You may have heard the name of the Roper Mountain Science Center and have wondered what in world this is or maybe your kids attended a field trip there. But really, do you know how cool this place is?
No? Read on.
RMSC is part of the Greenville County School system and during the week they host classes for science exhibits and hands-on learning. But for special events like Second Saturday, they open up the center to the public and it’s a wonderful opportunity to explore this gem in Greenville.
Every season offers something new and exciting at the RMSC. I’ve been to many events there and even convinced my daughter’s teacher to let me be one the parent chaperones on their field trip this year. I’ll go anytime I can because I always learn something new and my kids are exposed to an environment that teaches science and math and engineering in fun ways.
2nd Saturday Programs
The RMSC hosts an event on selected Second Saturday of the month so check their website for the up-to-date schedule.
Parking is free at the RMSC and admission is $8 for adults, $7 for kids ages 4-12 and under 3 are free. You can buy tickets online or at the gate.
November Second Saturday: Fall Harvest Fest
The Fall Harvest Fest is an excellent time to experience the Living History Farm in its fullest. The farm will include many hands-on demonstrations as well as local artisans and musicians. The Fall Harvest Fest is November 14, 2020.
The grounds, trails, butterfly garden and a special play area named Wildwood are free open to the public on non-event days during daylight hours whenever the gate is open. Learn more about Wildwood and the grounds at Roper Mountain Science Center in our review.
Unique RMSC Exhibits
RMSC is first and foremost and educational facility and aren’t usually open to the public very often but because of Butterfly Adventure, they often open up other displays that the public rarely gets to view.
For example, the Marine Lab hosts a “tide pool” tank where visitors can safely pet a sting ray and see smaller oceanic creatures up close. The Ecology Lab showcases South Carolina habitats with their native animals, which include a Mountain Trout Stream, a Beaver/Turtle Pond, a Cypress Swamp (with alligator), and a Salt Marsh. Guests can also check out a live honeybee hive at work. All of this is included with the admission to Butterfly Adventures.
The Living History Farm is something I thought was fascinating, and you get to see it as well. It’s the only one of its kind in the Upstate and it is modeled on life in the early 1800s, complete with volunteers dressed in period costumes that demonstrate candle making, cooking on the hearth and caring for the farm animals. The Farm features authentic log cabins, corn cribs, a barn, a blacksmith shop, and a school that have been relocated and reconstructed. Walking through the gardens, fields, pasture, a farm pond, and farm animals certainly lend itself to easily imagining that time period.
These sections of RMSC are usually open during Second Saturdays as well.
Butterflies have been featured at Butterfly Adventure in the summers. We’ll update if the butterflies will return for 2021.
At this must-see living exhibit, you will get to see butterflies up close and personal in their own habitat as you walk through an indoor rainforest full of lush tropical trees and colorful plants. Bring the camera to capture the excitement as these beautiful creatures flutter around just inches away. RMSC staff will be on hand to answer questions about the butterflies and engage visitors with an entertaining learning experience.
Starry Nights at the Roper Mountain Science Center on Friday nights is a favorite activity. The newly renovated planetarium opened only a year ago and is incredible. Shows still sell out and RMSC suggests getting tickets online beforehand.
There are currently two new shows: “Legends of the Night Sky – Perseus and Andromeda” is showing at 6 pm, and “STARS” is showing at 7:30 pm. Both include a tour of the Upstate Sky, which shows what the sky outside looks like and where the constellations are located.
Visitors are also encouraged to check out the Daniel Observatory, where they can look through the giant telescope into space, weather-permitting.
Tickets are $6/adults and teens, $5/kids ages 4-12. Starry Nights is free for RMSC members and is generally not recommended for kids three and under (I can vouch for this – to my dismay, my toddler was scared when we visited the planetarium during a Second Saturday event).
Be sure to read Kristina’s review of the newly renovated planetarium at Roper Mountain Science Center.
There are 12 Nature Exchanges in the country and they are like little shops for kids that focus on learning about things you find in nature and seeking out neat things that you may not otherwise see if perhaps you weren’t looking for them.
The Nature Exchange at the RMSC is the only one in the state but it’s connected to the other 11 through a database. When your kids sign up, they are entered into this national database and as they rack up points, if they visit another Nature Exchange on a trip, they can use those points to get something from that particular place they visit.
At the Nature Exchange at RMSC, there are lots of neat items already that kids can choose from if they earn enough points. Kids will find everything from gemstones to intricate shells to mummified grasshoppers and tarantulas.
Summer Adventures runs now through August 7th, Tuesday-Saturdays from 10 am – 4 pm. If you’re there around lunchtime, Greenville County Schools Food & Nutrition Services will be serving free lunch to kids ages 18 and under.
Environmental Science and Sustainability Center
This brand new center features permanent exhibits Our Water Story, Sustainable Future, Orientation Story and the unique Nature Exchange. The water exhibit is sponsored by Greenville Water and is totally interactive.
Harrison Hall of Natural Science
This is where you can pet a stingray and handle shells and hermit crabs. There is an active beehive where you can try to find the queen as well as rooms with snakes and smaller animals for observation (and sometimes petting!).
Summer Laser Shows
Watch a fun laser show set to music during the summer at Roper Mountain Science Center.
Prices are $8.00 per Adult or Child, per program and $4.00 for RMSC Members.
These shows are not recommended for children ages 8
Summer Camps at Roper Mountain Science Center
RMSC is focused on making STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics- fun for kids, and summer camps are no exception. But summer at Roper Mountain is more than just science: they also offer camps focusing on art, literature, moviemaking, mythology, photography and so much more. Camps are available from K5 through Grade 12, and early drop off and lunch stays are available for students attending separate morning and afternoon sessions.
Many camp sessions are full, but there are still some great options available like Coding Trailblazers, Zip Zap Zoom, Heroes in a Half Shell (based on the popular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series), Junior Master Gardener, Digital Storytelling, SpaceX, several Lego robotics sessions and more! For a complete list of sessions still available, please visit RoperMountain.org.
Speaking of membership to the RMSC, they have some worthwhile packages, especially if your family loves science and technology.
Memberships include free admission to Second Saturday events, Starry Nights, Summer Adventures shows at the planetarium, and Butterfly Adventures during the summer. A family membership only costs $65 and could easily be paid for in just a couple visits to the RMSC. Members also get advance notice of camps and discounts.
Additionally, members get free or discounted admission to over 300 science centers and museums worldwide, which is a great perk when traveling or planning day trips.
For instance, if a family of four travels to nearby Asheville and goes to the Western NC Nature Center, admission for them would be almost $36 without a membership to the RMSC. With a membership, it’s free. We love free stuff.
Bottom line: a membership to the RMSC is a good investment in both learning and entertainment!
Have your kids ever been to Roper Mountain Science Center?