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Shop and Make Art at TR Makers Co in Travelers Rest, SC

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Looking for a place to make some art in Travelers Rest, SC? TR Makers Co offers art activities for both children and adults. You can plan a birthday party or girls’ night here, or take advantage of summer sessions, playdates and even homeschool classes.

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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
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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.

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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.

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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

Main Event is Greenville’s newest entertainment venue with bowling, laser tag, and arcade games, You’ll also find a restaurant, bar, and billiards. They run specials like kids eat free and all-you-can-play nights. Here’s our Kidding Around article on Main Event.

Main Event
225 Entertainment Boulevard
Greenville, SC

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
Website.

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

Volunteering

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

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
Website

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.

Movies

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.

Learn to Fence at Foothills Fencing Academy

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Thank you to Foothills Fencing Academy for sponsoring this giveaway on Kidding Around Greenville. Be sure to read this post in its entirety as the nice folks at FFA are giving away 4 weeks of beginner classes!

In college I was forced to choose between a multitude of courses worth only a couple credits to fulfill some obligation that I can’t remember now. But I do remember being psyched that Fencing was an option – so I signed up and couldn’t wait to wield my sword as a bad ass Medieval princess that I wish I was born as.

It was challenging but it was really, really fun. I had no idea the coordination and strength it took to learn the footwork, the proper way to earn points against your opponent, and the workout that every class entailed. I managed to pass the course, even toppling some of my male classmates in the process, and developed an unparalleled confidence that still lingers even today, long after my Russian instructor went back to coaching Olympians.

Here in the Greenville area, the Foothills Fencing Academy (FFA) is an awesome facility that teaches fencing to both kids and adults, even producing NCAA athletes and high-level fencers that go on to compete in worldwide tournaments.

Foothills Fencing Academy

The Foothills Fencing Academy is located in Piedmont, SC, only a 15-minute drive from downtown Greenville, and consists of a 4,000 square foot, air-conditioned facility with six tournament strips (they are like small runways but people-sized) which are on a raised wooden floor in order to provide better protection for joints than a concrete or tile floor.

The FFA offers open fencing time as well as classes and summer camps. The FFA is the finest fencing facility in the entire area and all their coaches are professional members of the USA Fencing, certified by the USFCA and have undergone background checks.

Why Fencing?

Fencing is a great way to develop coordination, agility, discipline, strength, balance and focus. Fencers must problem-solve quickly, assess situations, and learn how to think strategically – all crucial life-skills outside of the sport of fencing.

Fencing is also a wonderful activity to stay fit and healthy, work muscles from your feet and ankles all the way up through your shoulders and neck. It’s a sport of both mind and body.

Fall Classes

Whether you’re 8 or 38, Foothills Fencing Academy can introduce you to the fascinating sport of “Physical Chess” with their beginner classes for kids and their parents too! Beginner classes cover the basics – including the rules of fencing, footwork, blade work, and tactics. Fencers will develop coordination, discipline, speed, endurance and balance. By participating in three sessions of classes, students will learn the basic fundamentals of all three weapons. Oh yeah, its a fun sport in an air conditioned facility!

In addition to adult, family, and youth classesprivate lessons are available as well. Plus they host birthday parties, homeschool groups, after-school groups, or church groups.

They provide all the safety equipment for an introductory period but fencers must purchase their own gear after two months of training.

Beginner Classes

Beginner classes run in 4 week sessions and begin August 14th. But no worries if you’re not that quick because new classes will kick off again throughout the fall! All equipment needed is furnished for the first two month; all you need is the right clothing!  Cost is $75 plus a $10 US Fencing Membership.

For more details visit their website or call (864) 593 3684.

Adult Beginner Classes

Fencing is a sport for all ages!  The USA Fencing Association sanctions tournaments for adults, beginning with competitors as young as 13 years of age, as well as exclusive tournaments for specific age brackets ranging up to 70 years and over! This is also a great class to share some time for parent and teen.

Any new students should arrive for this first class at 6:15 for footwork preparation.  Class will last until 7:45.  The next three weeks class will meet from 6:45-7:45.

Youth Beginner Classes

Youth classes are for ages 8 years through 18 years. Class will meet for four weeks.

Beginner classes for age 8-10: A weekly one hour session introduces students to fencing while improving coordination and critical thinking. Coaches use a mixture of fun games and discipline teach your child the basic fundamentals they need to begin fencing.

Beginner Classes for ages 8-18: This hour-long class introduces your child to each of the three Olympic style fencing weapons. Students learn to move and hit safely. They are introduced to the basic rules, footwork, blade work, and tactics of each weapon.

Family Beginner Classes: these are a great chance to get the whole family involved and learn a new sport.

The USA Fencing Association sanctions tournaments for youth, beginning with 10 and under programs. Boys and girls participate together locally, but compete separately at national tournament events. The coaches will use fencing games and lots of fun to introduce your child to this exciting sport!

Register today

Foothills Fencing Academy
1004 Piedmont Hwy
Piedmont, SC 29673
(864) 593-3684
foothillsfencingacademy@gmail.com
http://www.foothillsfencing.com

Giveaway!

One lucky KAG reader is going to win 4 weeks of beginner fencing lessons with our friends at Foothills Fencing Academy!

This giveaway starts now and ends at midnight on August 31, 2017. Good luck!

Our giveaway rules:

  • You must be 18 or older and live in the USA to enter this giveaway.
  • You must use a valid email address to enter this giveaway.
  • One entry per person per day.
  • We will contact the winner via the email address provided within three [3] days of the giveaway ending. The winner will have three [3] days (72 hours) to respond via email. If the winner does not respond within the three [3] days (72 hours), the prize will be forfeited and another winner chosen. Directions for claiming the prize will be given via email. A valid photo ID and/or mailing address may be required.
  • For a complete list of Kidding Around Greenville SC’s giveaway policies and terms and conditions, see the Kidding Around Greenville SC policy page. By entering this giveaway, you agree to comply with Kidding Around Greenville SC’s terms and conditions.

Has your family ever tried Fencing?

Meet Kristina, Team Writer

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.