West Columbia getting ready for summer activities, events

Summer is the time to kick back and enjoy a more relaxed approach to life. The heat has a liberating affect. And that is true in West Columbia.

And discussion of recreation in West Columbia would be complete without talking about all that the Congaree River offers

The river is cool and especially fun if you travel it floating on an inflated tube or riding the white water in a kayak. Just getting out on the river affords one a perspective of natural beauty in the middle of the city.

SC State Museum moon show

If you need a lift to the river, The COMET transportation authority is running the Soda Cap Connector. The Soda Cap Connector makes the rounds through West Columbia, Cayce and Downtown Columbia,

The Soda Cap Connector travels through West Columbia’s popular River District. Palmetto Outdoor offers a $5 discount to Soda Cap Connector riders.

Riverbanks Zoo and Garden

In addition to the river, there is a West Columbia entrance to Riverbanks Zoo, through the Botanical Gardens at Botanical Parkway and Mohawk Drive.

The Riverbanks Botanical Garden is 70 acres of vivid color, unique plants and breathtaking beauty.

The Botanical Garden also includes Waterfall Junction. The water feature is for families and children West Columbia River of all ages to get outdoors and explore nature. It’s described as a three-acre wonderland in bloom with a rabbit hole, a life-size replica of a T-Rex, and giant tree houses. All under a 25-foot cascading waterfall.

River District fun

Riverbanks Zoo and Garden kicked off the start of summer June 18, with a celebration in The Farmyard. The Farmyard, presented by West Columbia’s House of Raeford Farms is one of the Zoo’s newest attractions.

“House of Raeford is proud to partner with Riverbanks to engage our community in educating young people about local agriculture,” said Jim Mabe, complex manager for House of Raeford Columbia.

The Farmyard opened to Zoo guests in late April. The experience features new animals including Nigerian dwarf, La Mancha, and Saaneen goats, plus Juliana pigs and domestic chickens. Guests can visit with animals up-close in the animal contact yard, feed the goats and chickens, hop on a real tractor for an imaginary ride, try their hand at milking a life-size, automated milking cow, and more.

And don’t forget about the zoo’s Waterfall Junction. It includes a 25-foot cascading waterfall and splash zones, unearth a life-size replica of T-Rex. There are also giant tree houses, and rabbit holes for kids.

The South Carolina State Museum

The South Carolina State Museum is also a staple of the West Columbia Community. It’s housed in the gargantuan former Mount Vernon Mills building familiar to generations of West Columbia families that once worked there.

House of Reaford Farms- The Barnyard

The 50th anniversary of the first moon walk is in July. To commorate the event the museum is offering the Mystery Moon Theater Live. It’s Tuesday, July 23 from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m.

Mystery Moon Theater Live, is a unique, moon-themed evening out at the State Museum. It includes a 4D screening of the the classic science fiction film Destination Moon in the style of Mystery Science Theater 3000 with comedians from Trustus Theater’s improv group, “The Mothers” providing live commentary.

Other features of Mystery Moon Theater include ‘Alien Hat’ space themed beer from Columbia Craft; and Creation station where guests can make their own constellation lantern.

The State Museum will also present Friday Night Laser Lights summer series starting, Friday, June 28. It’s rockin’ summer tradition that includes live music, specialty cocktails and themed nights. Friday Night Laser Lights feature lasers and CGI visuals choreographed to music inside the museum’s 55 ft. digital dome BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Planetarium and full dome musical experiences featuring eye-catching visuals set to music.

The shows are held on Fridays and dates are: Friday, June 28: July 26; August 23. Themes include: Pink Floyd — Dark Side of the Moon; Dave Matthews: Led Zeppelin; Phish; Cletus Baltimore; The Beatles Abbey Road; Metallica; The Eagles; and Aerosmith.

EdVenture

EdVenture Children’s Museum is a great family fun venue and it’s so close to West Columbia, the building is visible from a Congaree River-based canoe.

EdVenture is a not-for-profit educational institution dedicated to creating new generations of lifelong learners through museum experiences and camps. Its mission is to inspire children, youth and the adults who care about them to experience the joy of learning as individuals, as families and as a community.

Riverwalk

Nighttime
There are lots of places to dine in West Columbia. In the River District, there’s Terra and 116 State, Al’s Upstairs and Cafe Strudel. The city has some the most popular restaurants in the metropolitan area. Other favorites on Sunset Blouvavard are: DeLucca’s, Ariana’s, Nick’s, Mai Thai, and Grecian Gardens. And be on the look out for opening of Black Rooster, soon.

If you want a nice ice cream cone, go to Zesto in Triangle City, home of the giant ice cream cone. There’s also Pelican Snowballs, on Meeting Street. It’s open for the season.
Regardless of your preference, in summer get out, because there is lots to do in West Columbia.

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