Have you taken your family to Medieval Times? Atlanta has one, and it is perfect for special occasions or a great day trip adventure, especially when you’re attempting to redeem the day. Medieval Times is located only 30 minutes from downtown Atlanta, and the show takes around 2-3 hours. Perfect for a day trip where you can combine with other activities. Check out KA contributor Jennifer’s day trip to Medieval Times for the dinner tournament, and get started planning your next road trip to Atlanta, GA.
We take our children on family vacations because adventures and memories last longer than toys they outgrow. However, we have yet to take a family vacation where something unfortunate does not happen.
The trip started off well, but we had a tire blow on the interstate shortly outside of Atlanta. Thankfully, we were all safe. But, it did put some hiccups in our well-laid plans. After hours spent in a tire store and eating in chain restaurants that were not part of the agenda, we were tired, ill, and frustrated.
We decided we must redeem the day, so we called the nice folks at Medieval Times and asked to exchange our early dinner tickets for the later dinner show. With little ones along for the adventure, a show beginning at 7:30 p.m. would be pushing it for their bellies and their tired bodies. We prayed the kids would be awake enough to still enjoy it.
Our evening at Medieval Times: Atlanta, GA
Turns out, we had absolutely nothing to worry about! Our kids were alert and awake as soon as we drove up and saw the castle. The Medieval Times in Atlanta is in Sugarloaf Mills Mall in Lawrenceville, Georgia. This is located at a large outlet mall with stores, restaurants, and other activities. Medieval Times has a castle built out of the mall, which must be entered through a mall entrance. You’ll be whisked away to the 11th century once you leave the mall and enter the castle.
While we purchased tickets for the 7:30 p.m. show, the doors to the venue were opened slightly earlier. We joined the line to enter at 6:00 p.m. because the first ones to enter got the best seats in the house. When the time to enter comes, a trumpeter appears, along with the King and Princess to welcome the assembled crowd. My children could barely contain their excitement.
Things to Do Before Dinner in the Castle
Upon entering the castle, we were each given a green paper crown to cheer on the Green Knight. Pictures were taken, and then we were able to visit the castle areas.
Expect your little ones to want to visit the gift shop. There are souvenirs galore and drinks a plenty inside the castle. There is also a dungeon for brave souls to visit. Since there was a parental warning, we decided it would probably not be a wise decision to walk our little ones through the dungeon, but I did see many families come in and out of the dungeon doors.
After having such a rough day, we gave in to requests for knight’s helmets and princess hats immediately. The show is pricey itself, so be prepared for your children to want to add light-up wands, hats, swords, flags, and whatnot to the already large bill.
During the waiting time, you can shop, have a drink or snack, and watch various people be knighted by the king. This is an upgrade option for those who want the whole knighting experience. Even if you do not pay to be knighted, it is still fun to watch.
What to Expect During the Dinner Tournament at Medieval Times Atlanta
Minutes before the show, we were ushered into the jousting arena. You sit in stadium-like rows with tables in front in a round. Every seat has a great view of the dinner tournament.
The bill of fare includes your beverage, a piece of garlic toast, soup, rotisserie chicken, a roasted potato, corn, and dessert. The meal was delicious! However, there is one small thing you should know. Since you have gone back into “medieval times,” there are no utensils! You must eat everything with your hands. My son and daughter thought this was awesome! Don’t worry, parents – they provide moist wipes to clean up after your meal.
While eating, they put on an incredible show with knights, horses, and falcons. But, the big event is the dinner tournament where you watch the knights perform. The knights compete in a series of jousting events and fighting battles. They drop screens down in between the audience and knights as some of the weaponry is destroyed in the battle. You see sparks fly as swords clash and jousts splinter. You are encouraged to cheer on your knight and boo your opponent as loudly as possible.
With all the chaos of the morning, hearing my children scream, “We believe in you! You can do it!” and “Boo!” at the top of their lungs made all of the tire disaster worth it. I do not know the last time my kids have shown that much excitement. My son yelled for our knight to do a “Sneak attack!” and when a bad guy appeared, my daughter loudly shouted, “Get him outta here!”
Our Green Knight was not victorious, but it did not matter in the end. The whole arena came together to cheer on the good knight who was battling an evil one.
After the final battle, audience members can meet the knights and take pictures. This was a big hit for my star-struck children.
With hoarse voices and full bellies, we left the castle. Our children fell asleep with smiles on their faces before we ever made it out of the mall parking lot.
Things to Know Before Visiting Medieval Times Atlanta
For General Admission prices: $65.95 for adults | $38.95 for children 12 and under | Under 3 – Free if they sit with parents and do not order a meal
Times: Varies Depending on the day of the week | Saturdays generally have multiple show times (5:00 pm and 7:30 pm)
Length of time: 2-Hour Dinner Show | Castle opens 75 minutes before show time
Are you excited for the South Carolina Children’s Theatre 35th season? The 2022-2023 schedule has arrived! Coming this fall, your family can experience the pleasure of SCCT’s five fabulous full-scale productions at their downtown Greenville, SC theatre.
The upcoming season has something for everyone to enjoy. With both classic and original themes woven into the stories, these productions are certain to exhilarate the mind and soul of all ages. Along with the addition of three new directors to the MainStage team, SCCT will be introducing “Pay What You Can” for these productions! Tickets for the South Carolina Children’s Theatre 2022-23 season go on sale Wednesday, May 25th, 2022. Specific dates and times for each production will be announced soon.
Childhood goes by quickly. It’s a fact of life we, as moms, know all too well. It seems like just yesterday when you held your baby in your arms. Now that baby is in 3rd grade. Make the most out of these special years — make some memories! We’ve put together a bucket list for your kid’s childhood; things they must do before they grow up.
Must do list for kids in Spartanburg
Feed the Ducks at Milliken
Milliken Corporation Headquarters is located in Spartanburg just off Pine Street and Interstate 585. It is a large and beautiful campus, often confused as a park as it features more than 500 different trees and shrubs, 15 decorative fountains and six ponds. The Milliken Arboretum is a nationally recognized greenspaces on 600 acres at the Roger Milliken Center and is now one of the largest corporate arboretums in the Southeast. The campus is open to the public and Spartanburg families have been making memories at these duck ponds and picnic spots for generations.
Note: Some healthy foods to feed ducks include corn, peas, oats, or birdseed.
Have his/her own Library Card
Our Spartanburg County Library system is awesome. Every child should be a card carrying member, and have the responsibility of checking out and enjoying his or her own library selections. There are also interesting activities and programs offered at each location for kids and families. Having a library card and participating in library activities should be enjoyed by each Spartanburg child.
Attend Panthers Training Camp
In late July and early August, the Carolina Panthers move to Wofford College and hold their training camp right here in Spartanburg. All the practices are free and open to the public. It’s a great chance to see the players up close and there are also usually kids activities going on around the field.
Eat at Wades and the Beacon
No doubt, we could (and may) make a list of 30 places in Spartanburg you should eat, but there are a few restaurants so iconic, that should make every list about Spartanburg. When I asked my family what should be included on this list, they all either said the Beacon or Wades!
Explore Downtown Spartanburg
Downtown Spartanburg is becoming quite the place to be! There are new restaurants, shops and activities opening all the time. You can find something new to do, eat or buy almost any day of the week, any time of the year. An afternoon or even a whole day can be spent exploring the
downtown area of Spartanburg. Here’s a map of all the great things Downtown Spartanburg has to offer.
Skate at Roebuck Skating Center
Kids have been celebrating birthday parties and Friday nights at Roebuck Skating Center since 1978. The local hangout has recently updated their entire facility and the venue now includes a 3 story, 2500 square foot, indoor playground.Take the family, lace up your old school skates and show the kids how it’s done.
Go to Spring Fling
Spartanburg has welcomed spring with a huge street festival, the Spring Fling, for almost 40 years! Admission to Spring Fling is free and it’s a weekend full of food, vendors, music and fun. There are four entertainment stages, exciting new attractions every year, a Family Fun Zone and LOTS of food and market vendors. It will become one of your family’s favorite annual Spartanburg traditions.
Visit HubCity Railway Museum
Railroad transit shaped the history of Spartanburg and the HubCity Railway Museum is the place to go to learn all about the history of trains in our city, as well as Spartanburg history in general.
Go to Summer Camp
There are a ton of summer camps in our area depending on your child’s interests. Summer camps are a great way to make lifelong friends and develop personal knowledge and skills. Summer Camps are also a great way to experience all Spartanburg has to offer families!
Tour Local Colleges
Spark kids’ interest in higher education by visiting one of the many colleges in our area. Your family can tour the campuses and attend collegiate sporting events at a variety of beautiful upstate schools. Wofford College, Converse College, University of SC Upstate, Spartanburg Methodist College and Spartanburg Community College are all within Spartanburg County, or you could travel a little further and visit many others like Clemson, Furman, or Bob Jones.
Visit Hatcher Gardens
This public botanical garden and woodland preserve is a gem right in the heart of Spartanburg. Its a beautiful escape any time of the year, but Hatcher Garden in the spring is really something every kid should experience. This 10-acre garden, primarily planted by volunteers, offers a
woodland setting with trees, shrubs, flora, waterfalls, creeks ponds, and both paved and natural paths. The garden is open during daylight hours and is free to the public.
Attend a Show at Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium
Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium has been and institution in Spartanburg since 1951. It has a seating capacity of 3244 and one of the largest stages in the southeast. Here, Spartanburg hosts Broadway shows, comedy acts, celebrity speakers, sporting events, a variety of musical entertainment, family shows and trade shows. Over the years the auditorium has hosted top name acts including Taylor Swift, Harry Connick Jr., Jerry Seinfeld, Dave Matthews, Kenny Chesney, President George Bush and President George W. Bush, Lady Margaret Thatcher, Carol Burnett, Tom Brokaw, Broadway shows of all kinds, and family shows such as Sesame Street Live, Barney Live, Magic of David Copperfield, Peppa Pig and the circus. As a bonus, its right across the street from Krispy Kreme, so you can walk there for a treat after the show.
Visit the BMW Zentrum Museum
There’s no denying that the BMW plant is a huge part of Spartanburg’s identity. It is the only BMW manufacturing plant in the US and there is also a very interesting BMW museum here too. You’ve probably passed this cool building facing Interstate 85 at the edge of BMWs campus. The Zentrum is a state of the art facility, with free admission, where you can learn history, see the cars, and even grab a bite in the cafe. Learn as a family, how BMW plays a huge part in our economic culture.
Explore our State
The glory of our state is not contained to Spartanburg and the beauty of it is you can get to any part of our great state in a few hours. Spartanburg kids should explore as much of South Carolina as possible while growing up, from the coast, to the mountains, farmlands to the cities.
There’s a little of everything here. Spartanburg kids are blessed to grow up in such an awesome city and state.
Step back in Time at Walnut Grove Plantation
Charles & Mary Moore settled in what is now the Roebuck area in 1767. The home is now part of the Spartanburg Historical Association and open to the public. Spend a day touring the house, outlying buildings, property’s cemetery, and nature trail, to see how some of the first residents of our area lived.
Explore Other Cultures
The Spartanburg International Festival began in 1985 and has grown into one of our most anticipated annual events. Its usually held in October and celebrates the many diverse cultures of our residents and businesses. It’s a full day of music, art, dance, food and international fun!
Your family will enjoy celebrating Spartanburg’s rich international culture.
Enjoy Spartanburg Parks
We are fortunate in Spartanburg to have a thriving Parks and Recreation Department. Spartanburg kiddos should visit as many of these parks as possible. The Spartanburg Parks website gives you a list of all our parks, by location and amenity.
Star Gaze in the Country
There are numerous places in Spartanburg where you can get away from the city lights and urban development so you can really see the stars. Pick a comfortable, clear night, and find a remote corner of Spartanburg where you can look up and experience stargazing in the country.
Enjoy Strawberry Hill USA
The Shed at Strawberry Hill USA is a simple, historic peach shed built in 1955 and used as a peach packing shed through 1989. The original packing shed was transformed into a premier roadside market by 1990 and as of 2017, Strawberry Hill U.S.A. is the largest strawberry farm in SC with 115 acres. Peaches are still the primary crop with close to 1,000 acres in production but you will also find summer squash, cucumbers, cantaloupes, runner beans, and pumpkins grown and sold at Strawberry Hill. You will get a taste of farm life as you see the tractors pull around the shed with a load of fresh peaches or strawberries fresh from the field. You can also visit the adjacent family restaurant and ice cream parlor. The Shed is closed
for the season until Spring 2018 but the cafe and ice cream parlor are open year round.
Shop at the Farmers Market
Hub City Farmers’ Market will start their 15th year this April. The primary market, the Saturday Market, offers a variety of produce, meats, eggs, plants, artisan crafts, and prepared foods. It is a great place for families to shop, and a runs from 8 am-noon, April – December.
Play a Sport at Upward Star Center
Upward Star Center is a huge sports complex located just off Interstate 85 in Spartanburg. They offer baseball, basketball, cheerleading, football, lacrosse, soccer, softball, volleyball, rock climbing, camps and more! Its a great place for Spartanburg kids (and adults) to learn and develop a sport, make friends and memories.
Splash at Shipwreck Cove
Shipwreck Cove Water Park, in Duncan, SC, is technically part of Spartanburg Park and Recreation but deserves it own spot on the list as Spartanburg’s only water park. This family-friendly water park offers fun for all ages and is open from Memorial Day until Labor Day each year. There is a larger pool for older kids with rustic pirate play ship and multi directional water cannons, two large flume slides on it’s main pool, a kiddie lagoon with misting water features, a lazy river around skull island with inflatable tubes, and certified lifeguards on duty at all times.
There is also a snack bar and a playground area of the neighboring Stone Ledge Park.
Celebrate a Dickens Christmas
A Dickens of a Christmas has become a community tradition that festively celebrates the start of the Christmas season. The “Charles Dickens” period event offers a Christmas Market, carolers dressed in victorian costume, horse-drawn carriage rides, live Christmas music, living window displays, ice skating on Morgan Square, and of course the official lighting of the Denny’s Christmas tree. Your family should experience Spartanburg’s signature yuletide celebration.
Volunteer at the Spartanburg Soup Kitchen
The Spartanburg Soup Kitchen has been serving meals to the hungry in our area for more than 35 years. Located in downtown Spartanburg, they are open at lunchtime 365 days a year; and serve between 350 and 500 guests per day. The Spartanburg Soup Kitchen relies solely on the donation of time, money, and goods from individuals, groups, small businesses, and corporations.
Volunteer opportunities are available daily, between 9:30am and 1:30pm. Help is needed with food preparation, organization and unloading of donations, assembling children’s take-home bags, dishwashing, food line servering and after lunch clean up. To volunteer, contact Director, Lou Sartor at 864-585-0022 or visit their website.
Visit Chapman Cultural Center
Chapman Cultural Center is the hub for the arts in Hub City. Spartanburg Art Museum, Spartanburg Regional History Museum, Artists’ Guild of Spartanburg Gallery, Student Galleries, John F. Green Spartanburg Science Center, The Spartanburg Little Theater, Spartanburg Youth Theater, Spartanburg Philharmonic, and Ballet Spartanburg are all located and/or perform here. The Chapman Cultural Center should be a place every Spartanburg child visits, and often.
What’s on your child’s must do list before they grow up?
Meet Jaime Brown
Jaime Brown grew up in Spartanburg and Greenville where she met her future husband in the 6th grade. After marriage and a few kids they moved away for a decade and now find themselves back in the Upstate with their four daughters ages 18, 14, 7 and 4. Having a college age child, high schooler, elementary aged fireball, and a special needs preschooler keeps her very busy but she loves each stage and encourages other moms
to enjoy motherhood. Jaime enjoys rediscovering the city where she grew up with her family. Bonfires, good coffee creamer, date nights, international travel, frugal interior design, and sleeping children are some of her favorite things. You can connect with her on instagram or her blog.
instagram link: https://www.instagram.com/jaimelbrown/
blog: coming soon
When it comes to shopping, Spartanburg doesn’t offer a massive variety of shops. There are times when you need to venture to Greenville to shop at stores Spartanburg doesn’t have, or you may make the drive out to Gaffney to find some great deals at the outlets.
There are shops in Spartanburg where you can find some great deals. Two in particular are worth great mention: Cohen’s, and Wheeler Supplies LLC. If you would rather only pay a fraction of retail price for great items, you definitely need to check these shops out!
Located in downtown Spartanburg at 307 W. Main Street, you will find Cohen’s; a shop owned by Jeffrey and Deede Cohen that opened 2001. Cohen’s is a wholesale shop that sells to larger retailers, which accounts for 95% of their business. The other 5% is savings that is passed on to the wonderful shoppers in Spartanburg.
When you first walk into Cohen’s, do not let the appearance throw you off. It’s definitely no Bloomingdales; however, it is kept organized. Merchandise is never thrown around the store- everything is in its place, making it easier to find what you are looking for. It’s very warm in the shop in the summer time, and cool in the winter, so dress accordingly. That’s only a small price to pay for some of the fantastic deals you will find there. They carry clothing from multiple, well known, name brands, at prices 30-90% off retail. You can find clothing from Nordstrom, Columbia, Carters, Oshkosh, London Fog, Croft & Barrow, and the list goes on and on! There is usually a great selection of golf shirts, coats, dresses, leggings, pants, tops, belts, and socks for men and women, and even children’s clothing items. You may also find costume or silver jewelry and sunglasses. Best of all, you won’t be paying $45 for an item that retails for $60; you can expect to pay closer to $10, and all of the items are new. You may see some tags that state the item is ‘irregular,’ but don’t let that bother you. You won’t find holes or incorrect sleeve lengths in these irregular items. Chances are, it’s marked ‘irregular’ because the brand perhaps thought the color shade came out darker than the other items, and therefore, wasn’t up to their ‘regular’ standard.
The inventory at Cohen’s is always changing. If you see something in the store today that you want, don’t wait to take advantage of the deal, because once the item is gone, there is no telling if or when they will get it back in stock. It would be great to go check out Cohen’s on a weekly basis so you don’t miss out on a great find, but most busy moms and dads aren’t able to go shopping that often. Cohen’s makes it easy to stay on top of their current great deals without having to step foot in the store. One easy way is to sign up for their email list. Cohen’s will send promotional emails frequently with deals that they have in store. They are easy to read, and each email usually only shows a few deals, so you won’t use up a lot of time browsing through an entire ad. Being on this email list is not only a convenient way of learning the shop’s deals, but email customers typically get a better deal than the price tag shows in the store. Just simply mention you saw the sale through email, and if the price tag in the store is slightly higher, they will adjust the price to give you an even better deal. Another easy way to stay on top of Cohen’s deals is on their Facebook page. Simply ‘like’ their page and watch the deals pop up on your Facebook feed.
As mentioned above, you can find Cohen’s at 307 W. Main Street, 3.2 miles from the Westgate Mall, heading toward downtown Spartanburg. They are open from 10 am – 6 pm, Monday through Saturday and closed on Sundays and major holidays. Their phone number is 864-342-0805. They don’t have an official website, but all of the information you may want can be found on their Facebook page.
Wheeler Supplies LLC, located at 3500 Chesnee Hwy in Chesnee, is owned by Jason Wheeler and his wife, and opened in 2003. If you are looking for deals on toys, electronics, small appliances, bikes, and personal need items, such as deodorant, diapers, shampoo, and plenty more, this is the place to check out before you go anywhere else. This store recently jumped from 6,000 square feet of merchandise, to 9,500 square feet, filled with a mountain of great deals. Most of the items here are 60% of retail. This is not a second hand shop; these are new items.
Wheeler Supplies is a great place to check out first, especially if you are looking to purchase an item that is typically more expensive at other retailers. For example, they recently had a Minnie Mouse Power wheels, brand new in the box, for $90 that would be $199 at a local retail store. That’s a huge savings! You may find some of the latest toys that all the kids are raving about, and the prices won’t be marked up just because it’s an item that may be hard to find. They also have a small selection of clothing, which is heavily discounted as well. Big screen HDTVs are another great find, for a fraction of the price of larger retail stores, and even include top brand names.
With new inventory constantly arriving, you may go in one day and find a great deal that wasn’t there the day before. If you are looking for a specific item, just ask one of the friendly staff members. It may not be out on the floor yet, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have it out back and just hadn’t had the chance to put it on the merchandise floor. You can also message them on Facebook. Send them a message to see if they have a specific item in stock, and they usually respond rather quickly and sometimes even include a picture so you know exactly what they have. Their Facebook page is also the best way to stay up-to-date on their current deals, other than physically going to the store to see what they have. They typically post several pictures on a weekly basis of the new merchandise they put out.
Wheeler Supplies is open Monday –Friday from 10 am – 6 pm, Saturdays from 9 am – 5 pm, and closed on Sundays and major holidays, and will update their Facebook page should there be any changes to their hours of operation. Their phone number is 864-381-9213.
It’s always a great idea to support small businesses in the growing Spartanburg community, and why not find a great deal while you are doing that? You may just end up finding your new favorite store.
Do you have a favorite local shop in Spartanburg?
Meet Erika Morelli
Erika Morelli is a proud mother of three wonderful, energetic children. She moved to the Upstate in 2012 and loves exploring the area, finding new things to do and new places to eat. Her family always love a good adventure!
The local library is a great source for books for all ages and reading levels. Whether you want a quiet place to sit and read or bring home one or a handful of books, one of the Spartanburg County Library locations more than likely has something that will spark your interest.
Books only scratch the surface of what Spartanburg County Libraries have to offer. From crafts, fitness classes, games, clubs, how-to classes, guest author events, story time, and free movie times, there seems to be an endless number of activities offered to the public; and best of all, most of these activities are free!
More than just books
With an abundance of things to do for kids of all ages, it makes it easy to find an option for keeping your children busy after school and during school breaks. Various story times are offered and targeted toward children of specific ages, from infants, preschoolers, elementary school aged, and tweens. This is something parents can do at home, of course, but changing the atmosphere and being around other children can make story time a whole lot more fun! Scheduled crafting time allows children to get creative by making slime, painting, making their own Harry Pottery wand, crafting with beads, and seasonal crafts, such as pumpkin painting, to name a few. Best of all, the library supplies the materials they need for their craft, and they get to bring their masterpiece home. Movies for tweens to allow children to just relax and hang out, video game tournaments for the gaming enthusiasts, and outdoor game times to have fun while getting some fresh air add to the variety of activities that are offered.
A Home School Program is offered, and usually takes place during the hours that school is in session. Parents can bring their home schooled children to a scheduled educational workshop. Whether it is a craft or a science experiment, the library can help add more fun into their learning curriculum.
Most of the children’s areas in the libraries offer a variety of educational toys and puzzles to keep the children entertained, and allow parents to enjoy some quiet time. The Headquarters library, located in downtown Spartanburg, also offers a playground in a fenced in area, which is easily accessed from the children’s book area. Benches and tables are available for parents while their children play, or can be used as a place to enjoy a book with your child when the weather is nice.
Their Lego Club allows children to get creative and build using the plethora of Legos they have. Best of all, the kids don’t have to clean them up when finished (and parents don’t need to worry about stepping on one that was left out…ouch!). The Chess Club is offered to learn how to play chess, or, you can find an opponent and challenge your chess skills.
Adults also have access to multiple events/activities with the Spartanburg County Libraries. Various fitness classes are offered, such as yoga, Zumba, and gentle exercise, allowing you to stay healthy without a gym membership. How-to classes are available to keep your skills sharp, such as Job Interviewing 101 and classes on basic home repairs you can do yourself. Authors occasionally visit the library, giving you the opportunity to hear directly from them about their book, and even have your book signed.
All events and activities offered by the Spartanburg County Libraries are posted on their calendar located on their website. Simply click on the event you are interested in to read a brief description about it. Most activities are free; however, very few do require a small fee to participate. If there is a fee, it will be listed on the description of the event on the calendar. Some crafting activities have a limited number of spaces available, due to supplies and seating, and may require advanced sign up to participate. This information will also be listed on the activity description on their calendar. As the Spartanburg County Library has multiple locations, you can filter the events by location on the website, or view all at once. Activities and events vary by location.
Did you know the library has 3-d printers and more for patrons to use? Learn more about the Spark Space: Maker Space at the headquarters library, with KAS’s Melanie. She’s taught floral design and cake decorating classes their and can’t wait to tell you all of the exciting stuff that it offers patrons.
Looking for a place your kids will love that is always free with tons of stuff they can borrow to take home and enjoy? Does this magical place exist? Yes! The Headquarters Library in Downtown Spartanburg is full of excitement every day and has free items to borrow that everyone in your family will enjoy.
What makes the Headquarters Library so great?
Located on the 1st floor of the Headquarters Library is a massive children’s area that is enclosed and contains books, hands-on learning toys, a children’s computer lab, and more! As soon as you enter the area, you find the train depot. This special space has a gigantic train mural for the Hub City, as well as a train wall and the train depot where librarians await.
In this space, you will find several different hands-on activity tables such as the light-up magnetic blocks. Children are drawn to the space because of the toys and colors, but the library has specifically chosen activity tables that help children learn and be creative. Plus, this is not your typical “quiet” library space – play is encouraged!
Even more exciting is the beautiful outdoor children’s garden that includes a fully enclosed playground. Not only is the playground enclosed, it does offer shade! With a mixture of climbing equipment and musical play instruments, this playground is a hidden gem. There is plenty of seating for parents, so you can rest easy while your children run and play.
Plus, there are restrooms in the children’s area including family restrooms and a private nursing area.
Even your big kids will want to stay
Also located on the 1st floor is a room made just for tweens. If your kids are between the ages of 10 and 12, they are welcomed to the Tween Zone. This room is a hang-out space for this age group and is where several events just for tweens are held.
Did you know the Headquarters Library also has an entire private space just for teens? The Teen Services department is located on the 2nd floor (also the main floor of the library). Tell your teens to look for the orange walls.
This space not only holds the young adult book collection, it also is a unique hang-out space just for teenagers – no adults allowed! With televisions, computers, tables, booths, and even a stage, teens are invited to enjoy this space designed just for them. The Teen Services department hosts several teen-only events each month as well.
This library offers free programs too
Spartanburg County Libraries offer a huge number of free programs each month. Since Headquarters Library is the main branch, there are multiple programs happening here weekly. For example, the Headquarters Library hosts over 10 story time programs each week!
In addition to story time programs, the Headquarters Library also hosts movie viewings, author lectures, books clubs, and more. They even offer fitness programs such as yoga. All of these programs are free of charge!
During the summer, the library hosts a summer reading program for all ages (separate programs for children, teens, and adults). Each division offers prizes to those who complete their summer reading program. The adult and teen programs encourage patrons to attend the free library programs, which count towards winning the summer reading prizes.
Often, people are under the assumption that libraries are just for checking out books. This could not be further from the truth. One visit to the Headquarters Library will let you see there is so much more available to patrons than books.
For example, the third floor of the library offers a large computer lab for those needing internet, Word programs, or printing. In addition, the Headquarters Library also has private study rooms patrons may use. If you or your teen has a big project, these are great spaces to utilize.
But, more than books and computers, the Headquarters Library also has an entire audiovisual section that allows individuals to borrow movies, television series, music, video games, and more. These are not old movies or music either – these are brand new releases you may borrow for free. This section is located on the main level.
Did you know you can also check out magazines from the library? Instead of spending money on subscriptions or stocking up on new magazines at the grocery checkout aisle, you can borrow magazines from the library. Headquarters Library has a huge magazine section with current and past issues.
Additionally, the Spartanburg Libraries offer several library apps that you can use from home (i.e. Freegal, Hoopla, Overdrive, Zinio). These apps allow you to use your phone or device to check out eBooks and audiobooks outside of the library. But, that’s not all. These apps allow you to borrow and download current music, movies, television, and magazines to your devices for free as well.
Having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got your library card!
While program events are free and open to the public, if you want to take advantage of the library’s collection (or borrow materials), you will need a library card. Library cards are free to Spartanburg County residents. You just need proof of identity and proof of residency (if your driver’s license includes your current address, you can use it).
Most books, magazines, and music CDs may be checked out for 28 days. DVDs, Blu-Ray discs, and video games may be checked out for 7 days.
The Headquarters Library is located at 151 S. Church Street in downtown Spartanburg. It is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., and Sunday from 1:30 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Has your family ventured to Headquarters Library yet this summer?
Meet Jennifer Curry
Jennifer relocated to Spartanburg seven years ago, and now spends her days working from home and taking care of her two kids. She loves this area because we can go from rural areas to urban areas to the mountains within an hour. Her favorite things to do with her kids are using their imaginations and visiting Spartanburg County local libraries. Follow Jennifer at www.litlovingmom.com.
Are you looking for an educational and fun experience for the kids? The Spartanburg Science Center, located within the Chapman Cultural Center, is the perfect spot to get your reptile, amphibian, and psychics fix!
What to Expect
Located on the second floor of the Montgomery Building of the Chapman Cultural Center, the Spartanburg Science Center provides educational programs for local schools and homeschooling co-ops based on grade level, a travelling planetarium, and a hands-on interactive Science Museum for kids (and adults) of all ages!
In the Science Museum, you can marvel at snakes and observe the habitats of tarantulas, turtles, lizards, and more in the amphibian/reptile exhibit. Learning stations include an electricity demonstration with a real-life Jacob’s Ladder, a Lego building space with thousands of Legos, and hands-on experiences with physics concepts like levers and pulleys and other engineering models. The classroom features skeletons, fossils, taxidermy, and natural specimens. Don’t miss coming face-to-face with a dinosaur skeleton on your way upstairs, either!
When to Visit
The Science Center’s general visiting hours are Thursday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., but you can schedule private events or programs by contacting the center. Admission is free for kids under 5. Kids 5 and up and adults are just $5. Science Club members are free, as well.
If you’re looking for an out-of-the-ordinary experience for your little one’s big day, the Science Center also hosts awesome birthday parties! Pick your hands-on program from a range of subjects like reptiles & amphibians, astronomy, dinosaurs, and more. The classroom can accommodate up to 20 children and has all the amenities necessary for serving cake and party goodies.
At the Science Center, it’s all science, all year round. Check out the summer, holiday, and teacher workday camps available, too! The Kids Museum is the perfect spot to spend an afternoon learning through play.
Have you taken your kids to the Spartanburg Science Center yet?
Meet Juliet Wright
Juliet Autenzio Wright has lived in the Upstate for over 20 years. She is a proud alumna of Converse College and a former high school teacher. Now a stay-at-home mom to three little girls, ages five, two, and six months, Juliet loves exploring Spartanburg through the eyes of her children. Her favorite family-friendly activities include local parks and nature walks, library story times, and the many local festivals Spartanburg has to offer. In her spare time, she privately tutors, ghost writes, and reads as many books as possible. Juliet’s family and friends make her world go round!