Here’s a round-up of the best parks and playgrounds near Spartanburg, SC and Greenville, SC.

What’s so great about Va-Du-Mar McMillan Park?

How is the playground?  Great; but we’ll get to that part later. Va-Du-Mar McMillan Park offers a lot more than just a playground and a few swings. Seven different sports fields, with football goalposts and soccer goals, are located in this gem of a park, so bring your soccer ball along and let the kids run off some of their energy. The fields are well maintained with the grass kept short and fire ant mounds are sprayed frequently.

Inside the park, lies Shoally Creek Disc Golf Course. This 18-hole course sits on a “hilly” landscape, making it a bit more exciting, and most of the course is played through the woods. A course map is posted near the start, of course, giving you an idea of what to expect as you play. A wildlife sign is posted, so keep a lookout for the critters that call the woods home. The course is open during daylight hours and is free of charge, just be sure to bring your own discs.

If you’re a fan of Disc Golf, check out our list of more locations where you can play Disc Golf In Spartanburg.

Nestled in the back of the park, away from the noise of the playground, you will find a sand volleyball court, as well as a caged tennis court, with three courts located inside. You will also find a paved walking trail with “doggy bag” receptacles, so leashed pets are welcome on the trail.

Va-Du-Mar Mcmillan Park playgound toddlers

The playground is great too

What is a park without a playground? Va-Du-Mar McMillan Park offers a fenced-in, fun playground geared toward children ages two and up. Within the fenced-in area are two play structures: the smaller playground is designed for children age two to five and offers multiple height-appropriate slides, a steering wheel, a bridge, and multiple ways to climb onto the playground, such as stairs, an arched ladder, and a small ladder.

The playground is open underneath so your little one can run under it for added play space. With 6 swings total, two are kiddie swings for children four years old and under, two regular swings, and two swings for special needs, it’s not likely that your child will have to wait their turn for a swing!

The larger playground, geared toward children age five to 12, doesn’t lack space or fun! A large bridge connects two different parts of this awesome playground, and the bigger side includes a covered “treehouse-like” area.

Various slides, ranging from smaller ones with less of an incline to spiral slides that are high enough to include two spirals before you reach the bottom, sit on all sides of this playground. Multiple climbing walls, stepping stones, and staircases can turn this playground into a fun obstacle course, amongst other fun ways to enjoy it.

Neither of the playgrounds is made of wood, so no need to worry about pulling any splinters out at the end of the day. The ground of the playground area is rubber, so there’s soft padding when your child lands at the bottom of a slide.

Va-Du-Mar Mcmillan Park playgound swings

What else makes this park great?

Convenient options can make or break a park for parents, and Va-Du-Mar McMillan Park does not fall short in this category. Some of the most dreaded words a parent wants to hear 10 minutes after arriving at the playground are “I have to go potty!” only to realize that the closest bathrooms are all the way back home. This park has a men and women’s bathroom, located near the tennis courts, with multiple stalls and a changing table; and more importantly, these bathrooms are kept clean!

There are several benches throughout the playground area for parents to sit and relax while their children play. Shaded areas with picnic tables are easily accessible, so you can pack a lunch and enjoy a picnic with your family.

The playground area is fenced in, reducing the worry of your child running into the parking lot. Trash cans are situated throughout the park for your convenience and are frequently emptied to keep bugs away. Beverage vending machines are located near the fields closer to the park entrance, as well as a concession stand that is open during organized sporting events.

As with any public park, there are rules set in place for the safety of everyone.  Glass containers are not allowed, so keep that in mind if you decide to pack a lunch.  While leashed pets are allowed in certain areas of the park, they are not allowed in the fenced playground area; however, service animals are allowed in all areas of the park.

Va-Du-Mar Mcmillan Park playgound slide

The park is open 7 days a week, park hours vary throughout the year:
Nov. 1‐ Feb. 28: 7 am ‐ 7 pm
March 1 ‐ Oct. 31: 7 am ‐ 9 pm

You can view the full list of park rules here.

Do your kids love Va-Du-Mar McMillan Park as much as mine do?

You Can Fish, Boat, Play on a Unique Playground or Simply Relax at Anchor Park on Lake Bowen

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Are you looking for a place on the water where the whole family can enjoy fishing, water sports, and a fenced-in playground? Whether it’s spending time on the lake or enjoying a picnic in the shade we’ve found the perfect spot. We’ve included all the info you’ll need for spending the day on Lake Bowen and at Anchor Park.

For more ideas on outdoor activities this summer check out our list of Things to do Outside in Spartanburg, SC.

About Lake Bowen

Lake Bowen covers over 1,500 acres and contains approximately 33 miles of shoreline. Anchor Park on the lake includes picnic pavilions, fishing, a playground, two boat ramps, and the Lake Bowen Warden’s Office.

Anchor Park at Lake Bowen

Water sports on Lake Bowen

If you plan on use of any type of watercraft, be sure to call the Warden’s Office in advance at 864.592.2240. There are office hours posted, however, the office isn’t always open during those hours. If the warden goes out on the lake, the office will be closed. This is the only way to obtain a permit to be on the lake, so call ahead.

Boat permits are issued through the Spartanburg Water system that owns the lake. Rates start at $25 seasonally for non-motorized boats. Life jackets are required and a loaner system has been set up at the boat dock if you forgot one.

If boating isn’t what you had in mind, the park has tons of shade trees and a modern playground. The play area is divided into two age-appropriate sections and is completely fenced-in with picnic shelters and a green space.

Fishing on Lake Bowen

While there’s no fishing pier structure, there is plenty of shoreline to fish from. Just make sure you have your fishing license handy. Obtain one from the Warden’s Office or online at SCDNR.com. We didn’t have a chance to do any fishing this time, but I hope to do so in the near future.

This park really is lovely. There are plenty of benches and even a few that swing. The open green space is perfect if you want to bring along a cornhole set for some friendly family competition. We brought our hammock, but never had a chance to set it up. Pesky summer storms! There are plenty of trees, I just didn’t notice if any were close enough together.

If you pack a picnic, you really could spend the whole day relaxing here. There’s even an ice machine in the park to help make sure those sodas stay frosty!

I hope you’ll plan a day on Lake Bowen soon. I know we are looking forward to going back.

Lake Bowen Spartanburg County Parks

Visit Lake Bowen

8515 Highway 9, Inman
Visit the Lake Bowen website.

Daily park hours: 6 am – midnight- Restrooms close at 7 pm and open at 6:30 am
Office hours for purchasing land permits: Monday – Friday 2 – 4 pm
Office hours for purchasing boating permits: Sunday – Friday 12 – 4 pm, Saturday 8:30 am – 5 pm

What’s your family’s favorite thing to do at Lake Bowen?

RELATED: Renting a Boat on Lake Cooley Needs to be on Your Summer Bucket List

Two Small Spartanburg Stores with Insanely Low Prices

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When it comes to shopping, Spartanburg doesn’t offer a massive variety of shops. There are times when you need to venture to Greenville to shop at stores Spartanburg doesn’t have, or you may make the drive out to Gaffney to find some great deals at the outlets.

There are shops in Spartanburg where you can find some great deals. Two in particular are worth great mention: Cohen’s, and Wheeler Supplies LLC.  If you would rather only pay a fraction of retail price for great items, you definitely need to check these shops out!

Shops to Visit in Spartanburg


307 W Main St in Spartanburg

Located in downtown Spartanburg at 307 W. Main Street, you will find Cohen’s; a shop owned by Jeffrey and Deede Cohen that opened 2001. Cohen’s is a wholesale shop that sells to larger retailers, which accounts for 95% of their business. The other 5% is savings that is passed on to the wonderful shoppers in Spartanburg.

When you first walk into Cohen’s, do not let the appearance throw you off. It’s definitely no Bloomingdales; however, it is kept organized. Merchandise is never thrown around the store- everything is in its place, making it easier to find what you are looking for. It’s very warm in the shop in the summer time, and cool in the winter, so dress accordingly. That’s only a small price to pay for some of the fantastic deals you will find there.  They carry clothing from multiple, well known, name brands, at prices 30-90% off retail. You can find clothing from Nordstrom, Columbia, Carters, Oshkosh, London Fog, Croft & Barrow, and the list goes on and on! There is usually a great selection of golf shirts, coats, dresses, leggings, pants, tops, belts, and socks for men and women, and even children’s clothing items. You may also find costume or silver jewelry and sunglasses. Best of all, you won’t be paying $45 for an item that retails for $60; you can expect to pay closer to $10, and all of the items are new. You may see some tags that state the item is ‘irregular,’ but don’t let that bother you. You won’t find holes or incorrect sleeve lengths in these irregular items. Chances are, it’s marked ‘irregular’ because the brand perhaps thought the color shade came out darker than the other items, and therefore, wasn’t up to their ‘regular’ standard.

The inventory at Cohen’s is always changing. If you see something in the store today that you want, don’t wait to take advantage of the deal, because once the item is gone, there is no telling if or when they will get it back in stock. It would be great to go check out Cohen’s on a weekly basis so you don’t miss out on a great find, but most busy moms and dads aren’t able to go shopping that often. Cohen’s makes it easy to stay on top of their current great deals without having to step foot in the store. One easy way is to sign up for their email list. Cohen’s will send promotional emails frequently with deals that they have in store. They are easy to read, and each email usually only shows a few deals, so you won’t use up a lot of time browsing through an entire ad. Being on this email list is not only a convenient way of learning the shop’s deals, but email customers typically get a better deal than the price tag shows in the store. Just simply mention you saw the sale through email, and if the price tag in the store is slightly higher, they will adjust the price to give you an even better deal. Another easy way to stay on top of Cohen’s deals is on their Facebook page.  Simply ‘like’ their page and watch the deals pop up on your Facebook feed.

As mentioned above, you can find Cohen’s at 307 W. Main Street, 3.2 miles from the Westgate Mall, heading toward downtown Spartanburg. They are open from 10 am – 6 pm, Monday through Saturday and closed on Sundays and major holidays.  Their phone number is 864-342-0805.  They don’t have an official website, but all of the information you may want can be found on their Facebook page.

Wheeler Supplies

3500 Chesnee Hwy in Chesnee

Wheeler Supplies LLC, located at 3500 Chesnee Hwy in Chesnee, is owned by Jason Wheeler and his wife, and opened in 2003. If you are looking for deals on toys, electronics, small appliances, bikes, and personal need items, such as deodorant, diapers, shampoo, and plenty more, this is the place to check out before you go anywhere else. This store recently jumped from 6,000 square feet of merchandise, to 9,500 square feet, filled with a mountain of great deals. Most of the items here are 60% of retail. This is not a second hand shop; these are new items.

Wheeler Supplies is a great place to check out first, especially if you are looking to purchase an item that is typically more expensive at other retailers.  For example, they recently had a Minnie Mouse Power wheels, brand new in the box, for $90 that would be $199 at a local retail store. That’s a huge savings! You may find some of the latest toys that all the kids are raving about, and the prices won’t be marked up just because it’s an item that may be hard to find. They also have a small selection of clothing, which is heavily discounted as well. Big screen HDTVs are another great find, for a fraction of the price of larger retail stores, and even include top brand names.

With new inventory constantly arriving, you may go in one day and find a great deal that wasn’t there the day before. If you are looking for a specific item, just ask one of the friendly staff members. It may not be out on the floor yet, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have it out back and just hadn’t had the chance to put it on the merchandise floor. You can also message them on Facebook. Send them a message to see if they have a specific item in stock, and they usually respond rather quickly and sometimes even include a picture so you know exactly what they have. Their Facebook page is also the best way to stay up-to-date on their current deals, other than physically going to the store to see what they have. They typically post several pictures on a weekly basis of the new merchandise they put out.

Wheeler Supplies is open Monday –Friday from 10 am – 6 pm, Saturdays from 9 am – 5 pm, and closed on Sundays and major holidays, and will update their Facebook page should there be any changes to their hours of operation. Their phone number is 864-381-9213.

It’s always a great idea to support small businesses in the growing Spartanburg community, and why not find a great deal while you are doing that?  You may just end up finding your new favorite store.

Do you have a favorite local shop in Spartanburg?

Meet Erika Morelli
Erika Morelli is a proud mother of three wonderful, energetic children. She moved to the Upstate in 2012 and loves exploring the area, finding new things to do and new places to eat. Her family always love a good adventure!