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What to Expect at Medieval Times in Myrtle Beach.

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If you have ever wanted a chance to let your kids be a medieval lord or lady for a night, you should definitely consider reserving tickets for the dinner/show Medieval Times. Our family recently attended this show for the first time on our spring break trip to Myrtle Beach. Our children enjoyed the show immensely and there are a couple locations that aren’t too far from the Upstate. Here’s what to expect and also a couple tips from our visit. To see everything that we did in Myrtle Beach, see this article packed with ideas of things to do while in Myrtle Beach on spring break.

Thank you to Visit Myrtle Beach and Medieval Times for making it possible to write this review.

Exterior of Medieval Times building

The Preshow and Souvenirs at Medieval Times

The doors open  75 minutes before the show and seating is first come, first serve. We arrived about an hour before the show started and while it did result in very good seats, our children had trouble waiting until the show began. Before the show begins you can watch a pre-show where you can pay to be “knighted”, several gift shops, a bar, and a torture museum (additional fee). The show is around two hours, so if your kids are younger you may want to arrive closer to 20-30 minutes early if you don’t care about your seats.

Upon arriving you will be given your seat ticket, officially crowned with a paper crown, and posed for a photo. My kids were especially impressed when they saw that we were entering a castle, complete with a drawbridge.

Be sure to have your children use the restroom right before the show as you won’t want to have to take them in and out during the action.

The gift shop has a number of interesting souvenirs such as light up swords, costumes, and rather real looking weapons.  You may want to consider budgeting for flags as your children can wave them during the show. The gift shop sells some really nice flags but we were also offered $3-5 pennants and flags once we were seated in the arena.

Interior of Medieval Times

The Food at Medieval Times

Remember that the show is the big part of the evening, but my family did really enjoy the meal too. You will be served a four course meal that includes tomato bisque soup, roasted chicken, garlic bread, corn on the cob, herb basted potatoes, a dessert (it was pound cake our night), and Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, or water. Coffee is also on the menu, but it wasn’t offered to us the night we attended. You can substitute a vegetarian meal that includes items such as warm pita bread and humus, carrots and celery, three bean soup, and fruit which is a nice option.

The meal is served to you throughout the show so there is no customization available (other than the option to choose vegetarian), you will have no silverware (since you are in the Dark Ages), and there is just two rounds of drinks served. You can order additional drinks including non-alcoholic and kid-friendly drinks from the bartender who will visit your table before the show.

What the show is like at Medieval Times?

People on horseback carrying poles at Medieval Times at Myrtle Beach

The show is approximately 2 hours and includes horses, a falcon demonstration, a knight tournament, and then a battle between the knights to determine the victor. The different parts of the story are tied together through dialogue of the king, his daughter, and the herald who frequently address the audience. Our family had trouble understanding what was being said but we were still able to follow the general flow of the story.

Each family is seated in the arena and assigned a knight and team to cheer for. The show is very personable with the knights making eye contact directly at to the people in their sections (or even sneering at the opposing sections). The knights are also  awarded flowers from the princess throughout the night which they throw out to the children in their section. My children seemed particularly captivated by the closeness and realism of the arena, in fact my daughter kept blowing kisses to our knight after receiving a flower. All the seats are really quite good in the arena but you are a little closer to the knights and action if you have a front or second row seat.

My kids favorite part was definitely the sword fighting at the end of the show. It was full of big clangs, sparks, and all sorts of weapons. There is no blood, but be prepared for your knight to die as only one will survive.  I did read reviews online where some families felt like the fighting was inappropriate for small children, but I personally did not think that it was scary or particularly violent beyond being a sword fight.

Tips for Medieval Times.

Gratuity is not included in your ticket price, so be sure to bring cash so that you can tip your server. Even though the meal seems simpler than what you would experience at a regular restaurant, your server is having to carry massive trays (possibly a long distance) and be in character and costume during the entire evening. After some online research, we settled on $5/person which seems to be a common tip amount for the show.

Medieval  Times is a show with horses and animals so don’t be surprised if you occasionally smell horses or see things that you would rather not during dinner. At least though your average kid thinks that horse poop during dinner is pretty funny. The arena is continually cleaned throughout the show.

If your kid needs to use the restroom at the end of the show (and it’s an “emergency”, of course), you might want to duck out right before the show officially ends as the lines for the restrooms can get quite long post show.

You may be able to find deals on the Medieval Times website depending on when you are attending.

General Information

We attended the Medieval Times show in Myrtle Beach, but you can also find a show close to the Upstate in Atlanta, Georgia.

Location: 2904 Fantasy Way, Myrtle Beach, SC
Medieval Times Website
Phone: (843) 236-4635

Have you ever been to Medieval Times in Myrtle Beach? What did you think?

Summer Encounters at Christ Church Episcopal School

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Thank you to Christ Church Episcopal School for sponsoring this content.

As the weather starts to warm up (well, eventually), summer camps for the kids may cross the minds of parents who are starting to think about ways to not only entertain their offspring but hopefully keep them learning during the summer months when school is out of session.

Christ Church Episcopal School’s Summer Encounters in Greenville is the perfect place to start your search for summer camps because they have everything – like 260 specialty camps – that kids would need to have an awesome summer. A quick search for my own rising Kindergartner came up with so many options, from cooking classes to tumbling, tennis, soccer and lacrosse camps to science and tech classes, unicorn camp, and even a class on pet care.

Exciting Camps, Classes and Trips

There are over 260 specialty camps offered for rising K4-Grade 12 at Summer Encounters, camps for curious kids, in athletics, academics, art, science, technology, cooking, drama, music, exploration, service learning, and field trips.

If I didn’t have to do adult things every day, I would totally sign up for one of these!

If your child doesn’t attend Christ Church Episcopal School, no problem. The 1,400 campers every summer are from 90 local schools and nearly two-thirds are not CCES students. It’s a great chance to not only have a blast during the summer but also make new friends and get involved in a new community.

Campers have all kinds of options. Want to be a Hollywood star? Try one of the acting camps, Camp Comedy or Green Screen Adventures. Want to be an inventor? Try the Recycling Makerspace, Tinkering, App Design or Rube Goldberg Engineering Camp. How about learning to be a skateboarder? There’s a class for that. My personal favorite is the Life Skills camp, a personal finance and practical skills camp for teens (need to learn how to change a tire?).

The options are nearly limitless. Use this link to check out everything that Summer Encounters offer. Want to see for yourself? You can with this video:

Convenient, Affordable, Reliable

Most of the camps are half-day but can be paired morning and afternoon so kids get in a full day of fun. There is early care and late stay available as well.

The camps are affordable as fees range from $155-$285. There are 11 weeks to choose from, starting in early June and running through mid-August.

Summer Encounters are led by college-educated adults who are also experts in their field. In fact, most of them are teachers.  Assistant counselors also work with campers and they attend extensive training.

Summer Encounters camps meet at the state-of-the-art Christ Church Episcopal School and make use of the school’s 72-acre campus, amazing athletic fields and Performing Arts Center.

Lastly, CCES even provides snacks for campers but they do need to bring their own lunch.

Ready to Sign up?

Camp brochures are available here. To register, go to this link.

Christ Church Episcopal School
summer@cces.org
(864) -299-1522 x1269
Visit the Summer Encounters website here.

Which Summer Encounters camp at Christ Church Episcopal School would your kids love the most?

Lice are a Nightmare and Greenville Has a New Clinic to Take Care of Them

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Lice is one of a parent’s worst nightmares once their kids enter school. The inevitability of a household with school-age children dealing with lice is pretty high. Enter the Lice Clinics of America, which I didn’t even know was a thing until learning they opened a location in Greenville. It’s like a franchise restaurant, except for lice prevention and treatment, and happens to be the largest network of urgent care lice treatment clinics in the country.

So instead of Googling about lice prevention and what to do when a child comes home with lice, I figured I’d go right to the experts and ask all my lice-related questions. Heather Purtle is the clinic owner of the Lice Clinics of America location in Greenville and she graciously answered my questions.

What you need to know about lice

KIDDING AROUND GREENVILLE: How common is head lice in elementary, middle, high school and college? What are the chances that parents will have to deal with lice?

HEATHER PURTLE: It’s estimated there are 6 to 12 million new cases of head lice diagnosed in children ages 3 to 11 each year in the United States. To put that number in perspective, 1 in 20 children have lice at all times. And approximately 40% of people will get head lice; a few decades ago only 4% of the population got head lice. This dramatic increase is due to the evolution of Super Lice, which are lice that are resistant to traditional treatments. Just like antibiotic resistance, lice have evolved and they now can survive traditional, over-the-counter, pesticide treatments.

Head lice cases have not been tracked as closely in older children, teenagers and adults so there aren’t accurate statistics at this time. But unpublished studies show a dramatic increase in cases in teenagers and adults, as well as children. This is related to the prevalence of Super Lice and also could be related to technology. People regularly gather in close proximity around video games, computer screens, and take selfies with heads pressed together. It is likely that once there is a head lice infestation in the house, a parent, caregiver or other sibling also will become infested and moms especially are vulnerable.

KAG: Lice are one of parenting’s worst nightmares. How does Lice Clinics of America help parents deal with this?

HP: Lice Clinics of America offers a professional, head screening as the first step in the process. (And very good news- many more clients are negative than positive!) To give you an accurate diagnosis, we carefully head screen clients, putting all samples under our high- powered microscopes. If we find anything, you will see it and we can advise you on your best treatment options.

If someone in your family is positive, Lice Clinics of America recommends the entire family should be screened, as lice quickly spread in families or other group living situations, like college dorms or retirement homes. If someone is positive, Lice Clinics of America offer in- clinic treatments that take about an hour to be lice- free or DIY, take home options to use over a 10-day period. Both options are highly effective, non-toxic and pesticide- free. In contrast, traditional, over-the-counter treatments are only 25% effective and typically contain pesticides that have been linked to some scary side-effects.

Lice Clinics of America is the largest lice network in the world, with approximately 300 locations. It is a company dedicated to using science to solve lice. If you ever Google “head lice,” you most likely will be overwhelmed by the- often contradictory- advice. Lice Clinics of America- Greenville will give you the best, current practices and save you a lot of unnecessary worry and work.

Photo credit to Lice Clinics of America

How does Lice Clinics of America work?

KAG: Can you tell me a little bit about what Lice Clinics of America does?

HP: Sure! Lice Clinics of America is best known for our quick, effective cure for eliminating Super Lice and their eggs through a 3-step process involving an FDA-cleared medical device, comb-out and topical rinse.

Step 1: There isn’t a shampoo, oil or spray on the market that effectively treats nits (lice eggs). But a scientist at the University of Utah discovered if you remove the water in the eggs, it kills them. He invented our exclusive, FDA-cleared medical device, the AirAllé. It is the only FDA-cleared, medical device in the upstate for treating lice and eggs. This heated- air treatment takes 20-30 minutes and has been clinically proven to kill the living lice and 99.2% of their eggs (nits). It is the only treatment that effectively kills nits.

Step 2: The purpose of the AirAllé device is to kill the lice and eggs through dehydration, but dead lice and eggs will remain in the hair after treatment. Our technicians will do a post-treatment comb-out with a professional lice comb (which usually takes about 30 minutes) to remove the dead lice and eggs.

Step 3: The technician will apply a post-treatment topical rinse to ensure the eradication of the lice. Using this procedure, we guarantee you will leave our clinic lice-free.

Lice prevention

KAG: If a parent is notified of a child that has lice in their child’s class, should they bring their child to a Lice Clinic of America location to get checked? What precautions should they take when they get that email?

HP: If you’re concerned, call Lice Clinics of America for a head screening appointment. Lice Clinics of America can spot lice a lot earlier using our microscopes than you can with the naked eye. But it’s still important for parents to perform frequent head checks on children, especially if you’ve been notified that a child’s classmate has lice. If you are unsure how to check your child’s head, call Lice Clinics of America for a head screening appointment and we’ll screen your child, while teaching you how to repeat the process in the future.

The most important thing to keep in mind when preventing head lice is to avoid head-to-head contact with others. It’s estimated more than 98% of infestations occur from direct head to head contact: hugs, horseplay, sports and selfies are perfect opportunities for transfers. It is extremely rare to get lice from secondary objects such as hats, brushes, helmets, etc. But as a precaution, we recommend that these objects not be shared.

KAG: How fast can Lice Clinics of America see a child? Can the child be treated immediately if they have head lice and can parents get everything they need to combat lice at the clinic – like they don’t need to run around to different stores to find what they need?

HP: Lice Clinics of America operates by appointment. In order to be checked and treated for lice, all you have to do is book an appointment and come into our professional lice removal clinic. In as little as one hour, with no pain or toxic chemicals involved, you or your child will leave lice-free, guaranteed. Everything you need is located at our clinic; you do not need to go to different stores to purchase products.

Other information you should know

KAG: Why did Lice Clinics of America choose Greenville as the next city to open in?

HP: Lice Clinics of America locations are individually owned and operated. Many owners have had some experience with lice, which led them to look for better solutions. I’m the same. Last year, my elementary-aged children gave me lice. I, neurotically, stayed up all night searching for solutions and scrubbing my house. During my research, I realized that the best treatment in the world (AirAlle′) was not available in the Upstate. To my children’s great horror, I bought the rights and opened a clinic to serve the Upstate. My employees and I have been overwhelmed by how rewarding it is to help families and individuals during this short-term, life crisis!

KAG: How much does it cost for an appointment at Lice Clinics of America and do you take insurance?

HP: The prices for the various treatment options include:

Screening and consultation — $20 (This fee is waived if you choose an AirAlle′ treatment.)

Signature AirAllé® treatment— $199

Express AirAllé® treatment— $159

Comb-out treatment— $95/hour

Do-it-yourself lice removal kit—$29.99 and up

Lice Clinics of America’s in-clinic services often are covered by insurance, so we offer you forms you can submit to your insurance for possible reimbursement. We also accept HSA. Additional information on specific pricing for the Greenville clinic can be found here.

Lice Clinics of America
1 Creekview Court, Suite C, Greenville
864.383.0321
https://liceclinicsgreenville.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Kids Won’t Want to Leave Open Art Studios

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Have you seen Open Art Studios on Main Street in Greenville? Right in the heart of downtown Greenville, this local studio offers classes for kids and grown-ups, as well as birthday parties and special events.

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Learn to Fence at Foothills Fencing Academy

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Thank you to Foothills Fencing Academy for sponsoring this giveaway on Kidding Around Greenville. Be sure to read this post in its entirety as the nice folks at FFA are giving away 4 weeks of beginner classes!

In college I was forced to choose between a multitude of courses worth only a couple credits to fulfill some obligation that I can’t remember now. But I do remember being psyched that Fencing was an option – so I signed up and couldn’t wait to wield my sword as a bad ass Medieval princess that I wish I was born as.

It was challenging but it was really, really fun. I had no idea the coordination and strength it took to learn the footwork, the proper way to earn points against your opponent, and the workout that every class entailed. I managed to pass the course, even toppling some of my male classmates in the process, and developed an unparalleled confidence that still lingers even today, long after my Russian instructor went back to coaching Olympians.

Here in the Greenville area, the Foothills Fencing Academy (FFA) is an awesome facility that teaches fencing to both kids and adults, even producing NCAA athletes and high-level fencers that go on to compete in worldwide tournaments.

Foothills Fencing Academy

The Foothills Fencing Academy is located in Piedmont, SC, only a 15-minute drive from downtown Greenville, and consists of a 4,000 square foot, air-conditioned facility with six tournament strips (they are like small runways but people-sized) which are on a raised wooden floor in order to provide better protection for joints than a concrete or tile floor.

The FFA offers open fencing time as well as classes and summer camps. The FFA is the finest fencing facility in the entire area and all their coaches are professional members of the USA Fencing, certified by the USFCA and have undergone background checks.

Why Fencing?

Fencing is a great way to develop coordination, agility, discipline, strength, balance and focus. Fencers must problem-solve quickly, assess situations, and learn how to think strategically – all crucial life-skills outside of the sport of fencing.

Fencing is also a wonderful activity to stay fit and healthy, work muscles from your feet and ankles all the way up through your shoulders and neck. It’s a sport of both mind and body.

Fall Classes

Whether you’re 8 or 38, Foothills Fencing Academy can introduce you to the fascinating sport of “Physical Chess” with their beginner classes for kids and their parents too! Beginner classes cover the basics – including the rules of fencing, footwork, blade work, and tactics. Fencers will develop coordination, discipline, speed, endurance and balance. By participating in three sessions of classes, students will learn the basic fundamentals of all three weapons. Oh yeah, its a fun sport in an air conditioned facility!

In addition to adult, family, and youth classesprivate lessons are available as well. Plus they host birthday parties, homeschool groups, after-school groups, or church groups.

They provide all the safety equipment for an introductory period but fencers must purchase their own gear after two months of training.

Beginner Classes

Beginner classes run in 4 week sessions and begin August 14th. But no worries if you’re not that quick because new classes will kick off again throughout the fall! All equipment needed is furnished for the first two month; all you need is the right clothing!  Cost is $75 plus a $10 US Fencing Membership.

For more details visit their website or call (864) 593 3684.

Adult Beginner Classes

Fencing is a sport for all ages!  The USA Fencing Association sanctions tournaments for adults, beginning with competitors as young as 13 years of age, as well as exclusive tournaments for specific age brackets ranging up to 70 years and over! This is also a great class to share some time for parent and teen.

Any new students should arrive for this first class at 6:15 for footwork preparation.  Class will last until 7:45.  The next three weeks class will meet from 6:45-7:45.

Youth Beginner Classes

Youth classes are for ages 8 years through 18 years. Class will meet for four weeks.

Beginner classes for age 8-10: A weekly one hour session introduces students to fencing while improving coordination and critical thinking. Coaches use a mixture of fun games and discipline teach your child the basic fundamentals they need to begin fencing.

Beginner Classes for ages 8-18: This hour-long class introduces your child to each of the three Olympic style fencing weapons. Students learn to move and hit safely. They are introduced to the basic rules, footwork, blade work, and tactics of each weapon.

Family Beginner Classes: these are a great chance to get the whole family involved and learn a new sport.

The USA Fencing Association sanctions tournaments for youth, beginning with 10 and under programs. Boys and girls participate together locally, but compete separately at national tournament events. The coaches will use fencing games and lots of fun to introduce your child to this exciting sport!

Register today

Foothills Fencing Academy
1004 Piedmont Hwy
Piedmont, SC 29673
(864) 593-3684
foothillsfencingacademy@gmail.com
http://www.foothillsfencing.com

Giveaway!

One lucky KAG reader is going to win 4 weeks of beginner fencing lessons with our friends at Foothills Fencing Academy!

This giveaway starts now and ends at midnight on August 31, 2017. Good luck!

Our giveaway rules:

  • You must be 18 or older and live in the USA to enter this giveaway.
  • You must use a valid email address to enter this giveaway.
  • One entry per person per day.
  • We will contact the winner via the email address provided within three [3] days of the giveaway ending. The winner will have three [3] days (72 hours) to respond via email. If the winner does not respond within the three [3] days (72 hours), the prize will be forfeited and another winner chosen. Directions for claiming the prize will be given via email. A valid photo ID and/or mailing address may be required.
  • For a complete list of Kidding Around Greenville SC’s giveaway policies and terms and conditions, see the Kidding Around Greenville SC policy page. By entering this giveaway, you agree to comply with Kidding Around Greenville SC’s terms and conditions.

Has your family ever tried Fencing?

Meet Kristina, Team Writer

Kristina_headshot 150 pixel Kristina Hernandez is a mom of two girls, freelance writer and photographer and New Jersey native who is thrilled to call the Upstate her new home. She loves cooking, trying new foods, and checking out all that Greenville has to offer.

The Grand Canyon Makes a Perfect Family Destination

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Local mom Maria Bassett reviews her family’s recent trip to the Grand Canyon. For more reviews of destinations both near to Greenville and worth the trip from Greenville, see our Travel from Greenville page.

“Hey look, there’s a hole in the ground.”  That would be the statement my 6 year-old said as we approached the east entrance to Grand Canyon National Park.   We had driven many hours, and finally there we were, ready to cross off a lifetime bucket list item, and my son calls the Grand Canyon a hole.  It may be a national icon, but it certainly is no beach, playground, amusement park, or anything that little kids regularly associate with fun.  But the Grand Canyon is unlike anything else.  There’s beauty and wonder and awe that rivals anything I have ever seen.  And there are many child friendly amenities and accommodations to help your family experience this amazing canyon.  Here’s your guide for enjoying it with your children.

The Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park consists of both the north rim and the south rim of Grand Canyon.  The south rim is where most people go to see the canyon.  It is where the visitor center and all the hotels, restaurants and shops are located.  For the purposes of this article, we’ll stay on the south rim.

Beginning at the visitor center on the south rim, the park spreads out to the west and east with the rim trail connecting observations points, and of course trail heads for the trails down into the canyon.  It is not recommended for anyone but experienced hikers to hike down into the canyon.  Warnings in park literature remind folks that even for experienced hikers it is dangerous to attempt to hike down and up the canyon in one day.  Most people backpack and stay the night in the canyon.  However, families remaining up on the rim will still see plenty.  The rim trail is not strenuous and very scenic.

Grand Canyon Village, full of hotels, restaurants and shops lays to the west of the visitor center and beyond that are many scenic overlooks along the rim trail.  Similarly, many scenic overlooks including the famous watchtower, as well as the ruins of a Tusayan native village, spread out along the rim trail heading east from the visitor center.

Shuttles at the Grand Canyon

The single biggest parent help at Grand Canyon are the free shuttles offered by the park.  From the shuttles you can get to every major overlook point in the park, to the hotels and restaurants within the park, and to the hotels and offerings of nearby Tusayan, AZ.  The shuttles on the rim of the canyon come every 15 minutes, giving guests many options.  It’s hot and dry, and let’s face it, little legs are not up for big time hiking.  But you still want to walk some of the rim trail?  No problem.  Ride the shuttle to an overlook point, the markers on the trail tell you exactly how far it is until the next overlook.  Sometimes it is many miles, and sometimes it is only a fraction of a mile.  You can decide if you’d like to walk the trail to the next point, or ride the shuttle.  The mileage between points is also available on the park maps handed out at the entrances, so you can plan ahead.  Additionally the shuttle bus drivers will be able to give you information and advice on where to walk and where to ride.  Tip:  The shuttles do not stop at every overlook on the return trip back to the visitor center, so double check to make sure the route fits with your plans.  The drivers will be able to help you here, as well.

My family really enjoyed walking a mile long section of the rim trail west of the village in the morning before it got too hot.  We hopped on a shuttle, rode to the next overlook and then walked another slightly less than a mile section.  It allowed us to really enjoy the view as we walked and get a closer look at some of the amazing desert vegetation, without getting too hot and tired.

Where to Stay

Grand Canyon Village offers hotels with amazing views.  These also come with a price tag to match.  It is definitely the easiest to stay in the village when it comes to getting back to your hotel, or enjoying sunset, but if the price scares you off, you have other options.  The nearby town of Tusayan, AZ has several hotels and restaurants.  You are still dealing with tourist pricing here, but in some cases nearly half the cost of the hotels in the park.  Remember those shuttles?  They come right into Tusayan.  So you can park your car at your hotel, and ride right into the park.  You won’t have to wait in traffic at the entrance gate (shuttles have their own special entrance) or worry about running into deer or elk at dusk.  This shuttle drops you off at the Visitor Center and from there you can hop on a shuttle to the west overlooks, the east overlooks, or the village.  The shuttles are color coded and easy to navigate.  The restaurants along the rim are available to everyone, not just the guests staying in the hotels.  So if you’re looking for a more affordable option, consider getting a hotel in Tusayan, but come into Grand Canyon village for dinner so you can catch the amazing sunset over the canyon.  There are restaurants in the park at every price point, from cafeteria style to super fancy.

Our family stayed in Tusayan, rather than the park.  We had no difficulty navigating the shuttles to get into the park and around it.  On our second day, we drove into the park instead.  We did have to wait at the entrance through some traffic, but otherwise it worked well to park at the Visitor Center and ride the shuttle from point to point.  Your other option is to avoid the shuttles completely and drive your car from point to point.  There is some parking at the points to the east of the visitor center, so it is possible to drive your personal car to those points.  However, there’s not always parking available.  And this method doesn’t allow the driver to enjoy the view.  We found the shuttle the best mode of transportation within the park.

What to Expect

Yes, to my son’s first glance Grand Canyon was a hole in the ground.  A really, really big hole.  A beautiful, vast, amazing, feel like you’re standing in the middle of a gorgeous three dimensional painting kind of hole.  But, definitely not a hole you want to fall in.  Many places along the rim have fences, and railings, and rock barriers.  Many do not.  The places that don’t have these barriers tend not to have straight down cliff style edges, but they still would be a disaster to fall from.  I joked that my goal when visiting the canyon was not to lose a child over the edge.  But it wasn’t really a joke.  It is definitely not a place to let your children run on ahead of you on the trail.

Expect to see wildlife.  We saw many elk (including babies!), mule deer and ground squirrels.  It is so fun to view these animals in their natural habitat.  However, do remember to keep wildlife wild.  Don’t feed the squirrels, don’t try to pet the elk.  Ground squirrels injure more people in the park each year than any other animal.  They don’t have the weight of elk, or the venom of rattle snakes, but they do have the inability to tell the difference between a finger and a french-fry.  They are bold little things near where people are eating, so be sure to shoo them away and not indulge their begging, cute though they may be.

Bring water.  Lots of water.  Not only is it hot, but Grand Canyon is at pretty high elevation.  It’s dry.  You need more water than you think you will. There are water bottle filling stations throughout the park, but not at many overlooks.  Use the map to plan where you will fill up, and make sure to bring enough for all members of your party.  This is another great thing about the shuttles, if you stay on the rim trail the most you’ll be waiting for the next shuttle is 15 minutes.  Then you can hop a shuttle and ride to the next water station.  However, shuttles only stop at overlooks.

Bring snacks.  There are many restaurants in the village, and a snack bar at the east end and the west end of the park, but there isn’t much in between.  Hint:  There’s an ice cream shop along the rim in the village section, at the back of the Bright Angel Restaurant.  We enjoyed stopping there after walking and riding the shuttle along the rim to the west.

Visiting Grand Canyon has been a bucket list item of mine ever since I was a child, and I was so happy to share the experience with my family.  We only stayed 2 days, but it was unforgettable.  I hope someday soon, you’ll get to experience it as well.  When you do, I hope that this gives you some ideas for navigating Grand Canyon comfortably with children.

Have your kids seen the Grand Canyon?

Greenville Martial Art Center Offers Classes, After School Care, and Summer Camp

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Thank you to Greenville Martial Art Center for sponsoring Kidding Around Greenville and this content.

While parents may not see their kid wax on and wax off their car, they will see noticeable positive differences after their child spends some time at Greenville Martial Art Center learning skills that extend way beyond the studio and into everyday life at home and at school.

Greenville Martial Art Center (GMAC) is entering its 10th year of operation, having guided both kids and adults through Hapkido and Taekwondo programs and instilled greater confidence, self-esteem and practical self-defense skills.

What is GMAC?

GMAC is an independent, family-owned business that offers both Traditional Taekwondo and Hapkido styles of martial arts. GMAC is owned by Chris Key, who has been teaching martial arts for over 15 years. They offer an after-school program, STEAM infused summer camps, and tons of great evening classes for both kids and adults.

Summer Camps

Summer is just around the corner, unbelievably, so why not start checking out what’s available to not only keep your kids entertained? GMAC will help them become better people, teach them personal accountability, and they will have a blast all at the same time!

GMAC just opened up their summer camp registration and they’ve got some exciting weeks planned. Why choose one themed camp, when you can choose them ALL? Legos, Harry Potter, Minecraft, Community Service projects, Zoology, and Ninja week are just a few of the themed weeks awaiting your student this summer!

Through using a combination of martial arts, including traditional Taekwondo skills, and STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art Math) activities, GMAC put together themed weeks to keep children engaged throughout the entire day.

Camps are broken up into five blocks, each consisting of two weeks. Camp Blocks begin June 5th and run through the week of August 7th. Themes for each block include LEGO engineering, Super Hero Service, Explore Like a Ninja, and Wild About Animals. Kids will do things like volunteering at a nursing home or an animal shelter, build a Free Little Library and go on field trips.

GMACs mission is to form well-rounded leaders through self-discipline, accountability, and character-building activities. These are all useful skills that can be translated to both a school and home environment and really, what parent wouldn’t want a child who listens more and is personally accountable to clean their rooms? Make this a summer they will remember for a lifetime!

The cost is $140 per week of full-day camps. The camps run Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. GMAC asks that campers arrive no later than 9am and are picked up not earlier than 4:30 p.m.

GMAC does offer family and sibling discounts.

After-School Program

GMAC has multiple buses that pick-up children from elementary schools around the Simpsonville, Taylors, Greenville, and Five Forks area every weekday and engage them in a dynamic after-school program. It includes quiet time for homework and reading, snack time, and of course, classes where kids are taught taekwondo.

Classes are taught by the owner, Chris, who while holding black belts in both styles, is also a dad, and someone who may or may not admit to being a big kid himself. Watching him interact and teach the kids, it’s easy to see why both children and parents keep coming back to GMAC. He cares deeply about being a role model and excellent instructor and strives to channel the boundless energy of children into useful skills.

The after-school program runs from 2:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. and is very reasonably priced. Please call GMAC for prices and available pick-up locations.

Hapkido

Hapkido is an eclectic yet traditional Korean martial art that combines dynamic strikes along with joint locks, throws, pressure points, and other techniques used to effectively control opponents.  It truly is one of the original mixed martial arts.

One thing that sets Hapkido apart from other styles is that it is considered a “soft” style.  This means that instead of requiring practitioners to be big and strong, nearly anybody can utilize these techniques!  Using the principles of non-opposing force, circular motion, and fluid motion, a practitioner can subdue or control an opponent much larger than themselves.

The best part of Hapkido is that it is a great style for both men and women, and for all ages.  Currently their youngest student is six, while the oldest is in his 60’s (shhh! Don’t tell him we told you!)

Hapkido classes are held three days a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturday mornings.

All evening classes are affordable and family-friendly.

Who can take martial arts classes?

Everyone. There are evening classes for adults at GMAC. One of their current black belts didn’t start classes until he was 55! It is not uncommon to see a very wide age range among students in class.

While the after-school program is geared towards elementary-aged children, the Hodori (Little Tigers) Taekwondo classes are for kids as young as four-years-old. There are many family groups taking classes at GMAC, including the school owner, business manager, and their children.

Katrina Phillips, the program director at GMAC, says that children with any kind of attention-deficit disorder usually benefit greatly from their programs and are able to build better learning and listening skills.

GMAC offers family and sibling discounts, as well as a trial class so you can figure out what is best for you and your child. Martial arts are such a great way to provide structure and the opportunities to acquire valuable, life-long skills, so give it a shot!

Greenville Martial Art Center

Greenville Martial Art Center
1904B Roper Mountain Rd
Greenville, South Carolina

(864) 881-1397
http://gmac.ninja/
Facebook
info@greenvillemartialartcenter.com

Which martial arts class would your kid enjoy?

Mom Review: The Georgia Aquarium

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Recently Kidding Around Greenville contributor Erica McCall and her family visited the Georgia Aquarium, media pass were provided. Here is the recap on their trip to this hot spot that is a only short road trip from Greenville!

Last summer my hubby, toddler, and I went to visit the Georgia Aquarium. The initial plan was to leave Simpsonville early enough to be at the aquarium before it opened. We planned to tour the aquarium on our own and enjoy toddler time before heading to the dolphin show. The weather, however, had different plans.

We ran into a terrible storm on the way which slowed us down by about 45 minutes.  (I was terrified… seriously.  We couldn’t see the road.)  Then, once near the aquarium, we had to find parking, which ended up being about blocks away.  We hustled through the rain towards the aquarium where we found almost no lines.  For the first time, the rain had helped us out a smidge.

That travel delay detail is important only because it meant that we missed out on one of the things we had planned.  We’d intended to do the toddler time, but since we arrived closer to 10 am than 9, we decided the AT&T Dolphin Celebration was way more important.  Ok…so maybe I decided.  I can’t help that I love dolphins.

Our experience at the Georgia Aquarium

The website said to allow for several hours to complete the aquarium visit, but we had an almost-two-year-old with us and we still did the entire thing in about an hour.  The extras are where you’d need to build in time, and of course some kids might take longer looking at the exhibits than other kids.

The experience began with the traditional commemorative photo.  Be sure to pay attention when your photo is taken. Ours was snapped so fast we almost didn’t get a chance to smile.

After the photo, we headed into the GIANT atrium. There are tons of sounds coming at you due to the fact that all the different halls and room lead you back to this area.  You’ll see entrances to different sections, which are pretty self-explanatory without a map.  Restrooms, as you’ll probably need ASAP, are to the right just after the help desk area.

Once we decided to skip the toddler experience (which was slated to take almost an hour and a half), we went through all the different animal exhibits, working our way counterclockwise around the building, planning to end up at the Dolphin Celebration entrance.  Our son was more excited about the moving sidewalk that runs inside the underwater tunnel than he was about looking at all the fish, not gonna lie.  BUT- once we pointed them out for the forty-billionth time, he tuned in a bit more.  I loved seeing all the fish and rays swim over and around us!  Hubby was most impressed with the whale sharks.  They were gi-huge-ic, as my high school English teacher used to say.

Georgia Aquarium day trip Atlanta

Just after the underwater tunnel, we found a little place to meet Deepo, the aquarium’s mascot.  There was a small theatre with a show going where a staff member “talked” with Deepo and the kids.  It was a very cute, well executed production that had kids and adults laughing.  It also made for a great place to set down the increasingly heavy child you’ve been holding.

Once we left Deepo, we continued on with our tour, visiting saltwater, freshwater, tropical, and arctic animals.  It was seriously amazing to see the different animals, but I was even more impressed with the WAY they were all displayed.  So many tanks were overhead, so Baby J, riding on Daddy’s shoulders, could reach up to touch the glass.  He thought that was awesome!

After we finished seeing everything, we were able to get a picture with a guy dressed up as a seahorse.  He did an excellent job of not pushing J to do more than he wanted and even made him smile when he used his trumpet to “kiss” me.  I was really pleased with how great he was with Baby J.

The dolphin show was set to start at 11:30 am. When we got to the show entrance around 11 we were told it was full to capacity.  While we were eventually let in, it might be a good idea to arrive early to ensure your spot. Also, the seating area is large so you will want to get a good seat. Be aware that there are splash zones and dry zones.

So now it’s time for the bad news.  There’s no photography of any kind during the dolphin show.  Yep.  None.  The reasoning is sound- the dolphins and actors have a strictly choreographed show that included a lot of light and sound elements that would have been disrupted by a flash or the screen of a phone.  Just because it was logical doesn’t mean I liked it any better.

Anyway, the AT&T Dolphin Celebration is a MUST if you go.  It was totally cheesy music and costume and acting, but the dolphins were a lot of fun and ALL the kids I could see were totally into it.  They require singing from the audience and man was it cool to see everyone doing their part!  I would HIGHLY recommend going to this if you can.  As far as the seats, we were at the top of the lower section, dead in the middle.  PERFECT seats.  Also, worth noting, the seats were NOT in the splash zone.  PERFECT.

Georgia Aquarium Atlanta

Once that was over, though, Baby J decided he’d had enough of this not eating lunch yet business and so we ended up skipping out on the tour.  The host said she understood and that he probably wouldn’t have really liked it because it was more of a “how the show is produced” sort of thing than a “see the animals” as much tour.  She said the experiences where you pet the animals are way better for the super young and the tour was better for kids who are a little older and might like touching the costumes and meeting actors.

*NOTE: When leaving the dolphin show, take the door to the right of the tank.  That’s the direct exit.  The left side doors just take you to a hall that wraps around behind the seating room and then to the right side of the room.

Once we left, there was a dolphin specific shopping area in front of a viewing window where the kids could stand and see the dolphins underwater.  I say kids, but I totally used mine as an excuse to get right up to the window.  He thought the floor was cool.  I was glued to the dolphins.

We weren’t willing to stand in line for the food there because the line was around the center area once the show let out.  It did smell pretty yummy, though!  The eating area was in the center of the big atrium and it had plenty of tables and chairs.

While I made my way to the souvenir shop, hubby went to go get our picture developed.  The pictures were super cute and he even got a little frame himself for one of the small shots. (So thoughtful, that one.)  Our photo package and frame totaled about $35.

All in all, I’d say you can expect to spend at least $200 for a family of three.  J was free and I had a media pass, but the extras can add up if you’re not careful.  Was it worth it?  I’d say yes, but not as an every month type of outing.  I’ll probably wait a couple of years before we go again because he’ll be a priced ticket next time because of his age and his attention span is just not quite $50-ticket-cost long yet. (Tickets range from $29.95 – $35.95)

*Editor note: If you’re a local or you plan to go more than a few times in a year a Membership definitely makes a LOT of sense!

If you are looking for a fun date experience, I’d say this would be great for that, too.  Families make up most of who you’ll see there, but if you take a vacation to Atlanta, a date trip over to the aquarium would be a great way to be sure you get to see and enjoy all it has to offer.

Tips for visiting the Georgia Aquarium

1. Call ahead to confirm showtimes for things you really want to see.
2. Purchasing online saves you a few bucks, but not everything can be purchased ahead of time.
3. Send someone to get you seats at the dolphin show early.
4. Smile when you see a camera.
5. The hands-on animal experiences are better for the younger kids than the behind the scenes tour.
6. Don’t go out of the doors in the gift shop until you’re absolutely sure you won’t need back in. (Potty, anyone?)
7. The staff all said that the toddler time was a lot of fun, if your schedule allows for it. (Or if the weather will cooperate with your time of arrival.)
8. Most importantly—-Dolphins are awesome.  They just are.  Ok, maybe that’s just my opinion.

Plan your own visit!

Georgia Aquarium
225 Baker Street NW
Atlanta, GA 30313
404.581.4000
www.georgiaaquarium.org

Daily hours vary, so be sure to check the calendar.

Buy tickets here.

What was your family’s favorite part of the Georgia Aquarium?