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30+ Super Cheap or Free Things to Do this Summer near Greenville, SC

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Isn’t summer break great? When there are tons of free things to do, it’s even better! So, pull out the sprinkler, blow bubbles, and send the kids outside to play. But, what do you do when you’ve already exhausted your go-to summer fun list and perhaps your budget at the same time? Fortunately, free things to do in Greenville, SC are abundant, and we also have tons of options for families looking for cheap fun. In fact, here is our list of 30+ Free (or Cheap) Things to Do This Summer.

P.S. Our definition of “cheap” is approximately $5 or less per person. For fun activities that cost more but are still fun, see our calendar.

Free things to do summer greenville sc

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This list may contain unpaid mentions of Kidding Around Greenville sponsors.

The Top 5 Free Things to Do in Greenville This Summer

Your kids can bowl free all summer long with the Kids Bowl Free program.

Splash in a waterfall pool or swimming hole. Here’s a list of natural swimming places near Greenville.

Play at Unity Park playground and splash pad.

Go Park Hopping and win prizes! Upstate, SC Park Hop

See a Free Outdoor Movie, there are so many in the Upstate!

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Join a 2023 Summer Reading Program and Let Your Kid Earn Prizes for Reading

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Looking for a summer reading program to keep your children motivated to read? Summer is a great time to get outside and soak up some sun, but it’s also the perfect time to relax with a good book. Whether you’re reading bedtime stories or your child is spending the drive to the beach with their nose in a book, reading is a great summer activity for babies, kids, teens, and parents. Here are a few of the summer reading programs in the Upstate that offer prizes for being a bookworm.

summer reading programs
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Explore Ocean Animals and Meet Penguins at Ripley’s Aquarium: Myrtle Beach Reviews

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If you are looking for things to do in the Myrtle Beach area, you should certainly consider a trip to Ripley’s Aquarium. Myrtle Beach reviews of the aquarium say it is an excellent choice for a family-friendly outing. Plus, it is located at Broadway at the Beach, one of Myrtle Beach’s most visited attractions. This two-story attraction includes multiple touch tanks, a shark tunnel, and lots of fish, jellies, frogs, and more to watch and learn about. There has also been a recent expansion, with the Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach now having a penguin exhibit! Here’s what you need to know for your visit.

Thank you to Visit Myrtle Beach and Ripley’s Aquarium for hosting us for this review. To read all about our adventures at Myrtle Beach, see our Spring Break Itinerary for Myrtle Beach.

I’ve actually been to at least 5 other aquariums, two of which were outside the US. I was pleased to find that the Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach was very clean and brightly decorated, had several significant exhibits such as the shark tunnel and tank, and that the hands-on exhibits were all in working order. The aquarium is a smaller aquarium, but still has so much to explore!

Lower Level Exhibits at Ripley’s Aquarium: Myrtle Beach, SC

Ray Bay

This tank is full of rays and sharks! The Ray Bay sting-ray exhibit at Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach has a full tank where you can watch divers swimming in the tank at showtimes, hand-feeding the rays. That part is pretty neat. The touch tank in the shallow area is one of my favorite exhibits at the aquarium. This large, shallow area allows you to touch the stingrays! You can run your hand along their back as they glide past you in the tanks, feeling their smooth skin. These stingrays are really large and it’s fascinating to watch them up close. This exhibit can get pretty crowded on super busy days, so keep that in mind if you’re wanting to get to the edge of the touch tank.

Ripleys Ray Bay

Dangerous Reef

Dangerous Reef at Ripley’s Aquarium is one of the coolest exhibits they have. This extra large shark tunnel and tank has a number of fish that swim above and around you. It is amazing watching the sharks swim overhead in the shark tank. There are thousands of fish, which makes for a lot of awe while you travel down the tunnel on a convey belt glide path. This is where you will find most of the large fish, including large sharks, at Ripley’s Aquarium.

Ripley's Aquarium dangerous reef exhibit

Rainbow Rock

Rainbow Rock, aka the Indo-Pacific Coral Reef, is a super colorful exhibit of fish and animals. These fish are from the Indo-Pacific and include Clownfish, Blue Tang, Clown Trigger-fish, and Emperor Angelfish. The reef itself is pretty neat since most of us have never or may never see a reef up close in person. The exhibit is a great way to learn about their defense mechanisms and why they have such bright coloring.

Living Gallery

My little kids absolutely loved this exhibit. The Living Gallery includes some of the ocean’s most beautiful creatures such as seahorses, jellies, and living coral. My favorite animal on the planet, the Octopus, can be found here. They also have some really cool sea dragons, which are relatives of seahorses, but look way cooler.

Upper-Level Exhibits at Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach, SC

Rio Amazon

I love the rainforest. The biodiversity is spectacular, and being able to see even a snippet of what lives there was really cool and fed my inner ecology nerd. The Rio Amazon exhibit at the Ripleys Aquarium has piranhas, colorful poisonous dart frogs, rainforest native fish, and more. They also have freshwater stingrays, which I honestly did not know existed until our visit.

Friendship Flats

If you’re wanting to learn even more about stingrays, you can head upstairs to the Friendship Flats exhibit, where you can touch stingrays as they glide by. You can also get an educational lesson on the rays, horseshoe crabs, and more from the Aquarium Educators. If you are super adventurous and willing to fork out the money, Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach offers a Stingray Experience where you can swin alongside the rays.

Planet Jellies

This exhibit was pretty cool, not going to lie. The way the Planet Jellies exhibit is set up, you can watch several types of jellyfish swim through the color-changing displays. The way the lighting plays off of the jellyfish’s colors really adds to the experience, making it super fun to watch. There are moon jellies, Japanese Sea Nettles, and even unique-looking jellies like the Upside Down Jelly to watch. My 3-year-old was mesmerized by the jellies floating around the tanks, so we spent a good bit of time here in awe of them gliding through the water.

Ripleys aquarium Myrtle Beach

New Addition: Ripley’s Penguin Playhouse

Though we didn’t get to visit this particular exhibit during our visit, this recent expansion has people talking. Ripley’s Aquarium Myrtle Beach reviews sound amazing, so we had to mention it! With over 5500 square feet added on to the aquarium, the addition offers penguins, 8 new tanks with a worldly array of fish, classrooms, and more! One of the key features of the expansion is the penguin exhibit, with 21 penguins you can observe (and potentially interact with!). The Ripley’s Aquarium website has all of the penguins’ names and information, so you can learn about their personalities. The exhibit also has a 360-degree tunnel you can crawl through as penguins swim above you. There is even a penguin nursery! How adorable.

Other features at Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach, SC

  • There was a small playground and food court available. The playground was more suited for small children and provided a nice break.
  • One of the exhibits Systems Control allows you to see the pipes, pumps, and filters behind the scenes that keep all the tanks running smoothly.
  • You can pay an additional fee to ride the Glass Bottom Boat across a coral reef for a close look at the shark tank.
  • The new penguin exhibit also has penguin encounters for a fee, where you can get up close and personal with those adorable little birds.
  • If you are interested in the ecology of the aquarium, you can purchase tickets for the Marine Science Research Center Tour, where you will get a behind-the-scenes look at Ripley’s Aquarium.
  • Be sure to check online before your visit to find out what shows are going on that day. You can even see a Mermaid show on some weekends.

Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach: Ticket Information

Ticket prices for the Ripley’s Aquarium are $24.99 for kids 3-11; $39.99 for 12 and older. Purchasing online also allows you to skip the long ticket booth lines. (Note: prices may change, please check the website for current deals).

You can also purchase Ripley’s bundle and save money if you want to also visit additional Ripley’s Attractions during your trip to Myrtle Beach. The aquarium also has online deals for tickets that include animal encounters, breakfast with mermaids, pancakes with penguins, and more!

About Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach

Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach
1110 Celebrity Circle
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
800.734.8888

Have you ever been to Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach? What did you think?

Travel Guide to Coastal SC: Myrtle Beach

Plan Your Trip to the Coast
KA’s Guide to Myrtle Beach

Southside Smokehouse & Grill: There’s A Smoked Meat Paradise Tucked Away In Landrum, SC

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Have you tried Southside Smokehouse & Grill? We are very fortunate in the Upstate to have so many little towns with hidden gems, sprinkled around to discover. Southside Smokehouse & Grill in Landrum, just south of the NC border is one such gem!

Chef Sarah McClure creates delicious menu items to lure diners to the smokehouse. You’ll find her husband and co-owner Robert Hall behind the bar mixing cocktails that will be the envy of all your friends on social media when you tease them with photos.

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Make a Sustainable Impact with Kid to Kid Greenville

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Kid to Kid Greenville has KABOOM! Want to make a sustainable impact to your local community? Check out this 2023 KABOOM Awards Clothing Shops Finalist Winner!

For nearly 30 years, Kid to Kid has been paying families to recycle their kids’ stuff. Each year, Kid to Kid stores across the country buy and sell over 2 million items. Giving a new meaning to SHOP LOCAL, money goes back into the pockets of families in the community! Families are saving millions of dollars by shopping at Kid to Kid.

Canva Kid2Kid 2023
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15 Beautiful Gardens You Should Explore Near Greenville, SC

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Does your family love to visit botanical gardens in Greenville, SC, or are you looking for an opportunity to introduce your child to the wonders of a magical garden? There are several beautiful gardens in Greenville. Peruse our list and find the perfect botanical garden in Greenville to visit on a sunny afternoon.

Gardens near Greenville, SC
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Building Confidence, Curiosity & A Love For Learning At Sylvan Learning Of The Upstate

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Sylvan Learning of the Upstate has KABOOM! Looking for help building your child’s confidence
in learning? Check out this 2023 KABOOM Awards Tutoring Program Finalist Winner!

Sylvan Learning of the Upstate, is focused on building academic confidence, igniting intellectual curiosity and inspiring a love for learning—all of which make a big impact in school and in life. You and your child don’t have to figure out school alone. Tutoring support from Sylvan’s education experts can help immensely! Less pressure on you, less frustration at home and more success in school!

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Bobby’s BBQ in Fountain Inn, SC Will Have You Begging For Seconds

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Wondering what Bobby’s BBQ & Seasoning has to offer? Delicious barbecue in Fountain Inn, SC, that’s what! Learn all about Bobby’s BBQ & Seasoning right here, including some menu highlights you don’t want to miss. Seriously, we can practically taste this article.

But, wait.

You’ll also find Bobby’s BBQ on our list of Greenville’s Top 5 BBQ Places. So if you love BBQ, you’ll want to check that out, too!

Bobby's BBQ in Fountain Inn, SC

When visiting Bobby’s BBQ, it doesn’t matter if it’s your first time or your 20th; you will be treated like family. Don’t believe me? How many other restaurants keep spare sets of infant clothes and diapers in both the men’s and women’s restrooms when a little guest has a blow-out?

Sarah Nelson knew if she ever owned a restaurant, she would help parents with things like that so they could enjoy a meal, even under the most stressful of situations. If you have ever been caught in a situation like that, you can appreciate the gesture. It’s just one way the Nelsons welcome diners, and why they’ve created a loyal fan base.

Photo Credit: Bobby’s BBQ

Bobby’s BBQ & Seasoning

Owners – Tay & Sarah Nelson

Do you have a kid’s menu?  Yes

What are your contactless delivery options?  Curbside Pick-up

Do you offer outdoor dining? Yes – Open Air, Covered, Heated

What makes your spot unique?
We are a family-owned restaurant serving Texas-style barbecue. While most Carolina barbecue restaurants are known for their pulled pork and chicken, we specialize in brisket, housemade sausage, and smoked turkey breast. We love everyone who comes to the restaurant and try to make them feel at home. Everything is made from scratch, and all of our sides are adaptations of family recipes.

What dish is the most popular? Brisket

See Bobby’s BBQ Menu right here.

What dish are you the proudest of?  Brisket, Housemade Sausage, Turkey, Cheesy Potato Casserole, Banana Pudding

It’s my first time at your restaurant, what do you suggest we order?  Brisket or Turkey 

Gifting Options – Gift cards

Learn About Other Local Restaurants We’ve Featured on Kidding Around

What Locals Have To Say About Bobby’s BBQ & Seasoning

We Love Bobby’s!!!!

Erica K.M.

The BEST local bbq is Bobby’s BBQ in Fountain Inn. Great sides, smoked turkey breast, brisket, sausages, even jackfruit for vegetarians. Community outreach by the owner. Never a bad bite!

Amy

Bobby’s BBQ. The brisket is insane! The turkey is so tender. The sides are ridiculous.

Elyse

Bobby’s BBQ & Seasoning
1301 N. Main Street, Fountain Inn, SC 29644 | 864.409.2379

Have you enjoyed a meal at Bobby’s BBQ & Seasoning? We want to know what you order when you go!

Complete Restaurant Guide to Greenville, SC

Find your new favorite restaurant.

The Complete Guide to Greenville’s Restaurants.