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Hatcher Garden & Woodland Preserve: Take A Garden Walk in Spartanburg, SC

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Have you enjoyed Hatcher Garden in Spartanburg, SC? Just a couple miles off of I-26 in Spartanburg, among shopping and restaurants on the busy main thoroughfare of John D. White, Sr. Blvd, is a 10-acre botanical garden and woodland preserve. 

The beautiful space is full of ponds, waterfalls, wildlife, trees and gardens with a wide variety of leafy and flowering plants. Hatcher Garden is open free to the public and should definitely be on your list of places to visit in Spartanburg.

Hatcher Gardens

Celebrate The 2022 Winter Olympics With These Sports Near Greenville, SC

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Want to try a winter Olympic sport and wondering where you can play winter sports in Greenville, SC? The 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing China will begin soon and will introduce a whole new generation of kids to winter sports. From Friday, February 4th through the 20th, athletes from all over the globe will compete for the coveted gold medals in their category.

If you or your child are inspired to participate in some of the sports included in the Olympics, you’re in luck! Some of the activities are easily accessible in the Upstate, and we are going to tell you all you need to know to get that Olympic Dream on track.

Enjoy the opening games by immersing yourself in the culture of the hosting country with some of the Upstate’s Best Chinese Food! Chinese Food In Greenville | Chinese Food In Spartanburg


Where Can Young Kids Volunteer in Spartanburg, SC?

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Are you looking for places where young children can volunteer in Spartanburg? We’ve come up with several places where young kids can volunteer, as well as places where kids can take donations in Spartanburg. Peruse the list and find a Spartanburg location that will motivate your child to give.


Volunteer Opportunities Near Greenville, SC For Families With Young Children

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More and more, families are using the holiday season to spread kindness and teach children the spirit of giving. Local mom Kristen Alcock and Kidding Around’s Melanie Coblentz are here with a number of ideas about how to include young children and volunteer as a family. Spread some cheer this season and give back!

For more volunteer opportunity ideas for older kids and adults see our list of ways to volunteer with kids in Greenville.


Kids and Parents Love the YMCA of Greenville After School Program

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School will be starting soon- do you have after school care lined up for your kids yet? While there are lots of after-school programs out there, one stands out above the rest. Read on to find out what makes the after-school program offered at YMCA of Greenville a great option for working parents.

Thank you to YMCA of Greenville for sponsoring this website post.

If you could have the peace of mind that your child would be well taken care of after school while you finish up working, that they will eat nutritious snacks and have homework help, that they will have plenty of opportunities for play as well as building character, and that this all comes at an affordable price, would you sign up your child?

The YMCA of Greenville offers all of this and you don’t even need to be a member to take advantage of their after school program, which is pretty awesome.

Here is everything you need to know about the Y’s after school program.

Kids Will Love the After School Program at YMCA of Greenville

The Y’s after school program is a big hit with kids. They get to play, participate in educational and fun activities, eat healthy snacks, and have positive role models. The YMCA implements the  The Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets into all their activities, including the Academic Enrichment Program, which adds arts, academic, and fitness opportunities to children’s daily lives.

Every day, kids will engage in at least 30-60 minutes of physical activity. Screen time is limited and access to movies and television are non-existent. Kids won’t even notice because they will be having fun anyways.

Arts and crafts, games, and hands-on activities are part of the after school program as well. Parents will appreciate that homework is done during this time as well.

YMCA of Greenville after school program for kids

What makes the YMCA’s after school program unique?

Firstly, the YMCA is dedicated to building the leaders of tomorrow so that goal is used throughout the after school program. The activities are great for engaging kids and getting them excited to return but it also provides opportunities for character development, learning about service for others, and why healthy eating and wellness are important.

Additionally, the YMCA after school program is open to everyone, not just members and not just those who can afford it every week. Prices range between $57-$85 per week but scholarships and financial assistance are available for families who need it.

Lastly, when school is out for the holidays or teach workdays, the Y’s after school program still operates, so you don’t need to worry about finding childcare. You just have to sign your child up. This is what peace of mind is all about.

Parents Love the After School Program

The peace of mind that the YMCA after school program provides is priceless. Parents know their child is safe, is engaging in healthy activities, and is enjoying making new friends and trying new things.

The YMCA picks up from over 40 schools in Greenville; full list is here. The program runs from the closing bell of school until 6 pm and accepts children in elementary and middle school.

The YMCA is a safe place for both kids and adults. All participants and staff are expected to demonstrate the four values of the Y: Caring, Honesty, Respect, and Responsibility.

The counselors in the after school program are all over 18 and are many are local college students. Staff are required to be good role models for the kids and are outgoing, caring and energetic. On a typical day, staff to child ratio is about 1:12. After school staff receive monthly training including: Positive Discipline, Character Development, Developmental Needs of Children, Risk Management and all are certified in First Aid, CPR, AED, and Bloodborne Pathogens.

“My child has participated in the Y after school program for six years,” said local mom Amanda. “I loved that homework was pretty much complete and that she had a snack, was able to play with her friends and burn off some steam before coming home. She will continue in their program through middle school, too.”

YMCA of Greenville after school program

How to Sign Up

School starts in a matter of weeks so sign up soon if you’d your child(ren) to participate in the Y’s after school program.

Locations for the after school program are at YMCAs in Greenville, Taylors, Travelers Rest, and Simpsonville and families don’t have to be members to participate in the program. To sign up or learn more, see this link.

What are your kids doing after school ends this coming school year?

This Local Trail Has Beaver Dams, Water Bird Observation Areas, and More!

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The Cottonwood Trail is the perfect space for your children to experience the seasons in the Upstate.  In the summer, lush and green in the summer, crackling with autumnal colors in the fall, sparse and atmospheric in the winter, and brimming with new life in the spring, your children can observe the seasonal changes while exploring the great outdoors.

The Cottonwood Trail in Spartanburg, SC

Named after the majestic Cottonwood trees dot the landscape, The Cottonwood Trail Preserve is maintained by the Spartanburg Area Conservancy. 

Located on the Eastside of Spartanburg, the 3.6-mile trail is perfect for walking, jogging, or biking with the family. The trails are unpaved, but all-terrain strollers and bikes, and even wagons can easily navigate most of the paths.

The Cottonwood Trail is the longest in the preserve and follows along Lawson’s Ford Creek, providing a scenic water view that is still a safe distance from the walking trail.

The trail is pet-friendly so that the family dog can get in his steps for the day, too!  (Dogs are expected to remain on a leash and under the control of their owners at all times.)

Cottonwood Trail Access

Parking and entrances to the trail are found off Sydnor Road (across from the Spartan High tennis courts) and Beechwood Drive (off of Fernwood Drive).  The trail is open every day from dawn to dusk.

Find Beaver Dams & See Reptiles & Water Birds on the Boardwalk and Wetlands Trail

An offshoot of the Cottonwood Trail, the Boardwalk, and Wetlands Trails offer a first-hand experience of South Carolina’s famed wetlands.  The Boardwalk Trail is marked by a sign pointing to the beaver dams and quickly turns from a dirt trail into a boardwalk.  Take a break on the benches and observation deck to check out the reptiles and water birds.  If you’re lucky, you might spot the heron that calls this particular wetland his home.

Don’t Forget Your Picnic

A picnic area lies across the main bridge, crossing Lawson’s Fork Creek, so pack a snack and pause to play in the woods!

You can access a map of the Cottonwood Trail online.

Feeling at Home at Happy Hollow Park

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One of Spartanburg’s lesser known parks, is also one of its best.  Tucked away in the historic neighborhood of Converse Heights, Happy Hollow Park spans one block at the corners of S. Fairview and Glendalyn Avenue.  Small and secure, Happy Hollow Park provides a safe and shady place for children of all ages to play.

About Happy Hollow Park

Surrounded by a black wrought-iron gate and under a canopy of trees, Happy Hollow Park offers two separate playground equipment areas specific to age.  Larger slides and climbing apparatuses are available for older children, while a smaller set of shorter slides, tunnels, and interactive ground-level features are geared towards younger children.  Two sets of safety swings for babies and toddlers are available, as is a set of traditional swings for older children.

While the ground of the main play areas are covered in soft, shock-absorbing mulch, there is a paved path that leads into the park.  Here, benches in the shade are the perfect place to sit and visit with other parents or enjoy a moment of respite while the children play within an easily accessible distance.  Don’t forget to bring your sidewalk chalk, as children and parents alike can be found adorning the sidewalk area with their artistic endeavors!  Picnic tables for lunch or a quick snack are also located within the gated play area.

Outside the actual playground area, a lovely green space with a paved walking path and covered picnic pavilion offers a space for children to ride a scooter, play a game of tag, football, or hopscotch, or host an outdoor birthday party or lunch.  Keep your eye out for seasonal events sponsored by the Converse Heights Neighborhood Association, like the annual Easter Egg Hunt and Fourth of July Celebration.

What’s to Love

Surrounded by private homes, enclosed by a secure gate, and almost always populated by children and parents, Happy Hollow Park is a safe park to take children on your own.

Shade, shade, and more shade can be found during the Spring, Summer, and Fall. The tree canopy at Happy Hollow Park minimizes the hot South Carolina temps, which often renders other treeless parks too hot or leaves play equipment scalding for much of the year.  Not so at Happy Hollow Park.

Due to its smaller size, but age appropriate equipment, it’s easy to entertain children of various ages in the same space, which makes meeting up for diverse playdates or play groups a cinch.

What to Watch For

No bathrooms!  This is a big negative, especially for potty training children.  Make sure you ‘go’, before you go!

Parking can be problematic.  Since the park is located in a neighborhood, there is no official parking lot.  Cars park along the street, which can get crowded during peak hours.

Don’t hesitate to visit Happy Hollow Park. It’s is a fantastic way to spend the day, and it just might become one of your favorite parks in Spartanburg!

General Information

Happy Hollow Park
Glendalyn Avenue
Spartanburg, SC 29302
Visit their website

What’s your favorite park in Spartanburg? Share it with us in the comments area below!

RELATED: Read our review of Cleveland Park Spartanburg


Kids Won’t Want to Leave Open Art Studios

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


5 Inexpensive Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day as a Family

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This post contains affiliate links. 

Can you believe that it’s February? That means Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. I have a few ideas to share that are great family friendly activities.  As an added bonus this is a list of inexpensive ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day as a family. No need to break the bank just to say “I Love You.”

Valentines Day Activities for Families

#1 Have a Valentine’s party

My 4 year old gave me this idea. She heard her older brother talk about his class Valentine’s party, and has since declared that we are having our own party.  I am totally on board. My husband and I are planning to have cupcakes, balloons, and music.

  • Chocolate Moose is offering tons of great chocolates, cake pops and cupcakes for pre-order. Orders must be in by February 13th.

#2 Make Valentine’s cards

Don’t bother with the generic cards from the store. Take this opportunity to use all the glitter and glue you want. The kids will love making homemade cards for their grandparents, classmates, and other loved ones.

  • If you are challenged in the crafty department, Michael’s has a special Valentine’s Day-themed Kids Club event. For only $2 and 30 minutes your child (age 3+) can make Valentine’s Day cards while you shop.   The event is happening on Saturday, February 10th from 10 am – Noon. Check website to confirm details of specific stores.

#3 Family Movie Night

Cozy up on the couch with blankets and pillows. Pop popcorn and watch a classic movie like, A Charlie Brown Valentine, or a family favorite.  We will definitely have Frozen & Shrek in our rotation. (As if our kids needed another reason to watch either movie.)

#4 – Family Dinner Date

Include the kids in your dinner plans! Dress everyone in their Sunday best and head out to an amazing restaurant. Just make sure your children are old enough to conduct themselves accordingly in a “fine dining” establishment. If not, dine at a kid friendly eatery. Here are 6 Great Restaurants to Take Your Kids (That Aren’t Fast Food).

Don’t forget about our Kids Eat Free Directory.

Groupon offers a list of local restaurants that currently have discount deals that would be perfect for a family on Valentine’s Day!

#5 Sing Along

Okay, this is totally for me. Turn on your favorite Pandora playlist about love and belt them out with kiddos. I am pretty sure this will turn into a dance party at our house.  I currently have Whitney Houston’s Greatest Hits & The Greatest Love Songs of the 80’s ready for a major karaoke battle! My kids are a bit young to know many of these songs, but they will love seeing Mom and Dad act silly.

Finally make this a month of love. Find creative and fun was to share love with your family all month long. Whatever you decide to do have fun!

Meet Sherrica

sherrica9Sherrica Sims is an Upstate native who is a stay at home mom of 2 precocious kids. She loves creative outlets and spending time with family. You can follow her thrift shopping adventures at Thrift Chic on Facebook.

Things to do Indoors with Teens in Greenville

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While we know Greenville is a wonderful place for little kids, it’s also a town that has plenty of things to do indoors with teens, everything from laser tag and trampoline parks to volunteering opportunities and movies.

We’ve compiled some of the best things to do inside with teenagers in Greenville. If we missed something, let us know in the comments!

Things to do Indoors with Teens in Greenville

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Arcades, Laser Tag, Mini-Golf

Frankie’s Fun Park is a mecca of arcade games, mini-golf, laser tag and road courses, Frankie’s Fun Park is a great place to get out some energy with teens. There are plenty of activities for everyone to enjoy no matter what their interests are. Attractions are priced separately and there are food options as well: Mini golf ($8), go-karts ($7), indoor playground ($8), laser tag ($7), batting cage ($2), arcade, drop zone ($4), and bumper boats ($6).

45 Park Woodruff Drive; Greenville; 864.627.9888
Visit the website.

The Big E in Gaffney is another great place for indoor fun. They have arcades, laser tag, mini-golf, bumper cars, and a ropes course (outdoors). Check out our video tour here.

1100 Factory Shops Blvd, Gaffney (I-85 at exit 90 next to the Gaffney Premium Outlets); 864.489.1515
Visit the website.

Trampoline Parks

Greenville is home to Gravitopia and Sky Zone, both really fun trampoline park with ninja courses, foam pits and extreme. Gravitopia hosts a Club Night for kids 15 and older and Sky Zone has an event called Glow that is similar. And if you’re up for a little drive, Big Air Trampoline Park in Spartanburg just celebrated their 1st birthday and is super cool. They host Cosmic Nights, which is perfect for teens, every Friday and Saturday night.

Defy (formerly Gravitopia)
48 Brookfield Oaks Drive, Greenville; 864.715.2044
Visit the website.

Sky Zone
2465 Laurens Road, Greenville; 864.558.2400
Visit the website.

Big Air Trampoline Park
660 Spartan Blvd, Spartanburg; 864.580.6462
Visit the website.

Big Air Greenville
36 Park Woodruff Drive, Greenville; 864.626.5252

Create Art

If you’ve ever been to Artisphere, you’ll understand how vibrant the art community is in Greenville. There are mediums for any level of interest and talent in art – painting, pottery, felting, welding. It’s all here. These places below offer all kinds of art classes or the opportunity to paint your own potter.

Greenville Center for Creative Arts

Hummingbird Hill Art Studio

Uptown Art

Color Clay Café

The Glazing Pot

Creating Artists for Tomorrow

Maya Movement Arts (an aerial arts studio)

Wine and Design

Sassy Paints

Vino & van Gogh


There are tons of opportunities for teens to volunteer and give back to their community. There are soup kitchens, Meals on Wheels, and places like Project Host. The City of Greenville also accepts teen volunteers for their many festivals.

Here is a list of places to volunteer in the Greenville area.

Escape Rooms

For a unique experience, teens can try using their best investigative skills to break out of a room together in 60 minutes or less.

Greenville Escape Room
319 Garlington Road, Suite A-5, Greenville; 864.982.5083
Visit the website.
Teens under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Breakout Greenville
614 N Main Street, Greenville; 864.326.0190
Visit the website.
Teens under 14 must be accompanied by an adult.

Escape Artist Greenville
217 East Stone Avenue, Greenville; 864.509.9305
Visit the website.
Teens under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Indoor Karting

What would a teenager like more than speeding in a car around an indoor race track? Let them get out those urges at a go kart facility. Kids under 18 can race during the week before 5 pm and on weekends before 2 pm.

Speed Factory Indoor Karting
1524 Roper Mountain Road, Greenville; 864.412.3323
130 E Daniel Morgan Avenue, Spartanburg; 864.447.4000
Visit the website.


Bowling alleys have stepped up their game and aren’t the sketchy establishments of the 90s any longer. Greenville has some good options to bowling for teens.

Stone Pin Company
304 E Stone Avenue, Greenville; 864.412.7228
Visit the website.

Spare Time Entertainment
822 Congaree Road, Greenville; 864.412.0299

AMF Star Lanes
740 S. Pleasantburg Drive, Greenville; 864.242.5724
Visit the website.

Peach Bowl Lanes
14515 E Wade Hampton Blvd, Greer; 864.877.8340
Visit the website.

Wade Hampton Lanes
3065 Wade Hampton Blvd, Taylors, SC; 864.268.4136
Visit the website.

Golden Park
108 Balcome Blvd, Simpsonville; 864.967.8551
Visit the website.

Rock Springs Bowling Alley
201 Rock Springs Road, Easley; 864.442.2057
Visit the website.


There are always the movies. And teens still love going to them.

Regal Cinemas Hollywood 20
1025 Woodruff Road, Greenville; 864.462.7342
Visit the website.

Camelot Cinemas
48 East Antrim Drive, Greenville; 864.235.6700
Visit the website.

Regal Cinemas Cherrydale 16
3221 North Pleasantburg Drive, Greenville; 844.462.7342
Visit the website.

Do you have a great place for teens to add to our list?

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