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Posts Tagged ‘Educational Things to Do’

Create Something Amazing at Spartanburg County Public Library’s SPARK Space

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The Spartanburg County Public Library offers some really cool crafting resources you may not be aware of yet. one of which is the SPARK Space. This unbelievable resource offers tons of classes and machines any crafter out there is going to want to know about! With over 20 specialized crafting machines to use for FREE or super cheap, the SPARK Space is a valuable resource for all crafters and makers.

The SPARK space at Spartanburg Public Library System

Have you ever wished you owned one of those cool home die-cutting machines you see used all over Pinterest? Or have you wished you had an embroidery machine, so you could monogram your entire wardrobe? Well, maybe not your entire wardrobe… just most of it.

Well, guess what? All those items and more can be yours to use for the low, low cost of a library card!

What is The SPARK Space?

Teenage and adult patrons of the Spartanburg library system are lucky because they have access to something called the SPARK Space. This unique program gives patrons the opportunity to learn about and use die-cutting machines, embroidery machines, sewing machines, a green screen studio, VHS transfer system, and more! Not to mention several 3D printers that are available to produce small items for only a small fee.

This program also offers arts and crafts classes that only cost a small registration fee or are completely free.  A few of the classes offered include canvas painting, tile mosaic art, tie dye, knitting, and floral design, just to name a few. Most of these classes teach the same things that, away from the library a person would pay ten times more to learn, with the added benefit that the library always supplies the needed materials, so all you need to do is show up.

Christina Fuller-Gregory, former Makerspace Librarian at the headquarters library, had this to share with me about the facility – “The Spark Space specializes in both high-tech and low-tech making. We wanted to build a space where both the crafty DIY-er and the techie have equipment and tools that they can use to create. We support making by offering a monthly programs in a variety of interest areas (Photoshop, Illustrator, sewing classes, How-Tuesdays, etc.). While we are an age-restricted space (12 and older) we offer programs for our young makers … These programs have an emphasis on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) but we use creativity to make learning fun.”

Take The SPARK Space home

If you don’t have the time to craft away from home, but would still like to give a new hobby a test drive, the make-away kits are just for you. These kits include different kinds of crafting sets that can be checked out for weeks at a time and used at home.

The kits include various things like a wood whittling kit, jewelry making, knitting, crocheting, rainbow loom & more. Some make-away kits also include cake-baking sets with character pans. This is especially nice because purchasing these pans is usually pricey and most people do not use them more than once. Now you can just borrow one from the library. These kits can also be transferred for loan from your local branch library.

Completed embroidery at the Spartanburg County Public Library SPARK space
Completed Embroidery from the SPARK Space

What does The SPARK Space offer?

Because your time may be limited, depending on which crafting equipment you want to use, it’s best to go in knowing what to expect. Any of the appropriate design files you find online at home can be loaded to a flash drive for use with the different machines once you get to the library.

3D printing

There are 3 Makerbot replicator 3D printers in the maker space. These machines print from a design that you can choose from websites like  www.thingverse.com or design your own on www.tinkercad.com. 3D printing fees are currently $1.50 an hour and that covers the plastic filament used.  There is currently a limit of 4 hours of print time per item, which limits your project to a small figurine-size item.

Cricut cutting machine

With so many different things that can be made with the help of a die cutter, this is an exciting item that has been made available for the public to use free of charge. Patrons only need to supply their own cutting material.

There is a selection of designs available, but I suggest going in already having a plan, so that you can be sure to have all the vinyl or paper colors you’ll need when you get there.  A search on Pinterest for “free SVG files” will turn up an infinite selection of compatible files.

One of my favorite sources of free SVG files can be found here. The library also has a selection of card stock for purchase ranging from .20 – .30 a sheet.

Embroidery machine

The cost of this type of machine can be cost prohibitive, keeping most people from having access to their own personal one. It is also a great test drive opportunity for someone who might be thinking about investing in one.

The sessions have a limit of 90 minutes, and for that reason, I suggest going in knowing what you want to make. With a design in hand, you can sit down at the machine and leave 90 minutes later with a completed monogram. Several things will determine how long it takes to complete a design, including the number of thread color changes. Keeping it simple for your first design, is preferable.

You’ll need a PES file to use; Boutique Fonts is my favorite source. Free PES files are less common, but some sites like Boutique Fonts post a new downloadable free file every week. Etsy is also a good source for this type file if you are looking for something specific. Aside from a plan, you’ll need to bring the item you wish to embroider on and patience. The session fee is currently $5.00 for 90 minutes.

Sewing machines

Sewing classes are frequently available and include all the needed materials. If you want to use the machines on your own, there is no cost and you only need to supply the fabric and pattern. A limited supply of thread colors is available and you can purchase a bobbin for .10 if needed.

VHS conversion

For those who have boxes of family home movies on VHS, this is a great way to convert them without spending a fortune. There is no fee, you just need to supply the flash drive or DVD to store the digital version on. If you forget to bring them, both are available for purchase in the SPARK Space. Flash Drive – $10 , DVD – $2

Check out The SPARK Space for yourself

There are so many more things to explore in The Spark Space than we mention here! A full list of the equipment in the SPARK Space can be found online. I hope this inspires you to take advantage of this truly unique resource we have at the Spartanburg libraries. Don’t worry if all of it sounds intimidating, there is a patient, knowledgeable team at the library just waiting to show you all of the crafting fun you’ve been missing.

151 South Church Street, Spartanburg

Monday – Thursday: 10 am- 8 pm
Friday: 10 am – 6 pm
Saturday: 9 am – 6 pm
Sunday: 1:30 pm – 6 pm

Have you taken advantage of The Spark Space?

Free Things to Do in Greenville, SC

Enjoy life without breaking the bank with these Fun, Free, and Unbelievably Cheap Things to Do Near Greenville, SC.

Educational Fun! Things to Do at Mount Vernon During Your Family Trip

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Love history? If you are taking an educational family road trip and are in need of fun things to do at Mount Vernon, then we have you covered! Recently we were fortunate enough to send KAG contributor Lacey Keigley to visit George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Her family loved their visit to the plantation home of the first United States President. This estate offers history, nature, and more. Plus it’s only a short trip from Greenville.

Complimentary tickets were provided for this review.

Front entrance view of Mount Vernon.

About George Washington’s Mount Vernon

It was a bright Monday morning and we headed to northern Virginia. We actually arrived at Mount Vernon before the sun had risen to its highest midday point.  (And for a trip with five kids, I’d say that was a good start!)

Traffic to the historic site wasn’t at all bad and the brown road signs marked the turns clearly. Parking was simple but we struggled a little to find the entrance once we got out of the car. The signs are sufficient but they are small and we wandered a few minutes before we found the path leading to the main entrance to pick up our tickets.

Find a place to stay in Mount Vernon, VA. This article contains Stay22 affiliate links.

The Estate at Mount Vernon

After picking up our tickets – a few complimentary media passes plus a few paid passes – we headed through the museum entrance in order to head to the historic home itself. Our tickets had a time stamp on them for when our tour was scheduled to begin. We examined the giant model of George Washington’s home but we did not linger in the museum because we didn’t want to miss our tour time.

The kids (as well as myself and my sister-in-law who was visiting with us) loved the giant model – all of the perfect interior features were fun to examine. There were even little rolled towels on the shelves and perfect cutlery on the dining room table.

The walk up to the home is flat and easy to traverse and the grounds were not at all crowded on our visit. You see the lawn of the back of Mount Vernon as you walk and I realized after the visit was complete that I always assumed that was the front of the home, but actually, the side facing the Potomac River with the long porch type setting looks more like the front to me.

We had to wait only a short time for our tour to begin and the line moved quickly and the waiting was spent almost entirely in the shade – for which we were all grateful as the day was getting considerably warmer with each passing minute. Very professional and polite, the staff and tour guides worked seamlessly together and presented their information in easy conversational tones.

The home is simple and elegant and lovely and extravagant, all at the same time. Unlike some mansions and historical sites our family has visited over the years, Mount Vernon feels accessible and welcoming. Livable – I think. Which seems like the very feeling George and Martha Washington wished the home to have actually.

Things to Do at Mount Vernon: Explore the Grounds!

The grounds are in perfect condition and made for a lovely morning of strolling. My kids were especially enthralled by the gigantic Tulip Poplar that was planted in 1766 by George Washington himself. (This tree also was the background for my favorite picture from our trip.) It feels a little magical to touch a tree the first president planted.

Children standing at a tulip poplar planted by George Washington.

Had the day been less on the warm side I think we all could have strolled for another hour. As it was, however, the kids welcomed the opportunity to ride the shuttle from the house to the wharf. We were not allowed to walk onto the wharf, but it looked so lovely and peaceful there on the Potomac that I really wanted to spend some quiet minutes closer to the water’s edge.

The sixteen-sided barn near the wharf is a clever creation by Washington to allow draft horses to do the burdensome work of separating the wheat berries from the stalks. A costumed interpreter was at the barn and the kids all were able to take wheat stalks, pull off the wheat berries, blow away the chaff in their hands, and crunch on George Washington’s wheat.

We walked back through the woods on the trail to see Washington’s tomb – as well as his wife’s. A short walk brought us back to the house where we had already visited the blacksmith shop and the gardens and the animal pens. My seven-year-old thought the piglets were especially cute.

The Museum at Mount Vernon

Just as the day’s heat was reaching uncomfortable levels, we stepped inside the museum at Mount Vernon. At first the kids, hungry and hot, moaned at my suggestion of walking through and seeing the exhibits. They all quickly changed their tune though as we entered the building.

If you have a history buff in the family that is interested in George Washington, Mount Vernon is a must. Immediately you learn about a group of historians creating life-like wax figures of George Washington at various ages. Then you get to see those figures up close and personal.

The museum is also filled with family-friendly exhibits that engage both grown-ups and kids. There is a hands-on history room where kids can reconstruct artifacts and read books and play with a model home of Mount Vernon, dress up in costumes, and even take coloring pages and activities home with them for the drive back south. You kids can learn about the Revolutionary War and the country’s history, all while having fun.

Our family spent about two and half hours at Mount Vernon. We could have probably spent another hour had we watched the museum’s film or lingered longer at some of the outbuildings around the house. It’s a beautiful location – certainly picturesque, but also a starting point of American history that is absolutely worth your family’s time to take in on your next trip to the Washington DC area.

Things to Know Before You Visit

  • It is best to reserve your tickets online because you get a $2 discount per ticket.
  • Military Members, First Responders, and Medical Professionals can save $4 per ticket through the website portal.
  • There is dining on location at the Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant.
  • Water bottles, sunscreen, and an umbrella in the event of rain are highly recommended.
  • Strollers are not allowed inside the mansion, but are allowed everywhere else.
  • Only the first floor of the mansion is wheelchair accessible.
  • Mount Vernon does offer discounted rates for homeschooling and student groups.
  • Be sure to check out upcoming events at Mount Vernon to pair with your trip.

Plan A Trip of Your Own to Mount Vernon

3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon, VA
Open 365 days per year

Ticket prices:
Kids 6 – 12 years old, $15
Ages 12+ and adults, $28
Kids 5 and under are free
Save a buck or two by purchasing tickets online.

What would your kids love the most about a visit to George Washington’s Mount Vernon?

SouthEast Travel Guide

Looking for more travel ideas? Check out our travel page.

Fun Things to Do with Your Preschooler Inside in Spartanburg, SC

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Are you looking for indoor things to do with preschoolers in Spartanburg, SC? If so, local mom, Juliet has some fantastic ideas of nearby indoor activities your preschooler will love! Check out her suggestions for indoor preschool hang-outs and let us know others in the comments.

Let’s face it, walking in a winter wonderland or enjoying a warm, sunny day sounds great in theory, but not so much with your spirited preschoolers in tow!  If extreme weather has nixed your usual outdoor activities and the dreaded cabin fever has hit your household like a ton of bricks, check out these low-cost, indoor activities in Spartanburg that are perfect for preschoolers.  Keep it handy for rainy days, too.

Spartanburg Science Center

Things to Do for Preschoolers Inside in Spartanburg, SC

The Children’s Museum of the Upstate – Spartanburg

Designed for children aged 5 and under, The Children’s Museum of the Upstate – Spartanburg is a cozy venue for letting little ones burn off some energy and explore. In addition to interactive exhibits for preschoolers, padded and contained areas on each of the museum’s two levels are designed for infants to crawl or cruise around safely while parents can keep an eye on an older, more independent sibling.

The museum also has an active events calendar of drop-in events, such as Random Acts of Science, Open Art Studios, and Story Time & More. Admission is $7-9 and children under the age of six months get in free. Admission is also included with a TCMU membership.

TCMU Spartanburg

The Spartanburg Science Center

Located on East Saint John Street in downtown Spartanburg, the John F. Green Spartanburg Science Center is a great way to spend a cold winter’s day.  With interactive exhibits, a reptile room, and Legos galore, preschoolers can easily spend several hours playing, exploring new concepts, and observing nature. 

Other exhibits include a robotic arm, a science mini-theatre with short films, and a 3-person Virtual Reality experience.  Check out the Spartanburg Science Center website for current hours, admission fees, and holiday/summer camp opportunities.

Westgate Mall Children’s Play Area

Looking for some free entertainment for the kiddos? Look no further than the local Westgate Mall!  An indoor play area- perfectly sized for little hands and feet to climb and jump- is located beside the Belk department store. Bring your extra quarters and send them around the tiny carousel nearby, too.

It’s rarely crowded during morning hours, and if you bring your stroller, you can even get in some fast-paced mall walking/exercise beforehand.  Head to the food court for a special lunch treat or dessert afterward.

Storytime and Playtime

We all know how important reading is for preschoolers, and Spartanburg has great options when it comes to making reading fun. The Spartanburg Public Library Headquarters, located in downtown Spartanburg, has a fantastic setup of indoor play tables with puzzles, light boards, manipulatives, and drawing tables.  Combine these self-paced play opportunities with a storytime full of songs, books, poetry, and the occasional puppet show, and you have a preschooler’s paradise. 

Check out Spartanburg Library Events for ALL the storytimes available in the county! Most storytimes follow up with a special child-led playtime – think of carts of toys! If you only get books at Spartanburg County Library, you are missing out!

Toddler Time at Big Air Trampoline Park Spartanburg

Every Wednesday and Thursday from 10 am -1 pm when Spartanburg District 6 schools are in session, Big Air caters to its littlest customers with their Toddler Time.  Ages 6 and under have three hours to roam all of Big Air’s attractions without the intimidation factor of older children.  Admission is $12 per jumper. Big Air even guarantees your little will play hard and nap harder!

Big Air Trampoline Park

Think outside the box

Looking for activities to get out of the house AND socialization opportunities for yourself and your preschooler?  Join a local moms club – where activities like indoor crafts, parties, and playdates are scheduled on a weekly basis, check out church groups for Bible studies or MOPS that are kid-friendly.  Join a gym with a childcare center or sign up for a weekly preschool gymnastics or music class.

What’s your favorite indoor activity for your little ones?

Indoor things to do in the Upstate, SC

For more things to do inside, see our Kidding Around Indoor Guide to Upstate, SC.

Walk Under Sharks at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg, TN

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If your kids love fish and ocean life, a trip to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg, Tennessee should be on your list. The attraction is a super neat experience. You’ll see live shows, learn about creatures in the touch tanks, walk under sharks swimming above you in an underwater tunnel, and so much more. We have everything you need to know to plan your trip to this family-friendly and educational attraction.

Thanks to Ripley’s for the media tickets so we could do this review.

This article includes:
About Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
What to See and Do at Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg
Ripley’s Aquarium Live Shows
Homeschool Events and Sleepovers at Ripley’s
Tips for Visiting Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
Where to Stay Near Ripley’s in Gatlinburg


Amazing Discoveries at Roper Mountain Science Center

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Have you explored the Roper Mountain Science Center in Greenville, SC? You may have heard the name of the Roper Mountain Science Center and wondered what in the world this is or maybe your kids attended a field trip there. But really, do you know how cool this place is?

With a dinosaur trail, a living history farm, a Marine Ecology lab, and active classrooms you can explore, you can visit multiple times and find something new and exciting at each visit! Plus, RMSC has the only planetarium in Greenville, SC and a giant 23” refractor telescope that you can look through during special events. It doesn’t get much cooler than that!


Eden Farms Has So Many Horse Experiences to Offer in the Upstate

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Looking for a horseback trail ride, or maybe a pony themed birthday party? Eden Farms offers so many fantastic ways to experience horses and all of it benefits their fantastic Happy Hooves therapeutic riding program. We got to spend some time at Eden Farms and couldn’t resist sharing some of the wonderful experiences they have available!

Kids riding horses at Eden Farms in Pickens, SC

Search for Owls at Night at Congaree National Park During a Ranger-Guided Hike near Columbia, SC

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Are you interested in learning about Congaree National Park events? Many people don’t know that our national and state parks have pretty cool events all throughout the year. One of them – the Owl Prowl – is quite the adventure at Congaree National Park in Columbia, SC and Kristina has all the details. 

The more I’ve visited local, state, and national parks, the more I’ve learned about the Ranger programs offered, and wow, every single one I’ve been to or done with my kids has been awesome. When I saw an event for the Ranger-guided Owl Prowl in Congaree National Park in Columbia, SC, I immediately signed up. 

Owl Prowl at Congaree National Park

The Five Forks Library is the Envy of All Other Libraries

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Libraries are great. They have free Wi-Fi, story time, free DVDs to rent, and you can read until your heart’s content. But all libraries are not created equal. The Five Forks library branch of the Greenville County Library System made all the other libraries jealous. Here’s why.

What makes the Five Forks library branch so great?

With it’s 28,000 square feet of floor-to-ceiling windows, bright colors and inviting decor, a fenced-in play porch for the little kids, a quiet room that is as peaceful as a spa, and a teen room with giant bean bag chairs, this library is incredible.

Five Forks Greenville library

Kids Area

When you walk into this gorgeous glass-walled and colorful building, make a left and go straight to the massive kids’ area. Sectioned off by age group in the main space are reading tables, computers with games and headphones, and play tables with toddler games. Attached to the kids’ space is an entirely other room for story time, complete with enough space for kids to run circles around each other and parents to sit on the side benches and watch.

Off the kids area is also an outdoor play porch with stackable cubes and picnic benches. There is also a family bathroom and a nursing room.

*High-five* Greenville Library system.

Teen Room

Next to the kids’ space is an enclosed teen room that overlooks a field next door and is outfitted with private cubicles and giant bean bag chairs. There is art on the wall by local students and all the latest books that teens care about.

And it says “TEENS” on the door, so it’s cool.

Main Space

The Five Forks Library has a huge meeting space for local groups to rent out plus an enclosed room on the other side of the library that can be used for crafts or homeschool groups (the floor is waterproof because….crafts).

You can bring your coffee and relax in the designated space near the front of the library where drinks other than bottled water are allowed and read or work. If you need a laptop, rent one out with your library card. You can use it throughout the building.

Near the giant windows is plenty of seating to work or read or ponder life. The quiet room has several tables and chairs with ottomans where guests can read quietly away from the rest of the library. It is decorated with really cute wallpaper and relaxing yellow and green colors. It’s my favorite room.

Greenville County Library Five Forks branch Simpsonville

The Return of the Books

Returning books to the library is not usually exciting. It is at the Five Forks Library though. Head inside and immediately to your right is the cool returning-your-books contraption. Place your book in the slot and watch it go up a conveyor belt, be read by a machine, and then onto another conveyor belt where it is dumped into a giant bin of its friends where it will be returned manually to its proper place in the library.

Kids love watching this. Adults love watching it. And it gives you an incentive to return books that you should be returning anyway to avoid late fees.


Monday – Thursday: 9 am – 9 pm
Friday -Saturday: 9 am – 6 pm
Sunday: 2 – 6 pm

Five Forks Library
104 Sunnydale Drive, Simpsonville

Visit the Five Forks Library Website.

What’s your favorite thing about the Five Forks Library?

Greenville County Library System

Here’s everything you need to know about Greenville County Library System.

Hike Through a Revolutionary War Battlefield & Living History Farm at Kings Mountain State Park

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If you’ve never heard of Kings Mountain State Park or maybe it’s crossed your radar and you want to learn more, we’ve got all the details on why this park is a history-lover’s paradise that also has lakes, hiking trails, and equestrian trails.

Two children running towards a tall white monument surrounded by trees at Kings Mountain State Park.

One day I was specifically searching out less-traveled hiking trails and state parks that I could take my kids to. Since my third grader is studying South Carolina state history, I was hoping to throw in a few places that could also serve as teaching lessons. Kings Mountain State Park fits both of those goals. 

A State Park and a National Park

Kings Mountain is the site of the Revolutionary War battle that took place on October 7, 1780. Thomas Jefferson called it “The turn of the tide of success.” It was the first major battle the Patriots won over the Loyalists since the British invaded Charleston in May of that year. So this was a big deal. It was also fought between Americans except for Patrick Ferguson, a British national, who led the Loyalists in the battle and ultimately perished on that day. 

The Kings Mountain State Park and the Kings Mountain National Military Park are right next to each other. Coming from Greenville up I85, I had to drive through the national park to get to the state park and was momentarily confused I had messed up directions somewhere. You also cross into North Carolina and then back into South Carolina to get to the park so I was sure I had went the wrong way. But I didn’t!

There is a visitors center at the National Military Park where you can watch a video about the battle and learn more about the history. It has artifacts and exhibits talking about the battle but it was closed when we went because of the pandemic. There are restrooms and an amphitheater for events there as well. 

Kings Mountain State Park

Kings Mountain State Park is one of the 47 South Carolina State Parks and one of 16 that the Civilian Conservation Corps had a hand in building during the Great Depression. It’s located a little over an hour from Greenville past Gaffney. 

The park has a really neat Living History Farm that shows that a Carolina farmstead may have looked like in the Upstate during the revolutionary era. There is a two-story farmhouse, barn, smokehouse, carpenter/blacksmith shop, sorghum mill and cooker, corncrib, and cotton gin. My kids loved checking out these structures and reading the informational stands along the way. 

Wooden Revolutionary War era gears and wheels

There are events that highlight the farm and what it was like living there so be sure to check the website for updated information and dates. 

Kings Mountain State Park also has 20 miles of equestrian trails, a 1.2 mile nature trail, and 16-mile hiking loop of moderate difficulty. 

Two lakes are part of the state park and you can either rent canoes and kayaks or launch personal non-motorized boats for a small fee. You can fish in these lakes but no swimming is allowed. 

Picnic shelters, a playground, volleyball court, basketball court and ping pong table are available for use for guests when covid-19 restrictions are lifted. 

If you like to camp, that’s also available at Kings Mountain State Park. There are 15 equestrian campsites, 115 standard camping sites with electricity and water, and 10 tent sites without water and electricity. The park can accommodate RVs up to 40 feet as well. For groups of up to 30 people, the primitive camping site serves them well, as there is water and toilets nearby.

There is a small fee to enter the state park. If you have a State Park Passport, then it’s free.

Walk the Kings Mountain Battlefield

The Kings Mountain Battlefield Trail is located within the Kings Mountain National Military Park adjacent to the state park. There is no fee for the military park. 

The 1.5 mile battlefield trail is rubber-paved and takes you through the forest and along the ridge where the battle between the Loyalists and Patriots took place on October 7, 1780. It’s a foot traffic trail only except for motorized wheelchairs. You could take a stroller but you’d need to be careful because there are hills. 

Wooded area with metal silhouettes of Revolutionary War era soldiers.

I loved this trail and my kids really enjoyed the nature walk combined with the historical aspect. There are several information stands along the way that tell you what happened right where you are walking. There is even a phone number you can call for an audio tour.

There are several monuments along the way, including the Centennial Monument, U.S. Monument and Ferguson’s Grave. One of them looks identical to the Washington Monument except on a smaller scale. My kids were convinced it was a pencil. 

We all really enjoyed the trail and learning component. We even got to see where President Hoover stood to address a huge crowd of 70,000 in the forest to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the battle. And the trail is so peaceful and quiet despite what happened there more than 200 years ago.

Perfect for Field Trips

Kings Mountain National Military Park is ideal for field trips. They even have a curriculum filled with materials for learning (looking at you, homeschoolers) and a Traveling Trunk that has lesson plans, 18th century clothes, and games. I don’t think I’ve seen this kind of educational opportunity anywhere in the Upstate. If I’m missing those places, tell me in the comments!

Two children reading an information sign.

I didn’t know about any of this until after I went to the battlefield but I do plan to return and check out some of these learning materials. I’m a big advocate of kids experiencing history rather than learning about it in books. You can do both, of course, but for me personally, I will remember something I learned if I went to see where it happened and saw artifacts or things from the place itself. I love those kinds of history lessons. 

Have you been to either Kings Mountain National Park or Kings Mountain State Park?

Kings Mountain State Park
1277 Park Road, Blacksburg, SC 

Kings Mountain National Military Park
2625 Park Road, Blacksburg, SC 

Hiking in Greenville, SC

Looking for more hiking ideas? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Hiking for Families and Kids.

Free 4th Grade National Park Pass: Every Kid Outdoors

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Love visiting our National Parks with your family? If you have a fourth-grader living in your home, you can get a free 4th-grade national park pass for your child. As an added bonus, the pass will cover your whole family, with free access to national parks and other federal recreation lands! We have all the details on this awesome program so you’re able to take full advantage!

How does Every Kid Outdoors work?

The National Park Service offers a free national park pass to 4th graders through the Every Kid Outdoors Program. The free annual pass is good for national parks and federal recreation areas and covers kids and their families (up to 3 adults and all kids traveling with the 4th grader).

Use your free fourth-grade student annual national park pass for a family adventure or field trip. It’s good for the entire school year your child is a 4th grader and the following summer, ending August 31st. You can use the kid outdoors pass again and again.

The process is simple. If you have a fourth-grader in your home, just visit the Every Kid Outdoors website. You will be taken through the steps that lead to your park pass. The pass is valid only when printed out. They will not accept passes shown on smartphones.

Then, go to this Every Kid Outdoors planning page and use your imagination to create an adventure.

Every Kid in a Park

When you visit your first park, simply take your printed copy and exchange it for a park pass. If there is no park ranger at the park you visit, simply leave the pass on your dashboard where it will be visible.

If the park you visit has an entrance fee, all children and up to three adults riding in the same vehicle will be free.

The pass does not cover any extras such as camping fees, boat rentals, tours, etc. State parks or local parks that charge a fee are not included in the pass.

Use Your Pass: National Parks Near You or Make a Trip

There are plenty of parks near Greenville that could be done in a day. One of our favorites is the home of Carl Sandburg up in Flat Rock, NC. If you visit there, make sure to say hello to the goats. Others include The Blue Ridge Parkway, and historic battlefields Cowpens, King’s Mountain, Congaree National Park, and Ninety-Six.

Plan a National Park Trip

The Smoky Mountains National Park is on the list. And if you’ve never enjoyed it, you’re missing out. It’s some of the most beautiful hiking I’ve ever done.

Or why not make it an incredibly memorable trip with a vacation to Grand Canyon National Park?

Huntington Beach jetty

Looking for more fun ideas as you travel with your family? We’ve got you covered with Kidding Around’s Travel Guides!

Your adventure is good for one year, expiring on August 31.  So, what are you waiting for? Check out this find your park page to see what is close to home. Or find a park that will be worth the drive and make some memories!

Keep Your Trip Cheap

More deals: As you travel to visit your parks for free, keep costs down by using Kids Eat Free Deals. The 20+ restaurants in our article offer national kids eat free or cheap deals (may vary by location, so, do check before you dine!)

What’s your favorite park to visit with your kids?

Free things to do for kids across the USA

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Free Things for Kids Near You

This article was originally written by Tina Mackey and has been updated by the Kidding Around Team.