Lots to do in winter, if you live in West Columbia

Kelly Strickland of West Columbia.

It can be cold outside in the month of February, but that does not stop the people of West Columbia from being active.

Kelly Strickland of West Columbia, makes the most of the winter months.  “When the weather is not as nice outdoors, like most people, we are indoors more,” said Strickland.

She said her  husband Kevin, are regulars at the gym. “We go to Muv Fitness in West Columbia,” said Strickland. “It’s convenient to have a gym so close, and nothing feels better than a workout or a run on the treadmill. It can really pick you up when it’s dreary outside. And getting exercise in the winter is a chance to get ready for the warmer weather that will be here before you know it.”

Others in West Columbia are attracted to the river. Even though it’s cooler, they just dress warmer and head out for a stroll on Riverwalk. Even if Riverwalk is not as busy in the cold, some like to experience the river in the winter. It is certainly an option this time of the year.

Aside from physical activity to make it through the cooler temperatures, there are plenty of family-oriented venues right in your back yard, if you live in West Columbia.
The South Carolina State Museum, EdVenture Children’s Museum and Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Gardens are within walking distance of West Columbia. And all three are attractive in the winter months.

“We’re always ‘open for fun’ at the State Museum,” said Jared Glover, museum public relations manager. “We’re lucky that we’re an inside attraction so we keep our guests dry and comfortable year-round.”

S.C. State Museum Roadshow in January.

Glover said there is more than 200,000-sq-ft of South Carolina art, science and technology, cultural history and natural history in the museum. And it’s all within eyesight of West Columbia.
He also said the museum’s “one of a kind observatory, state of the art 55-ft. dome planetarium and our multisensory 4D theater makes learning even more fun and exciting.”

Glover said in the winter the museum offers unique events like Night at the Museum, Amore Under the Stars and Friday Night Laser Lights. Winter is also an exciting time in the Boeing Observatory for some solar or night sky observing. This time of year our guests will get a good look at Uranus, and the Orion and Eskimo nebulas. (observatory viewing is dependent on clear skies)

Next door to the museum is the EdVenture Children’s Museum. Kia Grant, EdVenture’s marketing coordinator, said there is lots of indoor fun at the children’s museum, from the four-story figure of Eddie, the world’s largest 10-year-old, to the traveling exhibit called “Timbuktu” a journey through West Africa’s spectacular and diverse geographic regions.

There are also weekend programs featured at EdVenture. On Feb. 10, The Colgate Bright Smiles Bright Futures Van will be at EdVenture giving free dental screenings from 11 a.m.until 3 p.m. Volunteers are provided by Columbia Junior League.

On Feb. 17, Calling all EdLympians. Come and prepare yourself for the games by traveling through different stations to train your entire body. If you complete them all, you might just go home with the gold. EdLympians is hosted by fitness guru James Patrick.
On Feb. 25, come to EdVenture and be a part of the Black History Celebration. You won’t want to miss the Traveling Black Inventors and Inventions exhibit, along with African Dancing and Food Tasting. Fun for the whole family.


The S.C. State Museum and EdVenture are indoor venues that are extra attractive when there’s a chill outside. But the winters in West Columbia can be mild at times. And the possibility of a little cold is not enough to deter those who love Riverbanks Zoo.
More than 35,000 visited the zoo in January, said Susan O’Cain, the zoo’s public relations manager.

She also said there are good reasons to go to the zoo in the winter, too, especially if you live in West Columbia, Lexington County or Richland County.

“January and February are a great time to visit the zoo because many of the animals are more active during the cooler winter months,” said O’Cain. “If the weather is chilly, guests can enjoy the zoo’s indoor animal exhibits such as the Aquarium-Reptile Complex, the Birdhouse at Riverbanks, Gorilla Base Camp and Koala Knockabout. Much of our attendance in the winter months consists of Riverbanks members and those guests attending education programs in the Colonial Life Discovery Center. We also offer complimentary admission to residents of Richland and Lexington Counties every Friday in January and February as part of the Zoo’s Free Fridays promotion.

With so much to do in such close proximity to West Columbia, there is no reason not to get out and enjoy the attractions that are right in your back yard. All of the events, so close is part of the reason why so many love living in West Columbia.


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