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Posts Tagged ‘Swimming’

Mom Review of Infant Swim Resource: What ISR Can Do For Your Kids

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Wondering about ISR swim lessons in Greenville? Local Mom Erica McCall experienced something many of us have heard about, maybe even seen a media clip or two about, yet never experienced first-hand. Infant Swim Resource (ISR).  See what Erica thought about Infant Swim Resource in her full review!

*Piece was written in 2015 – please contact swim instructors for current pricing rates

Baby swimming from one adult to another

You know when you find something amazing and you wonder how you ever went without knowing about it?  And then you see stuff about it everywhere and you think, “Did I have blinders on?!​”  This is that story for me.

Infant Swim Rescue (ISR)

At the start of the summer, I wrote a list of places where you could take swimming lessons.  I included the instructor that I’d planned for our son’s summer, Brennan Townsend with ISR.  I mentioned that it wasn’t the same as swimming lessons, but MAN!  I have to tell you why Infant Swim Resource is definitely the way to go from now until forever.

Let’s start from the beginning.  ISR was founded in 1966 by a man who had the unfortunate life experience of having a neighbor’s child drown while he was growing up.  He decided right there that it was high time drownings were ended.  He dedicated his studies and career to ensure that Not One More Child Drowns

Did you know 58% of parents don’t consider drowning a real danger for their child?  Did you know parents are often present when a child drowns?  Here are some extremely scary statistics on drownings.

Now, ISR is a leader across the globe in survival swim lessons.  Like I said, these aren’t your usual swim lessons.  These are about survival.  They have over 300,000 graduates with over 800 stories of survival of when kids had to put their skills to use during an accident and they were successful!

Children from 6 months and up can learn different skills with ISR, starting with the basic float and wait for help.  My son’s age group learns the swim-float-swim sequence to get to safety.  Children a little older learn this as well as strong swimmer skills that allow them to enjoy safe water play.

My Family’s Experience with ISR

My son took lessons for 6 weeks and 1 day.  *We paid a $105 non-refundable registration fee and then $150 upfront for the first two weeks of lessons.  *Each week cost $75, and there were no surprise fees in there anywhere.  In fact, we got a code for a discount to use in their swim store once we’d registered.  (Rain delays were factored in with pricing, so there was no worry about my paying for lessons the rain caused us to miss.) 
*Please note: these prices were from 2015. Prices may vary with the instructor.

Oh yeah- and each lesson is about 8-10 minutes, with most of it being one-on-one direct instruction pool time and a small part spent discussing the sheet you fill out on your child’s eating/sleeping/pooping. 

Yes.  8-10 minutes a day, 5 days a week. 
It is NOT convenient, but c’mon.  Is your child’s safety really about your convenience? 
Nope.  On the plus side- that was just enough daily time for me to get a lovely tan this summer without burning!

We had to have a swim diaper and two or three towels each day in order to have a double layer of towels in between wet baby and the pool edge.  I was pretty surprised about that until I learned why- germ prevention.  I was totally on board after that.  We ended up using our coupon to also buy a long sleeved swim shirt from the ISR store because I didn’t want to put on sunscreen every single day.  Love that thing!

The first three days went pretty much like I thought they would.  He sputtered a little when he had to put his face in because he didn’t have much breath control yet.  He didn’t like having to lay flat for the float.  None of that was surprising though because it was all what I already saw at bath time or when we swam at the pool ourselves.

Then day four happened.  He decided it was high time he demanded that he never have to float again.  He cried.  THE. ENTIRE. TIME.  Yep.  I felt terrible, but mostly for our instructor!  I know what a pain it is to try to concentrate when they’re unhappy, so I figured she was miserable.  Not so.  Apparently, most kids experience days where they are just not cooperating and cry throughout the lesson.  I ended up seeing a lot of different age kids (elementary to baby) cry at some point or other during the weeks of lessons.  Our little guy only cried for about a week.  Now I know that sounds like a long time, but let me just tell you what a big faker my kid was.  He’d sing about “simmie-poo” and “simmie-yessens” and ask me aaaaaall day when we would go, cry during the lesson, and then say “simmie poo fun” when we got in the car.  *facepalm* So- don’t think it was some sort of traumatic week and he must hate the water now.  Nope.  He just didn’t like having to do something he didn’t want to do and then he got over it.

After our week of being cuh-razy, everything was fantastic.  He would ask me every day when we would get to go and then he’d ask for his teacher… and then ask when we could go… and then say he loved his teachers… you get the picture.  He loved going to ISR.

He had some days where he reverted to an old mindset instead of following directions, but for the most part I felt like I saw progress every single day.

Let me break down what they did every day.  They had four things they did together each day (which became a broken record mantra for my son to ask me about): he’d swim to the steps, he’d float, he’d grab the bar, and he’d get to her hand.  That translated into him saying “fwim thepths, fwoat, bawr, hannnd” approximately seventy-four thousand, nine hundred three times each day because he was so excited about going and then about what all he did after.  The different areas were all building blocks that allowed him to learn the different means of swimming, floating, and rescue that were available.  It required him to be actively looking in the water for a way to get out.  In order to graduate, he had to be able to do a swim-float-swim sequence to get from the teacher to an exit area.  It was truly amazing to watch as all these steps scaffolded together in order to form a survival swim.

By the time graduation day came, he had to perform the swim-float-swim sequence in full winter clothes.  Many people questioned this when I told what we’d be doing, but think about it.  How often do kids drown in just a bathing suit?  How often do we see on the news that a kid wandered into a neighbor’s pond or pool, meaning they were wearing whatever they’d been dressed in?  Exactly.  They need to be able to do the skills they learned regardless of what they had on.  I dressed our son in a long sleeved shirt and the thickest jeans we own.  Why? I wanted to be darn sure he could still do it, even if his legs were way heavier than usual.

It worked!  He was given all his usual tasks to complete, plus a couple that were new to the last week of lessons, including new ‘placements’ from different positions that simulated ways he might enter the water.  Not flung or dunked or anything, just gently placed in different positions to ensure they could regain a sense of where up was and problem-solve, even if he was a bit disoriented.  Man!  It was amazing to watch our little bug, not even two  years old, get himself to the surface, relax into a calm float, and then flip himself over to kick towards safety.  He even stopped along the way to flip back into his float to take a breath.

You wanna talk about being a proud mama!  I definitely teared up watching his success.  In just six short weeks, we’d gone from liking swimming to loving it and being totally confident in how to be safe in water.

Now that it’s behind us…

I do not regret one cent of one dollar that we spent on these lessons.  I do not regret one minute it cost me or one ounce of gas we paid for.  I can’t imagine how I ever questioned whether or not these would be right for us or if the cost was worth it.  IT WAS and then some.  I even saw a five year old, who took close to two weeks to put her face in the water, end up swimming all the way across the pool to the wall at the deep end!  I also saw a little baby doing his float perfectly.  (I loved seeing the different aged kids learn all their skills!  Such confidence blossomed in each of them!)

There are now several instructors in the upstate area, which is wonderful since you’re going to want to get on the wait-list for these ASAP, even if your kids have taken swim lessons already.  Remember- these are about survival for when the worst happens as well as how to enjoy the water safely when swimming.  I feel a thousand times better about his safety now that I’ve watched him grow into a confident, capable little fish.  He’s one of over 300,000 graduates from the ISR program and he has the medal to prove he can do it!

Visit infantswimupstate.com to get your child signed up.  Tell them Kidding Around Greenville sent ya’ and enjoy watching your little fish grow!

10+ Places for Swim Lessons in Greenville, SC

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Are you looking for the perfect place to sign your kids up for swim lessons in Greenville, SC this summer? We polled our readers to get some parent reviews of what pools and places are the best for swim lessons.

Greenville Speaks is a collection of reader recommendations based on our Facebook page. While this listing may include KAG sponsors, listings are not based on sponsorship. Inclusion on this list is not an endorsement.

Swim lessons Greenville SC

Play All Day on the Shores of Lake Keowee at Mile Creek Park in Pickens, SC

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If you need a fun day trip to a little park on the shores of Lake Keowee, Mile Creek Park in Pickens, SC is a great option. If you’re looking for a simple little park with a small beach and access to crystal-clear water on a super hot day. That’s what Mile Creek Park is like. Kidding Around’s Kristina reviews it for us.

Mile Creek Park at Lake Keowee in South Carolina

Check out our list of 23+ awesome sandy mountain beaches near Greenville, SC to explore with your family while enjoying gorgeous views, cool mountain water, and some fun in the sun!

Perfect Location + Things to Do at Mile Creek County Park

I see parents asking for fun places to swim with their kids in the Upstate and this is a fantastic option. Located on the shores of Lake Keowee, a huge man-made lake that spans several small towns in the Upstate, it has lots of amenities that make it easy for families to spend a day out there.

The beach at Mile Creek Park in Pickens, SC

Watch! Here’s What Mile Creek County Park Looks Like

Swimming Area and Playground

The sandy beach is small and easily manageable with kids. The swimming area is warm and shallow. There’s a playground with slides and swings right next to the beach if your kids need something else to do besides play in the water.

There is a big shelter up the hill from the beach plus charcoal grills scattered around the park. Clean bathrooms are a short walk from the playground and thankfully have a spout outside to clean the sand off your shoes, feet, and water toys.

Boating and Fishing

If you’ve got a boat, there are three boat ramps available at Mile Creek. You will see fishermen fishing off boats not too far from shore.

I have a couple of inflatable kayaks we used the day we went and put in right at the beach. We paddled to the island directly across from Mile Creek Park and down the small coves on either side of the park. It was awesome.

We saw plenty of people fishing from their boats as well if that’s something you enjoy doing with your kids. Be sure to have your South Carolina fishing license.

Sand Volleyball and Basketball Courts

The park also has a volleyball sand court and basketball court that you can play at before or after a swim. The basketball court is covered, so it’s a great way to get out of the sun for a little while.

Swimming area at Mile Creek Park at Lake Keowee in Pickens, South Carolina

Camping & Cabins

If you love to camp, there are plenty of tent sites available. Camping near water is such a fun family activity in warmer weather since entertainment is right outside your tent. Of course, this can be a source of anxiety if your kids can’t swim yet so consider that before making reservations.

The website for the park states that kayak rentals are available for cabin and campground users but you’ll have to contact the park to make those arrangements.

There are also 10 lake-front rental cabins with boat ramp access. There is a tiny beach on the lake by the cabins as well. And 69 campsites are at the park as well with both waterfront and non-waterfront locations. These campsites are for RV camping, boat in camping, and there are two tent camping spots with electric. The campsite has 3 bathhouses serving overnight campers, so you will have bathroom access.

Cabins can fit up to four people, with some cabins being able to hold an additional four children. Cabins start around $115 per night. Campsites start at $20 per night. See available campsites at Mile Creek Park at this link.

Fees + Our Tips for Visiting Mile Creek Park

Seems like everyone wants to be outside nowadays and are taking to parks, lakes, and campsites to fulfill their outdoorsy dreams. This is great. However, it means that you can’t get to an awesome park at Noon or 1 pm on a weekend and expect to get in and find parking. Get here early! It will ensure you are able to enter the park and spend a great day there.

Arrive Early!

On my most recent trip, I got to Mile Creek Park at 9 am on a Sunday and had the place to ourselves besides a few boaters getting in the water. By Noon, it looked like all the parking lots were full. I think there are at least three parking lots at Mile Creek. It’s not a huge place so it can fill quickly, especially on those brutally hot summer days.

Park and playground area at Mile Creek Park in Pickens, South Carolina

Bring $5 for Parking

There isn’t admission cost per se but there is a parking fee of $5 per car. If you plan to visit more frequently or live close by, we recommend purchasing the annual pass for $35 per car. The booth wasn’t manned the day we were there and thankfully I had $5 cash to put in the envelope and drop it in the box. Be prepared with exact change just in case.

Plan Ahead and Bring a Picnic

You can also rent the picnic shelter for $55 for the entire day, perfect for a family gathering!

I highly recommend this fun park and being that it’s only an hour from Greenville, it makes for an easy and fun day trip. We brought lunch, blow-up tubes, water, towels, and our inflatable kayaks and spent all day there!

Have you been to Mile Creek Park in Pickens, SC?

Mile Creek County Park
757 Keowee Baptist Church Road, Six Mile, SC

Day trip idea for Pickens, SC

Looking for more things to do in Pickens, SC? Check out our day trip guide!

Cool Off! The Ultimate List for Where to Splash and Swim: Greenville, SC

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The best way to beat the humid, summer heat is at a local splash pad or by visiting places to swim! Greenville, SC, and the surrounding Upstate area have plenty of options. This guide is your one-stop shop to find all the best local pools, splash pads, creek stomping places, and swimming holes. We have all the details! If we missed any places to swim, let us know in the comments!

Where to go swimming and play in splash pads near Greenville, SC.

Kaboom awards

Best Places to Swim & Splash: Who Has KABOOM?

The KABOOM Awards are Kidding Around’s annual best of contest. Readers say these are the TOP 5 Places to Swim & Splash in Greenville, SC


7 Floating Obstacle Courses at Aqua Parks in Georgia and South Carolina

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Are you curious about Aqua Parks or need something different but also super fun to cool off during the summer and get out all your kids’ energy? Here are six floating obstacle courses in South Carolina and Georgia to do just that!

Floating obstacle courses are one of my new favorite summer activities. Here’s why:

  • I get to make my Wipeout and ninja warrior dreams come true
  • I get in an awesome workout
  • My kids are obsessed with and so happy to enjoy these aqua parks
  • My kids are completely wiped out afterward because it’s super exhausting
  • They are excellent for both kids and adults!

If you haven’t tried one of these, I’ve compiled a list for you so you can try them all too! I’ve noted the differences between the places to help you out in choosing your adventure. I’ve been to all of the places listed below so these are firsthand reviews and comments. Most are open all summer through September, depending on the weather.

Splash Island
Splash Island at Big Water Marina

Who says you need a lazy river and wave pool to have a water park, just head to one of these aqua parks on a lake! So, if you have been wondering “Where are the water obstacle courses near me?”, don’t worry. We have all the information you need!

Water Obstacle Courses Near Me: Upstate, South Carolina

Splash Island at Big Water Marina

This huge floating obstacle course opened in the summer of 2022 on Lake Hartwell. It is like a theme park on the water! The Splash Island floating water park is situated at Big Water Marina and Campground, which has a sandy beach, hammocks, chairs, shaded spots, tiny cabins, TV pads, and a delicious restaurant, J.R. Cash’s on-site (it has a pirate ship playground!).

Cost: $15/hour; $25/two hours; kids must be 42″ tall (under 46″ are allowed with an adult)
Hours: Friday-Sunday (May 11-Memorial Day weekend) and Thursday-Sunday (post-Memorial Day weekend) from 10 am – 6 pm
Distance from Greenville: One hour
Highlights: Sandy beach, restaurant, hydrobike/SUP/kayak rentals, tiny cabins for rent, restaurant with a playground
Address: 320 Big Water Road, Starr, SC
Kidding Around Review of Big Water

Big Water Marina Beach
Splash Island at Big Water Marina

Aqua Zone at The Shores at Asbury

The Shores at Asbury has their giant Aqua Zone floating obstacle course on Lake Hartwell also. It’s situated on a huge sandy beach, with sand imported from Florida, kayak and SUP rentals, and a restaurant on site. They also have a kids obstacle course for kids who are under 47″.

Cost: $18/hour or $25/two hours if bought online; $20/hour on-site; $35/all-day pass, $120/family four pass for all-day access; follow on Facebook for deals on tickets
Hours: 11 am – 7 pm daily
Distance from Greenville: One hour
Highlights: White sandy beach with tents and lounge chairs, kids floating obstacle course, lawn games, a restaurant
Address: 1600 Asbury Park Road, Anderson, SC
Kidding Around Review of the Shores at Asbury

Floating obstacle course at the Shores of Asbury
Aqua Zone Shores at Asbury

SouthTown Wake Park

Located in Rock Hill, SC, SouthTown Wake Park has wake boarding plus a big floating obstacle course. This is a great activity to tire those kids (and adults) out, as it takes a ton of energy to climb and jump over the obstacles. Kids have to be 7 years old to participate on the aqua course.

Cost: $18 for 45 minutes
Hours: Open daily Noon-6 pm on Saturdays & Sundays in May; daily in June
Distance from Greenville: 1.5 hours
Highlights: Big aqua park, wakeboarding, disc golf, cornhole
Address: 255 E Rambo Rd Rock Hill, SC 29730
Kidding Around Review of SouthTown Wake Park

Aqua Parks in Charleston, SC

Charleston Aqua Park

The Charleston Aqua Park is super cool because it not only has an aqua park but also the only ropes course over water in the country. It is also one of the area’s only floating water parks. The owner assured us there aren’t gators at Trophy Lake, too. We had such a blast at this park and the water felt so good on a hot, summer day. Plus, it’s really close to the beautiful Angel Oak Tree!

Cost: $18/hour; discounts available during the week and/or if you book both the aqua park and ropes course
Hours: Open daily 10 am – 6 pm
Distance from Greenville: 3 hours and 20 minutes
Highlights: Big aqua park, a little beach, and swimming area for smaller kids, only over-water ropes course in the country, kids summer camps (you can send a kid there for a day while you’re on vacation), covered picnic areas, other water activity rentals
Address: 3050 Marlin Road, Johns Island SC
Kidding Around Review of Charleston Aqua Park

Charleston Aqua Park
Charleston Aqua Park

Aqua Parks in Georgia

Marina Station Water Park

This is one of the most family-friendly aqua parks in Georgia. The park is located on Lake Chatuge in Hiawassee, GA, and also has a sandy beach with chairs and umbrellas for rent. They just upgraded their equipment and life jackets for 2023 and it’s so much better than previous years. They also have a smaller kids course for ages 4-7 years old, making for a great floating playground. We really enjoyed our time at Marina Station Water Park.

Cost: $18/hour or $42/all day; kids have to be 45″ tall or 7 years old for the big course; $150/family of four all-day pass
Hours: Open daily 10 am – 7 pm (last ticket sold at 6:30 pm)
Distance from Greenville: 2 hours and 20 minutes
Highlights: Huge splash island, kids floating obstacle course, sandy beach, chair, and tent rentals, offers season passes
Address: 3379 US Highway 76, Hiawassee, GA
Marina Station Water Park

View of the obstacle course at Splash Island aqua park in Georgia
Splash Island at The Ridges Resort in GA

Terminus Wake Park

We loved the aqua course at this outdoor adventure park near Cartersville, Georgia. You can also go wakeboarding here but I’m not coordinated enough for that. There’s also a lot to do in the Cartersville-Bartow area to make your trip here an overnight adventure.

Terminus Wake Park in Cartersville, Georgia.
Terminus Wake Park

Cost: $24-$28 a person depending on if it’s a weekday or weekend/holiday
Hours: Open daily usually from Noon-8 pm but check the website for updated hours.
Distance from Greenville: 3 hours and 15 minutes
Highlights: Huge aqua course with body slides, climbing wall, cabanas with beanbag chairs for parents/spectators, wakeboarding, big bathroom for changing
Address: 171 LakePoint Pkwy, Cartersville, GA 
Kidding Around Review of Cartersville-Bartow (includes Terminus Wake Park)

Fins Up Water Park

This aqua course is part of Fins Up Water Park at Margaritaville at Lanier Islands in North Georgia, about two hours from Greenville. It’s by far the largest one we have been to and since it’s part of the water park, you can go on as many times as you want. You do need to purchase a water park ticket to use it.

Witbit at Fins Up Water Park
Witbit at Fins Up Water Park

Cost: Fins Up Water Park tickets are $59.99/adult online and $49.99 online if you buy more than 24 hours in advance
Hours: Open daily after Memorial Day Weekend; see website for current schedule
Distance from Greenville: 2 hours
Address: 7650 Lanier Islands Pkwy, Buford, GA
Read our full review of Fins Up Water Park.

Would you try out one of these aqua parks? Did we miss your favorite place? Let us know in the comments

Where to go swimming and play in splash pads near Greenville, SC.

If you are looking for more places to swim, check out our Guide to Where to Swim and Splash This Summer!

Explore Oconee Station and Hike to Station Cove Falls for a Splash

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Have you hiked to Station Cove Falls from the Oconee Station Falls Historic Site? Kidding Around Contributor, Liene enjoys this hike and historical spot with her family. She’s sharing everything you need to know about this great summertime hike and place to splash around in Oconee, SC.


Twelve Mile Recreation Area Has One of the Nicest Beaches in the Upstate

Have you visited Twelve Mile Recreation Area, a Clemson City Park on Lake Hartwell? Grab the swimsuits and those inflatable tubes because local mom Liene brought her kids for swimming and found a park full of family-friendly amenities that make it a great spot to spend a summer day. Here’s why you should visit and what to expect!

You can find more lakes that allow swimming in our list of swimming holes near Greenville, SC.

Things to Do at Twelve Mile Recreation Area

  • Swimming
  • Playing in the sand
  • Picnics
  • Boating
  • Fishing
  • Playground

This Anderson Water Park Has A Floating Obstacle Course on Lake Hartwell, SC

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There may not be a traditional water park in Anderson, SC but there is an amazing aqua park and sandy white beach at the Shores of Asbury on Lake Hartwell! It is the only one of its kind in the Upstate and less than an hour from Greenville, SC. We checked it out and have all the information for you and your family to have a blast on this floating obstacle course.

Media tickets were provided for this review and all opinions are those of the author.

This article includes:
About the Shores of Asbury
White Sand Beach at Shores of Asbury
Aqua Zone- floating obstacle course
Waterfront Grill
Tips for Visiting Shores of Asbury
Tickets and Admission


Discovery Island: Water Park Fun for the Whole Family in Simpsonville, SC

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Are you thinking about bringing the family to Greenville Rec’s Discovery Island Water Park for some summer fun? The park, located inside Southside Park in Simpsonville, SC, has a little something for everyone. Find out about each of the park’s attractions and all the details you need to know for a fun day at Discover Island.

For more suggestions of where to swim this summer, see our list of places to Splash & Swim in Greenville.

Thank you to Greenville Rec for providing passes so we could bring this information to our readers.

Discovery Island