Free Times Family Magazine / Learning /

Windows to New Worlds

17-Year, $23 Million Museum Project Offers Universe of Exploration for S.C. Students
By Kara Meador
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 |
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After 17 years of planning, fundraising, designing and building, the South Carolina State Museum’s new Windows To New Worlds project officially opens on Aug. 16. It includes a planetarium, 4D theater, observatory and an exciting and collaborative approach to education that can reach every school and give every student a chance to reach for the stars. We were there the day a critical piece — an antique telescope that has been retrofitted with digital capabilities — was moved into place. Here’s a look behind the curtain.

sc state museum
This 1926 refracting telescope is with more than $2.3 million. Photo by Sean Rayford

Through the Looking Glass


The South Carolina State Museum has housed historic artifacts since opening in 1988, but on this day in June the museum is making history in South Carolina.

The museum’s $23 million Windows To New Worlds renovation project —17 years in the making — is coming to fruition, but not before a handful of people complete a tedious task.

On the fourth floor of the museum, a forklift gingerly elevates a 1926 refracting Alvan Clark telescope 15 feet in the air. While the vintage telescope dangles from two heavy canvas straps, a handler on a step ladder works to attach the telescope to a gigantic base called a pier with a series of large gears that resemble sun dials. The telescope is worth more than $2.3 million dollars.

No pressure.

“It’s a lot of mass and it’s a lot of moving mass, so there’s a little bit of nervousness, but we have a pro with us today,” says Tom Falvey, the museum’s director of education.

Three massive legs support the telescope to make sure the device doesn’t shake or lose alignment. Museumgoers will get their first glimpse of the gigantic tripod three stories below when they enter the first-floor lobby. Each leg of the tripod is 42 feet tall and weighs more than 11,000 pounds.

It’s hot. The only moving air wisps through plastic sheets blocking a large opening in a fourth-floor wall. A glimpse outside reveals a viewing terrace that will make for some fantastic star gazing. It also offers a great view of the city.

Back inside, men guide the pieces of the telescope together underneath another obvious new addition to the museum. A 5,000-pound observatory dome was hoisted on top of the State museum in April, altering the shape of the museum and the Columbia skyline.

With prior experience planning and building a $22 million theme park in Michigan and 20 years at Six Flags Astroworld in Texas, State Museum Executive Director William Calloway has never shied away from mammoth undertakings, but even he is awed by scope of this project.

“It looks great on paper, but until you see it get built, you really don’t understand the size and the scale of it,” Calloway says. “Even though I’ve done this for a long time, I was surprised at how big it is. How impressive it is, what a ‘wow’ factor it has.”

It takes more than an hour, but the telescope is eventually safe and secure. Staff members are overcome with emotion. Some tears are shed as they see the last major piece of the puzzle needed to make the renovation project click into place.

In addition to the refracting telescope, museumgoers will be able to view an antique telescope collection donated by a local amateur astronomer named Robert Ariail. The oldest telescope in the collection dates back to 1730.


Artist's rendering

Opening New Vistas in Education


South Carolina Nobel Prize-winning physicist Charles Townes, who led the groundwork for development of the laser, actually worked on the very same refracting telescope that’s being housed at the museum when he was a professor at Columbia University in New York City in the late 1940s. The university donated the vintage instrument to the State Museum.

“Imagine looking through the same telescope that Charles Townes looked through during his days at Columbia,” Tom Falvey, director of education, says. The museum is modernizing the instrument with gears, computers and digital eyepieces, so any kid in the state can actually log on to a computer and direct the telescope to a specific location and see the images.

The fully digitized telescope will play a central role in the museum’s new distance learning and onsite STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) initiatives. 

“It will be the first time that remote access of a telescope will be provided free-of-charge to classrooms across an entire state,” says Anna Kate Twitty, public relations manager.

Falvey and Executive Director William Calloway are both excited about the prospects.

“For a kid to know that he or she is controlling the instrument and seeing the images and then talking live to an astronomer — I mean, that’s really special,” Falvey says.

Calloway sees a big boost in accessibility.

“A lot of kids, schools and families around the state can’t afford to come to Columbia,” he says. “This is a way that we can reach out to those kids.”

In addition to providing a hands-on approach to getting South Carolina students more interested in science and technology, workforce development was also a big consideration when developing the educational aspects of the renovation project.


Photo by Sean Rayford

Fueling Imagination


If you park in the front lot at the State Museum, it looks as if the moon has been captured and placed in a enormous crystal box. The large sphere is the planetarium. The sight is captivating in itself, but it’s hard to get a feel as to how big the attraction is until you enter.

When you do, you are engulfed by a 55-foot dome-shaped screen; the theatre seats 145 people.

Imagine looking at the night sky when Sherman marched on Columbia in February of 1865: With the planetarium’s state-of-the-art software, State Museum officials can recreate sky and star positions up to 1 million years into the past or the future.

“It will be a great way for educators to tie in history with astronomy and science,” Public Relations Director Anna Kate Twitty says.

The museum’s partnership with NASA will allow students and visitors to see real-time spacecraft launches and interact with astronauts on the International Space Station.

But the planetarium is more than just an odyssey into space; the museum also plans to offer out-of-this-word laser light shows where people can rock out to music from bands like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd.

Boeing and NASA are both major contributors to the observatory. Boeing is a major South Carolina employer and NASA’s administrator Charles Bolden is a Columbia native.


Artist's rendering

4D Theater: Can You Feel It?



Museum Director William Calloway says he’s excited to see the reactions when people first experience 4D.

What’s 4D?

Anna Kate Twitty, public relations director, explains: “It combines a film experience with real-life sensations.”

Imagine a 3D movie tornado, but instead of just seeing it, you can feel the wind or the raindrops. Condensed versions of popular flicks like The Polar Express and Ice Age will be shown. This is the only permanent 4D theater in the state.

When you combine all of the elements of the renovation project under one roof, Twitty says the museum will make history again.

“It will be the first of its kind in the U.S. to have an on-site and online observatory and classroom, a digital planetarium and theater, a 4D multi-sensory theater and an outdoor viewing terrace all in one place.”


What a Place for a Party


The museum is counting on rental space to be a major revenue generator, too.

The Planetarium Lobby, newly created meeting rooms and even the fourth floor Observatory and Terrace will be available for small dinners and receptions. The Cotton Mill Exchange museum store will be expanded.


Storytellers of South Carolina


Windows To New Worlds is slated to open to the public Saturday, Aug. 16. The museum staff expect to have more than 100,000 students visit the museum in the 2014-15 school year — an increase of 35 percent. School groups are admitted free.

There’s a lot of work that needs to be done before then, but nobody said adding a new chapter to South Carolina’s history would be easy.

An army of workers in hard hats and neon vests has stripped the old Cotton Mill building that houses the State Museum, uncovering original brick walls and hardwood floors dating back to the original 1893 building.

The Windows to New Worlds Project marries the old with the new, creating a storyline.

“The State Museum is current, it’s competitive, it’s unique, but it’s also history,” says museum Executive Director William Calloway. “We still are the storytellers of South Carolina, so this helps us tell our story in a different way. Through our films in the theaters, through our new exhibits, we can weave a wonderful story.”

For information on admission, hours of operation, exhibits and more, visit scmuseum.org.

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Apps for Kids

By Free Times
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 |


Endless Numbers
Originator Inc. ($4.99), Android and iOS
Ages: 3-5

The adorable monsters of Endless Alphabet return in this fun early math skills app. Ride along on the ferris wheel as the monsters guide you through numbers, counting and simple addition. Tapping the numbered cars on the wheel leads children through activities that teach number recognition, basic addition and counting by twos, fours, fives, etc. The activities are highly intuitive and don’t pressure users to come up with correct answers, so children are able to navigate the app easily and at their own pace. Each number is made engaging with a combination of fun voices and fantastic artwork. Silly animations that link with each number, like the six-armed monster doing a wiggly disco dance, are sure to provide plenty of giggles. — Sarah Cameron, Richland Library




Reading Rainbow
RRKidz Inc., Free to try, $9.99 monthly subscription, iOS and Kindle (expansion to Android planned)
Ages: 3-9

Want to introduce the world of Reading Rainbow to your own kids? Hosted by LeVar Burton, this app received Common Sense Media’s 2014 ON for Learning Award. Children can choose books based on their interests and can travel to faraway lands via video field trips. There’s also a parental dashboard where parents can track their child’s reading progress. While you can try this app for free, there is a subscription cost for unlimited access: $9.99 per month or $29.99 for six months. Books and videos are added weekly and there are hundreds of books just waiting to be explored. — Heather Green, Richland Library




Sparklefish
Whosagoodboy Partners (Free), iOS and Nook tablet
Ages: all

Sparklefish is mad libs with a twist: say a noun, verb or adjective into your device and the app records your additions, inserts them into a pre-recorded narrative, and plays back the recording complete with participants’ contributions! Both educational and hilarious, this game can be played as a group or solo. — Jessica Gemmill,
Richland Library

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Books: Number One Sam; The Lost Boy; Wolf Children

By Free Times
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 |
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Number One Sam
Greg Pizzoli
Disney/Hyperion Books, 36 pages, $16.99
Ages: Pre-school

Retro-inspired illustrations and a great story make this title a winner. Sam is No. 1 at everything when it comes to racing. So on the day of the big race, no one is more surprised than Sam when he loses. Pizzoli does a beautiful job exploring what it feels like to lose and the pressure to win. Readers also get a chance to see Sam discover what’s more important than winning. A great book to share, this title might strike an extra chord with children focused on perfection or winning. — Heather McCue, Richland Library



The Lost Boy
Greg Ruth
Scholastic/Graphix, 189 pages, $24.99
Ages: Tweens

When I saw this new graphic novel appear on our shelves, I had to take it home. I finished it in one sitting because I couldn’t wait to solve the mystery of Walter Pidgin, the lost boy. The story actually begins years later with Nate discovering Walter’s tape recorder under the floorboards of his new house. As Nate listens to Walter’s story, a world beyond the one that he knows is revealed — a world where insects ride dogs, dolls come to life and a growing evil resides. It soon becomes clear that Nate and his neighbor, Tabitha, must discover what happened to Walter and save the world as they know it. Tweens and teens are sure to devour this gripping graphic novel. The only problem is that it will leave you wanting to know what happens to Nate, Tabitha and the rest of their new friends. — Heather McCue, Richland Library



Wolf Children: Ame & Yuki
Mamoru Hosoda and Yuu (illustrator)
Yen Press, 528 pages, $26
Ages: 13 and up

This graphic novel, an adaptation of the animé film Wolf Children, tells the tale of Hana, a young woman in college who falls for a man who is secretly a werewolf. They marry and have children, but soon into their happy union, the father is killed in an accident, leaving Hana to raise two werewolf children without a clue as to what they need. The story switches between the perspectives of Hana and her children, showing how growing pains for one family member affect the others. This is ultimately a sweet story that encourages family ties while acknowledging the gulf, whether natural or supernatural, that separates generations. — Thomas Maluck, Richland Library



These Broken Stars
Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Disney/Hyperion, 384 pages, $17.99
Ages: 13 and up

After their luxury space ship falls from hyperspace, two survivors find themselves stranded on a deserted planet. Lilac and Tarver share their story of survival, hope, and love through alternating chapters as they navigate the empty terrain and uncover the eerie mystery that lies beneath the planet’s surface. Fast paced and beautifully written, These Broken Stars will leave you eager for more. — Brittany Crowley, Richland Library

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Music & DVD Reviews: Raffi; Secret Agent 23 Skidoo; Wild Kratts

By Kevin Oliver
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 |
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Raffi
Love Bug
Rounder Records

Several generations of children have grown up with the artist known as Raffi. From my experience as a young parent myself, I saw his “Baby Beluga” permanently imprinted in my family’s brains. He has been active and popular as a children’s musician for nearly four decades. Love Bug is his first album of original material in more than 10 years, but he’s hardly forgotten how to entertain and enthrall his tiny listeners.

Raffi is totally focused on his target audience, children. Like Captain Kangaroo or Mr. Rogers, that means he’ll probably not appeal that much to mom and dad. But the kids will be fascinated and fully engaged from the moment he starts singing. Raffi’s songs are rendered in a gentle acoustic folk style that’s melodic but not overpowering for little ears; he sounds like a big kid himself most of the time.

With 16 new songs here, there is something for everyone to enjoy, from the ‘do what your parents tell you’ tune “Mama Loves It,” which makes a great clean-up-time song, to the mellow reggae groove of “Cool Down Reggae,” a perfect one to put on when it’s time to wind down and relax.

Raffi’s place as a perennial children’s favorite is secure, and this collection will serve to introduce his music to yet another new generation of young listeners.



Secret Agent 23 Skidoo
The Perfect Quirk
Underground Playground Records

Too many children’s music albums tend to be music about kids instead of for them, but North Carolina hip-hop children’s musician Secret Agent 23 Skidoo understands how to make music that’s inclusive and appealing to children without talking over their heads.

His musical vehicle of choice is a blend of hip-hop and funk that allows for call-and-response vocals with a batch of kids — among them his daughter, dubbed MC Fireworks. Those additions come out most prominently on “3 Pointed Back,” an indictment of the popular kid activity of pointing at others with your finger (“Every time you do that you have three pointed back”). It is set to a scratch track and trap drums straight out of a Jurassic 5 album. Other guests include Craig Griffith from The Verve Pipe, who adds blues harmonica to the classic child fantasy of “PJ’s All Day,” and Recess Monkey’s Jack Forman as a vintage boxing announcer on the story-rap “Pillowfight Pillowfort.”

Skidoo’s hip-hop is unusual for ‘kid-hop’ in that it doesn’t sound forced or fake; he leans old school (think Sugarhill Gang or Kool Moe Dee) and throws in some rhythmic variety in the form of polka, reggae and Motown-style tunes that will have kids and parents bobbing their heads to the beats.


Wild Kratts
Tiny Trouble
DVD, PBS Kids

With STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects being the buzzword for primary educators these days, a series like PBS’ The Wild Kratts is a great way for kids to be exposed to science, biology and more in an entertaining format. The series follows Martin and Chris Kratt, scientists who are a combination of Marlin Perkins of Wild Kingdom and “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin, but they have an advantage neither of those TV stars could have imagined — their Creature Power Suits allow them to get up close and personal with their animal friends.

There’s a bumbling bad guy to provide conflict and storylines in which the Kratts use their suits to help save the animals from various fates. Some “hey, watch this” moments from the Kratts provide comic relief, but underneath everything are strong lessons about how animals use science in their own natural lives. This short DVD collects two episodes of the series for about an hour’s worth of educational entertainment.

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The Balancing Act Between Retirement and College

Walking the Responsibility Tightrope
By Heather Green
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 |
Is forfeiting a sustainable retirement worth saving our children from student loan debt?
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Being a parent means putting your kids first. Right? This can certainly be said for the many Americans who are sacrificing their own retirement in order to fund their kid’s higher education. Is forfeiting a sustainable retirement worth saving our children from student loan debt? Is it possible to have both?

According to the Social Security Administration, most Americans believe that winning the lottery is the best retirement savings strategy. With college costs rising 40 percent since 2004, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, a class in financial literacy might be a better investment. That’s especially true when we consider a 2014 survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute that found 43 percent of Americans believe that they will not have enough money to comfortably retire.

Ellan Jenkinson understands these challenges first hand. She and her husband have three children ranging from 2 to 17, with their eldest, Lily, going off to college in the fall. They admit that they are not as financially prepared as they had hoped.

“Honestly, we haven’t been able to save much at all for any of our kids’ college since we’re still paying off our own student loans,” Jenkinson says. Money has been the deciding factor when looking at higher education options.

The Jenkinsons are definitely not alone. Anita McCray says she was not able to put large amounts of money away for her two boys because of mortgages and debt. On the up side, she and her husband are trying to build up their retirement savings. Her eldest son recently graduated from the University of South Carolina, where in-state tuition tops $10,000, and McCray admits that the reason he went there was because he received a substantial scholarship.

Lily’s picks were also based on finances and scholarships. Spending her junior and senior years at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities gave her an edge since the staff places emphasis on finding grants and scholarships. Lily says she never thought about saving money for college until her senior year but plans on saving some of the money she’s earning this summer for college expenses.

How far in advance should parents save for both college and retirement? Katherine Stewart, a financial services specialist for Palmetto Citizens Federal Credit Union, advises that it is never too early to begin saving.

“Whether it’s for retirement, college, or just a rainy day fund, beginning to save early allows you to benefit from compound earnings,” she says.

Georgia Coleman is doing just that. She and her husband started a Future Scholars 529 plan, a state-sponsored investment where savings grow tax-free and are limited to education expenses, around their son’s first Christmas. Like the Jenkinsons, Coleman is paying off her own student loans so there is not much money in her son’s Future Scholar account yet.

“Right now, we feel it is wiser for us to concentrate on saving for retirement and paying off debt,” she says.

Jenkinson and McCray also share this savings strategy. When asked if any of them had ever thought about cashing out 401ks or retirement accounts to pay for college, all three families said no.

“Never — you can borrow money to attend school, but you cannot borrow money to live on in retirement,” McCray says.

Stewart advises against digging into retirement accounts to pay for college. Fees and penalties are expensive and there are smarter alternatives such as financial aid, scholarships, grants, and loans.

To many of us, sustainable retirement seems like a dream — something that we have all heard about, seen others’ achieve, but do not think is realistically possible. Due to increases in life expectancy, not only are we living longer, but our retirement age is increasing. The Social Security Administration suggests that Social Security only replaces 40 percent of your average income and retirees will need 70 percent or more of pre-retirement earnings for retirement.

So how do we achieve a balance? While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, Stewart says retirement should take priority over college savings and recommends speaking with a financial adviser about options.

“There’s something to be said for making your own way in the world,” Coleman says. “I think my husband and I value what we have more because we put ourselves through school and worked for every bit of it. As far as retirement, it is like putting your own oxygen mask on before your child’s.”


Is Traditional College Right for Everyone?


In 2013, the National Center for Education Statistics reported 15.7 million students attending four-year institutions and 13.8 million
in two-year colleges.

Before you make life-changing decisions about financing college, make sure you consider whether it’s the right option.

Advantages of two-year schools
  • Less expensive

  • Industry-focused

  • Enter workforce earlier

  • Specialized, hands-on training

  • Flexible for nontraditional students

  • Can be a springboard to a four-year school


  • Advantages of four-year schools
  • Higher median earnings

  • Increased lifetime earning potential

  • Increased job opportunities

  • Increased exposure to life experiences


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    Fostering a Sense of Wonder

    Whether It’s Staring into Space or Playing in the Dirt, Kids Need Creative Space
    By Kara Meador
    Wednesday, July 30, 2014 |
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    Looking up at the stars from the rocky terrain outside her Western New York home fascinated a young Cass Runyon.

    “I was always curious about why the stars are there,” recalls Runyon, now a college professor and director of the South Carolina Space Consortium. “How did the moon form? Is it the same as the Earth?”

    She can trace her love of science to a camping trip with her family where she listened to the Apollo moon landing on the radio.

    “I couldn’t see it on TV, but I could visualize what they were describing,” she says. “Hearing Neil Armstrong saying he’d taken his first steps. I was bitten after that.”

    Inspiration. Where does it come from? How do kids decide what they want to be when they grow up?

    “Kids get inspired by so many things,” says Bridget Miller, an assistant professor of early childhood science education at the University of South Carolina.

    “I’m watching a little boy and a little girl digging in the dirt right now,” she says.

    It’s a common scene, but Miller sees more. She says that when you watch kids play, you see their creative juices flowing; you see how they think creatively and gain confidence.

    Then, adults step in.

    Parents, teachers and coaches want to help, but sometimes wind up doing more harm than good. As adults, we want to make sure kids do it right, do it better, win.

    Let’s face it: As parents, we don’t want to see our children fail. That’s when we start failing our children, according to the experts.

    “That’s one of the most difficult things to teach my students,” Miller says. “They want to step in and help the children out — and I say let the children draw their own conclusions. More often when a child is left to finish a project, it is a better design or more efficient than when an adult finishes it for them.”

    Exposure is Key
    Runyon and Miller agree that somewhere around middle school, a child’s inherent creative instincts start to wane. It’s the time when science and math can take a backseat to socialization. Runyon says it’s also the time where standardized testing becomes a big deal to teachers, parents and kids who are trying to make the grade.

    “The way our educational system is set up can restrict a child’s ability to be creative,” she notes.

    Poverty also plays a role in how kids are inspired. Kids whose families don’t have a lot of resources often lack the ability to expose their children to opportunities. Some kids simply don’t know that certain paths exist.

    Runyon is working with Tom Falvey, education director at the South Carolina State Museum, in an effort to expose kids from all walks of life to science and technology through the museum’s newly created Windows to New Worlds project. Windows to New Worlds, slated to open to the public Aug. 16, includes distance-learning opportunities. Kids who live in rural communities will be able to dial into the State Museum’s new telescope through special software and a computer. Some students will even be able to talk with astronauts working on the International Space Station.

    Columbia has a number of inspirational natives that kids can look up to, Falvey says. “We have Nobel Prize winners right here in Columbia [Kary B. Mullis – 1993 Nobel Prize in Chemistry] and we have folks like astronaut and NASA administrator Charles Bolden [a Columbia native] — great heroes who do great things. So it’s not out of anyone’s reach and I think that there’s an opportunity to come and see something magical. I know it’s inspired a lot of people in the past and that’s what our goal is.”

    Runyon recalls visiting with students in South Carolina’s poor, rural schools known as the “Corridor of Shame.”

    “I tell them to keep the dream alive,” she says. “It’s an old cliché, but it’s so true. I tell kids to find their dream and keep it alive. Don’t give up on yourself.“

    What Can You Do?
    How can you foster your kid’s creative juices and help shape him or her into a person who loves to learn?

    Miller says let kids be kids. It’s OK to let your little Spidey wear his costume grocery shopping, or to let your princess make mud pies. Experts advise encouraging kids to create in their own way and if they fail (gasp), chalk that up as a valuable learning experience, too.

    Oh, and if you work in an interesting field, look for opportunities to share your experiences in area preschools and local school districts. You never know who you may end up inspiring.

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    The Great Vaccination Debate

    Public Health Officials Urge Compliance, But Some Parents Disagree
    By Elizabeth Catanese
    Wednesday, July 30, 2014 |
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    Summer’s almost over: Time to tear your house apart looking for your kids’ shot records to assure the school that, yes, little Jimmy has the required immunizations. It’s a basic public health measure — one which, while a general pain in the ass (or arm or leg), keeps all of us safe from polio, measles and diphtheria, and nine other diseases that terrified and afflicted our grandparents.

    Or not.

    While South Carolina currently requires immunization against 10 diseases (12 for day care), nearly 12,000 students were unvaccinated or had no proof of vaccination in the past school year. This doesn’t even count homeschooolers whose parents choose not to vaccinate — which studies suggest happens at a much higher rate than it does in the general population. And the trend is growing: Since 2009, the number of unvaccinated children in South Carolina public schools has increased by 50 percent.

    It’s not like these diseases exist only in the dim past: Once near-eradicated, many communicable diseases are on the upswing.

    In 1999, South Carolina saw only 26 cases of pertussis (whooping cough) but last year, there were 486 — some from an outbreak at Clemson Elementary School.

    Measles, once nearly eradicated, is making a comeback. The Centers for Disease Control reported that through May, there have been 288 cases in the U.S. A 2013 measles outbreak in North Carolina led to 23 confirmed infections, along with 115 quarantine orders. South Carolina has had no cases in recent years, according to the state Department of Health and Environmental Control. But the agency reports that in outbreaks around the U.S., “about 87 percent of the unvaccinated cases were found to have a personal-belief exemption to vaccinations.”

    Knowing all this, who would deny their children protection?

    Jennifer Reinhardt, a Columbia mother of two, speaks for many in the anti-vaccination movement when she says, “I don’t believe they’re effective and I’m alarmingly against the ingredients.”

    Like many, she says most measles and pertussis cases occur among the vaccinated — a point the CDC refutes — and says that “every disease out there is less scary than the vaccine for it.”

    The idea of her children contracting pertussis is scary, she says, but she’s not as concerned about the measles: “There was an episode of The Brady Bunch where they all had measles.”

    Like other vaccine-refusing parents, she believes in strengthening the immune system naturally: eating organic, unprocessed foods, staying active, and using alternative medicines when necessary. She doesn’t worry about unvaccinated children attending public school, though she is choosing to homeschool.

    Laura Stuck also refuses vaccinations for her 22-month-old daughter.

    “The fear of side effects outweighs my fear of her catching the disease for a majority of them,” she says. She keeps her daughter healthy by staying home with her and limiting contact with people she calls “high-risk” like child care workers, medical professionals and frequent travelers.

    “The most high-risk exposure she gets is the mall play area once a month or less, which is cleaned twice a day,” Stuck says. And like many vaccine refusers, she doesn’t feel that pharmaceutical companies are honest about shots’ side effects: “I think they definitely don’t tell the public the entire truth.”
    Big Pharma hiding the truth about vaccines? Local medical professionals don’t buy it.

    Dr. Elizabeth Boggs, obstetrician and mother to a 1-year-old boy, says she vaccinates her son because “the science behind it is sound, and I believe that I am an important part of public health.”

    Jim Beasley, public information director for DHEC, agrees: “By vaccinating themselves and their children, they are doing everything they can to keep their family and communities healthy.”

    Vaccine refusal, Boggs says, “creates a gap in public health… the fewer vaccinated people, the easier it is for vaccine-preventable diseases to spread.”

    Another local mother of two, Claire Houle, points to other reasons to vaccinate. During a polio outbreak in the 1940s, she says, “my father was sent away for the summer to keep him from possible infection. He told me about waiting on the train platform alone, traveling by himself, but more afraid of polio than of being alone.”

    Despite this, Houle believes that unvaccinated children should still be allowed in public school, because “inclusion is an important part of public ed.”
    Dr. Boggs agrees — and despite her disagreement with vaccine deniers, she believes they have a right to public education.

    Regardless of your stance on vaccination — or unvaccinated children in public schools — you’ve still got to produce some documentation before the school year starts. For most parents, that means calling the doctor’s office to get shot records.

    Of the state’s 742,325 students enrolled in K-12 public schools last year, 5,900 did not have complete evidence of vaccination, 1,487 children were medically exempted and 4,761 kids received a religious exemption. Religious or medical exemption forms can only be obtained at a public health office.
    The state might let your kid avoid shots. But no way can they skip the paperwork.


    Facts about communicable diseases


    Vaccines required for students: 9 (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, chicken pox). Daycare attendance requires an additional two vaccines (Haemophilus influenze type B and pneumococcal).

    SC Pertussis Cases in 2013: 210, 127 in children under 18
    SC Influenza Cases, 2013: 923, 240 in children under 18
    SC Chicken Pox Cases, 2013: 186, 135 in children under 18

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    Shaking Up School Fundraising

    Does the Old Model of School Fundraising Still Work?
    By Anne Postic
    Wednesday, July 30, 2014 |
    Many parents, rather than work the complicated equation, just write a check.
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    How are your math skills? Decent? You probably have a teacher to thank, but teachers are not given nearly enough money to stock their classrooms, nor do many schools have enough funds to upgrade technology, buy sports uniforms or purchase supplies. How can they make up the difference? We need a formula for neighborhood fundraising.

    Here goes:

    x (Pitch Quality) + y (How Well I Know the Kid’s Parents) + (How Many Times My Kids Have Sold to Them) — 2 (How Many Times the Parents Pretended Not to Be Home When My Kids Knocked) + 4 (How Underfunded the School Is) + (Cash on Hand — How Much I Need for Coffee or Whatever) — (The Age of the Kid, Since the Older the Kid, the Easier They Will Take Rejection) — .5 (How Unhealthy the Thing Is) + 0 (How Much I actually Need or Want the Thing) ÷ How Many Kids Will Be Knocking = z

    Z = how much you should spend, and x and y are on a scale of one to 10. Confused?

    You should be, because the formula is needlessly complicated — just like school fundraising.

    Be harsh when figuring x and y, because they play a major part in how much you have to fork over. A cute kid can’t always work a sales pitch, and one invitation last year for porch beers does not a best friend make. Ask yourself the hard questions: How would this kid do in a Disney audition? Would her parents bring a casserole if my dog died? And do not fail to compute the last value — how much you need and want the thing — then multiply it by zero, because that’s exactly how much this element factors into your decision. See? Easy!

    Many parents, rather than work the complicated equation, just write a check. Or sell the stuff themselves, leaning on grandparents, who are easily charmed, and office mates who have hit them up on behalf of their own underfunded offspring.

    There’s another applicable formula. It’s simple, and it applies to most door-to-door selling fundraisers:

    x ÷ 2 = y, where x = the cost of the damn thing to you, and y = the money the school actually gets for each item.

    That’s without factoring in the volunteer hours by willing parents, and the hours the kids spend peddling their wares. Would you rather pay $20 and get nothing, or $40 for eight chocolate bars that leave a film on the roof of your mouth that you have to brush twice to remove?

    Motivating kids is daunting. Only a few crave new educational materials and, let’s be honest, most of them are selfish little pills who take everything for granted. They sell for the limo ride, the pizza party or the BMX bike.

    My own kid, or so I thought, was motivated by something better.

    “Mom!” he announced. “I’m going to sell a TON of cookies! I can win beets!”

    I was impressed. The fundraising horror stories were lies. His school worked with local farmers to provide something useful and healthy to the most motivated sellers, and they had gotten them excited about beets. I love beets, so I was more than willing to help.

    Alas, the beets in question were not edible roots, but fancy headphones, produced by Dr. Dre. My son did not win Beats, though he did get to go for pizza in a limo.

    Prizes can be a powerful motivator, but what about the kids who don’t have as much access to suckers? Not every child has grandparents who can afford overpriced goods, or parents who can make up the difference. Some children don’t live in neighborhoods where going door to door is safe. Not every student will feel like he or she did their part, and the prizes go to a select few.

    There are also prizes for group efforts in the classroom. Elise Carson Mullins chaired fundraising for two schools. While there were kids whose parents didn’t allow them to participate, Mullins says, “I imagine those kids got pressure in their classroom from friends and maybe teachers.”
    Should a 7-year-old be made to feel bad for not participating? No, but it happens.

    While sales-based fundraisers succeeded, Mullins noted that reaching out to business partners in the community netted a lot of money for a lot less work. One successful fundraiser came about when a bank donated $3,000 to print school T-shirts, which the school then sold for $10 apiece.

    Next time your kid comes home with an order sheet, be brave. Say no. Just don’t be surprised when you get the phone call from an enthusiastic parent asking you to join the PTO and offer some suggestions of your own.


    New Ideas: Fundraising Without Child Labor


  • Community business partners

  • Sales of school spirit items

  • A coffee and doughnut kiosk at the school drop-off line. Guaranteed cash.

  • Box tops, y’all

  • Auctions of donated items, including artistic collaborations from each class, sure to end in a bidding war

  • Straight up cold calling parents and begging

  • An old-school bake sale, with cookies and coffee after drop-off. The parents even get to socialize for a few minutes.

  • Exploit alumni. Know of a graduate in a popular local band? Ask them to play a show to raise money for their alma mater.


  • Back to Free Times Family home

    comments powered by Disqus Free Times Family Magazine /

    Free Times Family Back to School 2014

    By Free Times
    Tuesday, July 29, 2014 |


    comments powered by Disqus Free Times Family Magazine / Learning /

    So, Your Child Bombed Out of School?

    Schools, Corporate Centers and Private Tutors Offer Parents a Range of Options
    By Elizabeth Catanese
    Thursday, May 29, 2014 |
    By Elizabeth Catanese

    School’s out, and Junior’s grades weren’t exactly top of his class — or even in the middle. Actually, the words “below grade level” have been bandied about. Maybe your daughter’s A’s aren’t straight enough, Junior’s C’s are the gentleman’s variety and you fear they’ll both end up under the Gervais Street Bridge some day, begging for change from Vista shoppers.

    Marginal grades are no joke — and Junior’s not alone. In 2013, the National Education Association found that only 35 percent of South Carolina fourth-graders are proficient in math and 28 percent in reading — and those numbers drop by several points for eighth-graders. Almost a full quarter (23.5 percent) of the state’s high school students fail to graduate on time. So Junior’s need for remediation is nothing unusual. But if you want to shore up his knowledge over the summer or get him a jump on next year’s, where do you turn?

    All local districts offer options for high schoolers to make up one or two course credits. Richland One maintains face-to-face instruction at C.A. Johnson, while other districts have credit recovery programs that take place online (though attendance at a brick-and-mortar site is still sometimes required). In most cases, students need to have legitimately failed a course to enroll. Your best bet: Call your school’s guidance department, ask some questions and expect to fork over $100 to $125 per credit.

    If your child isn’t actually failing, but still needs a summer pick-me-up, you have other options, including Sylvan Learning Center, Kumon and Mathnasium. Most work like this: Students are tested and evaluated, and there is a discussion of their grades, their needs and your goals. This culminates with a detailed learning plan tailored to fill the gaps in your child’s knowledge, according to the specifically designed curriculum and teaching method unique to that center. It’s worth your time to browse their teaching philosophies before you shell out the cash.

    And shell out you will. Sylvan’s testing alone costs $199, with sessions at $47.99 each — and they usually recommend two a week. (And don’t expect that your child will learn algebra in two weeks if he didn’t learn it over the course of a year.) But don’t despair — there’s financing available. You’re paying for what are usually certified teachers who have proven success and a familiarity with Common Core standards. And it all comes with a 3-1 student-teacher ratio, which would be unheard of in a public school classroom.

    “We don’t want [the students] back,” says local Sylvan representative Tricia Wade. “We love them, but we want to help them become independent workers and thinkers.”

    Sylvan demands heavy parental involvement, with a touch-base meeting for every 12 hours of tutoring and daily homework.

    Mathnasium works much the same way. Like Sylvan, introductory testing identifies gaps in a child’s knowledge; Mathnasium’s testing is both written and oral. A learning plan is developed, with students doing worksheets that build to mastery. With a 4-1 student-teacher ratio, the tutor can, as local franchise owner Jason Elliston says, “step back” and “not hover.”

    “We make math make sense,” he says, with Mathnasium methods focusing on “number sense” rather than letter grades and rote memorization. “Just like a gymnasium works out the body, we want to work out the mind.” But he’s honest: depending on the gaps in your child’s knowledge, he may not be able to bring him to grade level over one summer. “If his gaps are too far back, we may not get there,” he says. And this isn’t a nickel-and-dime operation. Rates are monthly, rather than per session, with drop-ins welcome.

    As the center expands, Elliston and his wife, April, plan to hire more teachers and enlarge their course offering, which now runs from second grade to Algebra II.

    Another option is to bypass the world of binders, standardized testing and learning prescriptions with a private tutor. A tutor offers one-on-one instruction where and when Junior needs it. You can hover or stand back. And unlike a corporate center, a private tutor can tailor lessons. Local mom Janet Walkup prefers using a private tutor for her son because of flexibility and cost — significantly less than a corporate center’s, without the tacked-on testing fees.

    So where do you find someone who is (a) qualified, and (b) not a convicted felon/serial killer? Ask Junior’s teachers, his guidance office and his buddies’ parents for tutors who pass muster. Email local university departments, but be wary: Graduate degrees don’t magically confer teaching skills.

    When it comes to finding tutors online, Eduboard.com and Wyzant.com are reputable sites, and there are many others, also; just make sure to do your homework. Check references to rule out unqualified pretenders, look for specialists (writing tutors rather than writing-and-10-other-subject tutors), and negotiate expectations beforehand. Make sure their teaching style meshes with your kid’s learning preferences.
    Expect to pay anywhere from $25 per hour on up for quality help.

    Whatever you choose, public school teachers, corporate learning center representatives and private tutors all cite hard work as the determining factor in any child’s success. If your child wants to get into Princeton or just avoid a life of vagrancy and crime, the first lesson to learn is: Yes, you can, if you put in the effort.

    comments powered by Disqus Free Times Family Magazine / Activities /

    Smart Apps for Smart Moms

    10 Apps to Help You Keep Life on Track
    By Amanda Ladymon
    Thursday, May 29, 2014 |
    Armed with an endless to-do list, moms are always on the go.

    You would probably call me “old school”: I have two paper calendars where I jot down schedules and accomplished tasks in the kitchen, along with a spiral day planner, and tons of Post-it notes with to-do’s scattered around the house.

    Sometimes, it has proven less than efficient, as wayward scraps of paper disappear. And communicating and scheduling for other family members continues to grow more complicated. With a new wave of tech-savvy apps readily available — and free in many cases — I started looking for a more streamlined approach.

    My first search led me to Cozi, an all-inclusive tool for family life and planning for both computer and mobile devices. The Cozi dashboard lets you manage multiple calendars, keep task and shopping lists, and get quick tips on a variety of topics like green living, travel planning and nutrition. Signing up was easy and quick. The web page layout and accessibility is very user-friendly and, in a way, fun — even for the less tech-savvy. This app works on both your home computer and mobile device, syncs up with multiple family users, and is the highest rated “all-inclusive” family app.

    If you have more specific interests or needs, here are 10 free apps to help you keep your family healthy, happy and on time.

    Financial Tracking

    Mint
    mint.com
    You link Mint (created by financial services company Intuit) to your bank accounts, credit cards, investment accounts, and insurance companies. Mint pulls in all your transactions and offers methods to categorize your spending and track financial goals. The Wall Street Journal calls it “the best online tool for personal finance.” Available for home computers and all mobile devices at mint.com.

    Child Tracking

    GPS Tracking Pro
    gps-tracking.android.informer.com
    With over 5 million downloads and a 4.5-star rating, this Android app makes locating loved ones via cell phone easy. Using a GPS map, each family member has a user icon — it’s easy and free. Android only. Search child-tracking app in Google Play on your mobile.

    Medical

    WebMD Baby
    webmd.com
    I’ve used this app for researching ailments of my daughter, who is under 2. Both the website (webmd.com/baby) and the app have the same information. Mobile app available for Android and iOS.

    iTriage Mobile Health
    itriagehealth.com
    iTriage is a mobile database that allows you to check symptoms and gather information about potential illnesses or conditions. Also offers one-click access to urgent care centers and free clinics, as well as one-touch dialing for emergency situations. You can take iTriage further by creating an online account, linking your medical information as well as your providers so everything you need as reference is always in your pocket. Free for iPhone, iPad and Android.

    I’m Expecting
    healthymagination.com
    This is my second pregnancy and second app I have used. I enjoy getting the weekly updates on development stages and upcoming doctor visits. You can also track and record symptoms, weight gain, belly bump pics and more. Available for Android and iOS.

    Shopping

    ShopSavvy
    shopsavvy.com
    This highly regarded app helps you shop and price compare with barcode scanning system to help you decide if you want to purchase locally or online. Caters to users as a personalized shopping experience. Available for home computers, Android and iOS.

    Grocery IQ
    groceryiq.com
    Similar to Shop Savvy, but meant just for grocery shopping — make your list, organize items by aisle in your favorite store, barcode scan, price compare and more. Available for home computer, Android and iOS.

    Miscellaneous

    Google Calendar
    google.com/calendar
    If you want the easiest way to keep an online calendar that can be privately shared with anyone of your choosing, this is it. Available for home computer, Android and iOS.

    Mom Maps
    mommaps.com
    Need to find a fun, kid-friendly activity or place to go? This is the app for you. Use anywhere using a GPS or navigation-based system. Available for Android and iOS.

    Pandora
    pandora.com
    Love it. Use it daily. This streaming, personalized online radio app offers child-protected stations, including Disney Movie songs, classical music, and much more. Use it on your home computer or any mobile device.

    comments powered by Disqus Best of Columbia /

    Best of Columbia 2013 Nominees

    By Free Times
    Wednesday, June 26, 2013 |

    Voting is now closed. Winners here.

     


    2013 Best of Columbia Nominees

    2nd Wind Heating and Air
    $2.49 Dry Cleaners
    @116 Espresso and Wine Bar
    @drinkblogrepeat
    @rickcaffeinated
    @prodigalsam
    @tryjen
    104.7 WNOK
    14 Carrot Whole Foods
    2 Fat 2 Fly
    2108 State Street
    32 Degrees
    42 Magnolia
    701 Center for
    Contemporary Art
    90.5 WUSC
    93.5 WARQ
    96.7 Steve FM
    99.3 WXRY
    Abberly Village
    Academy Sports
    Addams Bookstore
    Adventure Carolina
    ADT
    Agape Senior Center
    Al-Amir
    Alibabas Pipe Emporium
    Ally & Eloise Bakeshop
    AMC Dutch Square
    American Burglar and Fire Alarm
    Andrews Auto Service
    Andy Spreeuwers - 8 Sins Tattoo
    Arabesque
    Archer Avenue
    Arizona Steakhouse
    Art Bar
    Artizan
    Ashley Furniture
    Aspyre at Assembly Station
    Baan Sawan
    Baldwin Driver Training
    Band of Horses (The Township)
    Banfield Pet Hospital
    Bangkok Restaurant
    Bar None
    Barking Lot Dog Park at Saluda Shoals
    Basil Thai
    Beezer’s
    Bella-Riley’s Salon and Spa
    Ben Hoover (WIS)
    Ben Tanner (WIS)
    Best Buy
    Beth Dickerson - Capelli Studio
    Big Al’s Taxi
    Bikram Yoga Columbia
    Blue Cactus
    Blue Fin Seafood Restaurant
    Blue Marlin
    Blue Moon Landscaping
    Blue Ribbon Cab Company
    Blue Sky
    Bohemian
    Bojangles’
    Bombay Grill
    Bombshell Beauty Studio
    Bonefish Grill
    Bone-In Artisan BBQ
    Bones Rugs and Harmony
    Brent Johnson (WTCB106.7)
    British Bulldog Pub
    Brittons
    Broad River Trace
    Broadway Bound Musical Theatre Company
    Buffalo Wild Wings
    Bug Outfitters
    Burnette’s Cleaners
    Bus System
    Café Caturra
    Café Strudel
    California Dreaming
    Camon
    Camp Bow Wow
    CanalSide Lofts
    Can’t Kids
    Cantina 76
    Capelli Salon
    Capital City Cab Company
    Capital City Cycles
    Capital Club
    Capital Hyundai
    Capital Karate
    CarMax
    Carolina Ale House
    Carolina Crossfit
    Carolina Fine Jewelers
    Carolina Wings and Rib House
    Carrabba’s
    Carrabba’s Italian Grill
    Casa Linda
    Catch 22
    Cellar on Greene
    Celtic Works
    Center for Dance Education
    Checker Yellow Cab
    Chick-fil-A
    Chili’s
    Chipotle
    Chipotle Mexican Grill
    Chris Compton
    CiCi’s Pizza
    City Art
    City of Columbia Dog Park
    City Roots
    City Yoga
    Clark’s Termite and Pest Control
    Cline’s Salon Vista
    Club EdVenture
    Cock ‘n Bull Pub
    Cola’s
    Coldwell Banker
    Colonial Life Arena
    Columbia Ballet School
    Columbia Children’s Theatre
    Columbia City Ballet
    Columbia Classical Ballet
    Columbia College
    Columbia Conservatory of Dance
    Columbia Driving School
    Columbia Marriott
    Columbia Museum of Art
    Columbia Tai Chi Center
    Columbiana Grande
    Columbia’s Greek Festival
    Complete Car Care
    Concord Park
    Congaree National Park
    Constan Car Wash
    Continued revitalization of Main Street
    Conundrum
    Cook-Out
    Cool Beans
    Cool Care Heating and Air
    Copper River Grill
    Coye Jones - Bella Riley’s Salon
    Critter Coiffures
    Crust Bakehouse
    Cupcake
    Cycle Center
    D’s Wings Cayce
    Danielle Howle
    Dano’s
    Darci Strickland (WLTX)
    Darcy Del Priore - Devine Street Tattoo
    Darius Rucker (Tin Roof)
    Dawndy Mercer Plank (WIS)
    Death of Paris
    Delaney’s
    Delhi Palace
    Deluxe Cab
    Dem’s Fine Jewelers

    Department of Revenue hacking
    Devine Foods
    Dick Dyer
    Dick’s Sporting Goods
    DiPrato’s
    DJ Ray’s Karaoke (The Saloon)
    Doc’s Barbeque and Southern Buffet
    Doctor’s Care
    Doctor’s Express
    Dog Daze
    Don Taylor - Copper Finch Tattoo Company
    Downtown Church
    Dr. Patrick Daley
    Dr. Tom Trinkner
    Drip
    Dust to Dust Green Burial
    Dutch Fork Driving School
    Earlewood
    Earth Fare
    East West Karate
    ECPI University
    Ed Robinson Laundry and Dry Cleaners
    Ed’s Editions
    EdVenture
    Egg Roll Chen
    El Burrito
    Electing Mark Sanford to Congress
    Elie’s Mediterranean Cusine
    Embassy Suites
    Emily Douglas Dog Park
    Ernest Lee (“The Chicken Man”)
    Essex Homes
    EXIT Realty
    Firehouse Subs
    Firestone
    fitsnews.com
    Five Guys Burgers and Fries
    Five Points Animal Clinic
    Flying Saucer
    Forest Acres
    Four Paws Animal Clinic
    Frank’s Car Wash
    free-times.com
    Fuse Massage Therapy
    Galeana Chrysler, Jeep, Kia
    Gamecock Stop
    gamecockcentral.com
    gamecocksonline.com
    Garnet and Black Traditions
    Gene Love Plumbing
    Genova Family Karate
    Gervais and Vine
    Get Your Gear On
    Gibson’s on Devine
    Goatfeathers
    gogamecocks.com
    Gold’s Gym
    Good Life Café
    Gore Salon
    Gov. Nikki Haley
    Granby and Olympia Mills
    Granby Crossing
    Granger Owings
    Grecian Gardens
    Green’s Beverages
    Groomingdale’s
    Groucho’s
    Groucho’s Deli
    Gudmundson & Buyck
    Gus Sylvan - State Farm
    Guy Landscaping
    Half Moon Outfitters
    Hampton Hill Athletic Club
    Hampton Inn Downtown Historic District
    Hampton Street Vineyard
    Handpicked
    Hannah Horne (WIS)
    Harbor Inn
    Harley Haven
    Harper’s
    Harvest Hope Food Bank
    Hay Hill Services
    Heartbreakers
    Hemingway’s
    Henry’s
    Henry’s NE
    High Life Smoke Shop
    Hilton Columbia Center
    Hip-Wa-Zee
    Home Advantage Realty
    Home Pest Control
    Honda Cars of Columbia
    Hot Dog Heaven
    House of Frames and Painting
    Hudson’s Smokehouse
    Hunter-Gatherer
    If Art
    IHOP
    Il Giorgione
    Immaculate Piercing
    Inakaya
    Indie Grits Festival
    Ironbrew Coffee
    Jack’s Custom Cycles
    Jadeveon Clowney
    Jake’s
    James Stark (WLTX)
    Jamie Scott Fitness
    Jason’s Deli
    Jeffers McGill
    Jewelry Warehouse
    Jim Gainey
    Jim Gandy (WLTX)
    Jim Hudson Automotive Group
    Jimmy John’s
    Jimmy Sauls - Allstate
    Jimmy’s Mart
    Joe Gorchow (WIS)
    Joe Pinner
    Joe Turkaly
    John Farley (WIS)
    Jonathan Oh (WOLO)
    Jonathon Rush (WCOS 97.5)
    Judi Gatson (WIS)
    Just the Thing
    Kaminer Heating and Cooling
    Kay Jewelers
    KD’s Treehouse
    Keg Cowboy
    Kenny Chesney w/ Zac Brown Band (Williams Brice Stadium)
    Knotty Headz
    Kristian Niemi - Rosso Trattoria Italia
    Kyle Smith
    Kyle Smith Pottery
    Lake Carolina
    Lake Murray
    Lamb’s Bread Vegan Cafe
    Larry Hembree
    Larry Lucas - State Farm
    Laser Chicken Ultimate Karaoke
    Laurel Crest Retirement Center
    Lexington Driving Academy
    Lexington Dry Cleaning
    Lexington Florist
    Lexington Medical Center
    Lexington Urgent Care
    Libby’s
    Liberty on the Lake
    Liberty Taproom
    Lillian McBride
    Linda’s Carraoke
    Little Pigs
    Lizard’s Thicket
    Longhorn Steakhouse
    Loose Lucy’s
    Los Bellos Portales
    Loveland Coffee
    M Vista
    Mac’s on Main
    Mad Platter
    Mai Thai
    Main Moon
    Main Street Café
    Manifest Discs
    Marble Slab Creamery
    Marcus Lattimore
    Mark Sanford
    Marshall Brown
    Marty Rae’s
    Mast General Store
    Matt Lee (WARQ 93.5)
    Maurice’s BBQ
    Mayor Steve Benjamin
    McAlister’s Deli
    McAngus Goudelock and Courie
    McDonald’s
    McDonnell and Associates
    McKay Cauthen Settana and Stubley
    McKissick Museum
    McNair Law Firm
    MEDCare Urgent Care
    Mediterranean Tea Room
    Meetze Plumbing
    Mellow Mushroom
    Midlands Technical College
    Midtown Fellowship
    Mike Davis - Terra
    Mikel Rumsey - Bombshell Beauty Studio
    Mill Creek Pet Food Center
    Miss Cocky
    Miss Saigon (Town Theater)
    Miyabi Japanese Steakhouse
    Miyo’s
    Modern Exterminating
    Moe’s Southwest Grill
    Mojitos Tropical Cafe
    Monterrey Mexican Restaurant
    Morganelli’s
    Moseley’s
    Motor Supply Co.
    Mr. Friendly’s New Southern Cafe
    Mr. Tint
    Mungo Homes
    Musician Supply
    Natural Vibrations
    Nelson Mullins Riley and Scarborough
    New Brookland Tavern
    NewSpring Church
    Next to Normal (Trustus)
    Nickelodeon
    NOMA Dog Park
    Non(e)such
    Nonnah’s
    Nuttall Tire and Battery
    Occo Skin Studio
    Ole Timey Meat Market
    Olive Garden
    Oliver Gospel MIssion
    Once Upon a Child
    Opening of Cross Hill Market
    Original Pancake House
    Ouch Studio
    Outback Steakhouse
    Outspokin
    Palmetto Health
    Palmetto Health Baptist
    Palmetto Health Richland
    Palmetto Pediatrics
    Palmetto Pig
    Palmetto Pro Tint
    Papa Jazz
    Paradise Ice
    Pasta Fresca
    Pavlov’s
    Pawley’s Front Porch
    Pawmetto Lifeline
    Peak and Fowler
    Pearlz Lounge
    Pearlz Oyster Bar
    Pecknel
    Pediatric Associates
    Pet Supplies Plus
    Pets Inc.
    PetSmart
    Pinch
    Pizza Hut
    Platinum Plus
    Plaugh House
    Pointe West Apartments
    Polliwogs
    Providence Hospitals
    PT’s 1109
    Publick House
    Publix
    Punjabi Dhaba
    Pupcakes
    Rainy Day Pal Books
    Randy Scott
    Real Mexico
    Red Fraley
    Red Lobster
    Redbird Studio and Gallery
    Regal Sandhill Stadium 16
    Reggie Anderson (WLTX)
    Revente
    Rice Creek Family Dentistry
    Richland County election debacle
    Richland Library
    Rick Henry (WIS)
    River Runner
    Riverbanks Zoo
    Riverwalk Park
    Robin Gottlieb - Bombshell Beauty Studio
    Rockaway Athletic Club
    Roe Young - State Farm
    Rosewood
    Rosewood Animal Clinic
    Rosewood Crawfish Festival
    Rosewood Florist
    Rosewood Hills
    Rosewood Market
    Rosso Trattoria Italia
    Roundabouts Consignments
    Rumsey Construction and Renovation
    Rush’s
    Russell and Jeffcoat
    Ruth’s Chris
    S.C. Rep. James E. Smith
    SakiTumi
    Salsa Cabana
    Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina
    Salty Nut Cafe
    Saluda River Club
    Sam’s Fine Wines and Spirits
    San Jose
    Sandhills Pediatrics
    Sandy’s Famous Hot Dogs
    Sarah and Susie’s Grooming
    Sato Japanese Restaurant
    Say Brother
    SC State Farmers Market
    scenesc.com
    Scratch ‘n’ Spin
    Sean McGuinness (“That Godzilla Guy”)
    Sesquicentennial State Park
    Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands
    Shandon
    Shandon Baptist Church
    Shandon Presbyterian
    Shandon-Wood Animal Clinic
    Shane Anderson -
    Animated Canvas
    Shannon Purvis Barron - Indigo Rose
    Sharky’s
    Shaw’s Taxi
    Shealy’s BBQ
    Sheraton
    Sid and Nancy
    Signature Transportations
    Sims Music
    Sistercare
    Smashburger
    Snappy Car Wash
    Social
    Soda City Market
    Solar Solutions
    Solstice Kitchen and Wine Bar
    Something Special Florist
    Songs for a New World (Workshop Theater)
    Sonitrol
    South Carolina Confederate Relic Room
    South Carolina Equality
    South Carolina State Fair
    South Carolina State Museum
    Southern Pottery
    Southern Strutt
    Southern Vistas
    Southlake Cycles
    Spa 131
    Sparkle Car Wash
    Speakeasy
    Spice Junction
    Sportsman’s Warehouse
    Spring Valley Heating and Air
    St. Pat’s in Five Points
    Star Music
    Starbucks
    State Street Pub
    Steven Diaz
    Steve Varholy (WXRY 99.3)
    Still Hopes Episcopal Retirement Community
    Strawberry Skys
    Strobler
    Subway
    Summit Cycles
    Sun Ming
    Sun Spirit Yoga and Wellness
    Superior Plumbing and Gas
    Sustainable Midlands
    Sylvan’s
    Taco Bell
    Takosushi
    Tapp’s Arts Center
    Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe
    Tea Pot Chinese
    Terminix
    Terra
    Texas Roadhouse
    The Backpacker
    The Bird Dog
    The Blossom Shop
    The Book Dispensary
    The Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands
    The Cigar Box
    The Fresh Market
    The Friends Club
    The Glo Room
    The Gourmet Shop
    The Jam Room
    The Kraken Gastropub
    The L Word
    The Oak Table
    The Pizza Joint
    The Southern Strutt
    The Tobacco Merchant
    The Twitty Triplets (Trustus)
    The Vista
    The Whig
    The Wolfe Company
    The Woody
    The Wurst Wagon
    thestate.com
    Thirsty Fellow
    Thomas Crouch
    Three Rivers Festival
    Thunder Tower
    Harley-Davidson
    Tiffany’s Bakery
    Tim Peters -
    Motor Supply Co.
    Tin Roof
    Tio’s
    Todd & Moore
    Tomato Palms
    Tonic Day Spa
    Total Wine and More
    Town Theatre
    Township Auditorium
    Trader Joe’s
    Transitions homeless center
    Travinia’s Italian Kitchen
    Tripp’s Fine Cleaners
    Tropical Grill
    True BBQ
    Trustus Theatre
    Tsubaki Restaurant Lounge
    Tsunami
    U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson
    Uncle Louie’s
    Unforgettable
    University of South Carolina
    Uptown Gifts
    Urban Nirvana
    US Lawns
    Utopia
    Utopia Food and Spirits
    Villa Tronco
    Village Idiot
    Vincent Sheheen
    Vino Garage
    Vista Commons
    Vista Smiles
    Vista Studios/Gallery 80808
    Von Gaskin (WIS)
    WACH (Fox)
    Waffle House
    Weaver Systems
    Weaving the Fate
    Wescott Acres
    Wet Nose Oasis
    Whit-Ash
    Whole Foods
    Wild Hare
    Wild Wing Cafe
    Wilde Wood Downs
    WIS (NBC)
    wistv.com
    WLTX (CBS)
    wltx.com
    WOLO (ABC)
    Woodcreek Farms
    Workshop Theatre
    World of Beer
    wxryfm.org
    Yamato
    Yesterdays
    YMCA
    Yoga Masala
    Yoghut
    Yumilicious
    Zaxby’s
    Zorba’s



    comments powered by Disqus The Side Line /

    The Side Line: USC vs Texas A&M

    By Free Times
    Wednesday, August 27, 2014 |


    Look for the print edition of The Side Line in the Aug. 27 issue of Free Times.

    comments powered by Disqus Landing Page /

    Win Tickets to Marvel Universe Live!

    Assembling to Save the Universe at Colonial Life Arena
    By Free Times
    Wednesday, August 27, 2014 |
    Register to win tickets to Marvel Universe Live, Sept. 25-28 at Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, SC.

    Send your name and a daytime phone number to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with "Marvel" in the subject line.



    comments powered by Disqus College Survival Guide /

    Free Times College Guide 2014

    By Free Times
    Wednesday, August 20, 2014 |
    Welcome to Columbia, South Carolina, home to the University of South Carolina as well as numerous smaller schools — Midlands Tech, Benedict College, Columbia College, Allen University, Columbia International and more.

    We’ve put together this guide to help you navigate the city and some of the challenges of college. How do you stay safe without denying yourself the pleasures of Five Points and Vista nightlife? How do you decide where to live, eat and play? We’ve also given you some general pointers on making it through college — financial tips, dealing with drugs and alcohol and more.




    comments powered by Disqus Best of Columbia /

    Best of Columbia 2014 Index: Music and Nightlife

    By Free Times
    Wednesday, August 20, 2014 |
  • Food & Dining
  • Music & Nightlife
  • Local Media
  • Arts & Culture
  • Goods & Services
  • Politics & City Life
  • Local Media
  • Cover Story
  • Writers' Picks
  • Best of Columbia Party



  • Free Times' readers voted for their 2014 music and nightlife favorites.

    Best Concert
    Darius Rucker Colonial Life Arena
    Runner-up: John Legend (Township Auditorium)

    Best Music Venue
    Colonial Life Arena
    Runner-up: Township Auditorium

    Best Blues or Jazz Club
    Speakeasy
    Runner-up: Hunter-Gatherer

    Best Karaoke
    Linda’s Carraoke (Art Bar)
    Runner-up: Kelly’s Deli and Pub

    Best Local Band
    Weaving the Fate
    Runner-up: Prettier Than Matt

    Best Local Solo Artist
    Danielle Howle
    Runner-up: Jessica Skinner

    Best CD Store
    Papa Jazz
    Runner-up: Manifest Discs

    Best Store for Vinyl
    Papa Jazz
    Runner-up: Manifest Discs

    Best Musical Instrument Store
    Sims Music
    Runner-up: Pecknel

    Best Recording Studio
    The Jam Room
    Runner-up: Strawberry Skys

    Best New Bar or Club
    Bourbon
    Runner-up: Tilted Kilt

    Best Bar or Club
    Tin Roof
    Runner-up: Art Bar

    Best Bartender
    James Pickle (Uncle Louie’s, Ruth’s Chris, British Bulldog Pub)
    Runner-up: Will Green (The Whig)

    Best Bar to Go to With Only $10 in Your Pocket
    The Whig
    Runner-up: Uncle Louie’s

    Best Place to Pick Up Guys
    Tin Roof
    Runner-up: Art Bar

    Best Place to Pick Up Girls
    Tin Roof
    Runner-up: Social Bar and Lounge

    Best Bathroom Wall Wisdom
    Art Bar
    Runner-up: New Brookland Tavern

    Best Bar Trivia
    Flying Saucer
    Runner-up: Village Idiot

    Best Bar Service
    Speakeasy
    Runner-up: World of Beer

    Best College Bar
    Jake’s
    Runner-up: Group Therapy

    Best Dance Club
    The Woody
    Runner-up: Social Bar and Lounge

    Best Neighborhood Bar: Downtown/The Vista
    Thirsty Fellow
    Runner-up: Tin Roof

    Best Neighborhood Bar: Five Points
    Jake’s
    Runner-up: Delaney’s

    Best Neighborhood Bar: Shandon/Rosewood/Forest Acres
    Rockaway Athletic Club
    Runner-up: Henry’s

    Best Neighborhood Bar: Harbison/Irmo
    The British Bulldog Pub
    Runner-up: Carolina Ale House

    Best Neighborhood Bar: West Columbia/Cayce
    New Brookland Tavern
    Runner-up: @116 Espresso and Wine Bar

    Best Neighborhood Bar: Lexington
    Old Mill Brewpub
    Runner-up: Mellow Mushroom

    Best Neighborhood Bar: Northeast
    Polliwogs
    Runner-up: Solstice Kitchen and Wine Bar.

    Best Outdoor Deck
    Liberty on the Lake
    Runner-up: Jake’s

    Best People-Watching Bar
    Art Bar
    Runner-up: The Woody

    Best Gay Bar
    Art Bar
    Runner-up: PT’s 1109

    Best Adult Entertainment Venue
    Platinum Plus
    Runner-up: Platinum West

    Best Sports Bar
    Carolina Ale House
    Runner-up: The British Bulldog Pub

    Best Happy Hour
    Pearlz Oyster Bar
    Runner-up: Cantina 76

    Best Beer Selection
    World of Beer
    Runner-up: Flying Saucer

    Best Craft Beer Selection
    World of Beer
    Runner-up: Flying Saucer

    Best Local Brewery
    River Rat Brewery
    Runner-up: Conquest Brewing

    Best Local Brewpub
    Hunter-Gather
    Runner-up: Old Mill Brewpub

    Best Margarita
    Cantina 76
    Runner-up: San Jose

    Best Specialty Drink
    Motor Supply Co. Bistro
    Runner-up: Bourbon


    comments powered by Disqus Best of Columbia /

    Best of Columbia 2014 Index

    By Free Times Readers
    Wednesday, August 20, 2014 |
    This year’s Best of Columbia issue marks the 25th anniversary of the annual readers’ poll, first launched by Free Times in 1989.

    And make no mistake: Best of Columbia is a readers’ poll — we aren’t handing out awards to whoever spent the most money on advertising, nor are the writers and editors of Free Times deciding who gets the nod in any given category. The winners presented here are your choices. So, whether you’re thrilled or disappointed with the results, just know that the verdict reflects the will of the people.

    Below you'll find a complete list of 2014 winners. We also encourage you to check out our full editorial coverage of the winners and our writers' picks.

    Food & Dining
    Music & Nightlife
    Local Media
    Arts & Culture
    Goods & Services
    Politics & City Life
    Local Media


    Best of Columbia Cover Story
    Free Times Writers' Picks Free Times Best of Columbia Yacht Rock Party photo gallery

    comments powered by Disqus

    Best of Columbia 2014 Index: Goods and Services

    By Free Times
    Tuesday, August 19, 2014 |
  • Food & Dining
  • Music & Nightlife
  • Local Media
  • Arts & Culture
  • Goods & Services
  • Politics & City Life
  • Local Media
  • Cover Story
  • Writers' Picks
  • Best of Columbia Party




  • Free Times' readers voted for their 2014 favorites in goods and services.

    Best New Car Dealership
    Jim Hudson Automotive Group
    Runner-up: Dick Dyer

    Best Used Car Dealership
    CarMax
    Runner-up: Jim Hudson Automotive Group

    Best Motorcycle Store
    Harley Haven
    Runner-up: Thunder Tower Harley-Davidson

    Best ATV Store
    Columbia Powersports
    Runner-up: Carolina Honda

    Best Scooter Store
    Hawg Scooters
    Runner-up: Carolina Honda Powerhouse

    Best Auto Repair
    Nuttall Tire and Battery
    Runner-up: Complete Car Care

    Best Oil Change
    Jiffy Lube
    Runner-up: Firestone

    Best Car Wash
    Frank’s Car Wash
    Runner-up: Constan Car Wash

    Best Automotive Customization Shop
    D&D Cycles
    Runner-up: Golden Motors

    Best Tire Dealer
    Frank’s Discount Tire
    Runner-up: Nuttall Tire and Battery

    Best Driving School
    ABC Driver Training
    Runner-up: Baldwin Driver Training

    Best Window Tinting
    Mr. Tint
    Runner-up: Palmetto Pro Tint

    Best Hair Salon
    Bombshell Beauty Studio
    Runner-up: Shear Xpectations

    Best Hair Stylist
    Robin Gottlieb (Bombshell Beauty Studio)
    Runner-up: Mark Ziegler (Five Points Salon)

    Best Day Spa
    Urban Nirvana
    Runner-up: Occo Skin Studio

    Best Massage Therapist
    Vicky Harriman
    Shaun Phillips (Palmetto Sports Massage)

    Best Esthetician
    Mandy Applegate (Urban Nirvana)
    Runner-up: Lindy Helms (Occo Skin Studio)

    Best Makeup Artist
    Mikel Rumsey (Bombshell Beauty Studio)
    Runner-up: Chelsea Winford (Occo Skin Studio)

    Best Yoga Studio
    City Yoga
    Runner-up: Bikram Yoga Columbia

    Best Tattoo Artist
    Shannon Purvis Barron (Indigo Rose Tattoo)
    Runner-up: Shane Anderson (Animated Canvas)

    Best Tattoo Studio
    Devine Street Tattoo
    Runner-up: Indigo Rose Tattoo

    Best Piercing Studio
    Immaculate Piercing
    Runner-up: Knotty Headz

    Best Furniture Store
    Whit-Ash Furnishings Inc.
    Runner-up: Ashley Furniture

    Best Outdoor Furniture Store
    Carolina Pottery
    Runner-up: Lowe’s

    Best Pet Supply Store
    PetSmart
    Runner-up: Pet Supplies Plus

    Best Kennel or Pet Boarding Facility
    Pawmetto Lifeline
    Runner-up: Camp Bow Wow, Wescott Acres (TIE)

    Best Pet Groomer
    Mill Creek Pet Food Center
    Runner-up: Groomingdale’s

    Best Veterinarian Clinic
    Shandon-Wood Animal Clinic
    Runner-up: Four Paws Animal Clinic

    Best Dog Park
    Barking Lot Dog Park at Saluda Shoals
    Runner-up: City of Columbia Dog Park

    Best Hospital
    Lexington Medical Center
    Runner-up: Palmetto Health Richland

    Best Urgent Care
    Lexington Medical Center Urgent Care
    Runner-up: Doctor’s Care

    Best Pediatric Care
    Palmetto Pediatrics
    Runner-up: Sandhills Pediatrics

    Best Dentist
    Palmetto Smiles
    Runner-up: Dr. Adam Brantley (Devine Dentistry)

    Best Eye Doctor or Group
    Columbia Eye Clinic
    Runner-up: Sansbury Eye Center

    Best Place to Work
    University of South Carolina
    Runner-up: Palmetto Health

    Best After School Program
    The Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands
    Runner-up: YMCA

    Best Place for Music Lessons
    Columbia Arts Academy
    Runner-up: Freeway Music

    Best Martial Arts School
    Columbia Martial Arts and Fitness
    Runner-up: Capital Karate

    Best Contemporary House of Worship
    NewSpring Church
    Runner-up: Shandon Baptist Church

    Best Continuing Education Institution
    University of South Carolina
    Runner-up: Midlands Technical College

    Best Local Insurance Agent
    Aaron Shealy (Allstate)
    Runner-up: Larry Lucas (State Farm)

    Best Auto Insurance Company
    State Farm
    Runner-up: USAA

    Best Law Firm
    Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough
    Runner-up: McNair Law Firm

    Best Bank
    Wells Fargo
    Runner-up: Bank of America

    Best Credit Union
    Palmetto Citizens Federal Credit Union
    Runner-up: SC State Credit Union

    Best Gun Shop
    Palmetto State Armory
    Runner-up: Shooter’s Choice

    Best Shooting Range
    Palmetto State Armory
    Runner-up: Shooter’s Choice

    Best Appliance Store
    Lowe’s
    Runner-up: Jeffers-McGill

    Best Heating and Air
    2nd Wind Heating and Air
    Runner-up: Kaminer Heating and Cooling

    Best Plumbing Repair
    Meetze Plumbing
    Runner-up: Gene Love Plumbing

    Best Landscaping Company
    Blue Moon Landscaping
    Runner-Up: Palmetto Pride Landscaping

    Best Roll-Off Disposal
    Waste Management Services
    Runner-up: Big Red Box

    Best Mobile Storage
    PODS
    Runner-up: Big Red Box

    Best Real Estate Agency
    Russell and Jeffcoat
    Runner-up: Coldwell Banker

    Best Home Builder
    Mungo Homes
    Runner-up: Essex Homes

    Best Hotel
    Hilton Columbia Center (The Vista)
    Runner-up: Embassy Suites

    Best Local Clothing Store
    Sid and Nancy
    Runner-up: Granger Owings

    Best Alternative Clothing
    Loose Lucy’s
    Runner-up: Sid and Nancy

    Best Children’s Clothing
    Once Upon a Child
    Runner-up: Little Lambs and Ivy

    Best Women’s Clothing
    Belk
    Runner-up: Bohemian

    Best Men’s Clothing
    Granger Owings
    Runner-up: Jos. A. Bank

    Best Jewelry Store
    Handpicked
    Runner-up: Jewelry Warehouse

    Best Culinary Store
    The Gourmet Shop
    Runner-up: Williams-Sonoma

    Best Smoke Shop
    Natural Vibrations
    Runner-up: High Life Smoke Shop

    Best Cigar Shop
    The Cigar Box
    Runner-up: Tobacco Merchant

    Best Vaping Store
    High Life Smoke Shop
    Runner-up: Planet Vapor

    Best Gift Shop
    Handpicked
    Runner-up: Just the Thing

    Best Hand-Crafted Gift Shop
    One-Eared Cow Glass
    Runner-up: Artizan

    Best Wine and Paint Studio
    Grapes and Gallery
    Runner-up: Studio Cellar

    Best Antique Store
    Old Mill Antique Mall
    Runner-up: City Market Antiques

    Best Thrift Store
    Goodwill
    Runner-up: His House

    Best Hardware Store
    Lowe’s
    Runner-up: Ace Hardware

    Best Pottery Studio
    Mad Platter
    Runner-up: Southern Pottery

    Best Florist
    The Blossom Shop
    Runner-up: Rosewood Florist

    Best Bakery
    Publix
    Runner-up: Tiffany’s Bakery

    Best Place for Fresh Meat and Seafood
    Ole Timey Meat Market
    Runner-up: The Fresh Market

    Best Natural Food Store
    Trader Joe’s
    Runner-up: Whole Foods

    Best Nutritional Supplement Store
    Rosewood Market
    Runner-up: GNC

    Best Beer and Liquor Store
    Green’s Beverages
    Runner-up: Morganelli’s

    Best Place to Buy New Comic Books
    Heroes & Dragons
    Runner-up: Silver City Comics

    Best Place to Buy Used Comic Books
    Heroes and Dragons
    Runner-up: 2nd & Charles

    Best Place for Fresh Produce
    Soda City Market
    Runner-up: Publix

    Best Wine Store
    Total Wine and More
    Runner-up: Green’s Beverages

    Best Store for Used Books
    The Book Dispensary
    Runner-up: 2nd & Charles

    Best Dry Cleaner
    Tripp’s Fine Cleaners
    Runner-up: Lexington Dry Cleaning

    Best Pest Control
    Terminix
    Runner-up: Home Pest Control

    Best Alarm/Security Company
    ADT
    Runner-up: Tripp’s Lock and Key

    Best Gamecock Store
    Garnet and Black Traditions
    Runner-up: Addams Bookstore

    Best Cycle Shop
    Outspokin’
    Runner-up: Cycle Center

    Best Cab Service
    Checker Yellow Cab
    Runner-up: Capital City Cab Company

    Best Limousine Service
    5 Star Limo
    Runner-up: First Class Limo, VIP Limo Service (TIE)

    Best Outdoors/Camping Gear Store
    Half-Moon Outfitters
    Runner-up: The Backpacker

    Best River Outfitter
    Half-Moon Outfitters
    Runner-up: Adventure Carolina

    Best Marina
    Lake Murray Marina
    Runner-up: Lighthouse Marina

    Best Sporting Goods Store
    Academy Sports
    Runner-up: Dick’s Sporting Goods

    Best Fitness Club
    Gold’s Gym
    Runner-up: Planet Fitness

    comments powered by Disqus Best of Columbia /

    Best of Columbia 2014 Index: Food and Dining

    By Free Times
    Tuesday, August 19, 2014 |
  • Food & Dining
  • Music & Nightlife
  • Local Media
  • Arts & Culture
  • Goods & Services
  • Politics & City Life
  • Local Media
  • Cover Story
  • Writers' Picks
  • Best of Columbia Party



  • Free Times' readers voted for their 2014 food and dining favorites.

    Best New Restaurant
    Bourbon
    Runner-up: Cantina 76 on Main

    Best Restaurant
    Mr. Friendly’s New Southern Café
    Runner-up: Motor Supply Co. Bistro

    Best Restaurant: Northeast
    Solstice Kitchen and Wine Bar
    Runner-up: Travinia’s Italian Kitchen

    Best Restaurant: Lexington
    Hudson’s Smokehouse
    Runner-up: Mellow Mushroom

    Best Restaurant: Irmo
    Liberty on the Lake
    Runner-up: The British Bulldog Pub

    Best Restaurant: West Columbia/Cayce
    Café Strudel
    Runner-up: D’s Wings (Cayce)

    Best Chef
    Mike Davis — Terra
    Runner-up: Kristian Niemi – Bourbon, Rosso

    Best Place for a First Date
    Gervais & Vine
    Runner-up: Hunter-Gatherer

    Best Late Night Food
    Waffle House
    Runner-up: Cook-Out

    Best Place to Dine Outdoors
    Liberty on the Lake
    Runner-up: Pawleys Front Porch

    Best Takeout Food
    Rush’s
    Runner-up: Cook-Out

    Best Bang for the Buck
    Cook-Out
    Runner-up: Moe’s Southwest Grill

    Best National Chain Restaurant
    Chick-fil-A
    Runner-up: Chipotle Mexican Grill

    Best Fast Food Chain
    Chick-fil-A
    Runner-up: Rush’s

    Best Kid-Friendly Restaurant
    Chick-fil-A
    Runner-up: CiCi’s Pizza

    Best Place for a Business Breakfast
    Café Strudel
    Runner-up: Lizard’s Thicket

    Best Place for a Business Lunch
    Blue Marlin
    Runner-up: DiPrato’s

    Best Wine List
    Gervais & Vine
    Runner-up: Cellar on Greene

    Best Coffee
    Drip
    Runner-up: Starbucks

    Best Barista
    Rachel Allen — Drip
    Runner-up: Jessica Ochoa — The Wired Goat

    Best Sweet Tea
    Bojangles’
    Runner-up: Chick-fil-A

    Best Breakfast
    Café Strudel
    Runner-up: Original Pancake House

    Best Brunch
    Café Strudel
    Runner-up: DiPrato’s

    Best Deli/Sub/Sandwich Shop
    Groucho’s
    Runner-up: Firehouse Subs

    Best Vegetarian Menu
    Rosewood Market Deli
    Runner-up: Good Life Café

    Best Barbecue
    Hudson’s Smokehouse
    Runner-up: Shealy’s BBQ

    Best Burrito
    Moe’s Southwest Grill
    Runner-up: Chipotle

    Best Pizza
    Mellow Mushroom
    Runner-up: Marco’s Pizza

    Best Wings
    D’s Wings (Cayce)
    Runner-up: Publick House

    Best Ribs
    Hudson’s Smokehouse
    Runner-up: Little Pigs Barbecue

    Best Hot Dog
    Sandy’s Famous Hot Dogs
    Runner-up: Rush’s

    Best Hamburger
    Five Guys Burgers and Fries
    Runner-up: Pawleys Front Porch

    Best French Fries
    Five Guys Burgers and Fries
    Runner-up: McDonald’s

    Best Salad
    California Dreaming
    Runner-up: Copper River Grill

    Best Steak
    Ruth’s Chris
    Runner-up: Longhorn Steakhouse

    Best Taco
    Cantina 76
    Runner-up: San Jose

    Best Asian Restaurant
    Miyo’s
    Runner-up: M Vista

    Best Mexican Restaurant
    Cantina 76
    Runner-up: San Jose

    Best Chinese Restaurant
    Miyo’s
    Runner-up: Eggroll Station

    Best Greek Restaurant
    Zorba’s
    Runner-up: Grecian Gardens

    Best Japanese Restaurant
    Miyabi Japanese Steakhouse
    Runner-up: Inakaya

    Best Italian Restaurant
    Villa Tronco
    Runner-up: Carrabba’s, Pasta Fresca (TIE)

    Best Southern Restaurant
    Mr. Friendly’s New Southern Café
    Runner-up: Lizard’s Thicket

    Best Indian Restaurant
    Bombay Grill and Delhi Palace (TIE)
    Runner-up: Spice Junction

    Best Cajun Restaurant
    Bourbon
    Runner-up: Bojangles’

    Best Thai Restaurant
    Mai Thai
    Runner-up: Basil Thai Cuisine

    Best Cuban/Caribbean Restaurant
    Mojito’s Tropical Cafe
    Runner-up: Taste of Jamaica

    Best Middle Eastern Restaurant
    Al-Amir
    Runner-up: Mediterranean Tea Room

    Best Sushi
    Inakaya
    Runner-up: Miyo’s

    Best Seafood Restaurant
    Blue Marlin
    Runner-up: Bonefish Grill

    Best Dessert
    Nonnah’s
    Runner-up: Cupcake

    Best Frozen Yogurt
    Yoghut
    Runner-up: TCBY

    Best Ice Cream
    Marble Slab Creamery
    Runner-up: Cold Stone Creamery

    Best Mobile Food
    Pawleys Front Porch
    Runner-up: 2 Fat 2 Fly

    Best Service
    Chick-fil-A
    Runner-up: Terra

    comments powered by Disqus

    Best of Columbia 2014 Index: Arts and Culture

    By Free Times
    Tuesday, August 19, 2014 |
  • Food & Dining
  • Music & Nightlife
  • Local Media
  • Arts & Culture
  • Goods & Services
  • Politics & City Life
  • Local Media
  • Cover Story
  • Writers' Picks
  • Best of Columbia Party



  • Free Times readers' voted for their 2014 favorites in arts and culture.

    Best Annual Event or Festival
    South Carolina State Fair

    Best Art Gallery
    701 Center for Contemporary Art
    Runner-up: City Art

    Best Local or Regional Museum
    South Carolina State Museum
    Runner-up: Columbia Museum of Art

    Best Dance Company
    Columbia City Ballet
    Runner-up: Southern Strutt

    Best Dance Studio or School
    Columbia Ballet School
    Runner-up: Columbia Conservatory of Dance

    Best Visual Artist
    Blue Sky
    Runner-up: Sean McGuinness (“That Godzilla Guy”)

    Best Local Theater Company
    Trustus Theatre
    Runner-up: Town Theatre

    Best Local Theater Production
    Les Miserables (Town Theatre)
    Runner-up: Shrek the Musical (Town Theatre)

    Best Movie Theater
    Columbiana Grande
    Runner-up: Nickelodeon


    comments powered by Disqus Best of Columbia /

    Best of Columbia 2014 Index: Politics and City Life

    By Free Times
    Tuesday, August 19, 2014 |
  • Food & Dining
  • Music & Nightlife
  • Local Media
  • Arts & Culture
  • Goods & Services
  • Politics & City Life
  • Local Media
  • Cover Story
  • Writers' Picks
  • Best of Columbia Party



  • Free Times' readers voted for their 2014 favorites in politics and city life.

    Biggest Improvement in Columbia This Year
    Continued revitalization of Main Street
    Runner-up: Opening of local craft breweries

    Best Use of Public Funds
    Road repairs and improvements
    Runner-up: The Riverwalk

    Biggest Waste of Public Funds
    Gov. Nikki Haley
    Runner-up: Baseball stadium project

    Best Local Politician
    U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson
    Runner-up: Mayor Steve Benjamin

    Best Activist Group or Effort
    PETS Inc.
    Runner-up: Pawmetto Lifeline

    Biggest Local Hero
    Marcus Lattimore
    Runner-up: Connor Shaw

    Biggest Local Zero
    Gov. Nikki Haley
    Runner-up: Lillian McBride

    Best Charity
    Harvest Hope Food Bank
    Runner-up: PETS Inc.

    Best Green Business or Initiative
    Soda City Market
    Runner-up: City Roots

    Biggest “Our Dumb State” Moment
    Passing a law to allow concealed weapons in bars and restaurants
    Runner-up: Airing of Bravo’s Southern Charm reality show

    Best Place to Take Out-of-Towners
    Riverbanks Zoo
    Runner-up: The Vista

    Best Neighborhood
    Shandon
    Runner-up: Forest Acres

    Best New Home Community
    Saluda River Club
    Runner-up: Lake Carolina

    Best Apartment Complex
    CanalSide Lofts
    Runner-up: 42 Magnolia

    Best Retirement Community
    Agapé Senior
    Runner-up: Still Hopes Episcopal Retirement Community

    Best Off Campus Student Housing
    Olympia and Granby Mills
    Runner-up: The Woodlands


    comments powered by Disqus Best of Columbia /

    Best of Columbia 2014 Index: Local Media

    By Free Times
    Tuesday, August 19, 2014 |
  • Food & Dining
  • Music & Nightlife
  • Local Media
  • Arts & Culture
  • Goods & Services
  • Politics & City Life
  • Local Media
  • Cover Story
  • Writers' Picks
  • Best of Columbia Party


  • Free Times' readers voted for their 2014 favorites in local media.

    Best Local TV News
    WIS (NBC)
    Runner-up: WLTX (CBS)

    Best Anchorperson
    Judi Gatson (WIS)
    Runner-up: Dawndy Mercer Plank

    Best Weatherperson
    Ben Tanner (WIS)
    Runner-up: Jim Gandy (WLTX)

    Best Sportscaster
    Rick Henry (WIS)
    Runner-up: Reggie Anderson (WLTX)

    Best Local Website: News
    free-times.com
    Runner-up: wistv.com

    Best Local Website: Sports
    wistv.com
    Runner-up: gamecocksonline.com

    Best Local Website: Music and Entertainment
    free-times.com
    Runner-up: thestate.com

    Best Radio Station
    96.7 Steve FM
    Runner-up: 104.7 WNOK

    Best Local Radio Personality
    Jonathon Rush (WCOS 97.5)
    Runner-up: Brent Johnson (WTCB 106.7)

    Best Local Tweeter
    @theshoptart (The Shop Tart)
    Runner-up: @drinkblogrepeat (Nick McCormac)

    Biggest Media Hog
    Gov. Nikki Haley
    Runner-up: Mayor Steve Benjamin


    comments powered by Disqus Landing Page /

    Win Tickets to Varekai by Cirque du Soleil

    By Free Times
    Tuesday, August 19, 2014 |
    Email your name and a daytime phone number to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for your chance to win a Family 4-Pack of tickets to see Varekai by Cirque du Soleil at the Colonial Life Arena in Nov. 5-9.




    comments powered by Disqus Get Ahead /

    Get Ahead: Guide to Career Advancement Fall 2014

    How to Choose an Online Degree or Certificate Program; Middle-Skills Jobs
    By Free Times
    Wednesday, August 6, 2014 |

     

  • Some Top Job Prospects Require More Than High School, Less Than College
  • How to Choose an Online Degree Program
  • More Get Ahead
  •  



    comments powered by Disqus Get Ahead /

    Some Top Job Prospects Require More Than High School, Less Than College

    There’s Money in the Middle
    By Rodney Welch
    Wednesday, August 6, 2014 |
    When it comes to employment, people usually think that more education means more opportunity. It’s not necessarily untrue, but it obscures an important fact: In today’s economy, the great demand isn’t at the top. It’s in the middle, where there are more jobs than there are people to fill them.

    Welcome to what economists now call the middle skills jobs gap, where there’s a dire need for people to fill jobs that require workers with more than a high school diploma but less than a four-year college degree.

    Some 69 million people work in middle-skills jobs, representing about 48 percent of the U.S. labor force. That about squares with South Carolina, where middle-skills jobs account for half of all jobs, according to figures from the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce.

    And yet, as baby boomers retire, the middle is also shrinking. According to the Harvard Business Review, “as many as 25 million, or 47 percent, of all new job openings from 2010 to 2020 will fall into the middle-skills range.”

    In other words, there’s a great demand for people to fill solid, reliable and well-paying jobs that only require a high-school degree and some additional training of one to two years.

    At Midlands Tech, a one-year certificate program runs an average cost of $5,000 for tuition and books; the cost is about $7,500 for a year and a half diploma program, and about $10,000 for a two-year associate’s degree. Scholarship assistance may be available through either a federal Pell grant (about $5,500 a year) — depending on need — or S.C. Lottery Tuition Assistance ($2,000), which is available to most applicants.
     
    Hot Fields: Health Care, Advanced Manufacturing, IT and Energy
    Midlands Technical College President Sonny White says there are as many as 12,000 jobs in the Midlands in four cluster areas of health care, advanced manufacturing, information technology and energy.

    The boom in middle-skills jobs is reflective of what has long been an economic reality: a four-year college degree no longer guarantees a job. That’s part of the reason, White says, why 80 percent of his students start at age 25 or older. They’ve either gone to college and quit — or stuck it out and found their diploma just didn’t have that much purchasing power in the modern job market.

    Among the top middle-skills jobs in the Midlands, White cites the boom in information technology jobs, particularly ones necessary to Columbia’s booming insurance industry.

    A job as a web developer, network analyst or network administrator requires a two-year associate’s degree, and generally pays between $35,000 and $100,000 annually.
    “The job prospects are outstanding in our area,” White says.

    There are also nuclear operators, which also requires an associate’s degree; from there, you can become a licensed operator, which could eventually lead a $100,000 annual salary.

    Another highly specific job: reliability automation technician. These workers are trained in controlling robotic operations and are in high demand by the highly automated tire industry.

    “These automation technicians go through our electronics engineering technologies program,” White says. “When they finish that, they just have wonderful job opportunities. The job market there is probably four times the number we can produce.”
     
    More Middle-Skills Jobs
    Following are some other examples of top middle-skills jobs across a broad spectrum, drawn from the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce’s latest list of Higher Wage Jobs with Good Opportunities in South Carolina Not Requiring a Bachelor’s or Advanced Degree.

    Each job is listed with the average annual salary — but keep in mind that in many of these jobs wages can be much greater depending on experience and training.
     
    Automotive Service Technician ($35,740)
    Modern mechanics don’t just get their hands dirty; they also have to understand the intricate computer systems of modern vehicles. Training is available for either a one-year certificate or a two-year associate degree, with annual wages following accordingly. Given Columbia’s enormous array of car dealerships, it’s no surprise that some 2,500 auto mechanics stay employed.
     
    Welder ($36,240)
    Here’s a perfect example where more an individual salary can go up way more than the average. Get employed at a nuclear plant, take some advanced training over a few years, and your salary could go up to as much as $150,000.
     
    CNC Operator ($37,760)
    CNC stands for computer numerical control. These industrial positions are so vital to new industries that Midlands Tech recently opened a new Engineering Technology and Sciences building just to keep up with the demand.
     
    Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers ($39,230)
    A solid job, but also very physically demanding: An average day might well involve moving heavy equipment or crawling under houses — especially in the middle of the summer, when people are calling to say their central AC unit has gone kaput. Both certificate and two-year degree training is available. The average salary range, depending on training and experience, is between $35,000 and $100,000.
     
    Bookkeeping, Accounting and Auditing Clerks ($33,660)
    With a two-year associate degree, graduates can start as a bookkeeper, or work in the accounting department of corporations, nonprofits or in government.
     
    Nurse
    Becoming a licensed practical or licensed vocational nurse ($38,680) requires a one-year certificate; becoming a registered nurse ($59,670) requires graduation from a state-approved nursing program.
     
    Dental Assistant or Hygienist
    Similarly, requirements for becoming a dental assistant ($34,480), who assists the dentist, include a year-and-a-half for a diploma; a dental hygienist ($55,070) — who cleans teeth — requires a two-year program.
     
    Paralegal ($41,010)
    Training is available for both a certificate and an associate degree, and more training generally leads to better jobs. The pay range is from $35,000 to $75,000.

    In general, the jobs and fields listed above offer strong prospects in the years to come. But the economy is always changing, and there can be significant differences between what’s available locally and what’s available regionally or nationally. Before committing to a program, be sure to research the local job market and talk to people in the field you’re considering.

    comments powered by Disqus Get Ahead /

    How to Choose an Online Degree Program

    Doing Your Research is Key to Success
    By Katie Alice Walker
    Wednesday, August 6, 2014 |
    Is there anything you can’t do online these days?

    Going back to school to advance your career or finish a degree once meant taking classes at night or rearranging your work schedule to suit your course schedule. For busy adults with families and other responsibilities, that model often just isn’t ideal.

    The past decade has brought amazing changes, with numerous institutions — including traditional four-year colleges and universities — offering more courses online than ever. In fact, many institutions now offer entire certificate and degree programs online.

    But with so many choices for learning available, how do you know if the degree you’ll walk away with is legit? Read on to learn what you need to know before you sign up for online courses.

    How do I know if the institution is reputable?
    When you’re deciding to work on a degree online, you’ll need to determine if the school is accredited. There are several accrediting organizations that conduct reviews and site visits to scope out student support services, curricula and the school’s facilities. But, be careful: Even some of those organizations aren’t legit. With a little research, you can find a list of credible governing bodies.

    The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (chea.org) and the U.S. Department of Education (ope.ed.gov/accreditation) recognize all legitimate accrediting agencies, so check for their stamp of approval. You’ll find a great list of legitimate accrediting organizations at chea.org.

    The regional accrediting organization for the Southeast is the South Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (sacscoc.org).

    You’ll want an accredited school not only because of its educational quality, but also to ensure that other accredited universities will accept your transfer credits, should you need to go that route, and to help facilitate government-backed loans.

    Is it safe to earn an entire degree online?
    If you’re thinking of furthering your education to advance your career, what potential employers will think of your degree or certificate is what matters, right?
    Do a little research and see what employers in your field are saying. While it’s safe to say that earning entire degrees online is becoming more common and accepted in the workplace, it’s also true that in many quarters online degrees are still seen as less valuable than those from traditional institutions. Many employers will look more favorably on a candidate with a traditional degree augmented by online professional training than on a candidate with only online higher education.

    In addition to making sure the online university is accredited by a legitimate accrediting agency, you’ll also want to make sure that online learning is right for you. Is face-to-face interaction best for your learning style? Even if you can work at your own pace effectively, you’ll want to feel comfortable that any questions you have while working on an online degree will be answered quickly, in real-time, if possible.

    The most accepted scenario in the world of online learning is attending a traditional college or university that also offers online courses for busy professionals. Fortunately, the University of South Carolina, Clemson University and many other schools and technical colleges in our area offer online courses and have solid reputations. A mix of online coursework and actually attending classes might be an option to consider.

    Is your learning style suited for online coursework?
    Here’s the deal: Taking courses online or in person requires a financial commitment and a significant time commitment. It will pay off to acknowledge how you learn best before you decide to take courses online, which may mean working independently or at your own pace.

    Contrary to what you might think, a 2010 U.S. Department of Education study (“Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning”) found that students taking online courses performed modestly better, on average, than those taking the same course through only traditional face-to-face instruction; students in courses blending online and face-to-face elements had the best outcomes. If courses are employing video, instant messaging with instructors and collaboration tools for interacting with other students, you have a better chance of effectively learning online.

    How much should an online course cost?
    At first thought, it seems like an online course would cost less than the same class held in a classroom. But that’s not always the case. Because costs of learning online can vary greatly, it’s best to understand what you’re looking for in a course fee.

    First, understand the college’s cost per credit hour. Keep in mind that there are often differences for in-state and out-of-state tuition. Next, understand that there will probably be other fees tacked on. Many online programs use standard online-learning software, so technology fees will almost always play into your tuition bill — as can assessment fees, graduation fees and other associated costs. Some online programs even require some in-person attendance, and you’ll want to account for potential travel fees, as well.

    Legitimate online degree programs should allow you to pay by the course, rather than pay for the entire program up front. If you get into an online learning situation and discover it’s not for you, you shouldn’t have a huge financial commitment to bear without finishing your degree.

    At the end of the day, choosing online coursework or even an entire degree program involves not only credibility, but also availability. If the degree you’re hoping to earn is specialized and a brick-and-mortar university nearby doesn’t offer the program, the capability to earn the degree online could mean great things for your career.
    Whether or not you choose online education, the world of online learning is evolving rapidly — and doing your research ahead of time could make or break your success.

    comments powered by Disqus Menu Guide /

    Menu Guide Summer 2014

    By Free Times
    Monday, July 28, 2014 |


    comments powered by Disqus Landing Page /

    Forrest Wood Cup Best Fish Tale Contest

    By Free Times
    Monday, July 7, 2014 |
    Free Times is offering readers the chance to win:

    a limited-edition Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) Tour diecast boat valued at $200,
    one-year FLW membership,
    a kid's rod and reel combo,
    assorted baits,
    Plano tackle bag and
    6 V.I.P. seats at the Forrest Wood Cup weigh-ins.


    Submit your best "fish tale" for your chance to win!

    Email your story to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Type "Fish Tale" in the subject line.



    Fishing League Worldwide's Forrest Wood Cup will be held Aug. 14-17 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center and the Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, South Carolina.


    comments powered by Disqus Bites & Sights Visitors Guide /

    Bites & Sights Columbia SC Visitors Guide Summer 2014

    By Free Times
    Tuesday, June 24, 2014 |

    Ah, Famously Hot Columbia. During the summer, you might find yourself wanting to stay inside where it’s cool — and the city offers many nicely air-conditioned bars and fine restaurants. Want to soak in some sun instead? Grab some ice cream or frozen yogurt (see page 18 for Dessert listings) and check out the Three Rivers Greenway, where breezes off the river will cool you off a bit.

    To cool off, you might also want to check out one of the city’s two breweries (see page 13) — soon to become three breweries when Swamp Cabbage Brewing opens this summer. Longtime Columbia brewpub Hunter-Gatherer, too, has announced it’s building a full-scale brewery following a recent change to state law that removes some of the barriers for craft brewers.

    Summer also brings the Tasty Tomato Festival, held Saturday, July 19, this year at City Roots urban farm; visit tastytomatofestival.com for more information.

    And of course, the region is dotted with farmers markets offering local produce, meats and cheeses, flowers, crafts and homemade items; check out
    free-times.com for market listings.



    comments powered by Disqus Best of Columbia /

    Vote for Best of Columbia 2014

    By Free Times
    Wednesday, June 11, 2014 |

    The polls are now closed. Look for winners on August 13!



    And the nominees are ...
    @116 Espresso and Wine Bar
    @drinkblogrepeat (Nick McCormac)
    @sammyrhodes (Sammy Rhodes)
    @theshoptart (The Shop Tart)
    @yesevamoore (Eva Moore)
    @yungsandcassy (Bakari Lebby)
    104.7 WNOK
    14 Carrot Whole Foods
    2 Chix Pickin
    2 Fat 2 Fly
    2nd & Charles
    2nd Wind Heating and Air
    32 Degrees
    42 Magnolia
    5 Star Limo
    701 Center for Contemporary Art
    76 and Sunny
    8 Sins Tattoo
    90.5 WUSC
    911 Driver Training
    92.1 WWNU
    93.5 WARQ
    94.3 WWNQ
    96.7 Steve FM
    99.3 WXRY
    Aaron Shealy (Allstate)
    Abberly Village
    ABC Driver Training
    Academy Sports
    Ace Hardware
    Addams Bookstore
    ADT
    Advanced Disposal
    Adventure Carolina
    Aero Plumbing
    Agape Medical Mart
    Agape Senior
    Al-Amir
    Alan Boyle (Solstice Kitchen and Wine Bar)
    Alibabas Pipe Emporium
    Allsouth Federal
    Credit Union
    Allstate
    Ally & Eloise Bakeshop
    Alodia’s Cucina Italiana
    Amber Willoughby (Carmen! Carmen!)
    AMC Dutch Square
    American Florist
    Amos Lee (Township Auditorium)
    Andrew Touzel (Fuse Massage)
    Andrews Auto Service
    Andy Spreeuwers (8 Sins Tattoo)
    Andy’s Deli
    Animated Canvas Custom Tattoo
    Antai Gourmet Asian
    Arabesque
    Archer Avenue
    Ard’s Container Service
    Art Bar
    Artizan
    Ashley Chessick (Irmo Hair Studio)
    Ashley Furniture
    Aspyre
    Assembly Street Renovations
    Atlas Road Crew
    Baan Sawan
    Baldwin Driver Training
    Banfield Pet Hospital
    Bank of America
    Bar None
    Barking Lot Dog Park
    at Saluda Shoals
    Baseball stadium project
    Basil Thai Cuisine
    Baskin Robbins
    BB&T
    Beach Loveland (Loveland Coffee)
    Beezer’s
    Belk
    Ben Hoover (WIS)
    Ben Tanner (WIS)
    Best Buy
    Beth Dickerson (Capelli Studio)
    Big Red Box
    Bikram Yoga Columbia
    Birdhouse Rooms and Gardens
    Blazing Copper
    Blue Cactus
    Blue Fin Seafood Restaurant
    Blue Marlin
    Blue Moon Landscaping
    Blue Ribbon
    Cab Company
    Blue Sky
    Blue Tapas Bar and Cocktail Lounge
    BlueCross BlueShield
    BodySmith Fitness
    Bohemian
    Bojangles’
    Bollin Ligon
    Bombay Grill
    Bombshell Beauty Studio
    Bonefish Grill
    Bone-In Artisan BBQ
    Bourbon
    Brent Johnson (WTCB 106.7)
    Brent Lundy
    British Bulldog Pub
    Brittons
    Buffalo Wild Wings
    Bull Street Project
    Burger Tavern 77
    Café Caturra
    Café Strudel
    California Dreaming
    Calypso
    Caribbean Grill
    Camon
    Camp Bow Wow
    CanalSide Lofts
    Cantina 76
    Cantina 76 on Main
    Capelli Salon
    Capitol City
    Cab Company
    Capital City Cycles
    Capital Club
    Capital Karate
    Capitol Places
    CarMax
    Carmen! Carmen!
    Carolina Ale House
    Carolina Crossfit
    Carolina Fine Jewelry
    Carolina Honda Powerhouse
    Carolina Pottery
    Carolina Wings and Rib House
    Carrabba’s Italian Grill
    Casa Linda
    Cassell Brothers Heating and Cooling
    Caughman’s Meat’n Place
    Cellar on Greene
    CFS Offroad
    Charleston Cooks
    Checker Yellow Cab
    Chelsea Winford (Occo Skin Studio)
    Chick-fil-A
    Chipotle Mexican Grill
    Chris Metcalfe (World of Beer)
    CiCi’s Pizza
    Cigars LTD
    City Art
    City Councilman Cameron Runyan
    City of Columbia
    Dog Park
    City Market Antiques
    City Roots
    City Yoga
    Clark’s Termite and Pest Control
    Cline’s Salon Vista
    Cock ‘n Bull Pub
    coladaily.com
    Cola’s
    Cold Stone Creamery
    Coldwell Banker
    Colonial Life Arena
    Columbia Arts Academy
    Columbia Ballet School
    Columbia Children’s Theatre
    Columbia City Ballet
    Columbia Classical Ballet
    Columbia College
    Columbia Conservatory of Dance
    Columbia Eye Clinic
    Columbia Marriott
    Columbia Martial Arts and Fitness
    Columbia Museum of Art
    Columbia Powersports
    Columbiana Grande
    Columbia’s Greek Festival
    Complete Car Care
    Concord Park
    Congaree Riverkeeper
    Congaree State Bank
    Connor Shaw
    Conquest Brewing
    Constan Car Wash
    Conundrum
    Music Hall
    Cook-Out
    Cool Beans
    Copper Beach
    Copper Penny
    Copper River Grill
    Corey Miller (WACH)
    Cosmic Ray’s
    Cottontown
    Cover 3
    Coye Jones (Bella Riley’s Salon)
    Cracker Barrel
    Crust Bakehouse
    Cupcake
    Cycle Center
    D&D Cycles
    Dance Dept.
    Danielle Howle
    Dano’s Pizza
    Darci Strickland (WLTX)
    Darius Rucker (Colonial Life Arena)
    Dave Grillo (Cantina 76)
    David Adedokun
    Dawn Staley
    Dawndy Mercer Plank (WIS)
    Defender Shooting Sports
    Delaney’s
    Delhi Palace
    Delucca’s
    Devine Eyes
    Devine Foods
    Devine Street Tattoo
    Dick Dyer
    Dick Smith Group
    Dick’s Sporting Goods
    DiPrato’s
    Discount Tire
    DJ Ray’s Karaoke
    Doctor’s Care
    Dog Daze
    Don Taylor (Red Lantern Tattoo)
    Dr. Adam Brantley (Devine Dentistry)
    Dr. Crosby Livingston
    Dr. Thomas Hoffman (Hoffman and Strauss)
    Drip
    D’s Wings
    Earlewood
    Earth Fare
    Ed Robinson Laundry and Dry Cleaning
    Ed’s Editions
    Eddie Kane (Copper Finch Tattoo Company)
    Edna’s
    EdVenture
    EF Martin Mechanical
    Egg Roll Chen
    Egg Roll Station
    El Burrito
    El Poblano
    Elgin Veterinarian Hospital
    Elie’s Mediterranean Cusine
    Elite Vapors
    Embassy Suites
    Emily Douglas
    Dog Park
    Enterprise Car Sales
    ERA WIlder
    Eric’s San Jose
    Essex Homes
    Express Oil Change
    Eye on Gervais
    Famously Hot
    New Year’s Eve
    Firehouse Subs
    Firestone
    First Citizens
    First Community Bank
    First Class Limo
    Five Guys Burgers and Fries
    Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche (Trustus Theatre)
    Five Points Animal Clinic
    Flying Saucer
    Forest Acres
    Four Paws Animal Clinic
    Frank’s Car Wash
    Frank’s Discount Tire
    Freeway Music
    free-times.com
    gamecockcentral.com
    gamecocksonline.com
    Garden Bistro
    Garner’s Natural Life
    Garnet and Black Traditions
    Gene Love Plumbing
    Genova Family Karate
    Gervais and Vine
    Get Your Gear On
    GNC
    Goatfeathers
    gogamecocks.com
    Gold’s Gym
    Golden Chopstix
    Golden Motors
    Good Life Café
    Goodwill
    Goodyear
    Gov. Nikki Haley
    Granger Owings
    Grapes and Gallery
    Grecian Gardens
    Green Earth Services
    Green’s Beverages
    Gregory Garrett (formerly of 7 Doors Salon)
    Groomingdale’s
    Groucho’s Deli
    Group Therapy
    Half Moon Outfitters
    Hampton Street Vineyard
    Handpicked
    Harbor Inn
    Harley Haven
    Harvest Hope Food Bank
    Hawg Scooters
    Heathwood
    Hemingway’s
    Henry’s
    Henry’s NE
    Herndon Chevrolet
    Heros and Dragons
    HH Gregg
    High Life Smoke Shop
    Hilton Columbia Center
    Hip-Wa-Zee
    His House
    Home Depot
    Home Pest Control
    Hot Dog Heaven
    Hudson’s Smokehouse
    Hunter-Gatherer
    if ART
    IHOP
    Il Giorgione
    Immaculate Piercing
    Inakaya
    Indie Grits Festival
    Indigo Rose Tattoo
    Irmo Tire and Auto
    Ivy House
    Antiques Mall
    J. Gumbo’s
    J. Spencer Shull (Jellykoe)
    Jack Oliver Pool, Spa and Patio
    Jade Moon
    Jake’s
    James Pickle (British Bulldog Pub, Ruth’s Chris, Uncle Louie’s)
    James Stark (WLTX)
    Jason’s Deli
    Jeffers-McGiIll
    Jennifer Brown (Bliss Massage Studio)
    Jersey Mike’s
    Jessica Ocha (The Wired Goat)
    Jessica Skinner
    Jewelry Warehouse
    Jiffy Lube
    Jim Gandy (WLTX)
    Jim Hudson Automotive Group
    Jimmy John’s
    Jimmy’s Mart
    Jocelyn Locascio (Occo Skin Studio)
    Joe Gorchow (WIS)
    Joe Pinner
    Joe Turkaly
    John Farley (WIS)
    John Legend (Township Auditorium)
    Jonathon Rush (WCOS 97.5/ WVOC 100.1)
    Jos. A. Bank
    Josh Roberts and the Hinges
    Josh Streetman (Motor Supply Co.)
    Judi Gatson (WIS)
    Just the Thing
    Kaminer Heating and Cooling
    KC’s Hot Dogs
    KD’s Treehouse
    Keep the Midlands Beautiful
    Keg Cowboy
    Keller Williams
    Kelly Nash (WCOS 97.5/WVOC 100.1)
    Kelly’s Deli and Pub
    Kiki’s Chicken and Waffles
    Kleen Kare Cleaners
    Knotty Headz
    KORE Sport Cycles
    Kristian Niemi (Bourbon)
    Kyle Smith Pottery
    Lake Carolina
    Lake Murray
    Lake Murray Driving Academy
    Lake Murray Marina
    Lake Murray Treasures
    Lamb’s Bread Vegan Cafe
    Larry Hembree
    Larry Lucas (State Farm)
    Le Peep
    Len Kiese (WIS)
    Leon Lott
    Les Miserables (Town Theatre)
    Lexington Driving Academy
    Lexington Dry Cleaning
    Lexington Firearms
    Lexington Medical Center
    Lexington Medical Center Urgent Care
    Libby’s of Lexington
    Liberty on the Lake
    Lighthouse Marina
    Lillian McBride
    Linda’s Carraoke (Art Bar)
    Lindy Helms (Occo Skin Studio)
    Little Lambs and Ivy
    Little Pigs
    Lizard’s Thicket
    Longhorn Steakhouse
    Loose Lucy’s
    Los Bellos Portales
    Loveland Coffee
    Lowes
    Lucky’s Burger Shack
    Luke Bryan (Tin Roof)
    M Vista
    Mad Platter
    Maduro Room
    Mai Thai
    Main Moon
    Main Street Café
    Mandy Applegate (Urban Nirvana)
    Manifest Discs
    Marble Slab Creamery
    Marco’s Pizza
    Marcus Lattimore
    Mark Ziegler (Five Points Salon)
    Marshall Brown
    Marty Rae’s
    Mary & Martha
    Mary King (WIS)
    Mast General Store
    Maurice’s Piggie Park
    Mayor Steve Benjamin
    McAlister’s Deli
    McDonald’s
    McDonnell and Associates
    McKay, Cauthen, Settana & Stubley
    McKissick Museum
    McNair Law Firm
    MEDCare Urgent Care
    Mediterranean Tea Room
    Meetze Plumbing
    Mellow Mushroom
    Menchie’s
    Michelle Schreiner (Drip)
    Midlands Honda
    Midlands Technical College
    Midtown Fellowship
    Mike Davis (Terra)
    Mikel Rumsey (Bombshell Beauty Studio)
    Mill Creek Pet Food Center
    Miss Cocky
    Miyabi Japanese Steakhouse
    Miyo’s
    Mobile Attic
    Moe’s Southwest Grill
    Mojito’s Tropical Cafe
    Monterrey Mexican Restaurant
    Morgan Faulkenberry (State Farm)
    Morganelli’s
    Motor Supply Co.
    Mr. Friendly’s New Southern Café
    Mr. Tint
    Mungo Homes
    Musician Supply
    Nationwide
    Natural Vibrations
    NBSC
    Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough
    Nest
    New Brookland Tavern
    NewSpring Church
    Nickelodeon
    Nicky’s Pizzeria
    Nifty Gifty
    Nightcaps
    NOMA Dog Park
    Nonnah’s
    Nutrition Warehouse
    Nuttall Tire and Battery
    Occo Skin Studio
    Of Montreal (Columbia Museum of Art)
    Olando “Opie” Patterson (Goatfeathers)
    Old Mill Antique Mall
    Old Mill Brewpub
    Ole Timey Meat Market
    Olive Garden
    Olympia and Granby Mills
    Once Upon a Child
    One-Eared Cow Glass
    Opening of local craft breweries
    Original Pancake House
    Ouch! Piercings and Tattoos
    Outback Steakhouse
    Outspokin’
    Palmetto Citizens Federal Credit Union
    Palmetto Health
    Palmetto Health Baptist
    Palmetto Health Richland
    Palmetto Pediatrics
    Palmetto Pig
    Palmetto Pride Landscaping
    Palmetto Pro Tint
    Palmetto Smiles
    Palmetto State Armory
    Palmetto Thrift
    Pam’s Front Porch
    Papa Jazz
    Paradise Ice
    Pascon Roll Off Container Service
    Pasta Fresca
    Pavlov’s
    Pawleys Front Porch
    Pawleys Front Porch Truck
    Pawmetto Lifeline
    Pearlz Lounge
    Pearlz Oyster Bar
    Pecknel
    Pediatric Associates
    Pet Supplies Plus
    PETS Inc.
    PetSmart
    Pinch
    Pink Lotus Yoga Center
    Pita Pit
    Pitas
    Pizza Man
    Planet Fitness
    Planet Vapor
    Platinum Plus
    Platinum West
    Plaugh House
    PODS
    Pointe West Apartments
    Polliwogs
    Pope-Davis Tire and Auto
    Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen
    Portfolio Art Gallery
    Preppy Puppies
    Prettier than Matt
    Providence Hospital
    PT’s 1109
    Publick House
    Publix
    Punk Monkey Comics
    Pure Barre
    Quaker Steak and Lube
    Queens of the Stone Age (Township Auditorium)
    Rachel Allen (Drip)
    Ragtime (Trustus Theatre)
    Real Mexico
    Red Bowl Asian Bistro
    Red Door Tavern
    Red Lantern Tattoo
    Redbird Studio and Gallery
    Refusing Medicaid expansion
    Regal Sandhill Stadium 16
    Reggie Anderson (WLTX)
    Revente
    Rick Henry (WIS)
    Rioz Brazilian Steakhouse
    River Rat Brewery
    River Runner
    Riverbanks Zoo
    Riverwalk Park
    Robbie Mundo (British Bulldog Pub)
    Robin Gottlieb (Bombshell Beauty Studio)
    Rockaway Athletic Club
    Roe Young (State Farm)
    Rosewood
    Rosewood Crawfish Festival
    Rosewood Florist
    Rosewood Market
    Rosewood Market Deli
    Rosso Trattoria Italia
    Roundabouts
    Row Gallery
    Ruby Tuesday
    Rumsey Construction and Renovation
    Rush’s
    Russell and Jeffcoat
    Rusty Anchor
    Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse
    Ryan Ditman (@116 Espresso and Wine Bar)
    S.C. Rep. James E. Smith
    SAFE Federal
    Credit Union
    SakiTumi
    Saluda River Club
    Sam’s Fine Wines and Spirits
    San Jose
    Sandhills Pediatrics
    Sandy’s Famous Hot Dogs
    Sansbury Eye Center
    Sarah and Susie’s Grooming
    SC Medical Store
    SC State Credit Union
    scenesc.com
    Scratch ‘n’ Spin
    Sean McGuinness (“That Godzilla Guy”)
    Security Pro
    Sesquicentennial
    State Park
    Seven Senses
    Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands
    Shalimar Curry House
    Shandon
    Shandon Baptist Church
    Shandon Presbyterian
    Shandon-Wood Animal Clinic
    Shane Anderson (Animated Canvas)
    Shannon Purvis Barron (Indigo Rose Tattoo)
    Sharky’s
    Shaun Phillips (Palmetto Sports Massage)
    Shaw’s Taxi
    Shealy’s BBQ
    Shear Xpectations
    Sheraton
    Shooter’s Choice
    Shrek the Musical (Town Theatre)
    Sid and Nancy
    Signature Transportation
    Silver City Comics
    Silver Spoon Bake Shop
    Sims Music
    Sistercare
    Smashburger
    Social Bar and Lounge
    Soda City Farmer’s Market
    Solar Solutions
    Solstice Kitchen and Wine Bar
    Something Special Florist
    South Carolina Equality
    South Carolina
    State Fair
    South Carolina State Museum
    Southern Children
    Southern Pottery
    Southern Pride Plumbing
    Southern Strutt
    Southern Vistas
    Garden Center
    Sparkle Car Wash
    Speakeasy
    Spectacle Tinting
    Spice Junction
    Sportsman’s Warehouse
    St. Pat’s in Five Points
    Stagbriar
    Star Music
    Starbucks
    State Farm
    State Street Pub
    Steve Spurrier
    Steve Varholy (WXRY 99.3)
    Still Hope Episcopal Retirement Community
    Strawberry Skys
    Strobler
    Studio Cellar
    Summit Cycles
    Sun Ming
    Sunset Car Wash
    Sustainable Midlands
    Sweet Frog
    Sylvan’s
    Taco Bell
    Takosushi
    Tapp’s Arts Center
    Taste of Jamaica
    TCBY
    TD Bank
    Terminix
    Terra
    Texas Roadhouse
    Thailand Restaurant
    The Backpacker
    The Blossom Shop
    The Book Dispensary
    The Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands
    The Cigar Box
    The Flight Deck Restaurant
    The Fresh Market
    The Friends Club
    The Glo Room
    The Gourmet Shop
    The Heritage at Lowman
    The Jam Room
    The Kingsman
    The Kraken Gastropub
    The Mamas and the Tapas
    The Oak Table
    The Pizza Joint
    The Pour House
    The Reggae Grill
    The Restoration
    The Southern Belly
    The Southern Strutt
    The Vista
    The Vitamin Shoppe
    The Whig
    The Wired Goat
    The Woodlands
    The Woody
    The Wurst Wagen
    thestate.com
    Thirsty Fellow
    Thomas Crouch
    Thomas Ravenel
    Thrift Avenue
    Thunder Tower
    Harley-Davidson
    Tiffany’s Bakery
    Tilted Kilt
    Tim Miller (WIS)
    Tin Roof
    Tio’s
    Tobacco Merchant
    Todd & Moore
    Total Wine and More
    Town Theatre
    Township Auditorium
    Trader Joe’s
    Travinia’s Italian Kitchen
    Travis Rayle (Rosso Trattoria Italia)
    Tripp’s Fine Cleaners
    Tripp’s Lock and Key
    Tropic Aire
    True BBQ
    Trustus Theatre
    Tsubaki Restaurant Lounge
    Tsunami
    Tyler Ryan
    U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson
    Unbound
    Uncle Louie’s
    Unitarian Universalist
    University of South Carolina
    Unwine
    Uptown Gifts
    Urban Nirvana
    US Lawns
    USAA
    Vaping Zone
    Vector Security
    Vibrations
    Vicky Harriman (Carmen! Carmen!)
    Villa Tronco
    Village Idiot
    Vino Garage
    VIP Limo Service
    Vista Studios/Gallery 80808
    WACH (Fox)
    Waffle House
    Waste Management Services
    Weaving the Fate
    Well Pets
    Wells Fargo
    Wescott Acres
    Wet Nose Oasis
    Wheel Source
    Whit-Ash
    Whole Foods
    Wild Hare
    Wild Wing Café
    Wildewood Downs
    Will Green (The Whig)
    Williams-Sonoma
    Wine Down
    Wings and Ale
    WIS (NBC)
    wistv.com
    WLTX (CBS)
    wltx.com
    WOLO (ABC)
    Woodcreek Farms
    Workshop Theatre
    World of Beer
    Yamato
    Yesterdays
    YMCA
    Yoga Masala
    Yoghut
    You, Me, and Us
    Young’s True Value Hardware
    Zaxby’s
    Zorba’s


    comments powered by Disqus Landing Page /

    Finlay Park Summer Concert Series

    By Free Times
    Wednesday, June 4, 2014 |


    comments powered by Disqus Get Ahead /

    Get Ahead: Guide to Career Advancement Summer 2014

    By Free Times
    Wednesday, June 4, 2014 |


    comments powered by Disqus Best of Columbia /

    Best of Columbia 2014 Nominees

    By Free Times
    Wednesday, June 4, 2014 |

    It's time to vote for Best of Columbia 2014!




    @116 Espresso and Wine Bar
    @drinkblogrepeat (Nick McCormac)
    @sammyrhodes (Sammy Rhodes)
    @theshoptart (The Shop Tart)
    @yesevamoore (Eva Moore)
    @yungsandcassy (Bakari Lebby)
    104.7 WNOK
    14 Carrot Whole Foods
    2 Chix Pickin
    2 Fat 2 Fly
    2nd & Charles
    2nd Wind Heating and Air
    32 Degrees
    42 Magnolia
    5 Star Limo
    701 Center for Contemporary Art
    76 and Sunny
    8 Sins Tattoo
    90.5 WUSC
    911 Driver Training
    92.1 WWNU
    93.5 WARQ
    94.3 WWNQ
    96.7 Steve FM
    99.3 WXRY
    Aaron Shealy (Allstate)
    Abberly Village
    ABC Driver Training
    Academy Sports
    Ace Hardware
    Addams Bookstore
    ADT
    Advanced Disposal
    Adventure Carolina
    Aero Plumbing
    Agape Medical Mart
    Agape Senior
    Al-Amir
    Alan Boyle - Solstice Kitchen and Wine Bar
    Alibabas Pipe Emporium
    Allsouth Federal Credit Union
    Allstate
    Ally & Eloise Bakeshop
    Alodia’s Cucina Italiana
    Amber Willoughby (Carmen! Carmen!)
    AMC Dutch Square
    American Florist
    Amos Lee (Township Auditorium)
    Andrew Touzel (Fuse Massage)
    Andrews Auto Service
    Andy Spreeuwers (8 Sins Tattoo)
    Andy’s Deli
    Animated Canvas
    Antai
    Arabesque
    Archer Avenue
    Ard’s Container Service
    Art Bar
    Artizan
    Ashley Chessick (Irmo Hair Studio)
    Ashley Furniture
    Aspyre
    Assembly Street Renovations
    Atlas Road Crew
    Baan Sawan
    Baldwin Driver Training
    Banfield Pet Hospital
    Bank of America
    Bar None
    Barking Lot Dog Park
    at Saluda Shoals
    Baseball stadium project
    Basil Thai Cuisine
    Baskin Robbins
    BB&T
    Beach Loveland (Loveland Coffee)
    Beezer’s
    Belk
    Ben Hoover (WIS)
    Ben Tanner (WIS)
    Best Buy
    Beth Dickerson (Capelli Studio)
    Big Red Box
    Bikram Yoga Columbia
    Birdhouse Rooms and Gardens
    Blazing Copper
    Blue Cactus
    Blue Fin Seafood Restaurant
    Blue Marlin
    Blue Moon Landscaping
    Blue Ribbon Cab Company
    Blue Sky
    Blue Tapas Bar and Cocktail Lounge
    BlueCross BlueShield
    BodySmith Fitness
    Bohemian
    Bojangles’
    Bollin Ligon
    Bombay Grill
    Bombshell Beauty Studio
    Bonefish Grill
    Bone-In Artisan BBQ
    Bourbon
    Brent Johnson (WTCB 106.7)
    Brent Lundy
    British Bulldog Pub
    Brittons
    Buffalo Wild Wings
    Bull Street Project
    Burger Tavern 77
    Café Caturra
    Café Strudel
    California Dreaming
    Calypso Caribbean Grill
    Camon
    Camp Bow Wow
    CanalSide Lofts
    Cantina 76
    Cantina 76 on Main
    Capelli Salon
    Capitol City Cab Company
    Capital City Cycles
    Capital Club
    Capital Karate
    Capitol Places
    CarMax
    Carmen! Carmen!
    Carolina Ale House
    Carolina Crossfit
    Carolina Fine Jewelry
    Carolina Honda Powerhouse
    Carolina Pottery
    Carolina Wings and Rib House
    Carrabba’s Italian Grill
    Casa Linda
    Cassell Brothers
    Heating and Cooling
    Caughman’s Meat’n Place
    Cellar on Greene
    CFS Offroad
    Charleston Cooks
    Checker Yellow Cab
    Chelsea Winford (Occo Skin Studio)
    Chick-fil-A
    Chipotle Mexican Grill
    Chris Metcalfe (World of Beer)
    CiCi’s Pizza
    Cigars LTD
    City Art
    City Councilman Cameron Runyan
    City of Columbia
    Dog Park
    City Market Antiques
    City Roots
    City Yoga
    Clark’s Termite and Pest Control
    Cline’s Salon Vista
    Cock ‘n Bull Pub
    coladaily.com
    Cola’s
    Cold Stone Creamery
    Coldwell Banker
    Colonial Life Arena
    Columbia Arts Academy
    Columbia Ballet School
    Columbia Children’s Theatre
    Columbia City Ballet
    Columbia Classical Ballet
    Columbia College
    Columbia Conservatory of Dance
    Columbia Eye Clinic
    Columbia Marriott
    Columbia Martial Arts and Fitness
    Columbia Museum of Art
    Columbia Powersports
    Columbiana Grande
    Columbia’s Greek Festival
    Complete Car Care
    Concord Park
    Congaree Riverkeeper
    Congaree State Bank
    Connor Shaw
    Conquest
    Constan Car Wash
    Conundrum Music Hall
    Cook-Out
    Cool Beans
    Copper Beach
    Copper Penny
    Copper River Grill
    Corey Miller (WACH)
    Cosmic Ray’s
    Cottontown
    Cover 3
    Coye Jones (Bella Riley’s Salon)
    Cracker Barrel
    Crust Bakehouse
    Cupcake
    Cycle Center
    D&D Cycles
    Dance Dept.
    Danielle Howle
    Dano’s
    Darci Strickland (WLTX)
    Darius Rucker (Colonial Life Arena)
    Dave Grillo (Cantina 76)
    David Adedokun
    Dawn Staley
    Dawndy Mercer Plank (WIS)
    Defender Shooting Sports
    Delaney’s
    Delhi Palace
    Delucca’s
    Devine Eyes
    Devine Foods
    Devine Street Tattoo
    Dick Dyer
    Dick Smith Group
    Dick’s Sporting Goods
    DiPrato’s
    Discount Tire
    DJ Ray’s Karaoke
    Doctor’s Care
    Dog Daze
    Don Taylor (Red Lantern Tattoo)
    Dr. Adam Brantley (Devine Dentistry)
    Dr. Crosby Livingston
    Dr. Thomas Hoffman (Hoffman and Strauss)
    Drip
    D’s Wings
    Earlewood
    Earth Fare
    Ed Robinson Laundry and Dry Cleaning
    Ed’s Editions
    Eddie Kane (Copper Finch Tattoo Company)
    Edna’s
    EdVenture
    EF Martin Mechanical
    Egg Roll Chen
    Egg Roll Station
    El Burrito
    El Poblano
    Elgin Veterinarian Hospital
    Elie’s Mediterranean Cusine
    Elite Vapors
    Embassy Suites
    Emily Douglas Dog Park
    Enterprise Car Sales
    ERA WIlder
    Eric’s San Jose
    Essex Homes
    Express Oil Change
    Eye on Gervais
    Famously Hot New Year’s Eve
    Firehouse Subs
    Firestone
    First Citizens
    First Community Bank
    First Class Limo
    Five Guys Burgers and Fries
    Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche (Trustus Theatre)
    Five Points Animal Clinic
    Flying Saucer
    Forest Acres
    Four Paws Animal Clinic
    Frank’s Car Wash
    Frank’s Discount Tire
    Freeway Music
    free-times.com
    gamecockcentral.com
    gamecocksonline.com
    Garden Bistro
    Garner’s Natural Life
    Garnet and Black Traditions
    Gene Love Plumbing
    Genova Family Karate
    Gervais and Vine
    Get Your Gear On
    GNC
    Goatfeathers
    gogamecocks.com
    Gold’s Gym
    Golden Chopstix
    Golden Motors
    Good Life Café
    Goodwill
    Goodyear
    Gov. Nikki Haley
    Granger Owings
    Grapes and Gallery
    Grecian Gardens
    Green Earth Services
    Green’s Beverages
    Gregory Garrett (7 Doors Salon)
    Groomingdale’s
    Groucho’s Deli
    Group Therapy
    Half Moon Outfitters
    Hampton Street Vineyard
    Handpicked
    Harbor Inn
    Harley Haven
    Harvest Hope Food Bank
    Hawg Scooters
    Heathwood
    Hemingway’s
    Henry’s
    Henry’s NE
    Herndon Chevrolet
    Heros and Dragons
    HH Gregg
    High Life Smoke Shop
    Hilton Columbia Center (The Vista)
    Hip-Wa-Zee
    His House
    Home Depot
    Home Pest Control
    Hot Dog Heaven
    Hudson’s Smokehouse
    Hunter-Gatherer
    if ART
    IHOP
    Il Giorgione
    Immaculate Piercing
    Inakaya
    Indie Grits Festival
    Indigo Rose Tattoo
    Irmo Tire and Auto
    Ivy House Antiques Mall
    J. Gumbo’s
    J. Spencer Shull (Jellykoe)
    Jack Oliver Pool,
    Spa and Patio
    Jade Moon
    Jake’s
    James Pickle (British Bulldog Pub, Ruth's Chris, Uncle Louie's)
    James Stark (WLTX)
    Jason’s Deli
    Jeffers-McGiIll
    Jennifer Brown (Bliss Massage Studio)
    Jersey Mike’s
    Jessica Ocha
    (The Wired Goat)
    Jessica Skinner
    Jewelry Warehouse
    Jiffy Lube
    Jim Gandy (WLTX)
    Jim Hudson Automotive Group
    Jimmy John’s
    Jimmy’s Mart
    Jocelyn Locascio
    (Occo Skin Studio)
    Joe Gorchow (WIS)
    Joe Pinner
    Joe Turkaly
    John Farley (WIS)
    John Legend (Township Auditorium)
    Jonathon Rush
    (WCOS 97.5)
    Jos. A. Bank
    Josh Roberts and the Hinges
    Josh Streetman (Motor Supply Co.)
    Judi Gatson (WIS)
    Just the Thing
    Kaminer Heating and Cooling
    KC’s Hot Dogs
    KD’s Treehouse
    Keep the Midlands Beautiful
    Keg Cowboy
    Keller Williams
    Kelly Nash (WVOC 100.1)
    Kelly’s Deli and Pub
    Kiki’s Chicken and Waffles
    Kleen Kare Cleaners
    Knotty Headz
    KORE Sport Cycles
    Kristian Niemi - Bourbon
    Kyle Smith Pottery
    Lake Carolina
    Lake Murray
    Lake Murray Driving Academy
    Lake Murray Marina
    Lake Murray Treasures
    Lamb’s Bread Vegan Cafe
    Larry Hembree
    Larry Lucas (State Farm)
    Le Peep
    Len Kiese (WIS)
    Leon Lott
    Les Miserables (Town Theatre)
    Lexington Driving Academy
    Lexington Dry Cleaning
    Lexington Firearms
    Lexington Medical Center
    Lexington Medical Center Urgent Care
    Libby’s of Lexington
    Liberty on the Lake
    Lighthouse Marina
    Lillian McBride
    Linda’s Carraoke (Art Bar)
    Lindy Helms (Occo Skin Studio)
    Little Lambs and Ivy
    Little Pigs
    Lizard’s Thicket
    Longhorn Steakhouse
    Loose Lucy’s
    Los Bellos Portales
    Loveland Coffee
    Lowes
    Lucky’s Burger Shack
    Luke Bryan (Tin Roof)
    M Vista
    Mad Platter
    Maduro Room
    Mai Thai
    Main Moon
    Main Street Café
    Mandy Applegate (Urban Nirvana)
    Manifest Discs
    Marble Slab Creamery
    Marco’s Pizza
    Marcus Lattimore
    Mark Ziegler (Five Points Salon)
    Marshall Brown
    Marty Rae’s
    Mary & Martha
    Mary King (WIS)
    Mast General Store
    Maurice’s Piggie Park
    Mayor Steve Benjamin
    McAlister’s Deli
    McDonald’s
    McDonnell and Associates
    McKay, Cauthen, Settana & Stubley
    McKissick Museum
    McNair Law Firm
    MEDCare Urgent Care
    Mediterranean Tea Room
    Meetze Plumbing
    Mellow Mushroom
    Menchie’s
    Michelle Schreiner (Drip)
    Midlands Honda
    Midlands Technical College
    Midtown Fellowship
    Mike Davis (Terra)
    Mikel Rumsey (Bombshell Beauty Studio)
    Mill Creek Pet Food Center
    Miss Cocky
    Miyabi Japanese Steakhouse
    Miyo’s
    Mobile Attic
    Moe’s Southwest Grill
    Mojito’s Tropical Cafe
    Monterrey Mexican Restaurant
    Morgan Faulkenberry (State Farm)
    Morganelli’s
    Motor Supply Co.
    Mr. Friendly’s New Southern Café
    Mr. Tint
    Mungo Homes
    Musician Supply
    Nationwide
    Natural Vibrations
    NBSC
    Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough
    Nest
    New Brookland Tavern
    NewSpring Church
    Nickelodeon
    Nicky’s Pizzeria
    Nifty Gifty
    Nightcaps
    NOMA Dog Park
    Nonnah’s
    Nutrition Warehouse
    Nuttall Tire and Battery
    Oak Table
    Occo Skin Studio
    Of Montreal (Columbia Museum of Art)
    Olando (Opie) Patterson (Goatfeathers)
    Old Mill Antique Mall
    Old Mill Brewpub
    Ole Timey Meat Market
    Olive Garden
    Olympia and Granby Mills
    Once Upon a Child
    One-Earned Cow Glass
    Opening of local craft breweries
    Original Pancake House
    Ouch! Piercings and Tattoos
    Outback Steakhouse
    Outspokin
    Palmetto Citizens Federal Credit Union
    Palmetto Health
    Palmetto Health Baptist
    Palmetto Health Richland
    Palmetto Pediatrics
    Palmetto Pig
    Palmetto Pride Landscaping
    Palmetto Pro Tint
    Palmetto Smiles
    Palmetto State Armory
    Palmetto Thrift
    Pam’s Front Porch
    Papa Jazz
    Paradise Ice
    Pascon Roll Off
    Container Service
    Pasta Fresca
    Pavlov’s
    Pawleys Front Porch
    Pawleys Front Porch Truck
    Pawmetto Lifeline
    Pearlz Lounge
    Pearlz Oyster Bar
    Pecknel
    Pediatric Associates
    Pet Supplies Plus
    PETS Inc.
    PetSmart
    Pinch
    Pink Lotus Yoga Center
    Pita Pit
    Pitas
    Pizza Man
    Planet Fitness
    Planet Vapor
    Platinum Plus
    Platinum West
    Plaugh House
    PODS
    Pointe West Apartments
    Polliwogs
    Pope-Davis Tire and Auto
    Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen
    Portfolio Art Gallery
    Preppy Puppies
    Prettier than Matt
    Providence Hospitals
    PT’s 1109
    Publick House
    Publix
    Punk Monkey Comics
    Pure Barre
    Quaker Steak and Lube
    Queens of the Stone Age (Township Auditorium)
    Rachel Allen (Drip)
    Ragtime (Trustus Theatre)
    Real Mexico
    Red Bowl Asian Bistro
    Red Door Tavern
    Red Lantern Tattoo
    Redbird Studio and Gallery
    Refusing Medicaid expansion
    Regal Sandhill Stadium 16
    Reggie Anderson (WLTX)
    Revente
    Rick Henry (WIS)
    Rioz Brazilian Steakhouse
    River Rat
    River Runner
    Riverbanks Zoo
    Riverwalk Park
    Robbie Mundo (British Bulldog Pub)
    Robin Gottlieb (Bombshell Beauty Studio)
    Rockaway Athletic Club
    Roe Young (State Farm)
    Rosewood
    Rosewood Crawfish Festival
    Rosewood Florist
    Rosewood Market
    Rosewood Market Deli
    Rosso Trattoria Italia
    Roundabouts
    Row Gallery
    Ruby Tuesday
    Rumsey Construction and Renovation
    Rush’s
    Russell and Jeffcoat
    Rusty Anchor
    Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse
    Ryan Ditman
    (@116 Espresso
    and Wine Bar)
    S.C. Rep. James E. Smith
    SAFE Federal
    Credit Union
    SakiTumi
    Saluda River Club
    Sam’s Fine Wines and Spirits
    San Jose
    Sandhills Pediatrics
    Sandy’s Famous
    Hot Dogs
    Sansbury Eye Center
    Sarah and Susie’s Grooming
    SC Medical Store
    SC State Credit Union
    scenesc.com
    Scratch ‘n’ Spin
    Sean McGuinness (“That Godzilla Guy”)
    Security Pro
    Sesquicentennial
    State Park
    Seven Senses
    Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands
    Shalimar Curry House
    Shandon
    Shandon Baptist Church
    Shandon Presbyterian
    Shandon-Wood Animal Clinic
    Shane Anderson (Animated Canvas)
    Shannon Purvis Barron (Indigo Rose Tattoo)
    Sharky’s
    Shaun Phillips (Palmetto Sports Massage)
    Shaw’s Taxi
    Shealy’s BBQ
    Shear Xpectations
    Sheraton
    Shooter’s Choice
    Shrek the Musical (Town Theatre)
    Sid and Nancy
    Signature Transportation
    Silver City Comics
    Silver Spoon Bake Shop
    Sims Music
    Sistercare
    Smashburger
    Social Bar and Lounge
    Soda City Farmer’s Market
    Solar Solutions
    Solstice Kitchen and Wine Bar
    Something Special Florist
    South Carolina Equality
    South Carolina State Fair
    South Carolina State Museum
    Southern Children
    Southern Pottery
    Southern Pride Plumbing
    Southern Strutt
    Southern Vistas
    Garden Center
    Sparkle Car Wash
    Speakeasy
    Spectacle Tinting
    Spice Junction
    Sportsman’s Warehouse
    St. Pat’s in Five Points
    Stagbriar
    Star Music
    Starbucks
    State Farm
    State Street Pub
    Steve Spurrier
    Steve Varholy (WXRY 99.3)
    Still Hope Episcopal Retirement Community
    Strawberry Skys
    Strobler
    Studio Cellar
    Summit Cycles
    Sun Ming
    Sunset Car Wash
    Sustainable Midlands
    Sweet Frog
    Sylvan’s
    Taco Bell
    Takosushi
    Tapp’s Arts Center
    Taste of Jamaica
    TCBY
    TD Bank
    Terminix
    Terra
    Texas Roadhouse
    Thailand Restaurant
    The Backpacker
    The Blossom Shop
    The Book Dispensary
    The Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands
    The Cigar Box
    The Flight Deck Restaurant
    The Fresh Market
    The Friends Club
    The Glo Room
    The Gourmet Shop
    The Heritage at Lowman
    The Jam Room
    The Kingsman
    The Kraken Gastropub
    The Mamas and the Tapas
    The Oak Table
    The Pizza Joint
    The Pour House
    The Reggae Grill
    The Restoration
    The Southern Belly
    The Southern Strutt
    The Vista
    The Vitamin Shoppe
    The Whig
    The Wired Goat
    The Woodlands
    The Woody
    The Wurst Wagen
    thestate.com
    Thirsty Fellow
    Thomas Crouch
    Thomas Ravenel
    Thrift Avenue
    Thunder Tower
    Harley-Davidson
    Tiffany’s Bakery
    Tilted Kilt
    Tim Miller (WIS)
    Tin Roof
    Tio’s
    Tobacco Merchant
    Todd & Moore
    Total Wine and More
    Town Theatre
    Township Auditorium
    Trader Joe’s
    Travinia’s Italian Kitchen
    Travis Rayle (Rosso Trattoria Italia)
    Tripp’s Fine Cleaners
    Tripp’s Lock and Key
    Tropic Aire
    True BBQ
    Trustus Theatre
    Tsubaki Restaurant Lounge
    Tsunami
    Tyler Ryan
    U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson
    Unbound
    Uncle Louie’s
    Unitarian Universalist
    University of South Carolina
    Unwine
    Uptown Gifts
    Urban Nirvana
    US Lawns
    USAA
    Vaping Zone
    Vector Security
    Vibrations
    Vicky Harriman (Carmen! Carmen!)
    Villa Tronco
    Village Idiot
    Vino Garage
    VIP Limo Service
    Vista Studios/Gallery 80808
    WACH (Fox)
    Waffle House
    Waste Management Services
    Weaving the Fate
    Well Pets
    Wells Fargo
    Wescott Acres
    Wet Nose Oasis
    Wheel Source
    Whit-Ash
    Whole Foods
    Wild Hare
    Wild Wing Café
    Wildewood Downs
    Will Green (The Whig)
    Williams-Sonoma
    Wine Down
    Wings and Ale
    WIS (NBC)
    wistv.com
    WLTX (CBS)
    wltx.com
    WOLO (ABC)
    Woodcreek Farms
    Workshop Theatre
    World of Beer
    Yamato
    Yesterdays
    YMCA
    Yoga Masala
    Yoghut
    You, Me, and Us
    Young’s True Value Hardware
    Zaxby’s
    Zorba’s



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    All the World’s a Stage

    Renowned Children’s Author-Illustrator Set for Columbia Exhibition
    By Heather Green
    Thursday, May 29, 2014 |
    Soda City is teeming with creative juices these days. Whether you’re checking out our local museums, taking the family to a ballet or simply strolling down Main Street, Columbia’s art scene is on the upswing for both adult and youth audiences. So it should be no surprise that Richland Library and the Columbia Museum of Art are teaming up to bring Anita Lobel, one of the most talented and beloved children’s authors and illustrators, to Columbia. (Full disclosure: I work at the Wheatley branch of the Richland Library.)

    When one thinks of the legendary author-artist, beautifully illustrated picture books filled with rich colors and traditional stories instantly come to mind. Since 1965, Lobel has authored and illustrated more than 50 children’s books. Her memoir, No Pretty Pictures: A Child of War, was a finalist for the National Book Award and On Market Street is a Caldecott Medal honor book, which she created with her late husband, Arnold.

    Born in Cracow, Poland, in 1934, Lobel survived a Nazi concentration camp and moved to New York with her parents in 1952. A true artist, Lobel also has experience in theater and textile design. Although her amazing and sometimes difficult past is reflected in her work, Lobel prefers to tell stories that are pleasant and spiritual for the reader. She chooses not to ruminate on her survival but to highlight her celebrated art and stories.

    She is no stranger to Columbia, having previously visited Richland Library and participated in the Annual Augusta Baker’s Dozen Storytelling event hosted by Richland Library and the University of South Carolina.

    Lobel has befriended many area librarians, including Leslie Tetreault, manager of the Richland Library Children’s Room.

    “Ms. Lobel’s books are part of the canon of the most important, highest quality books for children," Tetreault says. “Her picture books are wonderful for sharing with young children.”

    The exhibit will be in the Gallery at Main, on the Garden level of the Main Library and in the Education Gallery at the museum.

    It contains more than 70 pieces of art and 30 books from throughout Lobel’s career. Roughly two-thirds of the art will be in Richland Library’s downstairs gallery with the rest on display at the museum. There will be a joint Scavenger Hunt/Gallery Guide for the entire exhibit that will lead visitors from one location to the other.
    The exhibit, on loan from the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature in Texas, runs through Aug. 17.

    There are also two opportunities to meet and connect with Lobel. A book signing and reception will be held in the main library’s Bostick Auditorium on June 20 at 6:30 p.m. On June 21, Lobel will discuss her work at a gallery talk beginning at 1 p.m. at the Richland Library and moving to the Columbia Museum of Art at 2:15. A book signing will follow.


    A Lobel sampler


    Artwork from these works will be on display during the show. This is a good selection of books to give you a taste of Anita Lobel’s work before exploring the full exhibit.

    Hello, Day!
    Anita Lobel
    Greenwillow Books, 40 pages, $16.99
    Ages: Pre-K

    Illustrated with pencil, watercolors, and other media, Hello, Day is a colorful work of art introducing animal sounds. It begins with a rooster who welcomes us at sunrise with a “Cock-a-doodle-doo!” and ends with an owl just getting ready to begin his night as the moon rises. A beautiful book that’s entertaining for any listener or reader — a wonderful read-aloud.

    Nini Here and There
    Anita Lobel
    Greenwillow Books, 32 Pages, $16.99
    Ages: 3-7

    Lobel’s cat, Nini, makes a special appearance in Nini Here and There. Seeing her owner packing for a trip, Nini knows something’s up and feels anxious about the possibilities. Once she’s zipped into her carrier, she’s on her way from New York to Vermont for a summer vacation. During Nini’s catnap, she dreams of floating on a cloud and riding an elephant. All anxiety is gone when she arrives at her destination with her owner, her food, and a nice window sill for Nini to watch the day. It’s not her home but at least she’s not alone.

    On Market Street</strong>
    Arnold Lobel (author) and Anita Lobel (illustrator)
    Greenwillow Books, 40 pages, $16.99
    Ages: 4-8

    Inspired by the 1977 Children’s Book Week poster designed by Lobel herself, On Market Street is a unique, and beautifully illustrated take on the alphabet. When you’re on Market Street there are so many delights, it’s hard for little ones to decide what to buy. Beginning with apples and ending with zippers (my personal favorite), each purchase is beautifully adorned on the shopkeepers themselves. A Caldecott Medal honor book. — Heather Green, Richland Library



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    Why Can’t We Be Friends?

    Six Situations and How to Handle Them with Your Child-Free Friends
    By Anne Postic
    Thursday, May 29, 2014 |
    Illustrations by Jason Crosby
    “Why can’t we be friends?
    Why can’t we be friends?
    I seen you ‘round for a long long time
    I really ‘membered you when you drink my wine”



    Sing it with me. Whether you are a parent or enthusiastically child-free, you may have found yourself humming this tune and thinking of a friend on the other side of the fence. Why can’t we be friends? Funny you should ask. The reality is a stark contrast to what we read in magazines and online: We can be friends. And I have the social life to prove it.

    Friends don’t change, but their lives and schedules do. Want to keep your crew? Learn how to navigate the changes. Here are a few situations you may have encountered, and how to handle them without losing
    a friend.


    The Situation: My friends invited us to an afternoon picnic, and we were sure our kids were included. When we got there, they seemed surprised to see us all.

    Handled: First of all, avoid this one in the future by asking if kids are included. Never assume. If you don’t want to make your host feel uncomfortable by asking, try this. “We’d love to come, but we aren’t ready for a sitter to keep little Joe. Please keep us on your list for next time!” This response allows your friend to accept your regrets graciously, but it also opens the door to, “Oh! Please bring him. We’d love to mop up little Joe’s drool!”


    The Situation: Our friends invited us over, and asked us to bring the rug rats, but their house isn’t child friendly at all. They didn’t have a single outlet cover and there were lamps on all the tables!

    Handled: Accept that your children are your responsibility, and that your friends had good intentions. They wanted to see you, but childproofing a house just isn’t on their radar — nor should it be. There may be some places that aren’t a lot of fun for you with your toddler and that’s just fine. One surefire way to make people think you are a good parent and your child is an angel is to make sure is to make sure your adorable monster’s behavior doesn’t affect them. Screaming child? Slip outside. In fact, learn to anticipate the whininess and go home before it happens. Keep an eye on your progeny and don’t let them break anything. Too many breakables? Make plans elsewhere with your friend or get a sitter.




    The Situation: I used to love going out to eat with friends, but our toddler won’t allow me to eat or talk to them. She demands all of our attention.

    Handled: Invite your friend over for a glass of wine or three after your children are asleep. There are times in every child’s life when they aren’t meant for restaurants. If you can’t afford a sitter or don’t have a good one, get take out and eat at home. You know how people say television isn’t a babysitter? Lies. Pull out the DVD collection or get on Netflix — in limited amounts.

    The real problem is when you start using mind-numbing media as a teacher. Walt Disney makes an excellent, inexpensive babysitter, as long as you are a room or two away, so you won’t have to listen. Speaking of babysitters, use them. Yes, they are expensive and yes, it can be hard to let go, but that “me time” thing is no joke.


    The Situation: My friend stopped calling me once I became a parent. I feel really hurt.

    Handled: Call your friend, and make sure you have time to spend with her that isn’t all about you and your brood. It’s normal to want to be friends with other parents when you become one. After all, we look to our friends for sympathy, advice and commiseration, not to mention company for our children. But when your kid gets a little older, you are going to miss your friends. There will come a time when you want to talk about anything but kids. If you must talk about your baby, make sure the story is funny, not too gross, and in no way implies that parenthood is the only true way to nirvana. Yes, parenthood is magical. Duh. But you must know happily fulfilled people who are child-free.


    The Situation: I’ve been staying home with our children or have been limiting my hours at work. I feel out of the loop and, frankly, a little stupid when I try to keep up the pace in a conversation with my child-free pals. What happened to me?

    Handled: You are already winning, because you’ve noticed the difference. You aren’t stupid. (Well, unless you were already stupid before you had children, because that sticks.) You may be a little tired, and not at the top of your conversational game. Remember that people love listeners, too, and keeping up with what’s going on in your field — or your friend’s — can’t hurt. You may think you never want to work again. You may change your mind, so keep your options open. And read a book every now and then. Too tired to talk? Ask questions about your friend’s life. You can’t go wrong.


    The Situation: I just had a baby. I post pictures and updates, but no more than one a day or so. My friend posts daily rants on her own page about how she hates seeing pictures of people’s gross kids all over Facebook and Instagram. Is she talking to me?

    Handled: Ask her if she knows how to unfollow or hide people from her feed and if she understands that social media is optional. Kidding. Don’t go there. Just hide her from your feed and forget about it. This isn’t about you.



    There are times when parenting is all-consuming, and it’s hard to think about anything else. Baby care takes up all your time, toddlers sap your energy, grade schoolers need rides everywhere — and teenagers will steal your soul, if you aren’t careful. It may be a cliché, but you do need time for yourself. Making and keeping child-free friends is worth the effort, because if you don’t, one day, you’ll really miss them.

    That fence between parents and the child-free? There’s no reason on earth not to make it a gate. But you may want to add a child-proof latch so your little one doesn’t trample your friend’s herb garden and pull on her dog’s tail.


    Tips for Child-Free Friends of Breeders


    • Let them talk about their kids. Try to be amused. But don’t suffer in silence if they go on too long. A well-placed “Did you see Eva’s latest blog about City Council in Free Times? Crazy stuff!” can steer the conversation in a more interesting direction.

    • Offer to meet them in child-friendly places, like for coffee in the park. Or be the friend who asks, “What time do the kids usually go to sleep? Can I come over and pop some popcorn while you put them to bed and we can chat after?” Most parents love that friend.

    • If you truly can’t stand kids, don’t force yourself to be around them. Your feelings will show and the parents may be hurt.

    • If you do invite kids to your place, consider getting a couple of Wiggles DVDs from the library and pick up some washable markers and construction paper, just in case.

    • If your friend with children is truly insufferable, like the type who berates you for not childproofing your home, she may just be a jerk. Chances are she wasn’t that great as a friend before, was she? Some friendships aren’t meant to be.

    • Try to keep in touch. One day, your friend will get back to normal and you’ll want to be there!

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    Music & DVD Reviews: Okee Dokee Brothers, Django Jones

    By Kevin Oliver
    Thursday, May 29, 2014 |
    Through The Woods
    The Okee Dokee Brothers
    CD and DVD boxed set
    Okee Dokee Music

    Joe Mailander and Justin Lansing are a pair of GenXers who play guitar and banjo and make fun songs for kids in the folk tradition, so taking a stroll through the music of the mountains in the Eastern U.S. is a natural fit. Guests such as musician David Holt of Asheville, N.C., Hubby Jenkins of the band The Carolina Chocolate Drops, and venerable kiddie folkies Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer all make appearances on the album tracks, which are mostly new compositions inspired by traditional mountain music.

    Even without the accompanying DVD, the music alone is worth the walk through the gentle breezy style of Mailander and Lansing. From the easy gait of the title tune through the up-tempo dance of “Jamboree” and the inadvertent music theory lesson of “Out of Tune,” the message here is one of fun and feeling free to enjoy the great outdoors.

    Various instruments and percussion pieces make themselves known throughout, from the unusual ‘bones’ Hubby Jenkins plays in the traditional “Big Rock Candy Mountain” to the washboard, banjo and fiddle. Other traditional elements are incorporated as well, such as setting “Hillbilly Willy” to the tune of “Old Dan Tucker,” making the whole affair seem like a month-long family hootenanny.

    The DVD component is what sets this apart from just another kid’s music album featuring vintage music instruments and favorite songs, as Lansing and Mailander set off on a trek along the Appalachian Trail, stopping along the way to learn about mountain music and play a few tunes with those they come across. There is a five-minute segment with Holt, who shows off such unusual instruments as the mouth bow and the bones, demonstrating each briefly. A visit with the Wright Family shows off a group of talented kids the same age as the video’s target audience playing a pretty slick “Blue Moon of Kentucky.” And a session on a Virginia porch with banjo player Elizabeth LaPrelle yields several humorous ad-libbed musical moments.

    Many of the album songs are included in the DVD footage, either as set music video style pieces or in passing during their travels and visits to others. The “Jamboree” footage in the Floyd County General Store is especially fun, and the segment on songwriting with Mailander and Lansing offering up intentionally bad song ideas to each other is hilarious and instructive at the same time, showing kids it’s OK to fail repeatedly and that often a good idea can come out of those failures.

    It’s that kind of subtle lesson that the Okee Dokee Brothers are best at — playing music and having fun, while still making a point about friendship, feeling free to go adventuring, stopping to enjoy the wildlife (including a visit with some adorable wild ponies), and being playful with each other while going on an adventure that will serve to inspire families to try their own.

    D is for Django
    Django Jones
    Deputy Jones Records

    When an indie-rock band decides to start making music for kids, it isn’t always the natural progression many of them might think. Just because you are starting to have kids of your own doesn’t mean your music will translate to the kinder-core set. Former members of the band Girlyman took that plunge after disbanding their adult efforts and Django Jones is the result.

    “P-O-P” is an effective, upbeat dance-along with actual Jiffy Pop percussion that’ll have kids bouncing around like popcorn, but much of the band’s lyrical content may be too dense and complicated for the littlest ears. Their lack of simplicity is an asset in the instrumental side, however, with layered arrangements filling up the group’s sprightly pop sound nicely. Gypsy jazz fans might be disappointed to know that the “Django” referenced in the band name and album title is a pet chihuahua, not the legendary guitarist, by the way.

    Put this one on in the car or during those ‘get the sillies out’ moments when all the kids want to do is flail around and have fun, but don’t expect them to sit down and listen intently for too many minutes at a time otherwise.

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    Ready, Set, Spend!

    Seven Steps to Financial Literacy for Kids
    By Kevin Oliver
    Thursday, May 29, 2014 |
    Your children don’t have any money that you haven’t given them, unless they are old enough to babysit, mow yards or get a summer job. Still, they end up with cash from birthdays, Christmas gifts or an allowance. Teaching them what to do with their money is an essential step in their development — and doing it now can help them avoid pitfalls and problems later in life.

    Start Early

    It’s never too early to start incorporating money management into a child’s day, and even very young children can learn the basics.

    “The sooner these concepts are taught, the better,” says Anna Burns, coordinator of legislative and public affairs at the South Carolina Department of Education. “Children in grades K-2 can be taught some of the basic concepts in financial literacy such as taking responsibility for personal financial decisions and considering the alternatives and consequences of financial decisions.”

    You can teach monetary concepts through board games such as Life or Monopoly. Also, you can reinforce both math and financial skills by using coins for counting games. To teach your child about saving, consider opening a savings account in the child’s name or giving them a piggy bank in the shape of their favorite animated character.

    Repeat Often

    Take every opportunity that presents itself to reinforce monetary lessons. A trip to the store can become a teachable moment as you compare prices, quantities, and stick to a predetermined budget for spending. If you want to keep a child busy for an hour and get them to really think about what they’re spending, give them a few dollars and set them loose in the dollar store. They’ll study every item and make their own decisions about what to spend the money on, never realizing they’ve just learned a lesson on making financial choices.

    “Parents should talk to children about the various ways to earn, save and spend money,” Burns says. “Opportunity cost, what one will lose or gain by making a choice about what to buy or not, can be part of a conversation with small children.”

    Set Limits

    As soon as your child begins to accumulate funds of their own, they’ll naturally want to spend the money. That’s OK, but make sure to have them set aside a portion of everything they receive. A savings account will keep the funds far enough away to avoid impulse purchases and offer an opportunity to explain compound interest as the child sees the bank statements each month.

    Set Goals

    What’s the use of saving if you have no idea what you want to use the money for, and if you get everything you want right away, why save? These are questions that can be answered by helping your child set goals for their spending and saving. Do they really want an expensive gadget or toy? Show them the cost, then work to see how long they’ll need to stockpile their allowance or other income to make the purchase.

    Let Them Splurge

    It seems to contradict the above sentiment, but if you don’t let your child spend frivolously on occasion, when they get out on their own they’ll take all that pent-up want and do it anyway, with more significant consequences. Once they’ve saved a bit, blowing a few of those dollars on the latest video game or some candy is OK; the aftermath can teach kids about buyer’s remorse and remind them that saving for something that they really need is much more rewarding and lasting.

    Set Them Up to Succeed

    Credit cards are the biggest financial danger lurking in most teenagers’ futures, with many receiving their first plastic when they head off to college. Interest rates, making payments over time, and not spending more than you can pay back quickly are all good lessons for children to learn prior to that first card in their name.

    “The decision to provide children with credit cards should be based on their demonstrated understanding of the appropriate use of credit, interest rates and debt,” Burns says. “In the end, it is a family decision if the child is a minor or a personal decision if the student is old enough.” A prepaid Visa or Mastercard is a good, safe way to start that process. If they get a checking account the difference between a debit card and a credit card is another aspect of card use to cover.

    Set the Example

    Kids do what they see you doing. If your financial house is not in order — you make impulse purchases regularly, you have no savings account, and you budget week-to-week — it may be hard to get your children to understand concepts such as saving and frugal spending. The same lessons apply no matter what your age, so make sure you can lead by example when it comes to your money and your children will follow in your financial footsteps.



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    Kids Calendar: June-July-August 2014

    By Free Times
    Thursday, May 29, 2014 |

    Ongoing


    Blooming Butterflies
    EdVenture Children’s Museum

    edventure.org

    May 4-Oct. 6. A 2,500-square-foot enclosed habitat designed to showcase the lifespan of over 20 species of butterflies.

    Dinosaurs: Land of Fire and Ice
    edventure.org
    June 7-Sept. 14. View landscapes from the Cretaceous Period and touchable dinosaurs of all shapes and sizes. Children can wear insect costumes while buzzing through volcanoes and swamps, learning about different ecosystems along the way.

    EdVenture Family Night

    EdVenture Children’s Museum
    edventure.org

    Second Tuesdays. $1 museum admission between 5 and 8 p.m.


    Gladys’ Gang
    Columbia Museum of Art
    columbiamuseum.org
    Free monthly program includes story time and creative studio activity.

    Lowes Build and Grow
    lowesbuildandgrow.com
    June 14 – Aug. 23. Begins at 10 a.m. on select Saturdays. Children build small toys from their favorite movies using provided material. First clinic features Toothless from How to Train your Dragon. Call a nearby location for details.

    Parents’ Survival Night

    The Little Gym

    Select Fridays and Saturdays. Parents call it a break from the kids. Kids call it a break from their parents. That sounds like a win-win situation.

    Passport to Art
    Columbia Museum of Art

    columbiamuseum.org

    Second Sundays from noon to 3 p.m. Free open-studio program for families with activities corresponding with one of the museum’s exhibitions.

    Toddler Tuesdays
    EdVenture Children’s Museum
    edventure.org
    Every Tuesday from 10 to 11 a.m. for children 12 months to 5 years old. Some activities include arts & crafts, easel painting and playing in the sandbox. Free with admission or membership.

    June


    Beauty and the Beast Jr.
    Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College
    icrc.net

    June 1. Children showcase classic Disney story in Midlands Technical College’s Harbison Theatre.

    Storytime: The Very Hungry Caterpillar

    Barnes & Noble (Midtown at Forest Acres)
    June 4. Celebrate the caterpillar’s 45th birthday with coloring and other hands-on activities. For ages 4 and up.

    Build a Riding Lawn Mower Workshop
    Home Depot

    workshops.homedepot.com
    June 7. Free, hands-on workshop for children aged 5 through 12 at which they build a pint-sized riding mower. Participants receive certificate of achievement, workshop apron and commemorative pin. Call store for details.

    Gladys’ Gang: Let the Fur Fly
    Columbia Museum of Art
    columbiamuseum.org
    June 4. Want your child to be the next Picasso? This class will teach them basic art terms like color, line, shape and texture. Free monthly program includes story time and creative studio activity.

    Puss in Boots
    Columbia Marionette Theater
    cmtpuppet.org
    June 7-Aug. 30. Columbia’s favorite child-focused puppeteers take on the tale of the feline with the famous footwear.
    Passport to Art: Stripes, Spots, and Scales

    Columbia Museum of Art
    columbiamuseum.org
    June 8. Afternoon where families view painting by Shelley Reed, while creating their own patterned animal portrait. Noon to 3 p.m. Family tour of museum also available at 1 p.m.

    Columbia Mini Maker Faire
    EdVenture Children’s Museum
    makerfairecolumbiasc.com
    June 14. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., crafters, engineers and artists of all ages will convene to show off their skills. And to mess with cool toys, of course. Explore your inner inventor.

    The Commedia Snow White
    Columbia Children’s Theatre
    columbiachildrenstheatre.com
    June 13-22. The Spaghetti and Meatball Players are back for a fifth hilarious summer! Join Pantalone, Arlequino, Rosetta, Columbina and Punchin as take a bite out of the classic tale of forbidden fruit.

    July


    Build a Bug House Workshop

    Home Depot

    workshops.homedepot.com
    July 5. Free, hands-on workshop for children aged 5 to 12. Call a nearby location for details.

    Family Fishing Clinics
    dnr.sc.gov/aquaticed/fishingclinic
    July 12, July 13, July 19. Learn the basics of fishing from S.C. Dept. of Natural Resources volunteers. Knot tying, lure selection and casting techniques will be covered. Participation is open to children ages 4 and above.

    Gladys’ Gang: Red, White, Blue and You
    Columbia Museum of Art
    columbiamuseum.org
    July 9. Teaches children basic art terms (line, shape, etc.) with an emphasis on color and pattern usage in museum pieces. Free monthly program includes story time and creative studio activity.

    Kids Fun Night: Skyhawks Carnival
    Hammond School
    hammondschool.org
    July 12. Hammond School mini-carnival from 6 to 10 p.m. where children can make their own tie-dye shirts and masks. Includes a magic show and balloon animals. Register in advance online.

    Passport to Art: Patriotic Portraits
    Columbia Museum of Art
    columbiamuseum.org
    July 13. Make a self-portrait using patriotic colors. Noon to 3 p.m. Family tour of museum also available at 1 p.m.

    Kids Fun Night
    Hi-Wire Trampoline Park
    hammondschool.org
    July 25. Off-site trampoline field trip. Dinner provided by Hammond School prior to departing from campus. Register in advance online.

    August


    Gladys Gang: Alphabet Animals
    Columbia Museum of Art
    columbiamuseum.org
    Aug. 6. Kids will get inspiration from picture book author Anita Lobel’s exhibition, All the World’s a Stage, then head back to the studios to create part of their own picture book.

    Passport to Art: Go Team!
    Columbia Museum of Art
    columbiamuseum.org
    Aug. 10. Inspired by the exhibit Cheer for the Home Team. Boost your team spirit and create your own masterpiece using team colors.

    Jubilee Festival of Heritage
    Mann-Simons Cottage
    historiccolumbia.org
    Aug. 23. Features hands-on demonstrations from skilled artists and craftsmen and vendors with African-influenced and traditional merchandise. Music ranges from African drumming to R&B, jazz and gospel.

    comments powered by Disqus Free Times Family Magazine / Health /

    What You (And Your Kids) Need to Know About Guns

    Even If You Don’t Have Guns, Your Kid’s Friends Might
    By Free Times
    Thursday, May 29, 2014 |
    By Jenny Munro

    Kids see guns everywhere.

    They see them on television where gun deaths are commonplace, in electronic games where characters repeatedly die violent deaths, in their home or at friends’ houses. Government statistics show nearly half of all homes have guns.

    With that kind of exposure, gun-safety experts say even children from homes without guns need to learn about safety. Even if you don’t have a gun, chances are your kids’ next play date could be in a home where guns are present.

    Geri Allison of Columbia says she does not want her kids around weapons but wants them to know enough to be safe.

    “I just want them to know not to touch a gun and not to stay around other kids if they have guns,” she says. “Kids seldom mean to hurt someone with a loaded gun, but you never know what will happen.”

    Kelly Powers, a gun-owning father of two, said he expects about 60 percent of the homes around his have guns. His son, 10, already uses firearms; his daughter, 6, is not much interested in them.

    The most important lesson of gun safety for his children: “The first thing I do is I practice gun safety. I set the example myself,” Powers says.

    “I do keep my guns locked up,” he says. The only exception is an unloaded handgun he has for home protection. That gun is never in his house if he’s not there, but his children also know not to touch it without him.

    Powers’ son’s first gun was a BB gun — and it came with plenty of instruction on how to hold it, shoot it and never to point it at anything he didn’t plan to hit. The boy now has firearms of his own, which are kept locked up except when in use.

    Paul Payne, a Columbia father of a 6-year-old son and a 3-year-old daughter, says, “My son’s had a BB gun for about a year. I started out with a BB gun as a kid.” The boy was taught not to point the gun at anything he doesn’t plan to shoot and to put the gun down while climbing over a fence. He uses the BB gun only when Payne is supervising.

    “I think it’s so much better to teach a child about guns,” he says, adding that he’s allowed the boy to sit in his lap and pull the trigger on “a real gun.” Because his son has been around guns, “he doesn’t think it’s anything special.”

    Payne said his son once found his unloaded handgun in his car’s glove box and reported that there was a real gun in the car. After removing the pistol, Payne now keeps his handguns with his hunting guns in a locked gun cabinet.

    Parents may not know whether their child’s friends have unsupervised access to guns and experts say they need to check that out.

    Powers and Payne both said they understand if any parents of their children’s friends ask if their firearms are secured safely. No parent should mind unless they do not secure their firearms safely.

    Although gun injuries among children are hard to track, a Yale University study released in January and published in the Journal of Pediatrics reported 20 children a day are victims of shootings.
    Twenty-nine percent of those shootings are accidents and 75 percent of injuries in those accidents were sustained by children under 10.

    About 89 percent of unintentional shooting deaths of children occur in the home when a child finds a gun and begins playing with it, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

    Basic rules of safety should be taught to all children regardless of whether parents plan to teach them to use a gun eventually. The first and most important lesson is that a gun is not a toy: It is designed to hurt or kill. Powers says when his son shot his first deer they discussed how guns would do the same thing to people.

    “Educate them,” Powers says of children whose parents don’t own guns. Kids may be exposed to guns away from home so they need to know the safety rules. “All you can do is educate them.
    There’s nothing else to do,” he says.

    But that instruction may not be enough.

    In a 2001 study, published in Pediatrics, researchers watched through a one-way mirror as 64 boys between 8 and 12 explored a room in which an inoperative .38-caliber handgun was hidden in a drawer inside a cabinet.

    During the 15-minute scenario, 48 found the gun. Although more than 90 percent said they’d had some instruction in gun safety, two-thirds of those who found the gun handled it and one-third of those who found it pulled the trigger. Only one child went to tell an adult about the gun — and the others teased him about it.


    Rules for Kids and Parents


    According to a Yale University research study, more than 1,600 children under 10 are injured or killed each year in the U.S. in an accident involving a gun. Whether you have a gun or not, teaching kids gun safety is critical. Parents also have a responsibility to keep guns safely secured. For both parents and children, these rules, according to KidSafe, should be unbreakable.

    For Kids

    • If you find a gun, stop.

    • Don’t touch the gun at all.

    • Leave the area. That will keep you safe if someone picks it up.

    • Tell a responsible adult — your parent, another relative, a teacher, a neighbor.

    • If a friend wants to show you the gun, say “no” and leave right away if you are close to home. Or call your parent for a ride and talk about what happened as soon as you’re picked up.

    • If someone at your school threatens you or talks about bringing a gun to school, tell an adult like a teacher, a guidance counselor or the principal as soon as possible. Also, tell your mom or dad.


    For Parents

    • Store guns in a locked location, unloaded and out of reach and sight of children.

    • Store ammunition in a separate locked location.

    • Keep the keys and combinations hidden.

    • Ensure all guns are equipped with effective, child-resistant gun locks.

    • If a visitor has a gun in a backpack, briefcase, handbag or an unlocked car, provide them with a locked place to hold it while they are in your home.

    • Talk to your kids and their caregivers.


    comments powered by Disqus Free Times Family Magazine /

    Free Times Parent June-July 2014

    By Free Times
    Thursday, May 29, 2014 |


    comments powered by Disqus Free Times Family Magazine / Listings /

    Health Listings

    By Free Times
    Wednesday, May 28, 2014 |
    For check-ups, vaccines, boosters and general wellness, you need a trusted family practitioner or pediatrician in your life. And there’s a lot more to staying healthy than just having a regular doctor. Here are some resources to get you started.

    Advanced Dentistry Columbia
    1701 St. Julian Place, 254-6763
    www.advanceddentistrycolumbia.com
    Super-friendly, family owned practice led by Dr. Nicholas Gee.

    Ballentine Pediatrics
    11134 Broad River Rd., 732-0920
    www.ballentinepediatrics.com
    Christian-oriented practice.

    Ballentine Family Dentistry
    3533 Dreher Shoals Rd., 732-3001

    Camden Family Care
    1017 Fair St.,424-1260
    www.camdenfamilycare.com

    Carolina Children’s Dentistry
    7701 Trenholm Rd., 736-6000
    www.carolinachildrensdentistry.com
    Serving children from toddlers to age 18.

    Carolina Pediatrics
    Downtown: 2113 Adams Grove Rd.,
    256-0531
    Irmo: 7033 St. Andrews Rd., 376-2838
    www.carolinapediatrics.com

    Carolina Teen Health
    carolinateenhealth.org
    Questions about sex and STDs answered in a teen-oriented format.

    Child Care Services
    www.scchildcare.org
    An arm of the Department of Social Services, this childcare.sc.gov is an online hub with information on everything from child-care center licensing to Head Start programs. Also see related site scchildcare.org.

    Children’s Dental Groupof South Carolina
    7210 K Broad River Rd., Irmo, 781-5141
    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
    Children’s Dental Group of South Carolina is the fastest growing children’s dental office in Columbia, offering oral conscious sedation for a more pleasant dental experience. We gladly accept insurance and Medicaid for ages 1-21.

    Chapin Family Practice
    1612 Chapin Rd., 345-3414
    www.chapinfamilypractice.com

    Children’s Choice Pediatrics
    6108 Garners Ferry Rd., 647-1265
    www.childrenschoicepeds.com

    Chrysostom Family Dentistry
    3308 Platt Springs Rd., 350-9124
    drdeno.com

    City of Columbia Community Gardens
    www.columbiasc.net/communitygardens
    Five-by-12-foot publicly owned plots available for lease to residents and organizations. Cost is $20 per year.

    Columbia’s Cooking!
    www.cpcp.sph.sc.edu/cooking, 576-5636
    Healthy cooking classes for kids 9 and older and adults.

    Colonial Family Practice
    3930 Devine St., 256-1511
    www.colonialfamilypractice.com
    Part of a Sumter-based practice group.

    Creative Cooking
    creativecookingsc.com
    Classes and camps for children ages 3 to 12.

    Eat Smart Move More South Carolina
    www.eatsmartmovemoresc.org
    Offers events, live training and web training to assist local organizers in creating, managing and maintaining obesity prevention programs. 

    Ellis, Green & Jenkins Pediatric Dentistry
    8905 Two Notch Rd., 788-9353
    www.wecaredentalsc.com

    Family Medicine Centers of South Carolina
    Downtown: 1910 Gregg St., 931-0100
    Hardscrabble: 300 Rice Meadow Way, 227-7777
    Irmo: 7611 St. Andrews Rd., 724-1100
    Lexington: 3630 Sunset Blvd., 239-1600
    Northeast: 1721 Horseshoe Dr., 788-7884
    Southeast: 813 Leesburg Rd., 783-4433
    www.fmcofsc.com
    Private family practice group.

    Five Points Pediatric & Walk-in Care
    1228 Harden St., 748-7002, www.ecchc.org
    Part of the Eau Claire Cooperative Health Centers.

    Girls on the Run
    www.gotrcolumbia.org
    Inspires pre-teen girls to be joyful, healthy and confident through a fun curriculum that creatively integrates running.

    Hutchinson Family Dentistry
    209 W. Main St., 359-0566
    www.hutchinsonfamilydentistry.com

    Kids First Dental
    2700 Broad River Rd., 772-4949
    www.kidsfirstdentalsc.com

    The Kids Group
    206 Medical Cir., 796-9200
    www.thekidsgroup.com

    Kool Smiles
    5422 Forest Dr., 753-8064
    www.mykoolsmiles.com

    Lake Murray Pediatric Dentistry
    740 Old Lexington Hwy., 345-2483
    www.lakemurraypediatricdentistry.com

    Lakeside Pediatrics
    811 W. Main St., Suite 205 (Lexington)
    www.lakesidepediatric.com
    Led by Dr. Douglas Luberoff; part of the Lexington Medical Center network.

    Lexington Family Practice
    www.lexmednetwork.org
    The Lexington Family Practice network is an umbrella group of the Lexington Medical Center.

    Lexington Medical Center
    www.lexmed.com
    A frequent winner of Best Hospital in Free Times’ Best of Columbia poll.

    Dr. Samuel J. Marsh Pediatric Dentistry
    2302 Bush River Rd., 798-8675
    www.wemakekidssmile.com

    Medcare Urgent Care Center
    110 Medical Cir., 509-7316
    medcareurgentcare.com

    Midlands Orthopedics
    1910 Blanding St., 256-4107
    www.midlandsortho.com

    Moore Orthopaedic Clinic
    Columbia: 14 Medical Park, 227-8000
    Columbia: 114 Gateway Corp., 227-8000
    Lexington: 104 Saluda Pointe Dr., 227-8000
    www.moorecenter.net

    Northeast Children’s Dentistry
    147 Summit Cir., 865-1421
    www.northeastchildrensdentistry.com

    Palmetto Health
    www.palmettohealth.org
    A frequent contender for Best Hospital in Free Times’ Best of Columbia poll.

    Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital
    7 Richland Medical Park Dr.
    www.ch.palmettohealth.org
    A state-of-the-art children’s hospital with comfortable family-centered spaces, age-appropriate play areas and therapeutic diversions to help reduce stress and encourage healing.

    Palmetto Health Family Medicine Practices
    Harbison: 190 Parkridge Dr., 407-3857
    Irmo: 190 Parkridge Dr., 749-0693
    Lakeview: 1316 N. Lake Dr., 358-1191
    Northeast: 115 Blarney Dr., 736-6262
    South Hampton: 5900 Garners Ferry Rd., 695-5450
    Twelve Mile Creek: 4711 Sunset Blvd., 356-3609
    University: 4311 Hardscrabble Rd., 419-6334
    www.palmettohealth.org
    Family practice wing of Palmetto Health.

    Palmetto Pediatric & Adolescent Clinic
    Downtown: 140 Park Central, 779-4001
    Harbison: 16 Woodcross Dr., 732-0140
    Lexington: 1970 Augusta Hwy., 358-2370
    Northeast: 74 Polo Rd., 788-4886
    Rice Creek: 300 Rice Meadow Way, 788-6360
    www.palmettopediatric.com
    Affiliated with Richland, Baptist, Palmetto Richland Children’s and Lexington Hospitals.

    Palmetto Smiles
    139 Whiteford Way, 951-9100,
    www.palmetto-smiles.com

    Pediatric After Hours Care
    114 Gateway Corporate Blvd., 865-4900
    Open 6-10 p.m., Mon-Fri; 2-8 p.m., Sat-Sun.

    Providence Hospitals
    Downtown: 2435 Forest Dr.
    Northeast: 120 Gateway Corporate Blvd.
    www.providencehospitals.com
    Another of Columbia’s top-flight hospital systems.

    Providence Northeast Family
    114 Gateway Corporate Blvd., 788-6508
    www.providence-nefc.com

    Rice Creek Family Dentistry
    101 Rice Bent Way, 788-2676
    www.ricecreekdmd.com

    Safe Kids Midlands
    7 Richland Medical Park Dr., Suite 7186
    www.safekidsmidlands.org
    Dedicated to decreasing the number of injuries to children. Offers information on safe car-seat practices, product recalls, safety with household products and more.

    Smile Columbia
    690A Columbiana Dr., 781-9090
    www.smilecolumbia.com

    South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy
    www.teenpregnancysc.org
    Provides information and resources for teens, parents, educators and community organizations.

    South Carolina Dental Center
    2020 Laurel St., 254-4543
    www.southcarolinadentalcenter.com

    South Lake Family Dental
    1223 S. Lake Dr., 520-5580
    www.southlakedmd.com

    Sterling Sharpe Pediatric Center
    4605 Monticello Rd., 252-7001
    www.ecchc.org
    Part of the Eau Claire Cooperative Health Centers.

    Teen Talk
    www.palmettohealth.org/teentalk, 296-2273
    Offers numerous resources for teens, including Teen Talk newsletter, peer-to-peer discussions and an ask-an-expert program.

    USC Family Medicine Center
    3209 Colonial Blvd., 434-6113
    www.familymedicine.med.sc.edu
    Offers complete care for children and adults with a focus on prevention.

    USC Sports Medicine Center
    Two Medical Park, Suite 104, 434-6812
    www.uscsportsmedicine.com
    Open to athletes at all levels — recreational to high school, college and professional.

    Vista Smiles
    515 Richland St., 779-9666
    www.vistasmilesofcolumbia.com
    Offers full range of family dental services with advancing technology in a welcoming environment.

    Wellspring Family Medicine
    114 Gateway Corporate Blvd., 865-9655
    www.wellspringfmed.com

    Wild Smiles
    203 N. Lake Dr., 356-1606
    www.wildsmiles.net

    comments powered by Disqus Free Times Family Magazine / Listings /

    Activities Listings

    By Free Times
    Wednesday, May 28, 2014 |
    With the myriad options for children’s programming on television these days, it’s tempting to plop your kid down in front of the flat-screen to keep him or her occupied. But kids like to be active, and we know you dig that whole quality-time shebang. So we have put together a select list of places where you and junior can play … and play together.

    All4Fun Party Rental
    all4funbouncehouses.com
    Rents bounce houses and slides.

    Art Smart Academy
    7320 Broad River Rd., 667-9912
    artsmartacademy.com
    Walk-in pottery and painting, birthday parties and more.

    Asheland Art Camp
    Tapp’s Arts Center: 1644 Main St., 738-2770
    Offers camps in drawing, painting, printmaking and more.

    Bouncerific
    921 Longtown Rd., 865-7939
    bouncerific.com
    No, Bouncerific isn’t a place to send your kid to learn to be a doorman; it’s an indoor party and play center for kids and families. Inflatable bouncers, slides, dress-up, games, more.

    Capital Karate
    capitalkaratesc.com
    Develops character, discipline and focus as well as physical conditioning and skills.

    Carolina CrossFit
    1804 Blanding St.
    carolinacrossfit.com
    Offers kids’ Crossfit classes.

    Chuck E. Cheese’s
    1775 Burning Tree Dr., 772-0435
    chuckecheese.com
    The motto of the nationwide family entertainment center chain: Where a kid can be a kid. Often home to birthdays, play groups and school fundraising events, Chuck E. Cheese’s features games, rides, prizes, food and entertainment for all ages.

    City of Columbia Parks & Recreation
    columbiasc.net/parksandrec
    Family-friendly Columbia boasts 52 public parks where your wee ones can run and jump and skip and play, plus a host of community gardens, three swimming pools, one splash pad water park, and a public skate park. The city also offers a host of youth sports and outdoor environmental programs.

    Colonial Life Arena
    801 Lincoln St.
    coloniallifearena.com
    When Disney princesses and the Sesame Street gang come to Columbia, this is where they play.

    Columbia Arts Academy
    787-0931
    columbiaartsacademy.com
    The largest music school in the state of South Carolina, the Columbia Arts Academy boasts a large and qualified staff to train your kids in electric and acoustic guitar, voice, piano, bass, drums and year-round rock band classes.

    Columbia Blowfish
    254-3474
    blowfishbaseball.com
    Take ‘em out to the ballgame: During the summer months, Capital City Stadium hosts the Columbia Blowfish, which play in the Coastal Plain League, a collegiate wood-bat summer league. And, yes: They sell peanuts and Crackerjack.

    Columbia Children’s Theatre
    3400 Forest Dr, 691-4548
    columbiachildrenstheatre.com
    Professional theater company for young audiences and families.

    Columbia Marionette Theatre
    401 Laurel St., 252-7366
    cmtpuppet.org
    Founded in 1988 by famed puppeteer Allie Scollon and her son John, the Columbia Marionette Theatre has established itself as a premiere children’s theater in South Carolina. Its mission is to entertain and educate children and adults through the long-standing tradition and artistry of puppetry.

    Columbia Museum of Art
    1515 Main St., 799-2810
    columbiamuseum.org
    Offers plenty of fun programming for kids, from its Passport to Art semi-monthly open studio program to its weekly Wee Wednesday art exploration sessions to its summer camps and school programs.

    Confederate Relic Room
    and Military Museum
    301 Gervais St., 737-8095
    www.crr.sc.gov
    For more than a century, the Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum’s has collected and preserved the military history of this state.

    Congaree National Park
    776-4396
    http://www.nps.gov/cong
    This 22,000-acre park boasts the largest old-growth, floodplain forest on the continent. It’s also an International Biosphere Reserve, a Globally Important Bird Area and a National Natural Landmark. Activities include hiking, boating, camping, canoeing, fishing, kayaking, nature walks and more. Located in Hopkins, 20 miles southeast of Columbia.

    Cottle Strawberry Farm
    2533 Trotter Rd., 695-1714
    cottlestrawberryfarm.com
    This 30-plus-year-old strawberry farm tucked in southeast Columbia is open to the public every spring — usually from April through May, and sometimes into June. Mmm … freshly picked strawberries.

    CrossFit Vista
    1125 Lady St., 600-5134
    warriorfitnesssc.com
    CrossFit Kids is a strength and conditioning program used by many athletic teams, martial arts schools and P.E. programs. A great way to address childhood inactivity and obesity. Also has a location in Blythewood.

    Dreher Island State Recreation Park
    3677 State Park Rd., 364-4152,
    southcarolinaparks.com
    Located 30 miles northwest of Columbia in Prosperity, the Dreher Island recreation area consists of three islands encompassing 12 miles of shoreline on Lake Murray. Especially popular for fishing and boating, Dreher Island also offers lakefront camping, cabin and villa rentals, water skiing and picnicking.

    Drew Park Splash Pad
    2101 Walker Solomon Way
    drewwellnesscenter.com
    Sure, there’s a playground, a jogging track and a gazebo, but you’re coming here to get wet in the gigantic spray pad and lighted fountain. (Many of the city’s public parks offer smaller spray pools, too.)

    EdVenture Children’s Museum
    211 Gervais St., 779-3100
    edventure.org
    The South’s largest children’s museum, with more than 70,000 square feet of cool stuff to keep the kids occupied.

    Flying High Academy
    flyinghighacademysc.com
    Dance, tumbling, gymnastics and cheerleading programs.

    Frankie’s Fun Park
    140 Parkridge Dr., 781-2342
    frankiesfunpark.com
    This Harbison-area entertainment center packs three go-kart tracks, three 18-hole mini-golf courses, batting cages, bumper boats, an arcade, a 5,000-square foot multi-tiered laser tag arena and a super-tall drop zone that says “In your face, gravity!” into 14 acres filled with fun for all ages. What, do you hate fun or something?

    Freeway Music Lessons Studio
    790-9933
    freewaymusic.net
    Teams with top teachers throughout the state to create fun and customized lessons for students. Teaches guitar, bass, strings, woodwinds, trumpet, trombone, drums, piano, voice, ukulele, mandolin, as well as preschool and rock band classes.

    Harbison State Forest
    896-8890
    www.state.sc.us/forest/refharb.htm
    If you didn’t know it was there, you’d never expect to find 2,177 acres of forest along the sprawling mess that is Broad River Road. But there it is — one of the largest public green spaces inside the city limits of a metropolitan area in the eastern United States. Features more than 16 miles of roads and trails (popular for biking) and a canoe landing.

    Irmo-Chapin Recreation Commission
    icrc.net
    The Irmo-Chapin Recreation Commission offers kids sports, programs and activities at Crooked Creek Park, Saluda Shoals Park and Seven Oaks Park.

    Laugh N Leap
    3125 Bluff Road, 647-9601
    laughnleap.com
    Need to buy or rent an inflatable bounce house, water slide, dunk tank or obstacle course? Laugh N Leap has you covered.

    Lexington County Recreation Commission
    lcrac.com
    Offers youth sports, programs and activities at parks, playgrounds and activity centers in Lexington County.

    Lexington County Soccer Club
    lexingtoncountysoccerclub.org
    Live in Lexington Country? Think your kid’s the next Ronaldo? Sign him or her up with this club team, which offers playing options from recreational to elite traveling squads.

    Lexington School of Music
    711 E. Main St., 929-7867
    lexingtonschoolofmusic.com
    Offers flexible schedules for lessons on guitar, voice, bass, piano and more.

    Little Gym
    2005 N. Beltline Blvd., 738-1115
    thelittlegym.com
    The Little Gym is an experiential learning and physical development center offering children’s physical activities centered on movement, music and learning.

    Little Loggerheads Swim School
    littleloggerheads.net
    Offers morning, afternoon and evening swim lessons for children between the ages of 6 months and 6 years.

    The Mad Platter
    3101 Millwood Ave., 771-8080
    mymadplatter.com
    Art, studies have shown, makes kids smarter. So take your tykes here, a paint-your-own pottery studio, where they can throw clay, paint plates and explore their creative sides.

    Mad Science
    midlands.madscience.org
    Offers a wide variety of fun science programs at birthday parties, summer camps, pre-schools and more.

    Monkey Joe’s
    171 Newland Rd., 788-1102
    monkeyjoes.com/columbia
    For kids, Monkey Joe’s offers a place to monkey around, with wall-to-wall inflatable slides, jumps, climbing walls and obstacle courses. And for parents, there’s comfortable seating, free Wi-Fi, concessions and sports on large, flat-screen TVs.

    My Gym
    110 Forum Dr., 788-1230
    my-gym.com
    A non-competitive gymnastics and play center keeping children healthy by making fitness fun.

    Owens Field Skate Park
    Jim Hamilton Blvd.
    The 14,500-square-foot custom concrete park, when it opened in 2010, replaced a small skate park many local skaters considered bogus. Ramps, bowls, rails, more.

    Palmetto Children’s Music
    palmettochildrensmusic.com
    Offers Music Together classes — Music Together is an internationally recognized early childhood music and movement program for infants through five-year-olds and the grownups who love them.

    Palmetto Falls Waterpark
    3381 Marion Ave., 751-3475
    fortjacksonmwr.com/waterpark/
    Tucked just inside of Fort Jackson’s Gate 2 entrance, Palmetto Falls Water Park offers a 10,000-square foot family pool, two water slides, a 600-square foot splashdown pool, a 2,500-square foot kiddie pool, a lazy river stretching 800 feet, and a snack bar. Open to the public Tuesdays through Fridays during the summer.

    The Patch
    3807 Augusta Hwy., 359-3276
    This Gilbert strawberry patch is open for picking during strawberry season, typically April through May.

    Patchwork Playhouse
    1508 Columbia College Dr., 333-0372
    patchworkplayers-sc.com
    A long-running children’s theater featuring child-sized puppets and actors.

    Plex Indoor Sports
    plexindoorsports.com
    There are two locations of this local indoor sports complex franchise: The Sandhills location, by the Village at Sandhill, offers indoor soccer, basketball courts and a skate park; the Irmo location, off the Peak exit on I-26, features a ice rink, an indoor soccer field and an remote-controlled car track. Both locations offer summer camps, birthday party packages, after-school programs and youth sports.

    Richland County Recreation Commission
    richlandcountyrecreation.com
    Offers youth sports, programs and activities at parks, playgrounds and activity centers in Richland County.

    Riverbanks Zoo & Gardens
    500 Wildlife Parkway, 779-8717
    riverbanks.org
    It’s a natural fact that kids love animals. And Riverbanks Zoo — one of the nation’s finest, according to TripAdvisor — offers plenty of ‘em, from elephants to gorillas to ibexes to an aquarium and reptile complex stocked with fish, frogs, lizards are more. Riverbanks also offers myriad educational programs, day camps, overnight adventures and other fun kids’ events.

    Saluda Shoals Park
    5605 Bush River Rd., 731-5208
    icrc.net
    Situated on 270 acres downstream from the Lake Murray Dam, Saluda Shoals features a popular water park, an environmental education center, canoe trips, nature hikes, biking trails, fishing spots, picnic shelters, art exhibits, summer camps, health and wellness programs, meeting facilities and more. Good trout fishing, too, if your wee ones are into that.

    Samurai Karate Studio
    samuraikaratestudio.net
    Offers classes for children and adults, as well as conducting stranger-danger and anti-bully workshops.

    Sesquicentennial State Park
    9564 Two Notch Rd., 788-2706,
    southcarolinaparks.com
    This 1,419-acre park features a 30-acre lake surrounded by trails, picnic areas and campsites. Also offers boating, fishing, swimming, meeting facilities and trails. Trails include a 6.1-mile mountain bike trail, a 1.9-mile nature trail, and a 3.5-mile walking and jogging trail.

    South Carolina State Museum
    301 Gervais St., 898-4921
    scmuseum.org
    The South Carolina State Museum, named one of the top three museums in the Southeast by readers of Southern Living, offers a wide variety of kids programming, such as camp-ins, birthday parties, summer camps and living history re-enactments.

    Talbot Swim School
    792-7298
    talbotswimschool.com
    Before you can run, you gotta walk, right? Well, before you go to the pool, you gotta learn to swim, and Talbot Swim School offers private lessons year-round.

    Topspin Racquet and Swim Club
    topspinsc.com
    Clay tennis courts in Lexington offering family clinics.

    Trenholm Little League
    eteamz.com/trenholmbaseball
    Fun, intensive baseball league. Parents can choose clinics only or clinics and team play. Fall and spring seasons.

    Trustus Theatre
    520 Lady St., 254-9732
    trustus.org
    Offers customized acting classes with individualized instruction.

    U.S. National Whitewater Center
    5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy., 
    Charlotte, N.C., 704-391-3900
    usnwc.org
    OK, so the U.S. National Whitewater Center isn’t in Columbia; it’s a little more than an hour north in Charlotte. But it’s worth the trip up I-77: An official Olympic Training Site for whitewater slalom racing, the nonprofit U.S. National Whitewater Center is a huge outdoor adventure and environmental education center dedicated to promoting healthy and active lifestyles and developing environmental stewardship. Offers whitewater rafting and kayaking, flatwater kayaking, mountain biking, rock climbing, zip lines and more.

    YMCA
    columbiaymca.org
    The YMCA in downtown Columbia was one of the first 50 Ys in the United States. It now has five branches — including locations in Northeast Columbia, Lexington, Irmo and Orangeburg —with which to provide childcare, camps and after-school programs.

    comments powered by Disqus Free Times Family Magazine / Listings /

    Learning Listings

    By Free Times
    Wednesday, May 28, 2014 |
    Sometimes your kids hit it off with their teachers; sometimes they don’t. Every child learns differently and has different interests, whether those are music and art or math, science, architecture or astronomy. And then there are special situations — struggling learners or exemplary learners — where some additional help might be needed outside the classroom. Here are some resources to get you started.

    Aim High Education
    4561 Hardscrabble Rd., 788-6894
    www.aimhigheducationsc.com
    Customized after-school education programs and tutoring.

    The Afterschool Zone
    www.theafterschoozoneacademy.com
    Offers afterschool pickup from Lexington/Richland 5 and Richland 1 schools. Students engage in physical and educational activities.

    Aspire Early Learning Academy
    1103 B Ave. (West Columbia), 834-4976
    www.aspireearlylearningacademy.com
    Pre-K program using the Creative Curriculum, a nationally approved curriculum based on the ideas of the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

    Be Great Academy
    500 Gracern Road, 231-3100
    www.portal.begreatacademy.com
    After-school program operated by Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands.

    Bright Start
    720 Gracern Rd., 929-1112
    www.brightstartsc.com
    Provides quality comprehensive services to all individuals with special needs and developmental delays.

    Challenger Learning Center
    2600A Barhamville Rd., 929-3951
    www.thechallengercenter.net
    The Challenger Learning Center of Richland County School District One is an aeronautics- and space-themed learning program designed to provide interactive learning experiences, integrating science, technology, engineering and math curricula with 21st century life skills.

    Covenant Christian Academy
    3120 Covenant Rd., 787-0225
    Infuses a Biblical worldview into academics, athletics and arts.

    Discovery Program of South Carolina
    8807 Two Notch Rd., 419-0126
    www.discoveryprogramsc.org
    Noted as a program of excellence with the National Institute for Learning Development (NILD), the Discovery Program helps those struggling to learn — whether via learning disabilities or other learning disorders — to become independent students.

    Glenforest School
    www.glenforest.org
    Works with K-12 students who have not thrived in traditional learning environments, including students with dyslexia, attention-deficit disorder or other developmental challenges.

    Hammond Plus Programs
    854 Galway Lane, 695-8624
    www.hammondschool.org
    In addition to being a top college-prep school, Hammond offers a wide array of after-school classes for children and adults.

    Head Start
    1400 St. Andrews Rd., 898-2550
    A comprehensive school readiness program serving kids 0-5 that has a strong focus on ensuring that they start school ready to learn.

    Heathwood Hall
    3000 S. Beltline Boulevard, 231-7710
    heathwood.org
    Offers a wide range of summer programs, from outdoors to athletics and academics.

    Lango South Carolina
    www.facebook.com/langokidssc
    At Lango, your child will learn another language, make developmental strides, explore other cultures. At various Midlands locations.

    The Language Buzz
    1921 Henderson St., 252-7002
    www.thelanguagebuzz.com
    A unique foreign language learning center that promotes the early command of languages through language immersion, contextualized learning, and the learning and acceptance of different cultures.

    Mathnasium
    www.mathnasium.com
    Offers math help for students from grades 2 through 12.

    My Amigos
    www.myamigosbec.org
    Language immersion programs for ages 30 months to 5th grade.

    Pearson Professional Centers
    107 Westpark Blvd., 798-3001
    Offers GMAT testing.

    Provost Academy South Carolina
    400 Arbor Lake Dr., 735-9110
    www.sc.provostacademy
    A tuition-free, online-only public high school. Live online classrooms give students the ability to includes the ability to participate in discussions and ask questions.

    REACH
    www.reachgroup.org
    A support group for Columbia-area home schoolers; provides information and activities, offers information about academic résumés and transcripts.

    Richland County First Steps
    2008 Marion St., 256-7237
    www.rcfirststeps.org
    Works with kids, parents, schools and childcare providers to promote health, literacy and school readiness in young children.

    comments powered by Disqus Free Times Family Magazine / Listings /

    Life Listings

    By Free Times
    Wednesday, May 28, 2014 |
    Life is full of tough questions. Is your 4-year-old ready for a sleepover? Should your 12-year-old be on Snapchat? How do you talk to your 16-year-old about sexting? Teach your children well, or so the song says — and here’s how you can help them learn how to live.

    ASY Counseling Services
    1825 St. Julian Pl., 254-1210
    asycounseling.com
    Providing quality mental health services to children and families in the Columbia area.

    Behavior Consulting Services
    3227 Sunset Blvd.
    behaviorconsultingservices.com
    Serves children with a variety of special needs, including autism spectrum disorders, behavioral difficulties and academic difficulties.

    Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Columbia
    bbbs.org
    Oldest and largest youth mentoring organization in the United States. Serves children ages 6 through 18.

    Boys & Girls Club of the Midlands
    bgcmidland.org
    Formed in 1959, operates 31 clubs, eight summer camps and a teen center serving youth and families from Fairfield, Lexington and Richland Counties.

    Children’s Chance
    609 Sims Ave., 254-5996
    childrenschance.org
    Children’s Chance’s mission is to improve the quality of life of children and families who are dealing with the trauma of pediatric cancer.

    Children’s Trust of SC
    1634 Main St., 733-5430
    scchildren.org
    Aims to promote healthy, nurturing relationships between children and adults — because strengthening families is the best way to prevent abuse, neglect and unintentional injuries.

    Christian Counseling Center
    1500 Lady St., 779-1995
    christiancounseling.ws
    Offers counseling on a variety of topics; also offers spiritual and religious counseling. Offered by First Presbyterian Church.

    Columbia Counseling Center
    900 St. Andrews Rd., 731-4708
    columbiacounseling.accountsupport.com
    A Christian perspective on counseling.

    Crossroads
    Counseling Center
    130 Whiteford Way, 808-1800
    solutionsforlife.org
    Counseling for adults, adolescents, children and marriages.

    Family Connection of South Carolina
    2712 Middleburg Dr., 252-0914
    familyconnectionsc.org
    Statewide organization of parents helping parents of children with disabilities, developmental delays, and chronic illnesses.

    Family Service Center of South Carolina
    2712 Middleburg Dr., 733-5450
    fsconline.wordpress.com
    A multi-service non-profit agency offering adoption services, consumer credit counseling, child dental clinics, an eye care clinic and more.

    Lake Murray Counseling Center
    7511 St. Andrews Rd., 781-1003
    lakemurraycounseling.com
    Offering counseling for children’s and adolescent issues.

    Leadership Institute at Columbia College
    columbiacollegesc.edu/leadership_inst/
    Girls Empowered and LEAD residential programs.

    Lexington-Richland Anti-Drug Abuse Council
    Lexington County: 1068 S. Lake Dr., 726-9400
    Richland County: 2711 Colonial Dr., 726-9300
    lradac.org
    Alcohol and drug abuse authority offering a wide array of prevention, intervention and treatment programs, including child and adolescent programs.

    Mental Health America of South Carolina
    1823 Gadsden St., 779-5363
    mha-sc.org
    Assists those with mental illnesses and their families through education and advocacy.

    NAMI Mid Carolina
    1823 Gadsden St., 20-2916
    namimidcarolina.org
    Local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

    Palmetto Counseling Associates
    1911 Gadsden St., 254-9767
    palmettocounseling.com
    Holistic approach emphasizes not only psychology, but also social, physical and spiritual well-being.

    SC Childcare
    scchildcare.org, childcare.sc.gov
    Clearinghouse of information on childcare licensing and childhood development programs.

    South Carolina Youth Advocate Program
    140 Stoneridge Dr., Ste. 350, 779-5500
    scyap.com
    Nonprofit child-placing agency offering training, support and compensation to qualified families who provide a home to a foster child.

    Three Rivers Behavioral Health
    West Columbia: 200 Ermine Rd., 791-9918
    West Columbia: 2900 Sunset Blvd., 796-9911
    threeriversbehavioral.org
    Provides comprehensive residential treatment for children and adolescents providing treatment for psychiatric and chemical dependency related illnesses.

    University of South Carolina Speech and Hearing Research Center
    1601 St. Julian Pl., 77-2614,
    sph.sc.edu/shc/
    Provides a variety of evaluation and treatment programs for individuals of all ages.

    comments powered by Disqus Best of Columbia /

    Vote for Us! Best of Columbia 2014 Campaign Materials

    By Free Times
    Wednesday, May 28, 2014 |

    It's time to campaign for Best of Columbia!


    Voting: June 11-27

    Winners announced:
    August 13 issue


    Promote your business and campaign to win! Being nominated for Best of Columbia offers you an unique marketing opportunity to promote your business and attracts more business. Free Times encourages nominees to get most of the campaign time by using these free, ready-to go marketing resources. Below are logos for your use.

    Vote for Us! logos
    to use on your web pages and print materials during the voting period of June 11-27

    Link to: http://www.free-times.com/special_sections/bestofcolumbia



    FACEBOOK COVER:




    WEB:




    Vote Best of 160 gold
    Vote Best of 160 purple

    PRINT:
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    FILL-IN-THE-BLANK (with your category):
    Vote for Us Blank purple
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    Tour of Homes 2014 Plan of the Week

    By Free Times
    Wednesday, May 21, 2014 |
    For a copy of the 2014 plan book featuring 44 homes, contact the Home Builders Association of Greater Columbia
    columbiabuilders.com
    (803) 256-6238 | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)



    comments powered by Disqus Landing Page /

    Tour of Homes 2014: Post the Most and Win!

    $50 Gift Certificates to Mr. Friendly's, The Mediterranean Café and Stone Fire American Grill
    By Free Times
    Wednesday, April 30, 2014 |


    Like the Tour of Homes on Facebook to get updates on the event in your newsfeed and to be able to tag the event in our Post the Most photo contest.

    1) Like the Tour of Homes on Facebook.

    2) Take pictures of homes in the TOUR OF HOMES. Try to get the TOUR sign with house number in each shot, if possible.

    3) Post your pictures to Facebook and tag the TOUR OF HOMES in each picture.


    Each photo posted and tagged is an entry in drawing held that day.

    Contest days are May 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 and 18 and a winner will be drawn each day.

    Daily prize is a $50 gift certificate to a local restaurant: Mr. Friendly's, The Mediterranean Cafe and Stone Fire American Grill.

    See Official Rules.

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    Tour of Homes 2014 Planbook

    By Free Times
    Wednesday, April 30, 2014 |


    comments powered by Disqus Best of Columbia /

    It’s Time to Campaign for Best of Columbia 2014!

    By Free Times
    Wednesday, April 9, 2014 |


    Nominations: April 16-May 2
    Final voting: June 4-20
    Winners announced: August 13 issue


    Promote your business and campaign for nominations! Being part of Best of Columbia offers you an unique marketing opportunity to promote your business and attracts more business. Free Times encourages local businesses to get most of the campaign time by using these free, ready-to go marketing resources. Below are logos and Facebook cover images for your use.


    Nominate Us! logos
    to use on your web pages and print materials during the nomination period of April 16-May 2. Link to: http://www.free-times.com/special_sections/bestofcolumbia



    Web 500px GIF | Web 500px JPG | Print 1450px PNG



    Web 500px GIF | Web 500px JPG | Print 1450px PNG


    Nominate Us! Facebook cover
    (click to download full-size image)



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    Artfields Ticket Giveaway

    By Free Times
    Wednesday, April 9, 2014 |

    Email your name and a daytime phone number to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to be entered in a drawing for a pair of tickets to Artfields in Lake City April 25-May 4.







    comments powered by Disqus Free Times Family Magazine / Family Finance /

    Does Your Child Have a Bad Credit Score?

    By Kara Meador
    Thursday, March 27, 2014 |
    Sifting through the mail, you come across a prescreened credit card for your son. It’s disturbing since he’s only 3 years old.

    When a West Columbia woman found herself in a similar predicament, she called the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs out of fear that her child’s identity had been hijacked.

    It turned out to be a good call. An identity thief had indeed stolen her child’s ID.

    “We found a credit report existed for her child,” says Carri Grube Lybarker, an administrator with the Consumer Affairs department. “We will now have to go through the [credit] report with a fine-tooth comb to see all the vendors, so we can start disputing all the accounts.”

    Oddly, this Midlands mom is lucky. The problem with child identification theft is that most parents don’t realize it has happened until their kids grow up and apply for a student loan or car loan and are rejected because a thief has trashed their credit.

    “In South Carolina, we have an above-the-national-average amount of children’s identity theft going on,” says Grube Lybarker.

    A Social Security number is the holy grail for identity thieves. And when the state’s Department of Revenue was hacked in 2012, thieves obtained millions of them.

    Questions to ask before you hand over your kid’s SSN


    • Why do they need it?

    • Is there another identifier you can use or can you submit just the last 5 digits?

    • Who will they share it with?

    • What policies do they have in place to protect it?

    • How long will they keep it?

    • How will they dispose of it?

    Other tips
    • Ask children if they have put their birth dates, address or other personal information on social media sites. If so, remove it.

    • When traveling with a laptop, tablet or other device, keep it with you or locked in the hotel safe.

    • Keep birth certificates, passports, diplomas, bank information and other important documents in a locked container or file cabinet.

    • For more information, contact the S.C. Department of Consumer Affairs Identity Theft Unit at www.consumer.sc.gov/consumer/IdentityTheft/Pages/default.aspx
    But parents are asked to give this sensitive information away frequently. From preschool, to summer camps, to a trip to the hospital, every time you put your kid’s SSN or birth certificate out there, you’re putting them at risk. Unfortunately, a lot of activities require sensitive identification documents to register.

    “My sister just had to do that for her kids’ soccer,” Grube Lybarker says.

    Grube Lybarker suggested that her sister ask if team administrators would take the last five digits of her child’s Social Security number instead.

    Instead of just blindly handing information over, Grube Lybarker says you should ask why it’s needed, how long they will keep it and how they dispose of it. When you send a Social Security number over the Internet, she says check and make sure the site is encrypted.

    While computer hacking gets a lot of press, Grube Lybarker warns parents that identity thieves are frequently not high tech — more often, she says, they are the people you know.

    “If you have domestic helpers, caretakers, nannies, gardeners, sitters, don’t leave your personal information out and don’t carry yours or your kids’ Social Security numbers in your wallet. If you lose your wallet, it’s all gone.”

    SC Kids are More at Risk


    In the case of the West Columbia mom whose child’s identity was stolen, she believes her case could be related to the S.C. Department of Revenue breach, or the breach of the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).  

    DHEC was hacked in 2010. Two years later, approximately 3.8 million Social Security numbers, nearly 400,000 credit and debit card numbers and 657,000 business tax filings were compromised when the state Department of Revenue was hacked.

    Grube Lybarker says while child identity theft has been a problem in the Palmetto State for years, the recent breaches put a spotlight on potential problems.

    “Now that we’ve had the Department of Revenue breach where that information was stolen ... to where it could get sold on the Internet, it (child identity theft) could be much more of an issue,” she says.

    Added Measures


    A bill is currently under consideration in the state Legislature that would allow a guardian of a minor under the age of 16 to request that credit reporting agencies create a file that contains the child’s personal information and then freeze the credit report until the child comes of age.
    Currently, under state law, adults can freeze their reports.

    “Why can’t children have a proactive measure to prevent somebody from being able to create a record on their behalf without their permission, without their consent?” Grube Lybarker asks.

    comments powered by Disqus Free Times Family Magazine / Health /

    Been There, Done That: Living With Autism

    Advice for Parents, from Parents
    By Allison Caldwell
    Thursday, March 27, 2014 |
    Everywhere you go, you see families doing seemingly mundane things — going to school, the market, the movies. But for families raising a child with autism, mundane is a goal to be worked toward.

    “Autism has changed our entire world,” says Midlands mom Jennifer Jett.

    A surprising number of families have had their world changed by autism, the fastest-growing developmental disability in the United States. One in 88 children — and one in every 54 boys — falls somewhere on the autism spectrum, according to Autism Speaks. (The CDC estimates 1 in 110.) Despite this prevalence, people with autism and the disability itself are still widely misunderstood, making April’s Autism Awareness Month particularly important.

    Common Experiences, Different Perspectives


    “My son with autism is 7 now; he was diagnosed at age 3-and-a-half,” says Jett, a teacher in Lexington District One. “McLane’s biggest challenges are speech and social interaction. He also has sensory issues with clothing: no collars, tags or zippers allowed. Sometimes it takes some time to get out the door.”

    Margie Williamson’s 12-year-old son was diagnosed at 17 months.

    “At that age, he wasn’t capable of telling me his basic wants and needs,” Williamson says. “I never knew if he was hurting or if he was hungry. He also was having multiple seizures per day, which were difficult to control.”

    “I’ve learned how to love unconditionally, have the patience of a goddess, and be a voice: not only for my child, but for others who face the same situations,” says Williamson, executive director of The Arc of South Carolina, a disabilities support organization.

    Susan Kastner’s son, Andrew, was diagnosed at age 4. He’s 19 now, and a high school senior. Kastner is a board member for the South Carolina Autism Society.

    “Andrew’s greatest challenge right now is social interaction,” Kastner says. “Poor social interaction limits all other aspects of life: friendships, employment, group activities.”

    “Autism helped me learn that a parent has to be firm and direct in communication,” she says. “Autism and parenthood have helped me become a better negotiator, and have refined my priorities and values. I’m able to live with a little more uncertainty about some situations, because I don’t have immediate solutions.”

    Christie Fleming has a 12-year-old daughter with autism, diagnosed at age 3.

    “I think the most difficult part of being 12 and being in middle school with autism is that we’re not in an area where it’s OK to be a little bit different,” says Fleming, a program director at The Arc of South Carolina. “Unfortunately, some kids still have a tendency to behave in very cruel ways towards others who are different.”

    The Urge to Wander


    A common manifestation in children with autism is an urge to escape. Some evidence suggests that they are running away from disturbing sounds or sensory overload. But whatever the cause, it is extremely dangerous.

    Richland County is a member of the Project Lifesaver program, which has 1,200 affiliated agencies in 45 states. It uses GPS to help to track autistic children, adults with Alzheimer’s and others who may be lost and bring them home more quickly.

    But for many parents, the omnipresent fear of their child escaping, hurting themselves or having a seizure is a constant companion.
    “PTSD is a real concern for parents of children with autism,” Fleming says. “In the early years, a parent can go weeks, months or even years without a full night’s sleep.”

    Parents of autistic children have their resolve forged in fire.

    Says Fleming: “I’ve had to learn to rely on myself during hard times and tough situations, and I’ve seen firsthand what the support of a proactive parent can do for a struggling child. If you never give up on them, they learn to never give up on themselves.”

    Resources for Special Needs Families


    These organizations offer information, support and services.

    Able South Carolina
    able-sc.org
    Predicated on the idea not of “helping” people with disabilities, but rather on the concept of self-empowerment. Focused on empowering people with disabilities to live active, self-determined lives.

    The Arc of South Carolina
    arcsc.org
    Provides advocacy, service coordination, person-centered planning, recreational events, health services and more for parents, families and adults with special needs.

    Autism Academy of South Carolina
    arcsc.org
    Founded in 2010, this not-for-profit school offers intensive, individualized instruction to students with autism-spectrum disorders. Learn more online and arrange a visit to the Columbia campus.

    Autism Speaks
    arcsc.org
    Leading autism science and advocacy organization.

    Bright Start, LLC
    arcsc.org
    Provides comprehensive services including early intervention, service coordination, speech therapy and more.

    Early Autism Project
    arcsc.org
    A leading provider of Applied Behavior Analysis therapy for ages 20 months to 21 years.

    Family Connection of South Carolina, Inc.
    arcsc.org
    This statewide network provides parent-to-parent connections and access to community resources including training and support programs.

    Parents Reaching Out to Parents of South Carolina, Inc.
    proparents.org
    A parent training and information center for families of children with special needs.



    comments powered by Disqus Free Times Family Magazine / Life /

    Fighting Fire With Fire

    Social Media Tools Help Battle Cyberbullying
    By Kevin Oliver
    Thursday, March 27, 2014 |
    Bullying and harassment have moved online to text messaging and social media. file photo
    If you’re the parent of a teen or even pre-teen, chances are pretty good that they are active in some sort of social media, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, Ask.fm, or, at the very least, old-fashioned text messaging. Just as most of their other offline behaviors have translated to the digital spaces, bullying and harassment have also moved online.

    Short of monitoring your child’s digital presence 24/7, what’s a parent to do? And what, if anything, can a child do to prevent or report such unwanted contacts?

    For a general understanding of what kids do online and why, the new book It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens is an invaluable starting place for parents; the book is based on extensive research that examines behavior from teens’ own perspectives.

    But for the more specific problem of cyberbullying, there are specific tools. Online social media sites like Facebook have developed their own anti-bullying tools and a number of mobile apps have also sprung up. And as the campaign against cyberbullying has grown, social media has played a big role in awareness.

    Facebook Tools and Third-Party Apps


    With more social media choices available, teens are diversifying their habits with sites like Snapchat and Instagram. But they aren’t abandoning Facebook entirely; rather, they tend to just use it less frequently. And, according to the Pew Research Center, it is still the most used site.

    Last fall, Facebook announced the Anti-Bullying Hub as part of its Family Safety Center. In conjunction with Yale and other institutions, it offers helpful tips on actions to take, including ways to report bullying and notify other users of it, as well as ways to delete bullying-related content and filter or block users. Laid out in an easy-to-understand graphic interface that’s kid-friendly but not dumbed down, it’s a welcome offering from the site that can be the source of many cyberbullying incidents.

    Third-party developers have stepped in to offer their own ways of combating cyberbullying. SafetyWeb.comk has a Find Help app on Facebook that not only allows reporting of violations, but also connects to safety and support organizations that address bullying, suicide, depression, substance abuse and LGBT issues.

    For younger children who may just be starting out on social media or other online activity, one useful and even entertaining app is Internet Safety with Professor Garfield. Through a storyline featuring the cartoon cat and his friends, users both “Try” and “Apply” techniques to prevent becoming a victim of cyberbullying.

    Blocking the messages and preventing the bullying in the first place is the aim of Word Bully, an Android app that monitors for thousands of words and phrases that might be considered threatening or vulgar, and it allows users to add custom lists of words to monitor and blacklisted individuals so that all of their messages are monitored regardless of content. The app monitors both inbound and outbound communication, and using Trick or Tracker technology via GPS you can even locate your child’s physical location any time.

    If you’re a parent who just wants help in keeping up with what your child is doing and who they are doing it with, an app such as GoGoStat.com’s Parental Guidance is invaluable. The app notifies parents of status messages with certain keywords that might indicate unsafe activity, shows the age and location of any new friends, photos posted and tagged of your child, and any personal details. There is also an “Emergency Reports” option to print out for law enforcement if necessary, providing key evidence and information in the event of an investigation.

    For general iPhone use, the Destructive Issues app provides useful information to both teens and parents in one easy to navigate interface. Covering what they refer to as “the top 20 issues facing youth today,” it is meant as an educational tool, not a reporting or blocking mechanism.

    The best mechanism to stop cyberbullying is kids themselves showing zero tolerance and reporting whether it’s directed at them or others. It’s not the easiest thing for a child to speak up to adults and authority figures, but when adults show them trust, recognize the problem, and offer solutions, the result will be a safer, more conscientious generation of cyber-citizens.

    Anti-bullying Goes Viral


    The same mechanism driving cyberbullying is also one of the most successful weapons against it. Social media videos and campaigns have gone viral themselves, bringing much-needed awareness to the issue.

    • One unintentional anti-bullying video is the famous Amanda Todd clip in which the 10th-grader details the bullying she endured over several years. Shortly after she posted it in the fall of 2012, Todd committed suicide. That clip was used by brothers Benny and Rafi Fine in a powerful bullying edition of their Teens React YouTube series that records teen reactions to various media sources, where it has more than 12 million views.

    • Advice columnist and activist Dan Savage started the It Gets Better series of videos in reaction to the suicide of 15-year old Billy Lucas in 2010 after Lucas was bullied for being gay. It has evolved into the It Gets Better Project, which includes scores of videos from public figures and celebrities echoing the core theme of support for those coming out and assuring them there is a future for them.

    • The Canadian modeling agency STRUTT Central produced a video called The Cyber Bullying Virus, which highlights the “disease-like effects” of cyberbullying on teenage girls; it has more than a million views. — Kevin Oliver


    Snapchat and Cyberbullying


    There’s no real way to know how many users are on Snapchat, their ages or gender, as the company carefully safeguards that information. Somewhere between 5 million a day and 30 million overall users seems a good bet. But one thing is certain: Snapchat is where your kids are likely spending their time on social media.

    The immediacy and impermanence of the app is what makes it so popular among kids and, ironically, a hotbed of activity for cyberbullies. Because pictures, messages and videos are only available for 10 seconds, they are gone long before the average teen thinks to grab a screenshot to show to parents or officials. But bullies know what they are doing and are quick to grab embarrassing or harmful content and re-send it.

    What’s the answer for concerned parents? Snapchat has a users guide for parents that outlines what your child should and should not be doing with the app and what options (like find by phone number) they can opt out of as a security measure. It’s worth the download. — Laura Haight


    comments powered by Disqus Free Times Family Magazine / Learning /

    Outsmart Your Kids

    Summer Camps Keep Kids Learning
    By Anna Gelbman Edmonds
    Thursday, March 27, 2014 |
    If your kids are anything like mine, they’re looking forward to summer as a cartoon and video game marathon. Outsmart them this year by giving them the opportunity to learn to make their own cartoons and video games. Summer camps aren’t just about crafts and nature walks anymore.

    The lazy, hazy days of summer vacation disrupt the cycle of learning, lead to forgetting and force teachers to review old material when students return to school in the fall. Achievement test scores typically decline between spring and fall. Harris Cooper, director of the Program in Education at Duke University, says the summer effect is more pronounced for math than reading because out-of-school environments provide more opportunities to practice reading skills than math.

    Columbia offers children of all ages a wide spectrum of camps that emphasize fun while mixing in learning.

    Who doesn’t want to be an astronaut? The Challenger Learning Center offers astronaut, rocket, robotic and aviation camps led by certified science teachers. Children in grades 3 through 12 get to build real rockets and robots, take pilot training lessons in flight simulators and visit an e-Planetarium. Parents have said they feel left out of all these cool activities, so this year the center is offering a family day.


    Kids build real rockets, robots and take pilot training at The Challenger Learning Center. Courtesy photo

    With all that fun, how much learning is taking place? Carolyn Donelan, the center’s lead flight director, says: “Whenever you’re truly learning something, there’s a certain level of frustration. We have kids who struggle building and programming robots and rockets, but we work with them and warn them up front they’ll get frustrated. That’s what science is: figuring out what works and what doesn’t.”

    The South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics offers iTeams, a free four-day computer science, technology and entrepreneurship camp for middle school students. This year they’re adding a musical component where campers will be learn to turn almost any object, such as a banana or a piece of paper, into a musical instrument. Their GoSciTech is a week-long residential summer camp that provides a hands-on experience for rising 8th-, 9th- and 10th-grade science and tech enthusiasts.

    “Our summer programs are academically challenging and interactive,” says Randy LaCross of the Governor’s School. “We want participants to walk away having learned something while having fun.”

    Fun isn’t usually what comes to mind when kids think of history. But Historic Columbia boasts that word-of-mouth referrals result in repeat campers bringing their friends every summer. Education Coordinator James Quint says the hands-on and outdoor activities teach kids between the ages of 8 and 12 about life in the area dating from the early 1800s to the 1960s.

    Crafts and games related to those earlier periods reinforce the South Carolina and U.S. history lessons this age group receives in school, without having to memorize dates and battle sites.

    Creative thinking and problem solving skills get a workout at The Columbia Museum of Art, which offers several different camps each summer. Language arts, social studies, history, technology, music and geology are all incorporated while addressing different mediums, techniques and art genres. Says Kristin Stafford, education programs coordinator: “We even sneak some math and science in.”

    The great thing about art is that it touches on almost every subject in some way. For example, geometry is required to determine human proportions and perspective. Mythology incorporates history, literature, and geography, which students then connect to popular culture.

    In addition to the camps mentioned above, many schools, colleges, libraries, museums and parks offer fun summer camps that keep both young minds and bodies active. Most camps have fees, but they vary widely. Many camps offer needs-based scholarships, though you usually have to inquire. Here's our comprehensive look at Columbia-area summer camps.

    Ways to Avoid the Summer Slip
    Harris Cooper, director the Program in Education at Duke University, offers some tips for parents to help their kids keep learning alive through the summer:

    • Look for academic-related activities. Local libraries have summer-long reading programs for all ages. Local museums, art galleries, zoos, and theaters run one-time and continuing camps and events. Local businesses, television/radio stations and factories often provide educational tours.

    • Plan an educational-themed summer trip. If you’re headed to a national park, take advantage of ranger-led geological or historical tours. Have your child read a book about where you are going before you leave. If you’re still thinking about where to vacation, find out what your child will be studying in the coming school year and visit a related site.

    • Talk to a teacher in your child’s next grade. Find out what books your child might read over summer to be prepared for the coming year. If your child is an emerging or beginning reader, ask the teacher to suggest books you can read to and with them. Ask what the content of the math curriculum will be and then visit a local teachers’ supply store.


    comments powered by Disqus Free Times Family Magazine / Media /

    Apps for Kids

    Coding for Kids; Clumsy Ninja; MindSnacks
    By Free Times
    Thursday, March 27, 2014 |
    Hopscotch: Coding for Kids
    Hopscotch Technologies, Free
    Ages: 9-12

    Hopscotch is one of the best apps that Richland Library’s Tween Advisory Group has reviewed. Using an iPad, children can input their own instructions or code and watch as the instructions come to life on the screen. This app allows 9-12 year-olds to explore logic, sequencing and problem-solving. Since its content is user-driven, there is no end to what your child can create. The latest update also allows you to check out other people’s projects and share your own. — Heather McCue and the Tween Advisory Group,
    Richland Library

    Clumsy Ninja
    NaturalMotion, Free
    Ages: 8 and up

    You are the sensei training the hardest working but clumsiest ninja in the class. The app uses simulation technology that makes our clumsy ninja incredibly expressive and lifelike. You interact by making him walk, run, jump and eventually setting him on his ninja path. You win points by accomplishing tasks and then spend them on upgrades, or you can — naturally — purchase new clothes and virtual gems (the currency of the game) through in-app purchases. You get rewarded with a high five when Clumsy successfully completes a task. For iOS devices. — Laura Haight

    MindSnacks Brain Games
    MindSnacks, Free
    Ages: Everyone

    Although it looks like a child’s game, the programming behind MindSnacks can really help anyone learn the fundamentals of nine languages from Spanish to Mandarin Chinese. Planning a vacation? You and your child can learn some basic language skills together. The game is free and includes your first lesson. After that, lessons are available individually for 99 cents $4.99 for an entire 50-lesson pack. The app adjusts the rate of interactivity based on your pace. If you miss word recognition in a particular pattern subsequent segments highlight the troublesome words. These are startup games designed to work as a supplement, but they can instill an interest in language (maybe even in you!). MindSnacks offers programs in Portugese, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Mandarin Chinese and an SAT vocabulary test prep. For iOS devices. — Laura Haight

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    Book Reviews

    That is NOT a Good Idea!; Hokey Pokey; Dogs of War
    By Free Times
    Thursday, March 27, 2014 |
    That is NOT a Good Idea!
    Mo Willems
    Harper Collins, 48 pages, $17.99
    Ages: Baby to 6

    It’s no secret that kids and parents alike love Mo Willems. His latest book, That Is NOT a Good Idea!, is destined to become a new favorite. Using the framework of a silent movie, a sinister-looking fox offers to escort an innocent mama goose on a walk into the woods. All the while, her goslings chant: “That is NOT a good idea!” The story continues with the pair stopping by the fox’s kitchen. Finally, the anticipation reaches a fever pitch, but don’t be too sure that you know how this story will end. — Heather McCue, Richland Library

    Hokey Pokey
    Jerry Spinelli
    Random House Children’s Books, 285 pages, $15.99
    Ages: 9 to 12

    One morning, Jack wakes up and realizes that everything has changed. He blames the feeling on the loss of his beloved bike, Scramjet, to the “girl.” But Jack is determined to make things right. With the help of his amigos, he tries to recover his prized possession and himself. Slowly, though, he comes to understand something essential has been lost and that he may no longer belong in Hokey Pokey. In this novel, Spinelli pays tribute to childhood. Whether it’s Cartoons, where classic cartoons play constantly on a giant TV screen, or Tantrums, a small hut where you can let it all out, he has crafted this world with reverence and care. Hokey Pokey is a new coming-of-age classic and the perfect title to share with your tween. —Heather McCue, Richland Library

    Dogs of War
    Sheila Kennan and Nathan Fox
    Scholastic, 208 pages, $12.99
    Ages: 13 and up

    Battlefields require the strictest loyalty, and America’s service dogs have historically been up to the challenge. Sheila Keenan’s three short stories depict American soldiers in World War I, World War II and Vietnam, with each story focusing on a different specialty of dogs of war. From the trenches of Germany to the snow plains of Greenland and the jungles of Vietnam, each narrative covers a lot of historical bases, from the circumstances of returning veterans to the equipment used by soldiers in each conflict. Keenan’s not the only one who did her research: Nathan Fox’s dynamic and colorful artwork is immediately immersive and builds empathy in every detail. — Thomas Maluck, Richland Library


    comments powered by Disqus Free Times Family Magazine / Media /

    Music & DVD Reviews

    Ella Jenkins; Rainbow Beast and the Rock Band Land Rockers; LEGO Star Wars
    By Kevin Oliver
    Thursday, March 27, 2014 |
    123s and ABCs
    Ella Jenkins
    Smithsonian Folkways

    The grand matriarch of children’s music, Ella Jenkins’ latest album is her 34th for the Smithsonian Folkways label over a period of 56 years. Her simple style lends itself to music for children. With little more than a gently strummed guitar and a vast repertoire of children’s folk songs from around the world, Jenkins is able to capture the attention and participation of any group of kids instantly.

    This new release is a collection of her songs about counting and the alphabet. It’s perfect for young children just starting out with their numbers and letters, as the recording features groups of children accompanying Jenkins, thereby providing plenty of sing-along opportunities for listeners.

    There are classic rhymes such as “One, Two, Buckle My Shoe” and “One Potato, Two Potato” that many parents will know. Those with diverse cultural backgrounds will appreciate the international reach of tracks such as “Counting in Swahili” or “The Rabbi Teaches ABCs.”

    Ella Jenkins is a national musical and educational treasure, and this collection will introduce her to a new generation of families.

    Tales From the Monstrosity Scrolls
    Rainbow Beast and the Rock Band Land Rockers
    Rock Band Land Records

    Kids and music go together so well that sometimes it’s easy for adults who make music for children to forget that, for kids, it is almost never a spectator sport.

    Getting up, getting busy, dancing, singing and banging on stuff is all possible when you combine kids and music they enjoy. The members of Rainbow Beast are part of a San Francisco music school program called Rock Band Land, where the students come up with characters, storylines and melodic ideas, and the band hammers out the details for a regular recital that undoubtedly rocks harder than any school band function, ever.

    This set gathers together some recent results from Rock Band Land, but it could just as easily be the new Flaming Lips or Of Montreal album — it’s that weird and wonderful. Imagine Lemony Snicket and Roald Dahl jamming with Robyn Hitchcock and Jeff Mangum and you’d come close to the absurd psychedelic romp of songs such as “The Little Big Easy” or “Oliver In The Wrong Cast.”

    Rarely does a children’s album rate as high on the hip-ometer with moms and dads as it does with the kids who insist on infinite listening sessions. Now the indie-rock generation’s next generation has a band they can listen to — together.

    LEGO Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles
    20th Century Fox

    With the massive success of The LEGO Movie, the long-running animated LEGO videos like this are sure to get snapped up even more quickly. This DVD is part of a series of episodes combining the Star Wars franchise with the LEGO framework. As in the film, there are plenty of inside jokes for parents to chuckle at, such as a cameo appearance from Billy Dee Williams. And the action is more than fast-paced enough to keep kids’ interest.
    There are two episodes included here that originally aired on the Cartoon Network: The Phantom Clone and Menace of the Sith. But that’s about it — no extra content, special features, or anything else on this budget-priced DVD. At least it will help tide the kids over until the Lego Movie sequel comes out.

    comments powered by Disqus Free Times Family Magazine / Calendar /

    Columbia SC Kid’s Events: Spring 2014

    By Free Times
    Thursday, March 27, 2014 |
    This is by no means a comprehensive list — institutions like the Columbia Museum of Art, EdVenture Children’s Museum, Riverbanks Zoo, Richland Library and the city and county parks departments offer myriad events for kids on a daily basis. Check the Events section at free-times.com/events and select the Children & Teens category for weekly listings or visit the websites of institutions offering children’s programs.

    Ongoing


    Blooming Butterflies
    EdVenture Children’s Museum
    edventure.org
    May 4-Oct. 6. A 2,500-square-foot enclosed habitat designed to showcase the lifespan of over 20 species of butterflies.

    EdVenture Family Night
    EdVenture Children’s Museum
    edventure.org
    Second Tuesdays. $1 museum admission between 5 and 8 p.m.

    Family Storytime
    Richland Library
    edventure.org
    Held on various days at all branches of the Richland Library. Call your local branch for meeting times.

    Gladys’ Gang
    Columbia Museum of Art
    edventure.org
    Free monthly program includes story time and creative studio activity.

    Little Red Riding Hood
    Columbia Marionette Theater
    cmtpuppet.org
    Runs through May 17. With a variety of puppetry techniques and plenty of humor, Little Red Riding Hood is an irreverent take on the classic fairy tale.

    Make Your Move
    EdVenture Children’s Museum
    edventure.org
    Exhibit explores the origins of the world’s best-loved games through oversized game pieces and play areas that give children a chance to explore the fun of strategic play.

    Parents’ Survival Night
    The Little Gym
    thelittlegym.com/columbiasc
    Fridays. Parents call it a break from the kids. Kids call it a break from their parents. That sounds like a win-win situation.

    Passport to Art
    Columbia Museum of Art
    columbiamuseum.org
    Second Sundays from noon to 3 p.m. Free open-studio program for families with activities corresponding with one of the museum’s exhibitions.

    Toddler Take Over
    EdVenture Children’s Museum
    edventure.org
    First Monday of every month. Kids ages 1 to 5 play freely throughout the museum with kids of their own size.

    March


    Ringing Bros.’ Legends
    Colonial Life Arena
    coloniallifearena.com
    March 27-30. See amazing, awe-inspiring feats of daring, spectacles of strength and thrills of wonder. See mythical and mysterious creatures of the past: a unicorn, a Pegasus and a woolly mammoth.

    April


    Backyard Bugs: Wildlife Tracks
    Riverbanks Zoo
    riverbanks.org
    April 3. Explore the different tracks and signs of animals in your own backyard. Ages 2-5.

    Earl Yerrick Memorial Aircraft Static Display
    Hamilton-Owens Airport
    April 12. Military aircraft, vintage military and civilian aircraft as well as public-use aircraft on display. Scavenger hunt for kids 6-18. 771-7915.

    EDDIE’s Spring Break Camp
    EdVenture Children’s Museum
    edventure.org
    April 14. Features exciting activities, games, crafts and hands-on activities that will have your camper learning and loving it. Ages 3-12.

    Family on Safari: Spring Fling Edition
    Riverbanks Zoo
    riverbanks.org
    April 11. Overnight adventure. Celebrate spring through animal encounters, behind-the-scenes tours, crafts and more. Dinner, snack and breakfast provided.

    Gladys’ Gang
    Columbia Museum of Art
    columbiamuseum.org
    April 2: Jazzy Japan. Free monthly program includes story time and creative studio activity.

    Homeschool Day
    Columbia Museum of Art
    columbiamuseum.org
    April 15. For home-schooled children ages 4 and up and their parents. Combines an exploration of the galleries and a studio project. This month’s theme: Japan and the Jazz Age.

    Kid’s Day of Lexington
    Virginia Hylton Park
    lexingtonkidsday.com
    April 26. Free festival educates families on health, safety and environmental issues.

    Spring Break Zoo Camp
    Riverbanks Zoo
    riverbanks.org
    April 14-18. Children ages 5 to 9 explore the splendor and significance of rainforests during a week-long tropical safari. 

    The Stinky Cheese Man and other Fair(l)y (Stoopid) Tales
    Columbia Children’s Theatre
    columbiachildrenstheatre.com
    March 28-April 6. A musical comedy based on the award-winning book of mixed-up fairy tales.

    Tales from Beatrix Potter
    Township Auditorium
    April 25. You and your child will watch in merriment as characters like Jeremy Fisher, Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, Jemima Puddle-Duck, and Peter Rabbit come to life in Carolina Ballet’s adaptation of this favorite children’s classic.

    May


    Gladys’ Gang
    Columbia Museum of Art
    columbiamuseum.org
    May 7: Chihuly’s Fire. Free monthly program includes story time and creative studio activity. June 4: Let the Fur Fly.

    Homeschool Friday
    Historic Columbia
    historiccolumbia.org
    May 2. From butter churning to silver polishing, practice the skills 19th century children needed to prepare for adulthood.

    Meet the Maker: The Secret Species Project
    EdVenture Children’s Museum
    edventure.org
    May 3. Marius Valdes, creator of Zoo Valdes, will join EdVenture to teach guests how to create a portrait of their own Secret Species.

    Passport to Art: Spinning Fast!
    Columbia Museum of Art
    columbiamuseum.org
    May 11. Learn about thaumatropes as you make one in this free monthly open studio program for families. (Hint: A thaumatrope popular toy from the Victorian era.)

    Shrek the Musical
    Town Theatre
    towntheatre.com
    May 2-24. Your favorite green ogre ... in a musical.

    June


    CMA Teen Academy: Drawing 101
    Columbia Museum of Art
    columbiamuseum.org
    June 16-20. Explore drawing in a variety of different mediums. Topics include a live clothed model, traditional human proportions, perspective, and still-life. Ages 13-18.

    The Commedia Snow White
    Columbia Children’s Theatre
    columbiachildrenstheatre.com
    June 13-22. The Spaghetti and Meatball Players are back for a fifth hilarious summer! Join Pantalone, Arlequino, Rosetta, Columbine, and Punchin as take a bite out of the classic tale of forbidden fruit.

    Gladys’ Gang
    Columbia Museum of Art
    columbiamuseum.org
    June 4: Let the Fur Fly. Free monthly program includes story time and creative studio activity.

    comments powered by Disqus Free Times Family Magazine / Activities /

    Summer Camp, Then and Now

    Why We Got Away with So Much More Than Our Kids Do
    By Anne Postic
    Thursday, March 27, 2014 |


    Illustrations by Jason Crosby

    Some things never change. Camp is freedom, often the first taste kids get. Back at home, parents enjoy their own delicious freedom. We can listen to our music, as loud and as late as we want. We can sleep in without guilt, and enjoy glorious days not nagging anyone to do anything. We don’t have to worry, because the kids’ freedom is tightly controlled and, with activities available every waking hour, they sleep too well to get into too much trouble.

    Camp is still a place to grow and change, but back in the day, there was a little more freedom, thanks in part to a lack of technology. All of the following stories are true, though they may have been exaggerated over years of retelling. What’s the fun of a good camp story if you can’t embellish?

    Young Love and Poison Ivy


    Then: Remember those mixers with the boys’ camp across the lake? They were fraught with sexual tension, fueled by bug juice and the sweet taste of independence. One former camper in her 40s recalled how some girls would sneak onto the boys’ bus after a square dance, riding back to their camp for a few precious moments with a summer love. How did they get back? By walking through the woods, usually with the male suitor’s flashlight, using recently obtained camping skills to find her way.

    Now: Yeah. Probably not gonna’ happen. Can you imagine what kind of lawsuit a camp could face if the parents heard about this? Besides, why sneak into the boys’ camp when you can just text each other all night with an illicit cell phone? Though many camps are banning them, there are always ways to sneak in forbidden items.

    Contraband or Care Packages


    Then: There were lists of things to leave at home, some understood, some sharply contested by campers. In the ‘80s, legions of pre-teens railed against the unfairness. “What? No Walkman? How will I listen to my Midnight Star tape?!” And don’t forget the cigarettes of the ‘70s, carefully stashed in a clay piñata. Candy was smuggled in a hollowed-out Hardy Boys book.

    Now: Parents send care packages, and candy is not the taboo it once was. An iPod is a lot smaller than a Sony Discman, so music players are common. And those cigarettes? Nobody smokes anymore, so a camper would never be able to get away with smoking them, even if they could get them into camp.



    Snake Bite? Who Knew?


    Then: You got sick, and your teenaged counselor walked you up the hill to the infirmary, recalled one camper from the ‘80s. As far as she knew, her parents were never informed. They didn’t have an answering machine, and snail mail would have been pointless. She relaxed for a day or two, with minimal attention from the camp nurse. It felt like a mini vacation, because the sheets were nicer and there was air conditioning via an ancient window unit. The nurses were nice, but definitely not Mom.

    Now: Parents are notified immediately if a camper gets sick, and are asked if there are any special instructions. Is it possible we are raising a generation of children who believe the common cold merits major attention? Maybe.

    Summer Reading That Wasn’t on the Book List


    Then: One camper recalled her friends sneaking a copy of Judy Blume’s Forever into the infirmary. Do you remember Forever? It was Judy Blume’s foray into feminist erotica. No, really. Published in 1975, this book was all kinds of dirty, with a responsible nod to birth control and emotional health. Not the most appropriate reading for a 12-year-old, but probably not the worst, either.

    Now: Who still has books? How does a kid read dirty books these days anyway, given that anything they download onto an e-reader will show up on their parents’ credit card bill? Also, no way would a sick kid be left alone long enough to read 224 pages of porn.

    What Nose Ring?


    Then: One 12-year-old camper in the ‘70s ran an ear-piercing clinic, piercing ears right and left all summer long, with no formal training and minimal sanitation, and never got caught. Where did she get the earrings? What about the piercing equipment? With no way to boil the equipment, why did no one lose an ear? What did the parents do when their daughters came home with pierced ears? Who knows? Adults didn’t pay as much attention back then.

    Now: The piercing clinic would be shuttered immediately, as soon as the first girl outed the piercer by posting a pic on Instagram. The renegade piercer would not be invited back to camp, and all of her clients would be treated with antibiotics for potential infection.



    Water Safety Now Means Having a Pool


    Then: Speaking of mystery infections, does anyone remember those fizzing drops counselors put in campers’ ears when they got out of the lake? The preventative. Why were we allowed to swim in water in the first place if we might contract a mysterious ear infection?

    Now: A lot of camps have pools: We can only hope the water is still cold enough for campers to experience the discomfort meant to teach them a life lesson. True story: Some camps have heated pools. Kids today don’t stand a chance.

    Without Email and Instagram, a Week Apart Really was a Week Apart


    Then: Some kids spent six weeks at camp without writing their parents once. The parents had no idea if their own carefully penned letters were received, let alone read and treasured.

    What did you love about camp?

    “I loved falling out of a canoe and holding a chicken and having it poop on me. I didn’t like how cold it was.” — Rowan, 8

    “Horseback riding!” — Catie, 7

    “Everything!” — Grayson, 13

    “Making new friends.” — Cannon, 10

    “What I love about camp is the food! I love walking into the dining hall and finding a fresh, hot loaf of Greystone’s famous bread! I get to meet new people every week at a different table. Greystone has the best food!” — Addie, 11

    “My favorite thing about Camp Tonawandah is all the activities you can try, like cooking, dance, tennis, archery, princess class, secret agent, and horseback riding! Every day is a new adventure!” — Emma, 11
    Now: Kids still don’t write, even though email is easy. Why? Because they’re having fun. Many camps allow parents to send email, which is great, because they don’t have to sweat writing ahead of time to ensure that their camper hears from them within a day or two of the beginning of camp. Also, many camps post pictures of campers online every single night, so parents can obsess over every nuance of their children’s facial expressions and body language. “Look! He’s smiling!” quickly gives way to, “But honey, aren’t his shoulders a little raised? Doesn’t he look a little tense?” Of course he does. He’s carrying a canoe over some rocks and trying to keep his feet in flip-flops.

    What Hasn’t Changed


    The friendships, goofy activities with little practical use, bonding (especially now that cellphones are on the way out at a lot of camps), minimal communication between kids and their parents, the clean, slightly mildewy smell, and the sweet taste of freedom. According to the American Camp Association, the top five activities are still swimming, arts and crafts, challenge and ropes, archery, and lake activities like kayaking and canoeing. The standard songs are the same, consistent from summer to summer and camp to camp.

    As a parent, after camp you can still look forward to a trunk with only the top layer of clothing having been disturbed, very little communication from your camper, a box or two of crafts with limited use (lanyard, anyone?), and a kid who feels better about himself than when he left. Even if it is a little sanitized, independence is still the crucial element of the camp experience.

    Camp Isn’t Cheap, But What Is?


    What about the cost? Camp is expensive. According to the American Camp Association, the average cost of a week at camp is $690, with some camps charging as much as $2,000 per week.

    Broken down, those fees are not as high as they seem, since they are all-inclusive. After all, kids at home all summer cost money, too.

    Child care can cost $10 to 15 per hour, or $80-120 per day. Day camps can cost $150-$800 per week.

    Most activity-focused day camps in Columbia, including those at the Columbia Museum of Art, EdVenture and Trustus Theatre, are around $150 per week, but specialty camps, including those with a science focus, can be much more expensive.

    Food: Sending a pre-teen to camp could be a deal, given the sheer quantity of food they consume. Besides, you won’t have to spend time cooking it!

    Transportation: At home, parents spend time and money taking kids to various places to swim, hang with friends or just get out of the house. At camp, these things are included.

    A peaceful week alone? Priceless.


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    Free Times Parent April-May 2014

    By Free Times
    Thursday, March 27, 2014 |


    comments powered by Disqus Get Ahead /

    Get Ahead: Guide to Career Advancement Spring 2014

    By Free Times
    Thursday, March 27, 2014 |


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    Columbia SC Spring 2014 Calendar of Events

    By Free Times
    Wednesday, March 26, 2014 |

    Bites & Sights
    Where to Eat: Bites
    What to Do: Attractions
    Where to Drink: Nightlife
    Where to Stay: Accommodations
    Calendar of Events



    Bruno Mars performs at the Colonial Life Arena on June 13.

    OK, you’re in town, now where’s the action?

    For comprehensive events coverage on a week-to-week basis, pick up a copy of Free Times at one of hundreds of locations throughout the city. But to get you started, we’ve compiled some of the major concerts, exhibitions and other cultural highlights of what’s happening between now and June, when the next Bites & Sights hits the streets. Dates are subject to change. For more information, please contact the specific venue or organization.

    For more things to do, go to free-times.com/events.

    Museum Exhibitions


    Animal Instinct: Paintings by Shelley Reed
    Columbia Museum of Art
    columbiamuseum.org
    May 16-Sep. 14. A collection of approximately 40 large-scale black and white paintings of animals posing as people, including a wall-length mural.

    Japan and the Jazz Age
    Columbia Museum of Art
    columbiamuseum.org
    Through April 20. The story – through art – of the innovation that came from a clash between the old and the new, when geisha become flappers and ancient origami cranes transformed into sleek, gold statuettes.

    Mama Let’s Make a Moon
    South Carolina State Museum
    scmuseum.org
    Through June 29. Illustrations from artist Clay Rice’s most recent children’s book, Mama Let’s Make a Moon.

    Meiji Magic
    Columbia Museum of Art
    columbiamuseum.org
    Through May 18. Imperial porcelain from Japan from the collection of Alex and Barbara Kasten.

    April


    The Addams Family
    Koger Center for the Arts
    broadwayincolumbia.com
    April 28-29 Yeah, yeah, we have no doubt the singing and dancing in this adaptation will be good. But it sucks that Thing only appears to open up the curtain.

    Artista Vista
    The Vista
    artistavista.com
    April 24-27. Columbia’s oldest and most celebrated gallery crawl.
    Columbia International Festival

    South Carolina State Fairgrounds
    cifonline.org
    April 5-6. Long-running annual international food and culture festival offers bazaars, ethnic foods, national exhibitions, a fashion show, cultural performances and culminates in a parade of nations. This year, the festival gives a special emphasis to the countries of South Asia.

    Eau Claire Fest
    Eau Claire Town Center
    facebook.com/EauClaireFest
    April 26. Formerly the Ribs and Renaissance Festival, the Eau Claire festival celebrates the North Columbia neighborhood with a marketplace, music and food.

    Indie Grits Festival
    indiegrits.com
    April 11-20. So much more than just a film festival. This Nickelodeon Theatre-curated and -directed event, which screens gritty films from Southern filmmakers at venues throughout downtown, also packs surprisingly exciting concerts, a Slow Food Columbia eat-and-greet, a hand puppet slam and a hip-hop family day.

    Olympia Fest
    olympiafest.com
    April 26. History, gravel quarry tours, family activities, arts, crafts, live music, more.

    River Rocks Festival
    Riverfront Park
    riverrocksfestival.com
    April 12. Yes, River Rocks is a music festival, boasting easygoing rock bands, but it also supports the Congaree Riverkeeper’s efforts to keep our rivers clean.

    Runaway Runway
    Township Auditorium
    columbiadesignleague.org/runaway-runway
    Apr. 5. One man’s trash is another’s haute couture, as this recycled fashion show proves.

    Sparkleberry Country Fair
    Clemson Extension, Northeast Columbia
    sparkleberryfair.com
    April 25-26. Like the South Carolina State Fair, except way smaller: Amusement rides, food, crafts, vendors, etc. Plus, in true country style, lots of tractors.

    Tartan Day South
    Historic Columbia Speedway
    tartandaysouth.com
    April 3-6. A celebration of all things Celtic.

    May


    Black Expo
    Colonial Life Arena
    coloniallifearena.com
    May 15-17. Features more than 200 exhibitors and vendors, as well as seminars, workshops, youth activities, a health fair and local and national entertainment.

    Camden Cup
    Camden Polo Field
    cityofcamden.org
    May 5. For real, Camden is home to the second oldest polo field in the nation. Go see some dudes on horses hit a hard little ball.

    Lexington Wine Walk
    lexingtonwinewalk.com
    May 10. Held on the 100 block of East Main Street in Lexington, the Lexington Wine Walk offers wine tastings, hors d’ouevres and live music. Fundraiser for the Lexington Beautification Foundation.

    Rosewood Crawfish Festival
    Rosewood Drive
    rosewoodcrawfishfest.com
    May 3. Come hungry. The annual Crawfish Festival cooks up more than 7,000 pounds of Louisiana crawfish, taking over Rosewood Drive for a whole day. Stuff yourself with Cajun and Creole cuisine in addition to samples from Rosewood restaurants. It’s a feast for the ears as well, with four stages dominated by ‘90s alt-rockers and up-and-coming locals.

    South Carolina Book Festival
    Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center
    scbookfestival.org
    May 16-18. South Carolina’s premier literary festival. Workshops, readings and literary discussions.

    June


    Bruno Mars
    Colonial Life Arena
    coloniallifearena.com
    June 13. Love him or hate him, Bruno Mars has ridden Prince-isms and Michael Jackson-isms — not to mention a great deal of talent — to the top of the pop star game. Big get for Columbia.

    Columbia Fashion Week
    columbiafashionweek.com
    June 18-21. Who says Columbia doesn’t have style? Go get dazzled at a few displays on the runway and attend special events like the annual Beautiful People Party.

    Conductors Institute
    Koger Center
    conductorsinstitute.com
    June 8-21. Aspiring conductors come to town from all over the country and beyond to hone their craft. Conducting sessions are open to the public.

    Lake Murray Independence Day Celebration
    Lake Murray
    lakemurraycountry.com
    June 28. Boat parade and fireworks extravaganza.

    South Carolina Black Pride
    southcarolinablackpride.com
    25-29 Like the annual Pride festival, but black-oriented.

    Southeastern Piano Festival
    sepf.music.sc.edu
    June 15-24. Standard lore has it that Columbia is dead in the summer. Tell that to the audiences at the Southeastern Piano Festival, who flock in to see some of the nation’s most talented up-and-coming pianists.


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    Columbia SC Accommodations

    Where to Stay
    By Free Times
    Wednesday, March 26, 2014 |

    Bites & Sights
    Where to Eat: Bites
    What to Do: Attractions
    Where to Drink: Nightlife
    Where to Stay: Accommodations
    Calendar of Events



    The Sheraton Hotel in downtown Columbia is chock full of Gothic revival-style details. file photo

    Downtown
    USC
    South Main St.


    The 1425 Inn
    1425 Richland St., 252-7225
    the1425inn.com
    Exquisite bed-and-breakfast near the heart of Columbia. Amenities: smoke-free; Southern-style porch; full breakfast.

    Affordable Suites Deluxe
    150 Stoneridge Dr., 779-7000
    Just off I-126; extended-stay friendly. Amenities: Business center; fitness room; free breakfast; free Wi-Fi; pets allowed; smoke-free; meeting facilities.
     
    Chesnut Cottage
    1718 Hampton St., 256-1718
    chesnutcottage.com
    The wartime home of author Mary Boykin Chesnut; once visited by Jefferson Davis. Amenities: Complimentary breakfast; free Wi-Fi; pets allowed; smoke-free.
     
    Clarion Hotel Downtown
    1615 Gervais St., 771-8711
    clariontownhouse.com
    On the Five Points end of Gervais Street, the 160-room Clarion is still only three blocks from the State House, a half-mile walk from Finlay Park and a quick taxi ride to the Vista. Built on the grounds that housed Sherman’s Columbia headquarters, the Clarion is also home to Carolina’s Restaurant, which offers a delicious Southern-food lunch buffet and a bomb-ass Sunday brunch. Amenities: Family rooms; room service; free Wi-Fi; outdoor pool; free ground-level parking; free airport shuttle; exercise room.
     
    Country Hearth Inn
    621 S. Assembly St., 252-2000
    countryhearth.com
    Good luck getting a room in October: This 45-room hotel is one block from the State Fairgrounds and a quarter-mile from Williams-Brice Stadium. Equidistant from both Five Points and The Vista, though you’ll probably need to cab it to both. Amenities: Smoke-free rooms; free Wi-Fi; on-site parking; complimentary breakfast.

    Courtyard Columbia
    Downtown at USC
    630 Assembly St., 799-7800
    marriott.com
    Located at the tail end of Assembly Street, the 189-room Courtyard Columbia Downtown is a stone’s throw away from all sorts of action, equidistant from both the high-class Vista and the fun-loving Five Points. It’s also close to Williams-Brice Stadium and several arts venues (Colonial Life Arena, Koger Center, Columbia Museum of Art), fine restaurants (California Dreaming, Moe’s) and more. Should you feel like throwing your own party, the hotel’s only a block away from Green’s. Amenities: Smoke-free rooms; room service; free Wi-Fi; mini-fridge; fitness center; outdoor swimming pool; restaurant; on-site parking; free airport shuttle.

    Embassy Suites
    Columbia Greystone
    200 Stoneridge Dr., 252-8700
    columbiagreystone.embassysuites.com
    Just outside downtown Columbia, off I-126. Offers courtesy shuttle service to USC, the Vista, Five Points, Main Street. Amenities: Free deluxe breakfast; exercise room; meeting facilities; business center; smoke-free rooms; indoor pool.
     
    Extended Stay America Columbia West
    450 Gracern Rd., 251-7878
    extendedstayhotels.com
    Just outside downtown Columbia, off I-126. Ideal for extended stays. Amenities: Fully equipped kitchens; business center; fitness room; pets allowed.
     
    Homewood Suites by Hilton
    250 Greystone Blvd., 239-4663
    Just outside downtown Columbia, off I-126. Amenities: Business center; fitness room; complimentary breakfast; free Wi-Fi; indoor pool.
     
    The Inn at USC
    1619 Pendleton St., 779-7779
    innatusc.com
    An elegant boutique hotel located on the campus of the University of South Carolina in the heart of downtown, The Inn at USC boasts 117 first-class guestrooms and suites, each outfitted with deluxe amenities (including wireless Internet and premium cable — score!). The Inn is conveniently surrounded by Columbia’s academic, government, business, cultural and historic districts. Amenities: Free deluxe breakfast; exercise room; free Wi-Fi; banquet facilities; parking garage; smoke-free rooms; on-site dry cleaning services; library.

    Marriott Columbia
    1200 Hampton St., 771-7000
    marriottcolumbia.com
    The 300-room Marriott is not only one of the largest but also one of the best rated in the Capital City. And with good reason — the 14-floor behemoth is located at the corner of Main and Hampton in the heart of downtown, providing easy access to just about everything, from local government offices to local art havens to fine dining. Dig those delicious buffets, too! Also offers a cultural concierge service assisting visitors with tickets to arts and cultural events. Amenities: Exercise room; room service; indoor restaurant, lounge and sports bar; indoor pool; free airport shuttle; valet covered parking; free Wi-Fi.

    Sheraton Columbia
    1400 Main St., 988-1400
    sheratoncolumbiadowntown.com
    Housed in the historic Palmetto Building, built in 1913, the 135-room Sheraton is chock full of Gothic revival-style details. That’ll please the locals, sure, but travelers will appreciate the ground-floor Starbucks kiosk and lounge area; plus, there’s a bar on the roof, a bar in the old bank vault, and a restaurant in the basement with a pretty good bar. The high-class hotel is near some high-class entertainment, too; it’s also just a block from the Columbia Museum of Art and within striking distance of the Vista, Five Points, USC and just about everything else. Amenities: Airport shuttle; lounge; exercise room; business center; valet parking; public Wi-Fi (not free).

    Studio Plus
    180 Stoneridge Dr., 771-0303
    Just outside downtown Columbia, off I-126. Specially designed for extended stays. Amenities: Fully equipped kitchens; pets allowed.

    The Vista
    Riverfront
    State Street
    Vista West


    Hampton Inn Historic District
    822 Gervais St., 231-2000
    hamptoninncolumbia.com
    The 122-room Hampton is located right in the heart of the Vista, giving walking access to rock clubs (Art Bar), dance clubs (Jet Nightlife), swanky bars and chic shops, not to mention walking distance to the Congaree River. Double points for its location near Liberty Tap Room. Rated as one the top three hotels in Columbia by Yahoo! Travel. Amenities: Free deluxe breakfast; exercise room; business center; free Wi-Fi; outdoor pool; non-smoking floors.

    Hilton Columbia Center
    924 Senate St., 744-7800
    hiltoncolumbia.com
    Columbia’s newest high-rise hotel, the 222-room Hilton Columbia Center, is literally in the center of the Capital City — right in the Vista and just a brisk walk to campus and a quick taxi or bus ride to Five Points and Main Street. Also close by: Riverfront Park and the South Carolina State Museum. The Hilton building is also home to Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. Amenities: Non-smoking rooms; business center; on-site notary public; lounge; exercise room; outdoor pool; parking garage with valet parking; full-service bar.

    Holiday Inn Express
    501 Taylor St., 744-4000
    hicolumbiasc.com
    Just outside the Vista and down the street from Finlay Park, the Holiday Inn Express offers 86 all-suite rooms. It’s right on top of a bevy of entertainment options — from dance clubs to rock clubs to high-flown social clubs — and eateries, from low-brow (McDonald’s) to highfalutin (Blue Marlin) and everywhere in between. Also close to West Columbia and the trendy Vista West area. Amenities: Free deluxe breakfast; business center; exercise room; free Wi-Fi; outdoor pool; smoke-free rooms.

    SpringHill Suites Columbia
    511 Lady St., 978-2333
    marriott.com/caesh
    Located near the corner of Pulaski and Lady, the brand-spanking-new, 132-room SpringHill Suites is within walking distance of everything the Vista has to offer, from fine dining (Gervais and Vine, Motor Supply) to chic nightlife (Art Bar, Blue, Rust) to fine arts (Trustus Theatre, Koger Center) and ways to appease the crap out of your kids (EdVenture Children’s Museum). Amenities: Free continental breakfast; free Wi-Fi; indoor pool; fitness center; non-smoking rooms.

    Staybridge Suites Columbia
    1913 Huger St., 451-5900
    staycolumbiasc.com
    The newly built, 93-room Staybridge Suites is close to everything — but a quick ride away from Riverbanks Zoo, The Vista, Five Points and the University area — while removed enough from the associated clamor. Located on Huger Street, it’s also close to Interstates 26 and 277, offering quick access to Columbia’s suburban shopping centers. Bonus: It’s a quick walk to scenic Riverfront Park. Amenities: Free deluxe breakfast; free wi-fi; business center; indoor convenience store; fitness center; swimming pool.

    Five Points
    Devine Street
    Rosewood
    Olympia


    The Inn at Claussen’s
    2003 Greene St., 765-0440
    theinnatclaussens.com
    You won’t find a swimming pool here, but you will find a charming brick hotel listed on the National Register of Historic Places with 28 rooms, many recently renovated and each individually decorated in contemporary or traditional design. Located in the heart of Five Points, Claussen’s is a brief walk to a fantastic record store (Papa Jazz), an amazing burrito establishment (El Burrito) and a host of fine restaurants (Garibaldi’s, Saluda’s), cool clothiers (Sid and Nancy, Salty’s) and other hipster hangouts (Goatfeathers, The Gourmet Shop). Don’t bet on booking a post-St. Pat’s Festival room, though. Double-plus points for the complimentary wine served in the lobby every evening. Amenities: Free continental breakfast; free guest parking; non-smoking rooms; free Wi-Fi; lounge.

    Northeast
    Forest Acres
    Fort Jackson
    Blythewood
    Camden


    Bloomsbury Inn
    1707 Lyttleton St. (Camden)
    803-432-5858
    bloomsburyinn.com
    You want to be pampered? This is the place. The focus is on elegance, history and uncompromising detail in this 1849 home where South Carolina author Mary Boykin Chesnut penned her famed Diary From Dixie. Gourmet breakfast, luxury accommodations. Three miles from I-20.

    Camden House Bed & Breakfast
    1502 Broad St., 803-713-1013
    www.camdenhouse.us
    Completed in 1832, this four-room bed-and-breakfast is in the heart of downtown Camden. You’ll get classic comforts such as a Southern breakfast, afternoon tea, and a wine and cheese happy hour along with such modern amenities as wireless Internet and a swimming pool.

    Holiday Inn & Suites Columbia North
    8105 Two Notch Rd., 736-5600
    Centrally located at the intersection of I-77 and Two Notch Rd, one mile from I-20 and 10 minutes from I-26. Business center, fitness room, free Wi-Fi, smoke-free.

    Holiday Inn Express Suite Blythewood
    120 Creech Rd., I-77 Exit 27, 803-333-0315
    Located off I-77, Blythewood Road Exit 27, the Holiday Inn Express is roughly equidistant from Lake Murray to the northwest and Fort Jackson to the southeast.

    Residence Inn by Marriott Columbia-Northeast
    2320 Legrand Rd., 788-8850
    Located off I-77 near the intersection of Farrow and Rabon roads, the Residence Inn is just around the corner from Providence Hospital Northeast and minutes away from Fort Jackson. Spacious suites come fully equipped with refrigerator, microwave and coffee maker, as well as wireless Internet access.

    Harbison/Irmo
    Lake Murray
    Lexington
    St. Andrews


    Comfort Suites Lexington
    325 W. Main St. (Lexington), 996-2000
    A 100 percent non-smoking hotel, Comfort Suites Lexington also offers 32-inch flat-screen TVs with premium channels and a DVD player; free wired and wireless high-speed Internet access; cordless speakerphone with voice mail; a hair dryer; microwave and more.

    Hilton Garden Inn
    434 Columbiana Dr. (Harbison), 407-6640
    Business-friendly rooms equipped wireless, high-speed Internet. Guestrooms have refrigerators, microwaves, coffee makers and cable TV. Also offers fitness room, pool and laundry facilities.

    Holiday Inn & Suites Columbia Airport
    500 Chris Dr. (West Columbia), 391-4000
    Columbia’s first eco-friendly non-smoking hotel designed for LEED certification, the eco-friendly rooms boast flat-panel TVs and ample work space; the hotel also offers meeting spaces, business and fitness centers, and a high-energy sports bar on the ground level.

    Hyatt Place Columbia Harbison
    1130 Kinley Rd. (Harbison), 407-1560
    Spacious and upscale, minutes from downtown, state offices, USC, Columbia Conference Center, Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, sporting venues, Lake Murray, Columbia Metropolitan Airport and some of the best dining and shopping in the Columbia area. Free continental breakfast, complimentary fitness center, free Wi-Fi.

    Wingate By Wyndham Columbia
    108 Saluda Pointe Court (Lexington), 957-5000
    lexingtonwingate.com
    Situated at the intersection of I-20 and Highway 378. Offers free Continental breakfast; high-speed, wireless Internet access; high-quality mattresses and pillows; in-room safe; 24-hour business center; fitness room; and whirlpool.
    Link

    comments powered by Disqus Bites & Sights Visitors Guide /

    Columbia SC Nightlife

    Where to Drink
    By Free Times
    Wednesday, March 26, 2014 |

    Bites & Sights
    Where to Eat: Bites
    What to Do: Attractions
    Where to Drink: Nightlife
    Where to Stay: Accommodations
    Calendar of Events




    Liberty Tap Room in the Vista offers 75 tap and bottled beer varieties to choose from. file photo

    Do you love the nightlife? Love to boogie on the disco ‘round? Or maybe you love rock ‘n’ roll, and putting dimes in the jukebox?

    Or maybe you’re just looking for a place to watch the big game, or to take your special friend for a quiet (or not-so-quiet) night on the town. 

    No matter your preference, Columbia’s diverse nightlife scene has you covered. Whether it’s the beer list at Flying Saucer, the cozy bar at The Kraken, the people at Art Bar, rock ‘n’ roll at New Brookland Tavern or near-nightly night jazz at Speakeasy, there’s plenty of entertainment in these parts for all tastes and ages (well, all ages over 21, anyway). And if you live in the ‘burbs — yeah, there are plenty of places to drink there, too.

    And even if you think you know the local scene, keep in mind that things are always changing — clubs open, close, change formats or managers, etc. So it’s a good idea to take a fresh look around every now and then — or just pick up your weekly issue of Free Times — and make sure you haven’t missed out on a new place you might love.

    Downtown
    Main Street
    South Main/USC
    North Main


    Back Porch on Gervais
    1616 Gervais St., 960-2585
    Elegant bistro with a swanky bar. Sometimes hosts bands; porch has heaters.

    Le Cafe Jazz
    930 Laurel St., 400-1879
    You want jazz? Stop by this jazz club in Finlay Park.

    Cantina 76
    Downtown: 1301 Main St., 764-1769
    This Devine Street joint is abuzz with young women in cocktail dresses, couples on dates who come for the fancy tacos and stay for the excellent margaritas, made in all shapes, flavors and sizes with top-shelf tequilas. Family-friendly, too.

    Columbia Soundstage
    1800 Blanding St., 397-3895
    thecolumbiasoundstage.com
    Warehouse-type space near the Township hosts large hip-hop concerts and dance parties.

    Hunter-Gatherer
    900 Main St., 748-0540
    huntergathererbrewery.com
    More than the token local microbrew joint, H-G boasts awesome bartenders, scrumptious entrées and an excellent beer and liquor selection. Looking to impress your local-hipster date? You can’t go wrong here. Live jazz on Thursdays, too.

    The Oak Table
    1221 Main St., 563-5066
    theoaktablesc.com
    Come for the modern American cuisine, or just come for the deep bar and fantastic cocktails, including the rye-based Mac-hattan and the gin-based French Shogun.

    The Palace II
    6920 N. Main St., 834-4673
    An upscale R&B club for the “prestigious and elite.”

    Sheraton Rooftop Lounge
    1400 Main St., 988-1400
    Not for the acrophobic, the Sheraton’s hip Rooftop Lounge boasts a classy clientele, fine libations and desserts, plus a beautiful view of the Capital City.

    Sheraton Vault Martini Bar
    1400 Main St., 988-1400
    Nestled within the bank’s original safe, the Vault Martini Bar is a popular hotspot for those who insist upon their martinis stirred, not shaken, and with a twist of sophistication.
     
    The Vino Garage
    2327 Main St., 834-3392
    This Earlewood wine and beer shop also hosts a lot of tastings of hard-to-come-by wines and beers.

    The Whig
    1200 Main St., 931-8852
    thewhig.org
    The Whig used to be Columbia’s cool-kids-only bar, but its dollar-slice Mondays and cheap-taco Tuesdays have broadened its clientele to Greeks and Main Street urban professionals. Still has that rad jukebox.

    Wine Down on Main
    1520 Main St. Suite 1B, 673-4810
    This small, cozy wine bar is charming and unassuming, offering select beers and complimentary hors d’oeuvres in addition to a large selection of traditional and offbeat wines.

    The Vista


    Art Bar
    1211 Park St., 929-0198,
    artbarsc.com
    Art Bar’s been around for more than 21 years now, but it still hasn’t grown up: It’s still the same eclectic non-corporate nightspot it’s always been. Cool but never pretentious. Looking for that hot derby girl? She’s probably here.

    Blue.
    721A Lady St., 251-4447
    Blue, a tapas bar and cocktail lounge, features Columbia’s only ice bar and draws in big crowds for its popular ’80s night on Wednesdays. Cozy late-night spot as well.

    Carolina Ale House
    708 Lady St., 227-7150
    carolinaalehouse.com
    Southeastern grille-and-grog chain offers good eats, a good beer selection and plenty of televised sports. Features the Vista’s hottest rooftop bar and plenty of fun drink specials.

    Flying Saucer
    931 Senate St., 933-9997
    beerknurd.com
    If you love beer, you’ve been to Flying Saucer. (You’re probably already a Beer Knurd, too.) If you love beer but haven’t been to Flying Saucer, you’re missing out on a hundreds-deep beer list stocked with beers you’ve never heard of, and beers you’ve only heard about in legend.

    Gervais & Vine
    620A Gervais St., 799-8463
    gervine.com
    Gervais & Vine offers a sophisticated yet approachable atmosphere for its exquisite Southern fusion tapas. Its extensive wine selection separates it from most of Columbia’s metropolitan haunts, and the diversity and daring of the menu make it hard to dislike.

    Jet Nightlife
    700B Gervais St., 708-8208
    jetnightlife.com
    Jet Nightlife offers a touch of big-city nightlife in lil’ ol’ Columbia, what with its bottle service, contemporary EDM DJs and VIP areas.

    Jillian’s
    800 Gervais St., 779-7789
    jillianscolumbia.com
    Games! TVs! Food! Beer! Housed in the historic Train Depot Building built in 1860, Jillian’s has been serving up entertainment in the heart of the Vista since 1997. Offers an arcade, billiard tables, a ping-pong table, and walls of huge flat-screen televisions, as well as an extensive list of imports, domestics, cocktails and libations. Also presents live music and entertainment.

    Kelly’s
    1001 Washington St., 254-4464
    If this converted fire station reminds you of Five Points, it’s probably because its owners cut their teeth working for places like Group Therapy and Jungle Jim’s. These Gamecock fans host regular acoustic performances in addition to karaoke and open mic contests.

    Liberty Tap Room
    828 Gervais St., 461-4677
    libertytaproom.com
    Attention hipsters: If you’re looking for that hot roller derby girl, you might have taken a wrong turn. (She’s at Art Bar.) Young professionals, however, should find much to enjoy here between the clientele, much-acclaimed menu and massive beer list, which offers 75 tap and bottle varieties to choose from.

    Lucky 13
    920 Lady St., 764-4317
    Feeling lucky? Try this new Vista nightclub, which boasts regional DJs, laser lights and weekend drink specials. VIP and bottle service, too, if you’re a real baller.

    Mojitos Tropical Café
    1004 Gervais St., 779-1717
    Last year, 400,000 Americans visited the communist island of Cuba thanks to an easing of travel restrictions. If you want to visit a tropical nightlife paradise serving up delicious Cuban food, however, it’s a lot easier to just head to this enticing Vista locale.

    Nonnah’s
    930 Gervais St., 779-9599
    nonnahs.com
    Best known for its desserts, Nonnah’s is a good place to stop for coffee and drinks after dinner or a show.

    The Oyster Bar
    1123 Park St., 799-4484
    oysterbarcolumbia.com
    Serves up Gulf oysters, steamed and raw. The dressed-down atmosphere, excellent service and better-than-average beer selection will keep you coming back. Best of all? They shuck, you eat.

    Pearlz
    936 Gervais St., 661-7741
    pearlzoysterbar.com
    As an oyster bar, Pearlz specializes in all things bivalve mollusk. But its hip, trendy ambience and signature martinis make it a hotspot for Columbia’s young, urban professional crowd.

    Pearlz Upstairs
    936 Gervais St., 661-7741
    pearlzoysterbar.com
    Pearlz’ new upstairs lounge is a hotbed for hot local jazz, and, like its downstairs big brother, a hotspot for Columbia’s young, urban professional crowd.

    PT’s 1109
    1109 Assembly St., 253-8900
    pts1109.com
    You could live your whole life in Columbia and not know this gay bar exists, and, frankly, its regulars probably wouldn’t mind all that much. Conversely, this haunt is a treasure to the folks who frequent it.

    SakiTumi
    807 Gervais St., 931-0700
    sakifresh.com
    Sushi, sake and salacious servers ... what else could you want out of an über-hip Vista sushi bar?

    Social
    918 Gervais St., 603-4313
    socialcolumbiasc.com
    A hot new Vista hotspot, Social gets weird on the weekends, hosting paint parties, ice parties, inflatable wonderland parties, foam parties and all manner of events at which to get turnt.

    Thirsty Fellow
    621 Gadsden St., 799-1311
    thirstyfellow.com
    Launched by Willie Durkin — formerly of Shannon’s, Sneakers and Durkin’s — Thirsty Fellow serves up eclectic, delicious pizzas and offers a full bar.

    Tin Roof
    1022 Senate St., 771-1558
    tinroof.com
    Named Best Bar by Free Times readers in the 2013 Best of Columbia poll. Its calling cards: live music, good food and a laid-back atmosphere. Open for lunch, happy hour, dinner and into the night.

    Tsunami
    700-C Gervais St., 312-9911
    tsunamicompany.com
    Two chic sushi bars within two blocks of each other in the Vista? Be still our beating hearts! Tsunami’s elegant, contemporary atmosphere and ample seating area complements its extensive sake, wine and beer selection.

    Uncle Fester’s
    522 Devine St., 748-9897
    While most of the Soda City’s bars are closing up shop on Sunday morning, this watering hole between Palmetto Pig and Todd & Moore keeps the party going. Always packed with a diverse clientele.

    Uncle Louie’s
    1125 Park St., 933-9833
    Its no-frills, no-nonsense attitude has endeared this unassuming watering hole to a loyal legion of regulars, but there’s always room for more.

    Wet Willie’s
    800 Gervais St., 779-5650
    wetwillies.com
    How can you not love a bar that specializes in grain alcohol slushies? Er, excuse us, daiquiris.

    The Wild Hare
    902-B Gervais St., 929-0374
    wildharesc.com
    Three-time winner of the Best Sports Bar in the Best of Columbia poll. Serves up hefty portions of some hefty selections (try the potato cakes!), and earns points for televisions and attractive wait staff. Down-to-earth crowd.

    Wild Wing Café
    729 Lady St., 252-9464
    wildwingcafe.com
    Sure, Wild Wing Café has sandwiches, salads and soup, but the obvious draw is their 33 flavors of wings. If you can’t decide on one, get the sampler platter. Also boasts a ton of TVs, a party atmosphere and a steady stream of regional rock bands.

    The Woody
    808 Lady St., 779-9663
    Named after popular Columbia oldies disc jockey Woody Windham, The Woody is a popular Vista spot for shag and salsa dancing, as well as a welcoming spot for partiers who aren’t in their 20s. You have to duck through an alley, but don’t let that ward you off. Offers nightly drink specials.

    World of Beer
    902F Gervais St., 509-6020
    thevista.wobusa.com
    Lagers and porters and stouts (and pales and ales and bocks), oh my! World of Beer offers more than 500 beers, stocking something for aficionados and neophytes alike. Wine and cigars, too, plus live music on the weekends. The suds bring the masses in, but the living-room atmosphere keeps ‘em coming back.

    Five Points
    Devine Street
    Rosewood
    Olympia


    The Back Corner
    634 Harden St., facebook.com/the-back-corner
    Where does porn star Ron Jeremy hang out when he’s in town? At this Five Points ravery.

    Bar None
    620 Harden St., 254-3354
    Open from happy hour until sunrise, Bar None is the last refuge of the late-night lush and the service industry worker. Try the smoked wings, when they’re available.

    The Bird Dog
    715 Harden St., 799-0611
    It’s called The Bird Dog, ostensibly, because hanging on its walls, right next to mounted deer heads, are soft-hued paintings of hunting dogs staring pensively — tentatively, even, waiting for their prey to emerge — into wooded lakes. If that sounds like the setup for a Southern bar, well, it is: Drinks, often cheap and big, are served in Mason jars.
     
    Breakers
    801 Harden St., 771-6360
    One of the biggest draws to Dr. Rocco’s was its outdoor patio, which offered an ideal Five Points people-watching spot. Breakers, now in the old Dr. Rocco’s space, keeps the patio, but the inside bar got an upscale makeover.

    Cantina 76
    2901 Devine St., 708-6004
    cantina76.com
    This Devine Street joint is abuzz with young women in cocktail dresses, couples on dates who come for the fancy tacos and stay for the excellent margaritas, made in all shapes, flavors and sizes with top-shelf tequilas. Family-friendly, too.
     
    CJ’s
    749 Saluda Ave., 748-8694
    Its retractable exterior wall opens to reveal the Five Points fountain plaza, thus making CJ’s a great spot for taking in this colorful corner of Columbia.
       
    Cock N Bull Pub
    326 S. Edisto Ave., 251-4474
    As British as you’ll get in Rosewood. Popular and laid-back, this neighborhood favorite has a small but stellar beer menu, and lots of soccer on TV.

    Concocktions
    724 Harden St., 256-8860
    Offers exactly what you’d want from a Five Points sports bar: Cheap drinks, good vibes, sports. Stays open late. Live DJs, too.

    Cover 3
    711 Harden St., 533-7030
    The Cover 3 is a zone defensive scheme in football with three deep coverage zones covered by two cornerbacks and one safety. It’s also a bar in Five Points in the old Bey’s spot.

    Delaney’s
    741 Saluda Ave., 779-2345
    Delaney’s is as Irish as it comes here in the Bible Belt. Of course it has Guinness, but it also has quite an assortment of classy imports and plenty of good ol’ Irish grub. Wicked friendly staff, live music and a vibrant atmosphere round out the package — but get there early, as it fills up fast, especially on pint nights.
     
    Foxfield Bar & Grille
    406 Howard St., 728-0420
    Even the spirits are organic at this local green bar; offers organic wines, beers, sake and liquors. Creative cocktails, too. Sometimes hosts punk shows.
      
    Goatfeathers
    2017 Devine St., 256-3325
    Goatfeathers is the ideal habitat if you’re looking for that dark and mysterious, film-noir kind of ambience. The delicious food and gourmet desserts, perennially attractive staff, romance-conducive lighting and convenient Five Points locale make Goatfeathers one of Columbia’s all-time favorite hangouts.
      
    Group Therapy
    2107 Greene St., 256-1203
    grouptherapybar.com
    Columbia’s quintessential college bar, with cheap drinks, loud music and an outdoor oasis to escape the crowd. Group wrote the book on college partying in Columbia.

    Henry’s
    2865 Devine St., 708-4705
    henrysgrillandbar.com
    Henry’s champions the traditional neighborhood bar — and, equally importantly, brings terrific bar food. Comfortable and classy.

    The Hookah Spot
    617 Harden St., 661-8337
    Grab a couch, sidle up to a hookah and get your smoke on.

    Jake’s
    2112 Devine St., 252-5253
    jakesofcolumbia.com
    Meet the new Jake’s — same as the old Jake’s. But that’s a good thing: The renewed Five Points institution is as friendly as ever, and offers the same variety of televised sports and multiple bar stations. Even better: Jake’s is bringing rock ‘n’ roll back to its hallowed hall.

    Kildare’s Irish Pub
    724 Harden St., 256-1390
    Not, as far as we can tell, affiliated with the mid-Atlantic Irish pub chain of the same name. Nor, as far as we can tell, as frat-tastic as Jungle Jim’s, which used to occupy the space, was. We bet it’s busy on St. Patrick’s Day.

    The Kraken Gastropub
    2910 Rosewood Dr., 955-7408
    Rosewood’s hip new bar, The Kraken has a great draft beer selection and signature beer-based cocktails along with a swanky menu and cozy-cool vibe.

    Lucky’s
    2100B Devine St., 929-1118
    For the Vista experience in Five Points, Lucky’s is your place — good wine and beer selection and an outdoor patio.

    Moosehead Saloon
    2020 Devine St., 708-4984
    A rock ‘n’ roll country bar. Kind of like Coyote Ugly. A little. Kind of.
     
    Nicky’s Pizza
    2123 Greene St., 748-9661
    Need a slice to fuel another late night in Five Points? Drop by Nicky’s. Grab a beer while you’re there, too.

    Nightcaps
    2722 Devine St., 771-6575
    An out-of-the-way place with respect to Five Points, Nightcaps has a pool table, a big-screen television, comfy lounge chairs and a good late-night atmosphere. A popular haven for those not ready to let the night end.
     
    Pavlov’s
    2000B Greene St.
    Tucked behind the Salty Nut, Pavlov’s is a long-time stomping ground of college revelers and serves as hallowed ground for many in the fraternity and sorority circles.
     
    Pawleys Front Porch
    827 Harden St., 771-8001
    Featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Pawley’s is primarily known for its behemoth and fantastic specialty burgers, but it also caters to a late-night crowd on weekends. Especially good for game days, as it shows football games on its huge screen on its even huger deck.
     
    Pinch
    640 Harden St., 708-6838
    Like Lucky’s next door, Pinch offers Vista atmosphere at Five Points prices. On-tap beers are rotated frequently, and frequently feature high-class offerings.
     
    The Pour House
    800 Harden St., 932-3033
    Next to the always overflowing Group Therapy, The Pour House has a good drink selection at prices that won’t send you to the poor house.
     
    Publick House
    2307 Devine St., 256-2207
    Exceptional beer selection, challenging trivia, hip music selection, über-friendly staff, good burgers and the best raw fries around.
     
    Rockaway Athletic Club
    2719 Rosewood Dr., 256-1075
    Exquisite burgers, low-key atmosphere and a nice, amply stocked bar. Plus, lots of sports on TV and a corner nook with arcade games.
     
    Salty Nut Cafe
    2000 Greene St., 256-4611
    Hooray! The Salty Nut, closed for about a year after an arsonist torched it, has re-opened, and reclaimed its rightful place as a favorite Five Points watering hole. Yes, you can still throw peanut shells on the floor.

    Sharky’s
    636 Harden St., 799-8337
    A favorite Five Points hangout since 1985, Sharky’s has repeatedly nabbed the Best College Bar award in Free Times’ Best of Columbia issue. House favorites: Bud Light, Jack Daniels and kamikaze shots with Southern Comfort. After the partying, Sharky’s keeps things safe by offering free cab rides.
     
    The Southern Belly
    1332 Rosewood Dr., 799-5212
    southernbellybbq.com
    Still-pretty-new Rosewood hangout offers live music and a stocked bar to go with its laid-back feel and slow-cooked ‘cue.

    Speakeasy
    711 Saluda Ave., 255-0869
    delaneysspeakeasy.com
    Now home to live jazz more nights of the week than not, Delaney’s classy, hip younger sibling also boasts a fine liquor selection, great beers and a top-notch staff, as well as fine cigars and comfy leather couches. Also hosts the Science Café series.
     
    The Tavern on Greene
    2002C Greene St., 252-7265
    Perhaps unfairly labeled as a hippie bar — though it is especially welcome to Dead, Spread and Phish heads — the Tavern on Greene is a late night hangout for local musicians and party people alike. An underrated and often overlooked Five Points institution.
     
    The Thirsty Parrot
    734 Harden St., 708-4768
    Like Jimmy Buffett? You’ll most likely dig this place, which offers fine burgers and spirits in an easygoing atmosphere.
     
    TLC Sports Bar and Grill
    936 S. Stadium Rd., 251-3087
    Built to withstand even the toughest of game days, this ultimate Gamecock bar, located within a stone’s throw of Williams-Brice, offers enough food, drink and fun to satisfy even the most orange-blooded Clemson fan.

    Utopia
    3830A Rosewood Dr., 733-2222
    Cozy is the name of the game here — this Rosewood neighborhood bar offers an off-the-beaten-path haven for eating, drinking, catching up with friends and taking in some tunes from its frequent guest singer-songwriters.
     
    Village Idiot
    2009 Devine St., 252-8646
    villageidiotpizza.com
    Columbia’s quintessential college-town pizza joint in a pub atmosphere. It’s the perfect place to enjoy delicious fare, cold beer, wallet-friendly weekly specials and a heaping helping of revelry. Serving New York-style pizza since 1990. Dine in, pick up or delivery, and menu also features salads, sandwiches and wings.

    Yesterdays Restaurant and Tavern
    2030 Devine St., 799-0196
    yesterdayssc.com
    A great place for an undergrad to take his or her squeeze out for dinner without maxing out the credit card. Good food, above-average beer and liquor selection. Bar in the back has its own entrance on Devine Street. A veritable Columbia landmark since 1978.

    State Street
    Vista West
    West Columbia/Cayce


    @116 Espresso & Wine Bar
    116 State St., 791-5663
    116state.com
    A coffee shop that serves gourmet food and booze? Be still our beating hearts! Dig those specialty cocktails; also serves an extensive assortment of wines. Small, but cozy. A good date spot.

    Bogart’s
    530 12th St., 791-4617
    A friendly Triangle City neighborhood bar. Free pool on Saturdays.

    Callaway’s Bar & Grill
    2410 Augusta Rd., 926-1199
    Pool tables, big-screen TVs and food: What more do you want from a sports bar?

    Conundrum Music Hall
    626 Meeting St., 250-1295
    conundrum.us
    A hub for avant-garde music, offering weird, wild and wonderful avant-jazz, contemporary classical and out-there prog ensembles. Stocks beer and wine, but no liquor.

    Deeanne’s Sports Bar
    1306 Charleston Hwy., 739-2303
    A private sports bar in West Columbia.

    New Brookland Tavern
    122 State St., 791-4413
    newbrooklandtavern.com
    New Brookland Tavern is best known for being Columbia’s go-to spot for live local, regional and national live music, but it’s a damn fine bar, too, offering a fine array of specials and a bar stocked with much more than Pabst Blue Ribbon served up by friendly staff.

    Platinum West 
    1995 Old Dunbar Rd.,
    theplatinumplus.com
    Exactly like Platinum Plus, but in West Columbia.

    Red Door Tavern
    134 1/2 State St., 708-6066
    Housed in the renovated space formerly occupied by the Red Tub, Red Door is a deli and late-night spot on State Street, offering cheap drinks and pub food. Host local art and local acoustic musicians, too. Plus: Pinball!

    Rooster’s Den
    1215 Augusta Rd., 794-8200
    A members-only bar in Triangle City.

    The Skyline Club
    100 Lee St., 822-8608
    Where do you go in Columbia if you want to do the Boot-Scootin’ Boogie? This line-dancing bar near the airport, that’s where.

    State Street Pub
    136 State St., 796-2006
    An across-the-bridge institution, State Street Pub wins its crowd with pool, cheap beer, sports and plenty of charm. Loads of beers on tap. You’ll need to be a member, but you should be.

    Northeast
    Forest Acres
    Fort Jackson
    Blythewood
    Camden


    Ale House Lounge
    12 Tommy Circle, 771-0161
    An off-the-beaten-path hole-in-the-wall not without its charms.

    Comedy House
    2768 Decker Blvd., 798-9898
    comedyhouse.us
    Regional and national comedy acts stopping by regularly. Offers a full menu with steak, shrimp, chicken, burgers, sandwiches and appetizers.

    Hooters
    7711 Two Notch Rd., 419-3456
    hooters.com
    The same people who justify buying Playboy for the articles probably justify going to Hooters for its food. A guy’s hangout if there ever was one, Hooters is famous for its wings and women — both of which can get pretty hot.

    Kwagga
    108 Columbia Northeast Dr., 865-2859
    A South African sports bar. No. Really.

    The Mouse Trap
    2711 Middleburg Dr., 799-2120
    One of this town’s hidden gems, the bar is located beneath an office building in Middleburg Park. Perhaps its location is why it’s frequented by local celebrities such as former Gamecock football players, but the real draw is its incredible comfort food.

    Off the Rail
    10327 Two Notch Rd., 708-4817
    Nightly shot specials.

    The Pizza Joint
    3246 Forest Drive, 454-1743
    thepizzajoint.net
    Come for the pizza, stay for the surprisingly highfalutin beer selection. Hey, your bar options are limited in Forest Acres.

    Polliwog’s
    10005 Two Notch Rd., 736-5775
    polliwogsc.com
    This state-of-the-art sports bar offers an attractive selection of viewing and dining possibilities. And if you hate sports, there’s always karaoke.

    Salsa Cabana
    2005 N. Beltline Blvd., 787-1052
    This weekend spot is one of the few places in town where you can go to find authentic salsa music, dancing and flair.

    Salud!
    1101 Broad St., 425-4850
    Taqueria and tequila lounge is the place to catch live jazz in Camden.

    Serenity
    301 Rice Meadow Way, 736-8228
    Serenity now! A country-ish restaurant by day and lounge by night.

    Solstice Kitchen & Wine Bar
    841-4 Sparkleberry Lane, 788-6966
    solsticekitchen.com
    Named Best Neighborhood Bar in northeast Columbia by readers in the 2013 Best of Columbia poll, and for good reason: It’s a great place to relax with a fancy cocktail.

    Taps Pub & Restaurant
    104-B Columbia NE Dr., 699-4657
    Patriotically themed pub.

    Tsubaki
    224 10 O’Neill Ct., 736-7474
    Love karaoke? You’ll love Tsubaki, where the karaoke is as authentically Japanese as next-door Inakaya’s sushi.

    The Venue
    1020 Broad St., 713-8333
    This laid-back venue is the place to catch live music in Kershaw County, offering everything from singer-songwriters to popular local and regional rock acts.

    Wild Wing Café
    480 Town Center Place, Suite 2;
    865-3365, wildwingcafe.com
    Sure, Wild Wing Café has sandwiches, salads and soup, but the obvious draw is its 33 flavors of wings. If you can’t decide on one, get the sampler platter. Also boasts a ton of TVs, a party atmosphere and a steady stream of regional rock bands.

    Harbison/Irmo
    Lake Murray
    Lexington
    St. Andrews



    Baja Broiler
    1345 Old Chapin Rd., 356-0040
    bajabroiler.net
    Freshly made Southwestern food and wings, weekly karaoke and occasional live music on the weekends make this a Lexington County hotspot.

    Bentley’s Beach House
    1605 N. Lake Dr., 808-7263
    A popular stop for Lexington locals located near the Lake Murray Dam. Family-friendly; cheap eats, cheaper drinks.

    British Bulldog Pub
    1220 E10 Bowers Pkwy., 227-8918
    thebritishbulldogpub.com
    A British pub in the middle of Irmo’s urban sprawl? Rad. A dinner menu of traditional U.K. cuisine is augmented with specials on Guinness and Irish whiskeys, but the Bulldog doesn’t forget us Yanks, offering basketball (and soccer, too) on big-screen televisions and multiple, cold domestics.

    Buckets II
    114 Glassmaster Rd., 520-8375
    Hot grill, cold brews. Need we say more?

    Carolina Ale House
    277 Columbiana Dr., 407-6996
    carolinaalehouse.com
    Southeastern chain grille-and-grog offers good eats, a good beer selection and plenty of televised sports.

    Carolina Wings & Rib House
    105 Northpoint Dr., 356-6244
    carolinawings.com
    What can we say about this Columbia institution? There’s one in almost every neighborhood, they carry a good selection of bottled beers, and the assortment of buffalo wing flavors is enticing, too.

    Copper River Grill
    1230 B8 Bower Parkway, 749-4647
    copperrivergrill.com
    Copper River Grill is a destination drinking spot for the entire Irmo/St. Andrews area. A super-large bar area means you’ll always have someplace to sit, but it still gets crowded the later the night progresses. Extensive menu along with beer, wine and specialty cocktails like the Copper River Caramel Apple Martini and the Killer Whale Chocolate Martini.

    Corner Pocket
    489 Piney Grove Rd., 731-0403
    Karaoke, cover bands and lots of pool. (Hence Corner Pocket. Get it?) Wannabe pool sharks are welcome — but be ready to meet your match.

    Exclusive Reggae Bar & Grill
    1004 Zimalcrest Dr., 798-2119
    exclusivereggaegrill.com
    If I and I been away from the island too long, this bar provides a taste of Jamaica, mon.

    Finz Seafood House
    211 Chapin Rd., 941-7148
    Nothing fishy about this cozy Chapin watering hole, which often books singer-songwriters and small cover bands.

    Goodfellas Grill & Bar
    7608 U.S. 378., 951-4663
    As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to hang out at a laid-back bar in Lexington.

    Hemingway’s
    7467 St. Andrews Rd., 749-6020
    A neighborhood institution in Irmo for years, Hemingway’s has been the watering hole of choice there for several reasons. Not content to do just one thing well, Hemingway’s is a sports bar, a great restaurant and a nice little music club all rolled into one. Papa would approve.

    Hooters
    5195 Fernandina Rd., 407-9464
    hooters.com
    The same people who justify buying Playboy for the articles probably justify going to Hooters for its food. A guy’s hangout if there ever was one, Hooters is famous for its wings and women — both of which can get pretty hot.

    Keg Cowboy
    108 E. Main St., 520-0404
    kegcowboy.com
    A retail store, yes, but one with its own craft beer tavern — with some seriously adventurous stuff — and its own outdoor garden. Lovely.

    Liberty on the Lake
    1602 Marina Rd., 667-9715
    Yo dog, we heard you love Liberty Tap Room so we put a Liberty on the lake so you can Liberty at the Lake. Offers all the accoutrements of Liberty’s downtown drinkery with the added scenery of Lake Murray. Forty-eight beers on tap. Forty-eight!

    Main Street Café
    131 E. Main St., 808-5886
    mainstreetcafelexington.com
    This little Greek restaurant is tucked into a storefront space on Main Street in downtown Lexington. With happy hour specials and live local music several nights a week, it’s a great way for Lexington residents to enjoy dinner and some entertainment without having to travel into Columbia.

    McCary’s Sports Bar
    851 Bush River Rd., 551-5680
    Typically places high in the annual Best of Columbia poll, and for good reason: Good selection, good atmosphere.

    Outt Saloon
    1573 S. Lake Dr., 359-0458
    Private sports bar in Red Bank. Hosts live music.

    Platinum Plus
    362 Jacob Rd., 731-0555
    Good (or bad): The girls at Platinum Plus take their clothes off. Better (or worse): Platinum Plus serves booze.

    Rusty Anchor
    1925 Johnson Marina Rd., 749-1555
    rustyanchorrestaurant.com
    Sliding glass doors opened most of the year offer a great view of Lake Murray. And live entertainment on The Quarterdeck outside jazzes up the summer months.

    Schooners
    6226 Bush River Rd., 661-6138
    schoonersbarandgrill.com
    On the eastern shores of Lake Murray by the confluence of Bush River Road, North Lake Drive and Lake Murray Boulevard, Schooners is a simple unassuming bar and grill, offering daily specials, cheap wings, televisions and live music.

    Tipsy Toad Tavern
    103 Beaufort St., 932-4470
    A godsend to the culturally deprived lake area, the Tipsy Toad features a good beer selection and Vista-style atmosphere.

    Tsunami
    1290 Bower Pkwy.,407-3873
    tsunamicompany.com
    Like its sister Vista location, Tsunami’s elegant, contemporary atmosphere and ample seating area complement its extensive sake, wine and beer selection.

    The Wild Hare
    5122 Bush River Rd., 213-1300
    wildharesc.com
    A sports bar with plenty of TVs, pool tables and dartboards, this location also offers an outdoor bar area with a sand volleyball court. Named Best Sports Bar in the Best of Columbia poll for three years running.

    Wild Wing Café
    1150 Bower Pkwy., 749-9464
    wildwingcafe.com
    Sure, Wild Wing Café has sandwiches, salads and soup, but the obvious draw is its 33 flavors of wings. If you can’t decide on one, get the sampler platter. Also boasts a ton of TVs, a party atmosphere and a steady stream of regional rock bands.

    Wings ‘n’ Ale
    154 Ellis Ave., 359-4475
    Specializing in wings, beer and pool, Wings ‘n’ Ale has an ample supply of all three. If you’re looking for a place where the odds of getting a table are better than making a masse shot, this is it. Classic and modern rock flows as freely as the brew. Not your khaki and button-down crowd.



    comments powered by Disqus Bites & Sights Visitors Guide /

    Columbia SC Attractions

    What to Do
    By Free Times
    Wednesday, March 26, 2014 |

    Bites & Sights
    Where to Eat: Bites
    What to Do: Attractions
    Where to Drink: Nightlife
    Where to Stay: Accommodations
    Calendar of Events



    New markers along Main Street highlight important events in Columbia’s civil rights history. Photo by Patrick Wall

    Columbia is full of history — and historical attractions. Even the Publix in the Vista carries a whiff of Civil War history, occupying a building that once printed Confederate currency. But it’s not just war sites that you need to see: Statewide, South Carolina has 1,300 sites on the National Register of Historic Places.

    Our attractions aren’t all ancient, either — see, for example, the monument to Hootie & the Blowfish in Five Points.

    This year, the city has been concentrating on its civil rights history, a lot of which happened in downtown Columbia. There are now seven markers along Main Street commemorating key local events and people, among them Sarah Mae Flemming, a black domestic worker who was accused in 1954 by a bus driver of sitting in the whites-only area; the incident preceded the famous Rosa Parks incident and led to a significant court ruling after the NAACP filed a lawsuit on Flemming’s behalf.

    Columbia’s biggest attraction of all is the Riverbanks Zoo & Garden, which draws approximately 1 million visitors per year. Opened in 1974, the zoo occupies 170 acres along the Lower Saluda River and houses some 2,000 animals in natural habitat exhibits; 70 of those acres are devoted to Riverbanks Botanical Garden, which features woodlands, gardens, historic ruins, plant collections and a visitor facility.

    Other top destinations in the city include the South Carolina State Museum, EdVenture Children’s Museum, Congaree National Park, the Columbia Museum of Art, Three Rivers Greenway, Colonial Life Arena, the Woodrow Wilson Family Home, the Robert Mills Houses and more.

    The Columbia Museum of Art explores fascinating Art Deco works with Japan and the Jazz Age, which runs through April 20. The South Carolina State Museum is showing the exhibition Mama, Let’s Make a Moon, which features illustrations from Clay Rice’s children’s book of the same name. EdVenture Children’s Museum showcases the life cycle of 20 types of butterflies in Blooming Butterflies, which is on view until October. Disney on Ice comes to the Colonial Life Arena April 17 through 20. And the Township Auditorium has John Legend on April 16, Old Crow Medicine Show on April 24 and The Ultimate Doo Wop Show on May 3.


    Downtown
    USC
    South Main 


    It used to be that Main Street was overlooked as an entertainment district, but things are changing downtown. In addition to all the history you can soak up at the State House, there’s a burgeoning cultural life, too. The Soda City farmers market is bustling on Saturday mornings; Columbia’s home of independent film, the Nickelodeon Theatre, is on the 1600 block of Main Street; Drip Coffee services downtown dwellers’ caffeine addictions and provides a much-needed meeting spot; Good Life Café offers awesome raw vegan; The Whig is one of the hippest bars in town; and the Columbia Museum of Art has a steady stream of exhibitions and events to help keep culture alive downtown. There’s also a Brazilian steakhouse, Cowboy. Coming soon: The Hub, which will bring 1,200 new residents to the area. Bottom line: One step at a time, things are happening downtown.

    Just south of the State House is a string of establishments catering largely to university types and state employees. Among the options within a few-block radius: Indian and Middle Eastern food; coffee; sandwiches; frozen yogurt; hot dogs; ice cream; bagels and locally brewed beers at Hunter-Gatherer.

    African-American History Monument
    State House grounds 
    The backstory of this monument goes back to 1994, when state Sen. John Courson put forward a grand bargain that would link removing the Confederate Flag from the State House dome (but keeping it on State House grounds) with creating an African-American history monument. That initial proposal didn’t pass, but eventually a compromise came together and the monument was dedicated in 2001. A citizens’ committee reviewed proposals from more than 40 artists and selected Colorado artist Ed Dwight from among them. The result is a 12-panel sculpture representing key aspects of the African-American experience. 

    Busted Plug Plaza 
    1400 Block of Taylor St. 
    It’s still on Taylor Street now, but it won’t be for long. Artist Blue Sky’s giant metallic fire hydrant needs a new home, as its host, AgFirst, is moving from Taylor to Main Street. City Council has tentative plans to move the sculpture to Finlay Park and build a splash pad next to it.

    Columbia Museum of Art 
    Main and Hampton streets, 799-2810 
    columbiamuseum.org
    Exhibitions! Concerts! Beer! The museum’s traveling exhibitions span the full range of art history, while its permanent collection emphasizes European fine and decorative arts. Of course, the art is always a key draw when you’re talking about an art museum, but there’s also a ton of other events happening here: the 20-something-oriented Arts & Draughts series, the acclaimed Chamber on Main series, plus lots of lectures, films and more.

    Conquest Brewing
    947 S. Stadium Rd., 712-3063
    conquestbrewing.com
    Columbia’s first production craft brewery, opened in 2013, has a tasting room open Wednesday through Sunday.

    Elmwood Cemetery
    501 Elmwood Ave.
    OK, so maybe hanging out in a cemetery isn’t your idea of fun. But this cemetery is full of history — and Civil War history in particular. Established in 1854, Elmwood Cemetery covers 168 acres and includes an area dedicated to Confederate soldiers. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.

    Finlay Park 
    930 Laurel St., 545-3100
    Truth be told, Finlay Park (opened in 1991) has seen better days, as it’s become the city’s unofficial haven for the homeless. Nonetheless, it can still be a good place for a walk amid the hustle of downtown, and kids love its two play areas. It could also get a boost with the move of the Busted Plug sculpture and an accompanying splash pad. Also hosts occasional concerts and festivals. Located behind the Assembly Street post office. 

    Governor’s Mansion 
    800 Richland St., 737-1710 
    scgovernorsmansion.org
    Built in 1855 as a residence for officers of the Arsenal Military Academy, Gen. Sherman’s troops spared the building at the end of the Civil War and it became the official Governor’s Mansion in 1868.

    Hampton-Preston Mansion 
    1615 Blanding St., 252-7742
    historiccolumbia.org 
    Built in 1818, the Hampton-Preston Mansion opened for tours in 1970; its rooms reflect the Federal period to the early postbellum years. 

    Koger Center 
    1051 Greene St., 777-7500
    koger.sc.edu 
    The Koger Center is operated by USC and has served as Columbia’s primary facility for the performing arts since 1989. Seats just over 2,000. 

    Mann-Simons Cottage 
    1403 Richland St., 252-7742
    historiccolumbia.org 
    One of only a few houses in South Carolina owned by free blacks in antebellum days and preserved as a historic house museum. Celia Mann and her descendants owned the house from the mid-19th century until 1970. The house serves as the focal point for the annual Jubilee Festival. 
      
    McMaster Gallery
    1615 Senate St., 777-7480
    www.cas.sc.edu/art
    A small, unassuming gallery tucked away inside USC’s Department of Art, McMaster is nonetheless a gem of the city’s visual arts scene. Features student and faculty exhibitions along with contemporary traveling shows.

    McKissick Museum
    USC Horseshoe, 777-7251
    www.cas.sc.edu/mcks
    Offers exhibits relating to the cultural, political and natural history of South Carolina and the southeastern United States.

    Modjeska Monteith Simkins House
    2025 Marion St.
    Built between 1890 and 1895, this one-story cottage was the home of Modjeska Simkins, a leader in South Carolina’s civil rights movement and the first woman to serve as state secretary of the state NAACP. At a time when blacks could not stay at city hotels, Simkins’ home offering a gathering space and lodging for many civil rights figures, including Thurgood Marshall.

    Nickelodeon Theatre
    1607 Main St., 254-8234
    nickelodeon.org
    Specializing in foreign and independent films, the Nickelodeon moved into the spot of the former Fox Theatre on Main Street in 2012. Also presents the popular annual Indie Grits Film Festival.

    Palmetto Trail
    palmettoconservation.org
    Conceived in 1994 as a statewide series of linked trails, the Palmetto Trail features 315 miles of completed paths thus far. In the Midlands, the 7.5-mile Capital City Passage is an urban section of the trail going from Riverfront Park to Fort Jackson.

    Ponder Art Gallery
    (Benedict College)
    1600 Harden St., 705-4605
    benedict.edu
    Features works by black artists.

    Randolph Cemetery
    Elmwood Ave. at I-26
    historicrandolphcemetery.org
    Founded on land purchased from Elmwood Cemetery in 1872, Randolph Cemetery is the first cemetery established specifically for Columbia’s black community. Prior to the cemetery’s founding, blacks were buried along with poor whites near the river in a potter’s field. But in 1871, 19 local black leaders came together to establish a respectable place for burial for blacks; it is named in honor of Senator Benjamin Franklin Randolph.

    Renaissance Cultural Arts Center
    renaissancefoundationsc.org
    To be located on the corner of Sumter and Taylor streets in the building once occupied by the Bethel AME Church, the Renaissance Cultural Arts Center aims to be a focal point for arts and history downtown.

    Riverbanks Zoo & Botanical Garden 
    I-126 at Greystone Blvd., 779-8717
    riverbanks.org 
    From reptiles to birds and everything in between, Riverbanks Zoo is by far Columbia’s biggest tourism draw. Home to more than 2,000 animals and a 70-acre botanical garden, Riverbanks also sports a 3-D theater, a ropes course and hosts popular annual events such as Boo at the Zoo, Brew at the Zoo and Lights Before Christmas. 
      
    Robert Mills House and Garden 
    1616 Blanding St., 252-7742 
    historiccolumbia.org
    The Robert Mills House is best known for its namesake, who also designed the Washington Monument. Open for tours, it is one of only five National Historic Landmarks in the city. 

    South Carolina State House 
    Main Street at Gervais Street 
    scstatehouse.net
    More than 50 years after its original inception in 1851, architect Charles C. Wilson finally completed the building, calling it “one of the most notable buildings of the world.” Others disagreed, with one legislative observer calling the dome “nothing short of a miserable fraud.” Call 734-2430 or visit scstatehouse.net for tour information. 

    Seibels House 
    1601 Richland St., 252-7742 
    historiccolumbia.org 
    Built in the late 18th century, the Seibels House now serves as the Historic Columbia Foundation office and is a popular spot for weddings. Historic Columbia was chartered in 1961 to prevent the loss of the Robert Mills House and now is involved in many aspects of historic preservation in Columbia.  

    Soda City Market
    1500 Block of Main Street
    stateplate.org
    Held every Saturday morning, the Soda City market was launched by former state Agriculture Commissioner candidate Emile DeFelice. Offers sustainably produced meat and produce, as well as fresh bakery items, crafts and other locally produced goods.

    Sylvan Building 
    1500 Main St. 
    Where’s the Sylvan Building? Just look for that old clock at the corner of Main and Hampton streets. Built between 1868 and 1870, The Sylvan Building was the first large building constructed in Columbia after Union soldiers burned the city on Feb. 17, 1865. Now listed in the National Register of Historic Places. 

    Tapp’s Arts Center
    644 Main St., 988-0013
    tappsartscenter.com
    Tapp’s Arts Center officially opened in 2011 and has become a focal point for Main Street’s move toward cultural relevance. Presents visual arts exhibitions and offers artist studios. Also hosts a range of arts-related events and is available for rentals.

    Town Theatre
    1012 Sumter St., 799-2510
    towntheatre.com
    Built in 1924, Town Theatre is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is the oldest continuously operating community theater building in the country; presents family-friendly musicals and other productions.
     
    Three Rivers Greenway
    riveralliance.org, 765-2200
    Columbia has come a long way on its riverfront development in the past few years, and the designation this spring of the Three Rivers Greenway as a National Recreation Trail underlines the point. The Three Rivers Greenway provides 9.5 miles of linked river access and will eventually cover 12 miles in Columbia, Cayce and West Columbia. The completed Cayce and West Columbia portions of the Greenway are already popular for walking and running, and the West Columbia Riverwalk Amphitheatre hosts outdoor concerts and more.

    Township Auditorium
    1703 Taylor St., thetownship.org
    First opened in 1930, the 3,000-plus-seat Township Auditorium has hosted such artists as Elvis Presley, Duke Ellington, Pink Floyd and The Clash. Reopened in 2010 after a $12 million facelift, the Township brings everything from R&B, country and rock acts to wrestling, comedy and dance.

    Trinity Episcopal Cathedral & Cemetery
    1100 Sumter St.
    Originally dedicated in 1814, Trinity Episcopal grew into a new building in 1847, one designed by Edward Brickell White and modeled after York Cathedral in England. Today, it’s one of the nation’s 20 largest Episcopal churches in the country and recently completed a major renovation. Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice James F. Byrnes and six governors are buried in its cemetery.

    Tunnelvision
    Taylor and Marion streets
    Artist Blue Sky’s Busted Plug is moving from this location because its host, AgFirst, is moving its offices. But will they paint over the mural? We doubt it. Tunnelvision, a 1975 wall mural of a road running through a tunnel, is an iconic piece of local public art. Don’t drive by this thing when you’re stoned unless you feel like totaling your car. 

    USC Horseshoe 
    900 Block of Sumter St., 777-8161 
    Little do most of the frolicking young college students on the gorgeous USC Horseshoe know — or care, probably — that Robert Mills, the nation’s first federal architect, designed several buildings there, as well as the Maxcy Monument, named for the first president of the college, Jonathan Maxcy. 

    Woodrow Wilson Family Home 
    1705 Hampton St., 252-7742
    woodrowwilsonhome.com
    Woodrow Wilson’s family didn’t spend much time in Columbia, but we have to take what we can get. The family moved to town in 1870, moved into the home in 1872 and left two years later following a dispute over mandatory chapel service between Wilson’s father and the Presbyterian Theological Seminary where he taught. After years of renovations, the home re-opened Feb. 15.

    Workshop Theatre
    1136 Bull St., 799-6551
    workshoptheatre.com
    A popular community theater that has been branching out in recent years with increasingly ambitious works.


    Vista
    Riverfront
    State Street
    Vista West


    If Five Points is Columbia’s primary haven for college students, then the Vista offers the same for post-college professionals. This converted warehouse district is largely known for its many dining options and art galleries, but it also sports some key attractions such as the Colonial Life Arena, EdVenture Children’s Museum and the South Carolina State Museum, as well as nightclubs, a theater and a grocery store (converted from a former Confederate printing plant). Home to such popular annual events as Vista Lights (a holiday season kick-off party), Artista Vista (a three-day gallery crawl in the spring), Viva La Vista (a food festival) and Art Bar Agora, the Vista also has an increasing number of residential options.

    Just across the Gervais Street bridge sits an eclectic mix of nightspots, galleries, gift shops and restaurants. With its cheap rent, West Columbia has many of the amenities of its sister city across the river, with fewer hassles.

    The Big Apple
    1000 Hampton St., 252-7742
    historiccolumbia.org
    A debate still rages as to whether the phrase “The Big Apple” came to New York City from jazz or from horse racing (a 1930s N.Y.C. sports column was called “Around the Big Apple”). For Columbia’s sake, let’s go with the jazz theory: Once a local synagogue, The Big Apple later was turned into a juke joint where, in 1936, blacks invented a new dance, the Big Apple. Now popular for events and receptions.

    Colonial Life Arena
    801 Lincoln St.
    Charge by phone: 1-877-489-2849
    General Info: 576-9200
    coloniallifearena.com
    The 18,000-seat Colonial Center is the largest arena in South Carolina, hosting major concert and entertainment acts and serving as the home for USC men’s and women’s basketball.

    Columbia Marionette Theater
    401 Laurel St., 252-7366
    cmtpuppet.org
    Located near Riverfront Park, the Columbia Marionette Theater was founded in 1988 and presents children’s productions ranging from traditional fairy tales to educational shows. In 2009, founder Allie Scollon received a top national puppetry award.

    EdVenture Children’s Museum
    211 Gervais St., 779-3100
    edventure.org
    The South’s largest children’s museum, with more than 70,000 square feet of cool stuff to keep the kids occupied.

    Riverfront Park
    Laurel at Huger Street, 545-3100
    columbiasc.net
    Separating the Historic Columbia Canal and the Congaree River, Riverfront Park is a popular jogging and walking trail encompassing 167 acres just west of Huger Street.

    South Carolina State Confederate Relic Room & Museum
    301 Gervais St., 737-8095
    www.crr.sc.gov
    Believe it or not, the Confederate Relic Room actually has much more than Civil War memorabilia, with artifacts dating from the Revolutionary War to World War II. Located in the former mill that also houses the South Carolina State Museum.

    South Carolina State Museum
    301 Gervais St., 898-4921
    southcarolinastatemuseum.org
    Housed in the historic Columbia Mill building (built in 1893), the South Carolina State Museum has permanent and rotating exhibitions covering South Carolina’s cultural history, natural history, science, technology and art. The museum also brings in non-South Carolina-related blockbuster exhibitions.

    Three Rivers Greenway
    riveralliance.org, 765-2200
    The Three Rivers Greenway will eventually provide 12 miles of linked river access to citizens of Columbia, Cayce and West Columbia. The completed portions of the Greenway are already popular for walking and running, and the West Columbia Riverwalk Amphitheatre hosts outdoor concerts and more.

    Trustus Theatre
    520 Lady St., 254-9732
    trustus.org
    Columbia’s leading progressively oriented theater company.


    Five Points
    Rosewood
    Olympia
    Southeast


    Five Points is a college student’s playground, but it’s also much more. Home to the annual St. Pat’s festival — which draws thousands of music fans and partiers every year — Five Points offers an eclectic mix of shops, restaurants and bars where you’ll find everything from coffee, hip clothes, books and records to deli sandwiches, burritos and more. And with the coveted tree-lined bungalows of Shandon just up the street, Five Points and Devine Street also have options for the post-college crowd, including numerous locally owned clothing stores and other retail spots, as well as several dining options.

    Not far away in Rosewood, you’ll find a burgeoning residential and retail area anchored by Publix and sprinkled with eclectic spots to grab a drink such as the Kraken, Cock ‘N’ Bull Pub and Rockaways. Rosewood has its own signature events, too, among them the Rosewood Crawfish Festival and the Tasty Tomato festival.

    Over in the historic mill village of Olympia, you’ll find a dynamic community space at 701 Whaley — which houses the 701 Center for Contemporary Art, a farmers market and hosts numerous local events — and Carolina Stadium, home of the Gamecock baseball team.

    701 Center for Contemporary Art
    701 Whaley St., 779-4571
    701cca.org
    Opened in the fall of 2008, the 701 Center for Contemporary Art has become an integral part of the local arts scene, hosting cutting-edge visual arts exhibitions, artist talks and more.

    Carolina Stadium
    431 Williams St.
    University spokespeople will tell you that USC’s shining new baseball stadium (which opened in 2009) is located in the Innovista district, but locals know the area as Olympia. Regardless of where you place it, the 9,000-seat baseball stadium is indeed a bang-up place to watch USC’s always-strong team. And while your inner accountant might moan and grown as you’re shelling out all that cash on concessions, your inner environmentalist can take pride in the stadium’s hydrogen-powered scoreboard — yes, really.

    Congaree National Park
    nps.gov/cong, 776-4396
    No, Congaree National Park is not in Rosewood, but if you head out Rosewood Drive to Bluff Road and keep going for 18 miles, you’re there. This 22,000-acre park boasts the largest old-growth, floodplain forest on the continent. It’s also an International Biosphere Reserve, a Globally Important Bird Area and a National Natural Landmark. Activities include hiking, boating, camping, canoeing, fishing, kayaking, nature walks and more. Located in Hopkins, 18 miles southeast of Columbia (S.C. 48 from Bluff Rd. or exit 5 off I-77).

    Five Points Fountain 
    Harden Street and Saluda Avenue 
    The Five Points Fountain is a nice place to hang out with your coffee or lunch; it’s also ground zero for the Five Points After Five concert series, which presents local and regional bands on an outdoor stage. 

    Five Points Retail
    Five Points is for strolling, dining and shopping. Retail options are wide, encompassing everything from unique gifts at Portfolio Art Gallery to hip clothing and accessories at Sid and Nancy. When night falls, there are plenty of places to get your groove on, too (see Nightlife).

    Hootie Monument
    Remember that band with the song “Hold My Hand” that came out in the mid-’90s and sold an ungodly number of records? Those guys were from Columbia. Head to Santee Avenue, look at the big metal sculpture and read all about the many musical exploits of Hootie & The Blowfish. 

    Shops on Devine
    Just up the hill from Five Points on Devine Street are a string of high-quality, locally owned boutiques. From eco-friendly children’s clothes at K.D.’s Treehouse to ultra-cool furniture at Bohemian Home and high-end fashion at Pout and VanJean, Devine Street merchants specialize in some of the most unique and eclectic offerings in the city.

    South Carolina Military Museum
    1225 Bluff Road, 806-4440
    scmilitarymuseum.com
    Dedicated to honoring South Carolina’s National Guard and its citizen soldiers throughout history, from the late 17th century to the wars of the 21st century.

    Visanska-Starks House
    2214 Hampton St.
    Featured on HGTV’s If Walls Could Talk, this historic home was built around 1900 and is located on Hampton Street in Historic Waverly. Barrett Visanska (1849-1932) — a Polish jeweler and founder of the Tree of Life Congregation — bought the house in 1913. John J. Starks, president of Benedict College, bought the house in 1938.

    Vista Marketplace
    711 Whaley St., vista.locallygrown.net
    Held every Saturday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Offers locally grown food, locally made wares and brunch.

    Williams-Brice Stadium
    1125 George Rogers Blvd., 777-4271
    uscsports.cstv.com
    Situated close to both Rosewood and Olympia, Williams-Brice Stadium is party central during football season, with fans spilling into both Five Points and the Vista after games. Since being built in 1934 by the Works Progress Administration — you know, that leftist agency started by FDR — Williams-Brice has served as the site of lots of drunken football revelry, a U2 concert and an appearance by Obama and Oprah during the 2008 campaign.


    Northeast
    Forest Acres
    Fort Jackson
    Blythewood
    Camden


    Home to the wonderful Sesquicentennial State Park, the Northeast also sports several golf courses, farmers markets, the enormous Village at Sandhill retail complex, the expansive Lake Carolina residential development and top-notch schools that keep residents coming.

    Cobblestone Park Golf Club
    280 University Club Parkway (Blythewood), 714-2620
    cobblestoneparkgolfclub.com
    A 27-hole golf course formerly known as the University Club. Features panoramic views with rolling hills and beautiful oaks and pines.

    Columbia Children’s Theatre
    3400 Forest Drive, 691-4548
    columbiachildrenstheatre.com
    A nonprofit, professional theater offering educational and entertainment opportunities to children and families.

    Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County
    810 Lyttleton St., Camden, 803-425-7676
    fineartscenter.org
    Presents community-oriented theater, music, dance and exhibitions, as well as the annual Carolina Downhome Blues Festival. 

    Fort Jackson Museum
    4442 Jackson Blvd., 751-7419
    jackson.army.mil/Museum
    Acquires and exhibits Fort Jackson-related artifacts dating to the fort’s founding in 1917.

    Golf Blythewood
    1084 Langford Rd. (Blythewood), 754-8600
    golfclubsc.com
    With its winding streams, towering hardwoods and picturesque lake, this course has been consistently ranked by Golf Digest as one of the best places to play in South Carolina. Designed by Ken Killian, the course is challenging but also playable for golfers at all levels.

    Golf Club at Crickentree
    1084 Langford Rd. (Blythewood), 754-8600
    golfclubsc.com
    Operated by the Golf Club of South Carolina, Crickentree is a meticulously maintained course along Lake Carolina. Has hosted the U.S. Open qualifying round, the USGA Junior Tournament, Columbia’s City Amateur tournament and numerous tour events.

    Historic Camden Revolutionary War Site
    historic-camden.net
    We’ll spare you the suspense: The Americans got their asses handed to them at the 1780 Battle of Camden. Some 233 years later, though, we’re over it. Hosts a Battle of Camden Remembrance Day each August, Revolutionary War Field Days each November and other events throughout the year.

    S.C. Archives and History Center
    8301 Parklane Rd., 896-6100
    scdah.sc.gov
    Popular for researching family history. With a wealth of local, state and federal documents, the center encourages the general public as well as scholars, students, lawyers and others to make use of its resources, and staffers are on hand to help speed your search. The center also presents exhibitions and public programs, and has a gift shop.

    Sesquicentennial State Park
    9564 Two Notch Rd., 788-2706
    southcarolinaparks.com
    This 1,419-acre park features a 30-acre lake surrounded by trails, picnic areas and campsites. Also offers boating, fishing, swimming, meeting facilities and trails. Trails include a 6.1-mile mountain bike trail, a 1.9-mile nature trail, and a 3.5-mile walking and jogging trail. Located 13 miles northeast of Columbia on Two Notch Road.

    South Carolina Railroad Museum
    110 Industrial Park Rd. (Winnsboro), 803-712-4135
    scrm.org
    Everybody loves trains, right? Take an hour-long ride, stroll through historic train cars and check out the hats, whistles and other train paraphernalia in the gift shop.

    U.S. Army Basic Combat Training Museum
    4442 Jackson Blvd., 751-7419
    Commemorates Fort Jackson’s prominent role in training American soldiers by acquiring and exhibiting artifacts dating to the fort’s founding in 1917.

    Village at Sandhill
    481 Town Center Place, 419-0235
    villageatsandhillonline.com
    Located off I-20 (Exit 80, Clemson Road), the Village at Sandhill is a testament to the growth of Columbia’s Northeast region. Primarily a massive retail development — with major stores including Aeropostale, American Eagle, Bath and Body Works, Belk, Books-A-Million, Gamestop, Gymboree, Rice Music House, Victoria’s Secret and many more — the Village at Sandhill also boasts residential living, a popular movie theater, numerous dining options and community events, including outdoor concerts.

    The Windermere Club
    1101 Longtown Road East, 786-7888
    windermereclubsc.com
    Designed by Pete Dye, the Windermere course prides itself on having as many truly unique, memorable holes as possible. On this course, that’s 13 out of 18 — and no two holes are remotely alike. A driving range and practice green offer opportunities to sharpen your game before you hit the course.


    Lake Murray
    Lexington
    Harbison
    Irmo


    For visitors to the area, the key draw in this part of town is Lake Murray, where you’ll find more than 500 miles of shoreline along South Carolina’s largest man-made lake. Lake Murray offers a wide range of seasonal recreation options — including sailing, fishing (especially striped bass), camping and hiking — and a huge July 4 fireworks display. Public access is limited to the few parks and marinas scattered around the lake, so keep that in mind as you make your plans. A popular recent restaurant addition is Liberty on the Lake.

    There’s more to the area than the lake, however. Among your options: Saluda Shoals Park, which features a wetlands preserve; Harbison State Forest, a great place to bike; and Seven Oaks Park, with a full-service recreation complex.

    If you’re looking for cultural offerings, among your options are the Lake Murray Symphony Orchestra and the Chapin Community Theatre, which has been serving the area for more than 25 years. For Columbians from all areas of town, the sprawling Columbiana Centre Mall and its surrounding big-name retailers make it a necessary stop. Good schools and neighborhoods round out the package for residents.

    The Caddy Shak
    381 Pilgrim Church Rd., 356-2239
    mycaddyshak.com
    Driving range and a par-three course at the StoneBridge Golf Club. On 381 Pilgrim Church Road, off Highway 6 near Lake Murray.

    Cayce Tennis and Fitness Center
    1120 Fort Congaree Trail, 227-3030
    cayce.lexingtoncountytennis.com
    A massive complex hosting tournaments and offering year-round lessons.

    Chapin Community Theatre
    107 Columbia Ave., Chapin, 240-8544
    chapintheatre.org
    What originated informally in the late ‘70s as a few friends staging no-frills plays has become a staple of Lexington County’s cultural life. Currently raising funds for a new building.

    The Club at Rawls Creek
    2121 Lake Murray Blvd., 781-0114
    golfrawlscreek.com
    Built in the 1970s and renovated in 2006 with an ultra-dwarf Bermuda grass called MiniVerde, which makes the greens fast. In addition to the course, there’s the Creekside Bar and Grille and facilities for weddings, parties and events.

    Congaree Riverwalk
    riveralliance.org, 765-2200
    We’re still waiting for Columbia to finish its portion of the Three Rivers Greenway, but the Lexington County sections are already done. The completed Cayce and West Columbia portions of the Greenway are popular for walking and running, and the West Columbia Riverwalk Amphitheatre hosts outdoor concerts and more.

    Crooked Creek Park
    1098 Old Lexington Highway (Chapin), 345-6181
    icrc.net
    “Crooked Creek” makes this park sound like it’s a dirt path next to a trickle of water. Actually, it’s got a 53,000-square-foot community center with a full gym and racquetball courts, along with tennis courts, athletics fields, picnic areas and walking trails.

    Dreher Island State Recreation Area
    3677 State Park Rd.  
    Exit 91 off I-26, 803-364-4152
    southcarolinaparks.com
    Located 30 miles northwest of Columbia in Prosperity, the Dreher Island recreation area consists of three islands encompassing 12 miles of shoreline on Lake Murray. Especially popular for fishing and boating (Lake Murray is a top destination for striped and largemouth bass), Dreher Island also offers lakefront camping, cabin and villa rentals, water skiing and picnicking. 

    First Responders Wall of Remembrance
    lexingtonsc.org
    Dedicated in 2008, this memorial to 9/11 was made from steel from Ground Zero in New York City.

    Frankie’s Fun Park
    140 Parkridge Dr., 781-2342
    frankiesfunpark.com
    Kids’ stuff? Hardly. This Harbison-area entertainment center packs three go-kart tracks, three 18-hole mini-golf courses, batting cages, bumper boats, an arcade, a 5,000-square foot multi-tiered laser tag arena and an super-tall drop zone that says “In your face, gravity!” into 14 acres filled with fun for all ages. What, do you hate fun or something?

    Gibson Pond
    241 Gibson Rd., 359-1027
    scgreatoutdoors.com
    These 15 acres in the Town of Lexington offer walking trails, kayaking, picnic tables and a scenic overlook.

    Golden Hills Golf & Country Club
    100 Scotland Dr., 957-3355
    goldenhillsgolf.com
    Located in the Town of Lexington, Golden Hills is an 18-hole championship course designed by golf architect Ron Garl. Considered challenging yet playable for all levels, the course is among the highest-rated in the Midlands.

    Harbison State Forest
    state.sc.us/forest/refharb.htm,
    896-8890
    If you didn’t know it was there, you’d never expect to find 2,177 acres of forest along the sprawling mess that is Broad River Road. But there it is — one of the largest public green spaces inside the city limits of a metropolitan area in the eastern United States. Features more than 16 miles of roads and trails (popular for biking) and a canoe landing.

    Lake Murray
    lakemurraycountry.com
    lakemurray.com
    Located a few miles northwest of downtown Columbia, Lake Murray is a 50,000-acre lake offering boating, camping and other recreational activities. Lakemurraycountry.com lists public access points, as well as marinas and landing spots. Good striped bass fishing during the season.

    Lake Murray Symphony Orchestra
    lmso.org
    Think there’s no culture when you get outside downtown? Think again. Led by artistic director Einar Anderson, the Lake Murray Symphony Orchestra was conceived in 2001 and held its first concert in 2004.

    Lexington County Museum
    U.S. Highway 378 and Fox St. Lexington, 359-8369
    www.lex-co.com/museum
    Founded in 1970, the museum complex encompasses seven acres and features 36 historic structures focusing on the early history of Lexington County, from 1770 until the Civil War.

    Peachtree Rock Nature Preserve
    scgreatoutdoors.com/park-peachtree.html,
    254-9046
    Sadly, the geological wonder known as Peachtree Rock — a triangular-shaped top-heavy sandstone formation that had stood on its pointed base for millions of years — fell recently, likely due to rain and years of vandalism. The good news? You can see the formation lying on its side, as well as Little Peachtree Rock and the rest of this beautiful 460-acre preserve, which has the only waterfall in the coastal plain. Located off S.C. 6 in southern Lexington County near Swansea.

    Riverbanks Zoo & Botanical Garden
    riverbanks.org
    If you live downtown, you’ll likely enter the zoo from its Greystone Blvd. entrance off I-26. But if you live west of the Congaree River, you can enter from Sunset Boulevard (Highway 378) in West Columbia. This entrance will take you right to the zoo’s beautiful, 70-acre botanical garden.

    Saluda Shoals Park
    icrc.net, 731-5208, 213-2050 (weekend)
    Situated on 270 acres downstream from the Lake Murray Dam, Saluda Shoals features a popular water park, an environmental education center, canoe trips, nature hikes, biking trails, fishing spots, picnic shelters, art exhibits, summer camps, health and wellness programs, meeting facilities and more. Good trout fishing if you like to wade. 

    Seven Oaks Park
    200 Leisure Lane, 772-3336
    icrc.net
    Built in 1973 and located in the St. Andrews area, Seven Oaks Park is a full-service recreation complex offering fitness, athletics and cultural arts programs. Features a dance studio, art gallery, picnic areas, tennis courts, walking trails and more.

    State Farmers Market
    Exit 115 off I-26
    scstatefarmersmarket.com
    Relocated to Lexington County from Richland in 2010, the South Carolina State Farmers Market has a lot more space than it used to — space for vendors, shoppers and parking. Open Mon-Sat 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sun noon to 6 p.m.

    Village Square Theatre
    105 Caughman Rd., Lexington, 359-1436,
    villagesquaretheatre.com
    Community theater from the Lexington County Arts Association.

    comments powered by Disqus Bites & Sights Visitors Guide /

    Bites & Sights Columbia SC Visitors Guide Spring 2014

    Dining, Attractions, Nightlife and Accommodations
    By Free Times
    Wednesday, March 26, 2014 |


    Where to Eat: Bites
    What to Do: Attractions
    Where to Drink: Nightlife
    Where to Stay: Accommodations
    Calendar of Events



    The problem with releasing Bites and Sights quarterly is that it’s hard to freeze Columbia’s restaurant scene at one point in time: Something great is always just about to open. And this spring, especially, there’s a wealth of imminent new restaurants. Here are some of the eateries planning to open within the next month:

    • Bourbon, a Main Street Cajun-Creole restaurant run by Kristian Niemi of Rosso Trattoria (and erstwhile of Gervais and Vine and Mr. Friendly’s) 

    • Sizzle, a bacon-centric Five Points restaurant

    • A new Al-Amir location at the corner of Main and Laurel Streets, right across from City Hall

    • Savalis Restaurant and Lounge, a Southern restaurant in the former Mac’s on Main location

    Just in the past few months, Main Street welcomed a new location of the amazing raw vegan restaurant Good Life Café — and it features a full bar. Also, a chain restaurant called PDQ just decided to go ahead and perfect what everyone orders anyway: chicken tenders.

    Don’t overlook Columbia’s longtime restaurants, either, whether it’s the meatloaf at Yesterdays or the chorizo tacos at La Estrella.

    Looking for some fun springtime eating? Check out the Slow Food at Indie Grits celebration April 13. Part of the award-winning Indie Grits film festival, the event brings together local chefs and sustainable local ingredients — plus a potluck. Visit indiegrits.com for more information.



    comments powered by Disqus Landing Page /

    Disney on Ice Ticket Giveaway

    By Free Times
    Monday, March 24, 2014 |
    Send your name and a daytime phone number to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to be eligible for a free pair of tickets to Disney's Rockin' Ever After at the Colonial Life Arena April 17-20.



    comments powered by Disqus Landing Page /

    Win Circus Tickets!

    By Free Times
    Friday, March 21, 2014 |
    Send your name and a daytime phone number to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to be eligible for a pair of free tickets to Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey presents Legends at Colonial Life Arena March 27 through 30.



    comments powered by Disqus Summer Camps Guide /

    Columbia SC Camps 2014

    By Free Times
    Wednesday, March 5, 2014 |

    Listings updated June 9

    Broadway Bound Voice & Dance Lessons
    Tuesdays and Thursdays June 10- July 31. $25 per session. Broadway Bound Musical Theatre Company: 1315-C Gadsden St. 457-1126, broadwayboundmtc.com.

    Broadway Bound Mid-Week Masters
    Multiple sessions July 2-30. Open to all levels of experience and ability. Ages 12-19 $40, 7-11 $30, 5-6 $15. Broadway Bound Musical Theatre Company: 1315-C Gadsden St. 457-1126, broadwayboundmtc.com.

    Broadway Bound Monday Monologues (and Scenes!)
    Multiple sessions July 7-28.  Explore new characters. Learn memorization and audition techniques. Develop your body language and feel at ease on stage. Ages 12-19 $40, 7-11 $30, 5-6 $15. Broadway Bound Musical Theatre Company: 1315-C Gadsden St. 457-1126, broadwayboundmtc.com.

    Broadway Bound Deux Flappers Camp
    Aug. 4-8.  For experienced tappers ages 10-13. Work on upstyle musical theatre tap and kickline combinations. $115. Broadway Bound Musical Theatre Company: 1315-C Gadsden St. 457-1126, broadwayboundmtc.com.

    Broadway Bound Flapper Camp
    Aug. 4-8.  For experienced tappers age 14 and up. Work on upstyle musical theatre tap and kickline combinations. $150. Broadway Bound Musical Theatre Company: 1315-C Gadsden St. 457-1126, broadwayboundmtc.com.

    Camp Half-Blood: A Percy Jackson Camp
    June 23-27, July 21-25. For ages 8-12. In the spirit of Percy Jackson and the Olympians, explore artwork inspired by the mythology of Ancient Greece and create your own artifacts. $160; $128 members. Columbia Museum of Art: 1515 Main St. 799-2810, columbiamuseum.org.

    Carolina Journalism Institute
    June 25-29. For middle and high school students. Five-day high school journalism summer camp, enhancing knowledge of editing, writing, designing and production techniques. $255 ($225 before May 16). Courtyard Marriot: 630 Assembly St. sc.edu/cmcis/so/cji/index.html.

    Carolina Opera Experience
    July 7-10. For grades 5-10. Learn the art of props, make-up, costumes, scenery and musical preparation; culminates in public performance. $190. 777-5369, sc.edu/music/summer-programs.

    Carolina Summer Music Conservatory
    June 8-15. For grades 9-12. Intensive one-week training focusing on individual performance and chamber music. Master classes, chamber music coaching offered in wind, percussion, piano and voice students. Limited scholarships available. $450-$725. 576-5893,
    sc.edu/music/summer-programs.

    Cartooning Creatures
    July 7-11 For ages 8-12. Go on an adventure around the CMA galleries—sketching, drawing, and printing animal-inspired cartoons and characters. Bring your drawings to life working with tech experts from IT-oLogy to use 3D printing. $160; $128 members. Columbia Museum of Art: 1515 Main St. 799-2810, columbiamuseum.org.

    Columbia Art Center
    Mixed Media Theme Camp

    June 16-20. For ages 5-9. While working with various types of mixed media, students will create projects reflecting the theme of summer camp. Students will be able to explore using clay to create pottery pieces. $85. Art Center: 1928 Calhoun Street. 545-3093,
    ColumbiaSC.net/parks-recreation.

    Columbia Art Center Mixed Media Art Camp
    July 14-18. For ages 5-9 While working with various types of mixed media, students will create projects reflecting the theme of summer camp. Students will be able to explore using clay to create pottery pieces $85. Art Center: 1928 Calhoun Street. 545-3093, ColumbiaSC.net/parks-recreation.

    Columbia Art Center
    Pottery Explorations Camp

    June 23-27, July 21-25 For grades 10-14. Campers will be able to devote a full week to working with clay and creating pottery. The full process of working with pottery will be explored from the basic creation to the finished product. $85. Art Center: 1928 Calhoun Street. 545-3093, ColumbiaSC.net/parks-recreation.

    Columbia Art Center Mixed Media
    Theme Camp

    June 16-20. For grades 5-9. While working with various types of mixed media, students will create projects reflecting the theme of summer camp. Students will be able to explore using clay to create pottery pieces. $85. Art Center: 1928 Calhoun Street. 545-3093,
    ColumbiaSC.net/parks-recreation.

    Columbia Children’s Theatre Camps
    Dates and prices TBD. The Children’s Theatre offers a variety of programs covering several disciplines for different age groups. Children’s Theatre at Midtown Forest Acres: 3400 Forest Dr. 691-4548,
    columbiachildrenstheatre.com.

    Columbia Museum of Art Photography Camp
    July 14-18. For ages 8-12. An exploration in imagery and learn a variety of photography and transfer techniques. $160; $128 members. Columbia Museum of Art: 1515 Main St. 799-2810, columbiamuseum.org.

    Columbia Museum of Art Teen Academy: Drawing 101
    June 16-20. For ages 13-18. Explore drawing in a variety of different mediums. Topics include a live clothed model, traditional human proportions, perspective, and still-life. $190; $152 for members. Columbia Museum of Art: 1515 Main St. 799-2810, columbiamuseum.org.

    Columbia Museum of Art Teen Academy: Wearable
    June 23-27. For ages 13-18. Explore contemporary and traditional techniques and materials in jewelry making, textiles, and clay as wearable art in this fine craft studio course. $190; $152 for members. Columbia Museum of Art: 1515 Main St. 799-2810, columbiamuseum.org..

    Columbia Museum of Art Teen Academy: Sculpting with Clay 101
    July 7-11. For ages 13-18. Learn the tools of the trade with both additive and subtractive techniques. Explore clay through large scale hand-building and learn the newest technology in 3D printing with ceramics. $190; $152 for members. Columbia Museum of Art: 1515 Main St. 799-2810, columbiamuseum.org.

    Crooked Creek Park Fused Glass Camp
    July 7-11. For ages 5-18. Learning how to cut, shape, layer, and embellish your designs is an extraordinary experience. We’ll guide you through the basics, encouraging you to free your imagination as you select your design ideas, glass and embellishments. $165. Crooked Creek Park: 1098 Old Lexington Hwy. 345-6181, icrc.net.

    Crooked Creek Park
    Stained Glass Window Camp

    July 7-11. For ages 5-17. Campers will create and design a full four-pane stained glass window. Children will be closely supervised as they learn how to cut glass, and create a bright whimsical original design. Grouting will be done on the last day. $165. Crooked Creek Park: 1098 Old Lexington Hwy. 345-6181, icrc.net.

    Creative in Clay
    July 21-25. For ages 8-12. Go on an artful animal safari all around the Museum—sketching, painting, and forming zoomorphic masterpieces. $160; $128 members. Columbia Museum of Art: 1515 Main St. Columbia Museum of Art: 1515 Main St. 799-2810,
    columbiamuseum.org..

    EdVenture EDDIE’s Spring Break Camp
    April 14-18. For grades 3-12. Keep your child’s brain engaged during their vacation — activities, games, crafts and hands-on activities that will have your camper learning. $40 daily; $185 weekly; extended sessions add $50 per week. EdVenture Children’s Museum: 211 Gervais St. 799-3100, edventure.org.

    EdVenture Culinary 101 Camp
    June 2-6, July 14-18. Ages 5-7. Campers will be guided through the culinary arts and introduced to flavor, cutting techniques, recipes and more. $195; extended sessions add $50 per week. EdVenture Children’s Museum: 211 Gervais St. 779-3100, edventure.org.

    EdVenture Edible EdVentures Camp
    June 9-13, July 21-25. Ages 3-4. Campers will enjoy a unique week of using food to discover architecture, math and science. Campers will create delectable insects, devour their way through the layers of the earth and plant their own gardens. $195; extended sessions add $50 per week. EdVenture Children’s Museum: 211 Gervais St. 779-3100, edventure.org.

    EdVenture Giggle Science Camp
    June 2-6, July 14-18. Ages 3-4. Campers will experience the joy of scientific discovery by working directly with real lab equipment in EdVenture’s BioInvestigations Lab. $195; extended sessions add $50 per week. EdVenture Children’s Museum: 211 Gervais St. 779-3100,
    edventure.org.

    EdVenture Storybook Smashup Camp
    July 7-11. Ages 3-4. Discover the science, technology, engineering, and math hidden in the pages of your favorite children’s books. $195; extended sessions add $50 per week. EdVenture Children’s Museum: 211 Gervais St. 779-3100, edventure.org.

    EdVenture Camp Chef
    June 16-20, July 7-11. For ages 11-12. Take your cooking and baking skills to the next level as you cook tasty treats and savory dishes. Campers will explore the science behind food, learn essential cooking methods and bring home recipes that the whole family will love. $195; extended sessions add $50 per week. EdVenture Children’s Museum: 211 Gervais St. 779-3100,
    edventure.org.

    EdVenture Global Chef Camp
    June 23-27, Aug. 4-8. For ages 8-10. Texplore exciting global cuisine, discover the food cultures of exotic locations, and make our very own global dishes. $195; extended sessions add $50 per week. EdVenture Children’s Museum: 211 Gervais St. 779-3100,
    edventure.org.

    Freeway Recording Camp
    June 13-14. Learn about pre production, recording, post production, leave with your own recording from Columbia’s premier recording studio. $100. Archer Avenue Studios: 810 Lyttleton St. freewaymusic.net.

    Freeway Music Camp
    June16-19. Learn to write, record and perform parts to original songs with the help of some of the state’s most seasoned musicians. $250. Freeway Music Northeast: 101 Rice Meadow Way 1; Freeway Music Forest Acres: 10 Calender Ct. freewaymusic.net.

    Girls Rock Columbia
    Dates TBA. Week-long day camp that exists to foster a community of girls ages 8-18 through music, performance, and various workshops. The program cultivates self-confidence, challenges gender stereotypes, and promotes positive female relationships, creativity, and leadership. Cost TBA. girlsrockcolumbia.org.

    Gladys’ Time Travelers
    June 16-20. For ages 4-7. Follow the CMA’s beloved grasshopper, Gladys, through time on a tour of our galleries. Explore different time periods through art and document your travels by creating artifacts of your own. $135; $108 for members. Columbia Museum of Art: 1515 Main St. 799-2810, columbiamuseum.org.

    Go Gladys Green!
    July 7-11. For ages 4-7. Hop all around the CMA galleries with Gladys and meet all of her animal friends. Use recycled materials to create your own insect-inspired pieces.  $135; $108 for members. Columbia Museum of Art: 1515 Main St. 799-2810, columbiamuseum.org.

    Guitar Muse Guitar Camp
    July 7-11, Aug. 4-8. Ages 7 and up. Open to all guitar styles and levels. The camp will focus on finger style guitar techniques and chords. Students will learn how to read music using standard notation and tablature. $150 plus $25 registration fee. Heathwood Hall: 3000 S. Beltline Blvd. GuitarMuseSC.com.

    Hall Johnson Summer Camp
    July 6-11. For high school choral students. The week is filled with choral rehearsals and musicianship classes taught by nationally recognized conductors, guest artists, scholars, and music educators.  $250-$400 Allen University: 1530 Harden St. 376-5787.

    Helen Hill Media Education Center Stop-Motion Movie Camp
    Multiple sessions. For ages 8-12. Students learn basic stop motion animation techniques working in groups producing their own film scenes which will be compiled into one movie by HHMEC instructors. Nickelodeon Theatre: 1607 Main St. Contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for more information.

    Helen Hill Media Education Center
    Youth Documentary Film Camp

    Multiple sessions. For ages 13-16. Students learn creative and innovative techniques of producing thought-provoking documentaries, by producing and directing their own documentaries that affect local issues such as poverty, racism, access to healthy food and health care.  Nickelodeon Theatre: 1607 Main St. Contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for more information.

    Healthy Hands Cooking Kids Cooking Camps
    Dates and locations vary. Held for 3 hours a day for four days in a row with your choice of either morning or afternoon sessions (as offered by your local instructor).  healthyhandscooking.com.

    Heathwood Hall
    7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens

    June 16-20. Grades 2-4.Being a teenager is both wonderful and challenging. This course is designed to merge the two. $150. Heathwood Hall: 3000 S. Beltline Blvd. 231-7710, heathwood.org.

    Heathwood Hall ABC’s of Etiquette
    July 28-Aug.1. Ages 3-4. Learning manners and safety is fun in this interactive week. $150. Heathwood Hall: 3000 S. Beltline Blvd. 231-7710, heathwood.org.

    Heathwood Hall Artists in Action Camp
    June 9-13. Grades 2-4.Come learn, create and be inspired in this active art camp. $150. Heathwood Hall: 3000 S. Beltline Blvd. 231-7710, heathwood.org.

    Heathwood Hall Adventures in the Garden
    June 9-13. Grades 2-4. Learn about planting, harvesting and cooking with various foods grown at Heathwood Hall. $165. Heathwood Hall: 3000 S. Beltline Blvd. 231-7710, heathwood.org.

    Heathwood Hall Book Buddies Camp
    June 23-27. Grades K-2. Each day we will celebrate a favorite picture book character, from Ladybug Girl to Curious George. $150. Heathwood Hall: 3000 S. Beltline Blvd. 231-7710, heathwood.org.

    Heathwood Hall Chess Camp
    June 2-6. Ages 5-15. For beginners to intermediate level players. $265-$420. Heathwood Hall: 3000 S. Beltline Blvd. 231-7710, heathwood.org.

    Heathwood Hall Dance Camp
    July 7-11. Ages 3-6. Children will experience and learn new and exciting dance genres. They will have the opportunity to learn ballet and jazz dance techniques. $150. Heathwood Hall: 3000 S. Beltline Blvd. 231-7710,
    heathwood.org.

    Heathwood Hall College Essay Workshop
    June 9-13. For grades 11-12. Individual and group guidance in writing the perfect college entrance essay. $250. Heathwood Hall: 3000 S. Beltline Blvd. 231-7710, heathwood.org.

    Heathwood Hall Comic Book Creations
    July 14-18. For grades 4-12. $150. Heathwood Hall: 3000 S. Beltline Blvd. 231-7710, heathwood.org.

    Heathwood Hall Fancy Friends Camp
    June 16-20. For ages 3-6. Fun for fans of Fancy Nancy books. $150. Heathwood Hall: 3000 S. Beltline Blvd. 231-7710, heathwood.org.

    Heathwood Hall Graphic Novel Workshop
    June 23-27. For grades 4-8. Learn how to create your own graphic story — from plot planning and storyboarding, to choosing your medium and creating the illustrations .$150. Heathwood Hall: 3000 S. Beltline Blvd.
    231-7710, heathwood.org.

    Heathwood Hall Leadership Skills for Middle School Boys
    June 9-12. For grades 5-8. This camp is designed to help middle school boys learn and practice skills which are needed to develop as leaders, gain friends and personal influence in a positive and productive way. $120. Heathwood Hall: 3000 S. Beltline Blvd. 231-7710, heathwood.org.

    Heathwood Hall Make It & Take It Camp
    June 16-20. For grades 2-5. Dream it! Plan It! Make It! Take It! Join Lower School teachers Kim Bain and Natalie Ashenfelter as we invent to our heart’s content. $150. Heathwood Hall: 3000 S. Beltline Blvd. 231-7710,
    heathwood.org.

    Heathwood Hall Philosophy I Camp
    Online course. For grades 11-12. This course explores traditional philosophical issues. $500 plus books. Heathwood Hall: 3000 S. Beltline Blvd. 231-7710, heathwood.org.

    Heathwood Hall Spanish Review
    June 23-27, July 28-Aug. 1. For grades 8-12. Games, skits and teamwork make this Spanish review fun!. $300. Heathwood Hall: 3000 S. Beltline Blvd. 231-7710, heathwood.org.

    Heathwood Hall Storybook Adventures Camp
    July 14-18. Ages 3-6. Storybook characters provide fun themes for each day’s fun activities. $150. Heathwood Hall: 3000 S. Beltline Blvd. 231-7710, heathwood.org.

    Heathwood Hall Study Skills Camp
    July 21-25. For grades 5-7. All the tools for an organized and successful school year are taught and provided in this camp. $250. Heathwood Hall: 3000 S. Beltline Blvd. 231-7710, heathwood.org.

    Heathwood Hall World Religions Camp
    Online course. For grades 10-12. This course is designed to focus on the commonality between different religious traditions. $500 plus books. Heathwood Hall: 3000 S. Beltline Blvd. 231-7710, heathwood.org.

    Heathwood Hall You Take the Cake!
    July 14-18. For grades 3-4. This session introduces basic baking and decorating techniques while giving young chefs the added skills they need to make their cupcakes special. $150. Heathwood Hall: 3000 S. Beltline Blvd. 231-7710, heathwood.org.

    Heroes and Villains
    July 7-11 For ages 8-12. Learn the basics of comic book creation as you sketch, develop storylines, and ink your own comics. Gain basic design concepts and skills in figure drawing and perspective. $160; $128 members. Columbia Museum of Art: 1515 Main St. 799-2810, columbiamuseum.org.

    Historic Columbia’s Presidential Summer Camp
    June 23-27, July 7-11. For ages 8-12. Take an adventure in time. History will come to life through interactive games. $200; $160 members. Robert Mills House: 1616 Blanding Street 252-1770, historiccolumbia.org.

    Katie & Irwin Kahn Jewish Community Center
    June 9-Aug. 15. Weekly day camp. 787-2023, jcccolumbia.org.

    Mad Platter Camp Van Gogh Go
    For ages 3-6, 7-9, 10-plus. Various week-long art camps in a variety of themes and topics. Visit website for complete listing. $75-$165. The Mad Platter: 3101 Millwood Ave. mymadplatter.com.

    Redbird Studio & Gallery Summer Clay Camp
    June 9-12, June16-19, June 23-26, July 7-12, July 14-17, July 21-24, July 28-31. For ages 5-15. Camp Includes: Hand building and the pottery wheel. Other activities: painting, drawing, games, snack and making your own camp T-shirt. $150. Redbird Studio and Gallery: 2757 Rosewood Dr. 727-2955, redbirdstudioandgallery.com.

    Re-Purposed
    July 14-18. For ages 8-12. Find inspiration by incorporating recycled and found materials into your art, exploring both 2D and 3D techniques.  $160; $128 members. Columbia Museum of Art: 1515 Main St. 799-2810, columbiamuseum.org.

    Seven Oaks Park Arts Camp
    June 25-27. For ages 6-13. Basic drawing, pen and ink drawing, basic watercolor and advanced watercolor, basic acrylic, basic oil, pastel, oil and chalk, as well as 3-D art. Supplies are provided for all classes. $85. Seven Oaks Park: 200 Leisure Lane 772-3336, icrc.net.

    South Carolina Summer Dance Conservatory Ballet Intensive
    July 13-Aug. 1. For stuents 11 years and older. Designed for students pursuing excellence in ballet technique and artistry. $2,500 residential; $1,400 commuter. University of South Carolina Band and Dance Hall: 324 Sumter St. 777-7264, artsandsciences.sc.edu/dance.

    South Carolina Summer Dance Conservatory Jazz & Contemporary Intensive
    July 13-Aug. 1. For stuents 11 years and older. Designed for students pursuing excellence in jazz and contemporary training. $2,500 residential; $1,400 commuter. University of South Carolina Band and Dance Hall: 324 Sumter St. 777-7264, artsandsciences.sc.edu/dance.
    South Carolina Summer Dance Conservatory

    Princess Camp
    June 16-20, June 23-27. For ages 4-6, 7-10. Classes include a variety of dance forms such as classical ballet, jazz, contemporary dance, and musical theatre, as well as special classes in acting, make-up, and dance arts and crafts. $210. USC Dance Program Studios: 324 Sumter St. 777-7264, artsandsciences.sc.edu/dance.

    Southern Pottery Summer Pottery Camps
    Eight sessions beginning June 9. For ages 6-11, 11-15. Three hours a day for five days. Wheel throwing and hand-built clay projects. $210; $190 before May 1. Southern Pottery Studio: 3105 Devine Street. 251-3001, southern-pottery.com.

    Symphonic Safari
    June 23-27. For ages 4-7. Feel the rhythm of the jungle in this music-inspired camp. Look high and low for furry and slimy friends in the museum and create your very own musical instruments and works of art inspired by the animals you find. $135; $108 for members. Columbia Museum of Art: 1515 Main St. 799-2810, columbiamuseum.org.

    Town Theatre Camps
    June-July. Various ages. Several camps available , mostly revolivng around acting and theatre. Theatre: 1012 Sumter St. 799-2510, towntheatre.com.

    Trustus Theatre
    June 9-Aug. 8. Camps for grades 3-12. trustus.org.

    University of South Carolina Master Scholars Adventure Series: Adventures in Graphic/Digital Design
    June 8-13, July 6-11. For grades 9-12, 6-9. Create original graphic design pieces with edge and impact using the industry standard tools in the Adobe Creative Suite. Partial scholarships available. $975 residential; $575 commuter. 777-9444, saeu.sc.edu/adventures.

    University of South Carolina Master Scholars Adventure Series: Adventures in Law & Crime
    June 22-27. For grades 6-9. Learn about concepts of the court system, criminal investigation, defense and prosecution. $975 residential; $575 commuter. 777-9444, saeu.sc.edu/adventures.

    University of South Carolina - University of South Carolina Fashion Camp
    June 10-14. Ages 10-18. Project Runway-style fashion camp. $550. Carolina Coliseum: 708-2772,
    hrsm.sc.edu/fashioncamp.

    University of South Carolina Science & Technology Enrichment Program
    July 7-11. 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Investigate the world of science through interactive hands-on units. Rising 6th graders explore: Energy + Force & Motion. Rising 7th and 8th graders explore: Genetics and Earth Structures. Online application also available at USC Marketplace - Science & Technology Enrichment Program. $25. Northside Middle School, 157 Cougar Dr., West Columbia. 777-2883. tiny.cc/STEP2014.

    University of South Carolina School of Music
    Drum Major Clinic

    June 19-21. For high school students. Instruction and leadership classes, with an emphasis on developing fundamentals and advanced field conducting techniques. $99. University of South Carolina Band and Dance Hall: 324 Sumter St. 777-4278, sc.edu/music/summer-programs.

    Summer Day Camp
    July 14-18. For ages 8-14. Daily group music instruction culminating with a Friday afternoon concert. $125. University of South Carolina String Project: 851 Park St. 777-9568, sc.edu/music/summer-programs.

    University of South Carolina Summer Drama Conservatory
    June 7-27. For grades 1-12. Providing aspiring theatre artists with a challenging, stimulating and fun training and performance experience. Four age divisions. $200-$600. 777-1277, artsandsciences.sc.edu/thea.

    Walk Like an Egyptian
    June 16-20. Learn to walk like an Egyptian all around the CMA galleries! Crack the Pharaoh’s code and create your own papyrus scroll. $160; $128 for members. Columbia Museum of Art: 1515 Main St. 799-2810, columbiamuseum.org..

    What’s Your Story
    June 16-20. For ages 8-12. Learn how the pros write and illustrate picture books. $160; $128 for members. Columbia Museum of Art: 1515 Main St. 799-2810, columbiamuseum.org.

    math & science

    Challenger Center Astronaut Academy
    June 9-12. For ages 8-12. Explore robotics and rocketry and aviation as you prepare for your first mission! Campers will construct a robot and a model rocket with an engine that they can keep after launch. They will also fly a full Space Mission, visit the e-Planetarium, and fly planes with our flight simulators. $180. The Challenger Learning Center of Richland School District One: 2600A Barhamville Rd. 929-3951, thechallengercenter.net.

    Challenger Learning Center Intro to Aviation
    June 9-10, June 11-12.  For ages 11-14, 14-18. $75. The Challenger Learning Center of Richland School District One: 2600A Barhamville Rd. 929-3951, thechallengercenter.net.

    Challenger Learning Center
    Aviation Academy

    June 2-5. For ages 11-14. Let our certified flight Instructor guide you through pilot training lessons on our flight simulators. $75. The Challenger Learning Center of Richland School District One: 2600A Barhamville Rd. 929-3951, thechallengercenter.net.

    Challenger Learning Center
    Intermediate Aviation

    June 23-24. For ages 11-18. Let our certified flight Instructor guide you through pilot training lessons on our flight simulators. $75. The Challenger Learning Center of Richland School District One: 2600A Barhamville Rd. 929-3951, thechallengercenter.net.

    Challenger Learning Center
    Advanced Aviation

    June 25-26. For ages 11-18. Let our certified flight Instructor guide you through pilot training lessons on our flight simulators. $75. The Challenger Learning Center of Richland School District One: 2600A Barhamville Rd. 929-3951, thechallengercenter.net.

    Challenger Center Intro Robotics Camp
    July 14-15. For ages 9-14. Camp participants will build robots to keep. $100. The Challenger Learning Center of Richland School District One: 2600A Barhamville Rd. 929-3951, thechallengercenter.net.

    Challenger Center Advanced Robotics Camp
    July 16-17. For ages 9-14. Camp participants will build robots to keep. $100. The Challenger Learning Center of Richland School District One: 2600A Barhamville Rd. 929-3951, thechallengercenter.net.

    Challenger Center Advanced Robotics Camp
    July 24. For ages 9-14. Camp participants will build robots to keep. $50. The Challenger Learning Center of Richland School District One: 2600A Barhamville Rd. 929-3951, thechallengercenter.net.



    comments powered by Disqus Menu Guide /

    Menu Guide 2014

    By Free Times
    Thursday, February 27, 2014 |


    comments powered by Disqus Landing Page /

    Trouble Sleeping?

    By Free Times
    Wednesday, February 19, 2014 |


    comments powered by Disqus The Side Line /

    2014 USC Baseball Preview

    By Free Times
    Friday, February 14, 2014 |


    comments powered by Disqus Free Times Family Magazine / Learning /

    A Computer for Every Kid?

    Checking In on Midlands’ One-to-One School Computing Programs
    By Kara Meador
    Wednesday, February 5, 2014 |
    Students set up their iPads during Pleasant Hill Middle’s 1:1 roll-out at the beginning of the school year. Courtesy photo
    Like toy soldiers, they line up by the hundreds shoulder to shoulder. Instead of standing at attention, these students sit legs outstretched, backs pressed rigidly against the wall, Chromebooks on their laps. Westwood High School students joined millions from across the globe in December to participate in “Hour of Code” week.

    “Every student was really engaged and learning actual coding,” says Donna Teuber, technology integration coordinator at Richland District Two.

    The students are not deciphering intercepted emails for the NSA; coding means writing computer programs. Teuber points to this exercise as one way her district’s 1:1 (pronounced one-to-one) program is inspiring students to be active participants in learning.

    The 1:1 initiative means that every student is issued a digital device with appropriate software and that the school offers Internet access. It means middle school students in Blythewood can talk with students their age in a classroom in India. Eighth graders in Lexington can create iBooks and students in downtown Columbia can design graphic art.

    Richland Two completed its 1:1 rollout in August. Teuber says that in a little over a year and a half nearly 21,000 students in grades 3 through 12 were given Chromebooks or iPads.

    “It’s not about the device, it’s having the tools and resources to move students forward,” Teuber says.

    More Engaged Students


    In Lexington One, an English teacher was taken aback when a student asked to rewrite a paper. Exemplary work, the student’s paper had been posted on a secure Lexington High School blog. When the teacher asked the student why she wanted to redo her paper, the student said that after reviewing her article online she noticed a few mistakes; she also wanted to rewrite the ending.

    Patrick Hanks, director of instructional technology for the Lexington One district, asked the teacher how many times one of her students had ever asked to rewrite a paper they’ve already turned in during her tenure. The teacher replied, “Never.”

    “A student’s work is no longer confined to the eyes of the student and the teacher who is grading it,” Hanks says. Work is now placed on school blogs, shared in folders — and, if OK’d by parents — placed on the school’s YouTube channel.

    “The students care that their work will be viewed by grandparents and friends and that makes them more engaged,” Hanks says.

    Cost and Sustainability Concerns


    Lexington One started implementing its 1:1 initiative during the 2010-2011 school year. Currently 19,000 middle and high school students in the district have been given iPads.

    Lexington One Chief Information officer Jeff Salters admits introducing anything new on the scale of 1:1 doesn’t happen without headaches. Salters says one of the biggest roadblocks his district encountered was having enough bandwidth and the infrastructure needed to accommodate so many devices. The district is not alone.

    There are concerns over how to pay for 1:1 and discussion on whether it’s sustainable. The program is expensive. A state Education Oversight Committee that makes educational spending recommendations to the S.C. General Assembly is asking legislators for $30 million dollars per year for at least the next few years to help improve wireless Internet access in schools statewide. That’s about $20 million dollars more than lawmakers currently spend on Internet needs, according to a recent report.

    Ida Thompson, director of instructional technology services with Richland One, says paying for the devices and the infrastructure is an issue.

    While District One does not have a designated 1:1 initiative, district officials say all of its students have access to devices even if they are not assigned one. Thompson says in District One it’s up to the schools to decide which devices and software to buy and schools pay for the tablets out of their budgets.

    An educational technology consultant from Lexington, Wendy Gallagher, helps guide educators on how to implement 1:1 effectively. On her blog (gen-iexplorer.blogspot.com), she posts some headlines taking note of various technology efforts throughout the state.

    “It’s about preparing our future leaders for a career path that we have not even imagined,” Gallagher says.

    Gallagher uses a surfing analogy to describe why South Carolina should embrace the technological revolution. “We can choose to ignore it and be swept away or embrace this concept to be a part of the innovative ride.”

    On her blog, Gallagher encourages students, parents and teachers to “Catch the wave!”

    It’s a crest District Two’s Teuber is ready to ride. “There’s no going back to paper and pencil. Everything is digital and online now.”


    A study reviewed by the U.S. Department of Education points to small but statistically significant benefits to computer-aided instruction. One study sampled 1,600 students in 15 high schools and two middle school in large urban school districts. At the end of the school year, students in classrooms using a computer-based curriculum scored slightly higher on their pre-algebra and algebra skills than students in traditional math classrooms. Educators and parents looking for research on what works in the classroom can view federally reviewed studies in the What Works Clearinghouse at ies.ed.gov/ncee/WWC.


    comments powered by Disqus Free Times Family Magazine / Health /

    Backpack Stats

    Many Kids Struggle Under Heavy Loads
    By Kevin Oliver
    Wednesday, February 5, 2014 |
    Digital initiatives are lightening the backpacks of students in some school districts, but in others the heavy burden remains. If your kids are still lugging around massive backpacks, you know the problems they pose. In Lexington One, the trend is toward less use of books and more integration of online resources in conjunction with iPads, with the net effect that upper-grade students need only an iPad and a notebook or two in their bags. In some other districts, however, many kids are still struggling under backpacks. Following are some tips for parents whose children have yet to ditch those heavy loads.

    Backpack weight by grade


    Backpacks get heavier as kids advance in grade and their homework increases. A Consumer Reports survey in New York City in 2009 found:

    Grade: Weight
    2-4: 5.0 lbs
    6: 18.4 lbs

    — Consumer Reports video of the weigh in: consumerreports.org

    Cutting the weight


    • Remove a textbook or two and have the child carry them, this will balance the weight in front of them and behind them

    • Talk to your child’s teachers about which books need to come home when, and which ones can stay at school.

    • If they must have numerous textbooks for homework every day, look into getting an extra set to keep at home.

    • Review school policies about stopping at lockers or in classrooms to avoid your children having to carry all of their books all day.

    Train to carry your pack


    Health Children.org – a website created by the American Society of Pediatrics — recommends that children do back strengthening exercises — like abdominal crunches, planks and quadrupeds — to be better able to support their daily burden. Learn how to do them properly here: healthychildren.org

    Choosing the right backpack


    • Wide, padded shoulder straps
    • Two shoulder straps
    • Padded back
    • Waist strap
    • Lightweight backpack
    • Rolling backpack (not allowed in some local school districts)

    As a general rule, children should carry no more than 15 to 20 percent of their body weight in a backpack. Make sure the straps are snug so that it’s closer to the back and not pulling downward on the child, and put heavier items at the bottom and in the middle to even out the load.

    — American Society of Pediatrics (healthychildren.org)

    A tale of two backpacks


    My own daughters are a perfect example of the backpack safety issue and especially the difference in the elementary and upper grade level loads as they are in Lexington One. My youngest, Anna, is in 5th grade, while Emily is a 7th grader with an iPad. On a recent afternoon I emptied their respective bags and here’s what I found:

    Anna’s backpack
    (a mid-size zippered traditional backpack with big straps and a couple of zippered sections):

    1 math textbook
    2 library books
    1 folder with various take-home papers and artwork
    1 school agenda/spiral notebook/calendar
    1 composition notebook
    1 plastic pencil/crayon box, full of crayons
    1 zippered bag, full of pencils
    1 insulated lunch bag with freezer block,
    various containers of food
    Total weight: 10 lbs.

    Emily’s bag
    (a thin, lightweight mesh bag with shoelace-sized strings for straps)

    1 iPad
    1 notebook
    2 pencils and a pen
    Total weight: 3 lbs.

    Anna’s is well within the recommended 15-20 percent of her weight recommendation, but the difference in contents between hers and Emily’s is striking. Emily has several of her textbooks on the iPad, and does a good bit of e-book reading from our local library. A lighter load is a clear benefit to moving from textbooks to tablets.

    What do you know about your kids’ backpack?


    A Texas study involving 745 students found 96 percent of parents had never checked their child’s backpack weight and 34 percent had never checked the contents of their child’s backpack.

    More Resources


    Cool infographic on backpack attacks: edudemic.com/heavy-backpacks/

    Texas study on parental awareness: adc.bmj.com/content/88/1/18.full.pdf+html

    Backpack safety written for kids: kidshealth.org/teen/school_jobs/school/backpack.html




    comments powered by Disqus Free Times Family Magazine / Calendar /

    Kid’s Calendar: February-March 2014

    Events in Columbia
    By Free Times
    Wednesday, February 5, 2014 |
    This is by no means a comprehensive list — institutions like the Columbia Museum of Art, EdVenture Children’s Museum, Riverbanks Zoo, Richland Library and the city and county parks departments offer myriad events for kids on a daily basis. Check the Events section at free-times.com/events and select the Children & Teens category for weekly listings or visit the websites of institutions offering children’s programs.

    Ongoing


    EdVenture Family Night
    EdVenture Children’s Museum
    http://www.edventure.com
    Second Tuesdays. $1 museum admission between 5 and 8 p.m.

    Family Storytime
    Richland Library
    http://www.richlandlibrary.com
    Held on various days at all branches of the Richland Library. Call your local branch for meeting times.

    Little Red Riding Hood
    Columbia Marionette Theater
    http://www.cmtpuppet.org
    Runs through March 22. With a variety of puppetry techniques and plenty of humor, Little Red Riding Hood is an irreverent take on the classic fairy tale.

    Parents’ Survival Night
    The Little Gym
    http://www.thelitthegym.com/columbiasc
    Fridays. Parents call it a break from the kids. Kids call it a break from their parents. That sounds like a win-win situation.

    Passport to Art
    Columbia Museum of Art
    Dates vary. Free monthly open-studio program for families with activities corresponding with one of the museum’s exhibitions.

    Shake, Rattle and Read!
    EdVenture Children’s Museum
    http://www.edventure.org
    Wednesdays and Saturdays. Half an hour of storytelling, public poetry, music.

    Snowville
    EdVenture Children’s Museum
    http://www.edventure.org
    Through Feb. 23. Strap on some ice skates and pack your mittens for a frosty, fun-filled trip to Snowville. Crawl through an ice tunnel, climb a snow-capped mountain, sled down a snowy hill, or visit the Penguin Observation Station.

    Tiny Taste Buds
    EdVenture Children’s Museum
    http://www.edventure.org
    Once a month; dates vary. Kids learn about nutrition and practice making and eating healthy snacks in this cooking lab.

    Tiny Tots University: Mini Musicians
    EdVenture Children’s Museum
    http://www.edventure.org
    Through Feb. 22. Children will enjoy music and movement while singing songs and playing games and instruments that reinforce and encourage creative development.

    Tiny Tots University: Zumbatomic
    EdVenture Children’s Museum
    edventure.org
    Through Feb. 22 High-energy dance class designed to increase focus and coordination skills while boosting kids’ metabolism and self-confidence.

    Toddler Take Over
    EdVenture Children’s Museum
    http://www.edventure.org
    First Monday of every month. Kids ages 1 to 5 play freely throughout the museum with kids of their own size.

    Toddler Tales
    Riverbanks Zoo
    http://www.riverbanks.org
    Every Thursday. Stories, songs and an adventure at the zoo.

    February


    1st Oratorical Contest
    W.J. Keenan High School
    http://www.richlandcountydeltas.org
    Feb. 22. An opportunity for middle school students to express themselves through public speaking.

    Disney Junior Live on Tour: Pirate & Princess Adventure
    Colonial Life Arena
    http://www.coloniallifearena.com
    Feb. 19. Mickey and Minnie go on an adventure of swashbuckling and promenades as kiddy worlds clash.

    DREAM BIG Youth Conference: Male Edition
    Greenview Park
    http://www.columbiasc.net
    Feb. 8. Aimed at equipping young men in middle and high school with the tools they need to succeed — in school and in life.

    Homeschool Friday: Shaping Richland and Lexington Counties
    Lexington County Museum
    http://www.historiccolumbia.org
    Feb. 7. Learn how the midlands developed through a joint program between Historic Columbia Foundation and the Lexington County Museum

    Gladys’ Gang: Animal Forms!
    Columbia Museum of Art
    http://www.columbiamuseum.org
    Feb. 5. Journey through the galleries learning about form as you look for different animal sculptures. Then make an animal portrait.

    Family on Safari
    Riverbanks Zoo
    http://www.riverbanks.org
    Feb. 15. Participants will enjoy dinner at the zoo followed by an exciting program featuring animal encounters, behind-the-scenes tours, crafts and more.

    Nefertiti’s Golden Spa
    South Carolina State Museum
    http://www.scmuseum.org
    Feb. 15. Enjoy a mother-daughter day getting pampered like ancient Egyptian royalty. Guests also will have the opportunity to tour Tutankhamun: Return of the King.

    Puss in Boots
    Columbia Children’s Theatre
    http://www.columbiachildrenstheatre.com
    Feb. 7-16. The classic tale retold in the Old South.

    Sweet on CMA
    Columbia Museum of Art
    http://www.columbiamuseum.org
    Feb. 8. Get creative at art stations throughout the museum and make a valentine for that someone special.

    Teddy Bear Clinic
    EdVenture Children’s Museum
    http://www.edventure.org
    Feb. 22. Learn how to stay healthy by checking your teddy bear’s pulse, listening to its heartbeat, checking its vision, and more.

    March


    The Stinky Cheese Man and other Fair(l)y (Stoopid) Tales
    Columbia Children’s Theatre
    http://www.columbiachildrenstheatre.com
    March 28-April 6. A musical comedy based on the award-winning book of mixed-up fairy tales.

    Gladys’ Gang: Picture Me — Silly!
    Columbia Museum of Art
    http://www.columbiamuseum.org
    Mar. 5. Monthly program includes story time and a creative studio activity related to the theme.
    Passport to Art: Krazy Kimonos

    Columbia Museum of Art
    http://www.columbiamuseum.org
    Mar. 9. Get inspired by the exhibition Japan and the Jazz Age, then create a kimono of your own.

    Oliver Twist
    Town Theatre
    http://www.towntheatre.com
    Mar. 29, 30. Youth musical adaptation of Dickens’ classic tale of struggling orphans.

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    Stay Calm and Be the Parent

    Tips and Strategies for More Effective Discipline
    By Allison Caldwell
    Wednesday, February 5, 2014 |
    When it comes to discipline, there are as many methods and opinions as there are parents and children. From the terrible twos to the troubling teens, every parent struggles with setting limits and enforcing age-appropriate consequences when those limits are tested or broken. The lack of consequences is at the heart of the recent “affluenza” case in Texas and raises questions and concerns for all parents. But if your desire to set limits leads you to constantly threaten, cajole or plead for desired behaviors, there might be a better way.

    “Starting with limits and consequences is starting at the wrong end of things,” says Dr. Cheri Shapiro, research associate professor and associate director of the Institute for Families in Society at USC (ifs.sc.edu). “Start with what they do right. As adults we enjoy working with those we respect, who also respect us in return. It’s no different at home. Create an atmosphere of warmth with encouragement and descriptive praise.”

    Positive Parenting


    Shapiro has spent the better part of her career researching and putting evidence-based techniques into practice through Triple P, the Positive Parenting Program. It’s a series of interventions based on five principles of positive parenting:

    • A safe and engaging environment

    • A positive learning environment

    • Assertive discipline

    • Realistic expectations

    • Parental self-care.

    “It’s a skill to learn how to play by yourself while mommy is busy,” Shapiro says. “People assume that kids should do certain things, but children don’t learn those skills unless they’re taught. Instead of limits, I like to set clear expectations. When problem behaviors continue, attaching brief consequences that truly fit the crime can be very powerful. Naturally occurring consequences provide another chance for children to behave positively when they encounter the same situation.”

    Here’s one strategy to try at home.

    “Make clear, calm requests,” Shapiro says. “When you ask a child to do something, get close. Get their attention. Simply state what you want them to do and wait for them to respond. When they respond positively, acknowledge it right away with a specific ‘thank you.’ When they don’t, repeat the request, calmly and clearly. If they refuse a second time, that’s when the consequence comes in. The whole idea is to get down on their level — literally. It changes the whole interaction. Parents tell me it’s such a relief to learn that they don’t have to shout to get their way.”

    Expect the Unexpected


    Stacey Watts, a parenting coach in West Columbia, says it’s important for parents to be focused and consistent.

    “The most common mistakes parents make is trying everything either out of frustration, lack of know-how or exhaustion,” says Watts, who holds a master’s degree in early childhood education from the University of South Carolina and founded a company called Happily Parenting in 2012. “This is a problem because of the lack of consistency,” she says. “We live in such an age of instant gratification that parents feel if their means of discipline doesn’t yield a turn-around right away, then they must try something new. Parents need to stick it out. They should establish themselves as the leaders in the home, be calm, consistent and communicate expectations.”

    When your strong-willed child starts pushing your buttons, calmly assume your leadership role and clearly communicate your expectations.

    “Children need parents who are on the same page,” she says. “They need to know that yes means yes and no means no, no matter which parent they go to.”

    Parents should understand that it’s not unusual for children to act out and disobey them.

    “It’s free will, and we all have it,” Watts says. “Anticipate it, expect it, and prepare for it, and your parenting will be a much more natural and enjoyable experience.”

    In other words, expecting it makes you that much better prepared to deal with it.

    “Parents who aren’t thrown by the things their children do can handle even the most outrageous situations,” Watts says.


    Discipline 101: Quick Tips for Parents


    Be realistic in your expectations and set clear, age-appropriate boundaries. Being aware of a child’s physical, social and emotional development can help parents. The best resource for child development is a child’s pediatrician. The American Academy of Pediatrics also has excellent web resources at healthychildren.org.

    Be consistent. Children do best when they know what is expected of them.

    Do what you say you are going to do and hold your ground. Hold fast to the repercussions you have established. Give consequences that you are willing and able to enforce.

    Allow natural consequences to occur. If a child is not in danger, let them cope with appropriate consequences.

    Be honest and open. If your child is in trouble, don’t gloss over the reality of the situation. Help them take personal responsibility. Continue to show your love in difficult situations to maintain their sense of security.

    Label the behavior, not the child. Focus on the child’s actions rather than labeling the child’s character.

    — Source: Birley Wright, prevention specialist at Children’s Trust of South Carolina (scchildren.org).

    comments powered by Disqus Free Times Family Magazine / Activities /

    Five Questions to Ask Before You Say Yes to Chess (Or Any Other Activity)

    Plus: Tips to Keep It Together
    By Anne Postic
    Wednesday, February 5, 2014 |
    Soccer, ballet, flute, tennis, archery, pottery, choir, drama, fencing, swimming … the options are endless. Somewhere in the big book of parenting that none of us ever actually read, there’s a section that says your kid must be an achiever. Academics aren’t enough. They need team sports for socialization, dance for balance, drawing workshops for art appreciation, and cooking class, so they can feed themselves one day. They’ll need to list extracurricular achievements on college applications. Don’t you want your kid to go to college? What’s wrong with you?

    And don’t forget: Extracurriculars are fun! Every kid begs to take karate, or cello, or some activity you never dreamed they’d enjoy.

    How do you decide when to say yes, when to say no and when to say, “You have to?” Ask these five questions:

    Will it fit your schedule?


    If you can’t get your daughter to Tai chi, it doesn’t do her any good. Find activities that are close to home, your job or your child’s school to make it easier. Consider your family’s personality. Will it work better for you to schedule as many activities as possible on the same days, so you can enjoy blocks of time together, or do you prefer to spread them out, so you can have family dinner every night?

    Pro Tip: Don’t pick swimming unless you bounce out of bed easily, really early and with an aggressive grin on your face.

    Is it about him or me?


    Do you want your son to play tennis because you picture yourself with the amazing strength of Venus Williams or is he dying to pick up a racket and feel the joy of a solid forehand, at any level? Make sure your kid is interested, because he won’t participate if he isn’t. Most kids are tired after school. If the feeling isn’t there, all the practice in the world won’t make your child an Olympic fencer.

    Pro Tip: Unless you are the rare exception, your kid isn’t going pro, so let go of your dream. Sign up for your own tennis lessons if it’s that important to you.

    Is it one of those things they just need to do?


    I don’t care how much they hate it; piano lessons are good for them. Some kids will love it and become concert pianists, but there’s nothing wrong with making a kid to take a year or two of music lessons for his own good.

    Pro Tip No. 1: Forcing a kid to take a private lesson is a lot easier, with less potential for humiliation, than forcing something public like baton twirling, no matter how good it is for hand-eye coordination.

    Pro Tip No. 2: You really can’t make a teenager do anything.

    Can you afford it?


    Kids’ activities come with a cost. There are fees for participation up front, but don’t forget about equipment, potential travel (here’s looking at you, club soccer) and extra training. Some hobbies, like horseback riding, can get really expensive at higher levels. Can you afford a horse?

    Pro Tip: In most places, dance lessons are free for boys. Yes, free. Had I known this, my older sons would be wearing tap shoes today instead of cleats.
    Can you commit to the level of participation required?

    Until your child can drive herself and stay home alone overnight (i.e., when she is 32), this is about you. Before you agree to let him try out for Pippin, check the schedule. If you’ll be out of town the week before the show, it can’t be done. Kids need to honor team commitments, and you have to help.

    Pro Tip: Individual lessons are easier to schedule than group or team activities. A solo accordion lesson can be rescheduled with a little notice. A soccer tournament cannot.

    Now you’re well on your way to knowing when to say when. You’re teaching your kids a valuable lesson about finding balance. Can’t handle calligraphy class until next semester? The world will keep on turning.

    Tips to Keep It Together


    1. Make a family calendar everyone can access, online or on the fridge, to avoid conflicts.

    2. Talk to your spouse, even if you are separated, even if you hate each other, before scheduling something new.

    3. Send a scheduling email each week. My husband and I work, and our schedules change daily. It helps to decide who’s driving who, when and where, and put it in writing.

    4. When there is a conflict, notify coaches and teachers as soon as possible.

    5. Carpool whenever possible to give yourself a break. 

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    Music & DVD Reviews

    Songs from a Journey with a Parrot; Ballads for the Age of Science; Boy Meets World
    By Free Times
    Wednesday, February 5, 2014 |
    Songs from a Journey with a Parrot
    Magdeleine Lerasle, artist; Paul Mindy, arranger; Aurélia Fronty, illustrator
    The Secret Mountain

    This beautiful project is both a book and an audio disc, using traditional music of Brazil and Portugal to create a wonderfully artistic piece of entertainment for children that transcends language and culture.

    From Rio to Porto, Lisbon to Bahia, the journeys here are actual as well as figurative, with the musical accompaniment coming from Brazilian and Portuguese lullabies and nursery rhymes.

    The book illustrates each song with richly rendered yet simple settings, providing the song titles in Portuguese and then a brief English translation of the main lyric so little ears can follow along while still being able to understand what’s going on in the song. The last section of the book provides an “About the Songs” section for more reading, and full Portuguese and English lyrics side by side along with notes on each song.

    There are counting songs and story songs, and some are just as ribald or gruesome as anything from the Brothers Grimm or Mother Goose. In “Carolina’s Eyes” they sing, “Carolina’s eyes are green, like limes / Carolina’s eyes are black, like coal / Carolina’s eyes, I hold them in my hand.”

    In “The Doves of Catarina,” a girl begs her mother not to hit her for breaking a jug. It’s the most soothing of subject matter at times, but the lilting acoustic tones of the music make up for that with gentle sounds and intricate arrangements of sambas, fandago, bossa nova, and more performed on indigenous instruments by a group of musicians obviously familiar with the material.

    Ballads for the Age of Science
    Hy Zaret and Lou Singer
    Argosy Music Corporation

    If you were of a certain age in 1961, you might remember the albums in this box set from their original release at the time, as six different topical collections of educational songs. Composers Hy Zaret and Lou Singer wrote 72 songs for children to learn about nature, science, and other stuff in what we now refer to as STEM (science, tech, engineering and mathematics) in schools.

    Folk singer Tom Glazer and a female duet partner, Dottie Evans, recorded the first albums, and the duo Marais and Miranda recorded the two Nature albums, while pop singer Dorothy Collins took on the Experiments set with songs such as “Do I Have a Shadow?”

    Millennials who are raising their kids on They Might Be Giants might recognize a couple of the songs, as the band has covered “Why Does the Sun Shine?” in what, after listening to the original, appears to be a fairly faithful rendition. A copy of the songbook for all six albums can be downloaded online (argosymusiccorp.com) so you and your little scientist can sing along.

    Boy Meets World: The Complete Collection
    Lions Gate

    First airing on television in the early 1990s, Boy Meets World followed a group of friends growing up, first as elementary schoolers and later as tweens, but as the show progressed over its 10-year run, the characters were allowed to age with the audience. Like a better-produced batch of after-school specials, Boy Meets World took on on the basics like honesty, friendship and loyalty, but it wasn’t afraid to focus on more controversial topics such as cults, God, abuse and more, with the later college episodes even tackling sex, alcoholism and marriage.

    This isn’t for young kids, with the exception of the first few seasons, but the overall series is a much better alternative to the sassy attitude-driven fare that passes for live action children’s programming these days.

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    Books

    Copycat Bear!; 1001 Fun Ways to Play; This Is the Rope and More
    By Free Times
    Wednesday, February 5, 2014 |
    Copycat Bear!
    Ellie Sandall
    Tiger Tales, 32 pages, $14.99
    Ages: 6 and under

    Blue and Mango are best friends and do everything together. There’s only one problem — Blue is a big bear and Mango is a small bird. Blue wants to do everything Mango does, including flying, singing and nesting in a tree. Fed up with his copycat friend, Mango flies away to be alone but soon realizes that he misses his friend Blue. A fun read-aloud to young children, Copycat Bear! teaches little ones all about true friendship and the differences in all of us.
    — Heather Green, Richland Library Wheatley

    1001 Fun Ways to Play
    Susan Elisabeth Davis and Nancy Wilson Hall
    Weldon Owen, 240 pages, $16.95
    Ages: Parents of children up to 6 years old

    This engaging book from Gymboree Play & Music is packed with ideas for fun and easy ways to build school readiness skills through play. Sections are organized by age, and an index allows parents to look up activities by materials needed. Each activity addresses developmental milestones, starting from birth. Playful suggestions range from “Wow with Shadows” for newborns to “Design a Family Crest” for kindergarteners. 1001 Fun Ways to Play is highly recommended for new and seasoned parents alike. — Georgia Coleman, Richland Library

    This Is the Rope
    Jacqueline Woodson and James Ransome (illustrator)
    Nancy Paulsen Books, 32 pages, $16.99
    Ages: 7 to 12

    This story follows a South Carolina family as they migrate north to New York City. The connecting thread is the rope. In the hands of a young girl in the South, it is a jump rope. The rope transforms through the generations — securing luggage, drying laundry or holding the banner for a family reunion. Until, in the hands of a granddaughter, it becomes a jump rope once more. Jacqueline Woodson and James Ransome create a celebration of the hopes of a family and its history. I recommend this book to any family that has taken a chance to live their dreams. Like the rope, I imagine it will be passed from family member to family member and cherished. — Heather McCue, Richland Library

    Divergent
    Veronica Roth
    Katherine Tegen Books, 487 pages, Hardcover $17.99 / Paperback $9.99
    Ages: 13 and up

    Beatrice Prior has lived her entire life under the rules and social customs of her born faction, the Abnegation (the selfless). But now that she’s about to turn 16, she’s forced to decide whether she will stay with Abnegation or join one of the other four factions, effectively turning her back on her parents and the only life she’s known. Just as Beatrice begins to believe that she’s made the right choice, she discovers a dangerous secret that could compromise her safety and forever change the way she looks at the faction system. Fans of dystopian teen fiction will love Divergent. As the first book in a trilogy, Divergent is an exciting, fast-paced story that will reel you in during the first chapter and keep you spellbound until the last page. — Christina Fuller Gregory, Richland Library

    This is What Happy Looks Like
    Jennifer E. Smith
    Poppy, 416 pages, $17.99
    Ages: 13 and up

    A misaddressed email brings together 17-year-old Ellie O’Neill and famous teen actor Graham Larkin. Soon the teens begin exchanging emails, quickly becoming e-Pals. When Graham convinces his director to film his newest movie in Ellie’s idyllic hometown of Henley, Maine, the two finally meet face-to-face. As they learn more about each other they discover that neither of their lives is as perfect as they seem. Ellie lives in a beautiful town, but is hiding a secret, while Graham has fame and fortune he feels alienated from friends and family. Together, they begin to discover that they are not defined by life’s circumstances and that it’s up to them to decide what “happy” looks like. A follow-up to Jennifer E. Smith’s popular novel The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, this is a charming and endearing story about first love and friendship. — Christina Fuller-Gregory, Richland Library

    Rime of the Modern Mariner
    Nick Hayes
    Viking, 336 pages, $32
    Ages: 13 and up

    Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner gets updated for a modern setting in Hayes’ graphic adaptation. A grizzled sailor tells the tale of a fateful trip where stray wreckage and garbage lost at sea attacked his ship and sanity. The book is a lengthy poem with one line or beat per page, with mesmerizing art throughout. Panels and art are laid out to flow easily and suggest the rhythm of the poem, not unlike a Dr. Seuss book, and with no less a universal theme than the survival of our species. — Thomas Maluck, Richland Library

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    Apps for Kids

    Sago Mini Forest Flyer; I Can Animate
    By Free Times
    Wednesday, February 5, 2014 |
    Sago Mini Forest Flyer
    Sago Sago, Free
    Ages: 2-6

    In this playful and charming app, children help Robin fly through the forest, breakdance, eat cupcakes and make new friends. Play is open-ended with no way to go wrong, making it perfect for toddlers and preschoolers. The forest changes (with free updates) to match the season. Forest Flyer is sure to be a hit with young children, but sensitive parents who may be put off by a silly scene featuring a tiny bit of Robin poo might want to steer clear. — Georgia Coleman, Richland Library

    I Can Animate
    Kudlian Software, $2.99
    Ages: 13-18

    Grab a few dry erase markers, a dry erase board, and start creating! I Can Animate is a fantastic app that gives teens the power to make their own stop-motion animation. The easy-to-use interface allows teens to snap pictures during each stage of the drawing process and turn those images into original animations. An integrated instant-playback feature enables the creator to upload and share their work via email or social media. I Can Animate is a fantastic app for teens who love drawing, film editing or content creation. — Christina Fuller-Gregory, Richland Library


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    Media Listings

    By Free Times
    Wednesday, February 5, 2014 |
    Your kids are surrounded by media — everything from Snapchat, video games and the Internet to traditional media such as books, magazines, comics and movies. It’s your job to help them navigate this ever-shifting landscape, taking the best of what’s out there and avoiding excesses. Visit medialit.org for helpful media literacy resources.

    Barnes & Noble
    Forest Acres: 3400 Forest Dr., 787-5600
    barnesandnoble.com
    The mega-chain bookstore stocks tons of reading material for kids, sure, but it also hosts kid-friendly events — storytimes, games, etc. — too.

    The Book Dispensary
    710 Gracern Rd.,798-4739
    mybookdispensary.com
    The best books, often, are ones that have been treasured and cared for, and Columbia’s oldest specializes in pre-loved books.

    Books-A-Million
    Forest Acres: 4840 Forest Dr., 782-4475
    Harbison: 275 Harbison Blvd., 749-9378
    Northeast: 164 Forum Dr., 788-4349
    booksamillion.com
    The mega-chain bookstore stocks tons of reading material for kids, sure, but it also hosts kid-friendly events and a teen book club.
    Ed’s Editions
    406 Meeting St., 791-8002
    edseditions.com
    This family-owned bookstore carries a wide variety of used books and is a nigh-yearly winner in the Free Times Best of Columbia awards.

    Gamestop
    gamestop.com
    When coupled with strong parental and teacher involvement, educational video games can actually improve literacy skills, while other games can improve hand-eye coordination, memory formation and strategic planning. So if junior is doing well in school, it might not hurt to let him have Minecraft.

    Heroes and Dragons
    510 Bush River Rd., 731-4376
    Like video games, comic books, too, provide benefits, stimulating the imagination and creativity. So don’t toss your kids’ Avengers comics.
    Lexington County Library
    Main Branch: 5440 Augusta Rd., 785-2600
    Batesburg-Leesville: 203 Armory St., 532-9223
    Cayce-West Columbia: 1500 Augusta Rd., 794-6791
    Chapin: 129 NW Columbia Ave., 345-5479
    Gaston: 214 S. Main St., 791-3208
    Gilbert-Summit: 405 Broad St., 785-5387
    Irmo: 6251 St. Andrews Rd., 798-7880
    Pelion: 206 Pine St., 785-3272
    Swansea: 199 N. Lawrence Ave., 785-3519
    South Congaree: 200 Sunset Dr., 785-3050
    lex.lib.sc.us
    Books are invaluable to a child’s development. The 10-branch Lexington County Library system stocks tons of books for kids, but will also help your child understand them, too. Offers classes, book clubs, homework help, kids’ events and much more.

    Manifest
    1563 Broad River Rd., 798-2606
    From music and games to T-shirts of rock, pop and hip-hop artists, Manifest is always looking out for the latest youth trends.
    Papa Jazz Record Shoppe
    2014 Greene St., 256-0095
    Has your kid been humming Led Zeppelin lately? It might be time to introduce him or her to the wonders of used vinyl.

    Rainy Day Pal Books
    711 E. Main St., 951-2780
    Located on the bottom floor of Lexington’s historic Old Mill, Rainy Day Pal Used Books is known for its wide selection, and it specializes in children’s books.

    Richland Library
    Main Branch: 1431 Assembly St., 799-9084
    Ballentine: 1321 Dutch Fork Rd., 781-5026
    Blythewood: 218 McNulty Rd., 691-9806.
    Cooper: 5317 N. Trenholm Rd., 787-3462
    Eastover: 608 Main St., 353-8584
    North Main: 5306 N. Main St., 754-7734
    Northeast: 7490 Parklane Rd., 736-6575
    Sandhills: 1 Summit Pkwy., 699-9230
    Southeast: 7421 Garners Ferry Rd., 776-0855
    St. Andrews: 2916 Broad River Rd., 772-6675
    Wheatley: 931 Woodrow St., 799-5873
    myrcpl.com.
    Like the library system across the river, the 11-branch Richland County Public Library system stocks tons of books for kids, but will also help your child understand them, too. Offers classes, book clubs, homework help, kids’ events and much more. Also check out its Teen Center.

    Rolling Video Games
    rollingvideogamescolumbia.com
    Rolling Video Games delivers what it promises: a mobile video game theater stocked with the latest titles available for birthday parties, bar mitzvahs, whatever.

    Silver City Comics
    538 Knox Abbott Dr., 791-4021
    Remember what we said about Heroes and Dragons? Ditto for Silver City.

    South Carolina State Library
    1430 Senate St., statelibrary.sc.gov
    The South Carolina State Library is home to the South Carolina Center for the Book, which co-sponsor adult and adolescent literary events, such as the South Carolina Book Festival, the State Library Read-In, Letters About Literature, and many workshops.

    Thomas Lee Hall Library
    4679 Lee Rd., 751-5589
    fortjacksonmwr.com/library
    Military kids don’t have to go off-post to find a great library.

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    Budgeting for a New Year

    Making the Most of Your Family Income
    By Heather Green
    Wednesday, February 5, 2014 |
    Give children an allowance and guide them through the process of saving and spending.
    Feeling a holiday hangover? You are not alone — for many, the holidays mean too much food, too much fun and definitely too much money spent. December credit card bills are rolling in and your bank account might be looking a bit empty after the gluttonous holiday season. Getting back on track might be a top New Year’s resolution. Or perhaps you recently lost a job or had a major life shift and need to refocus. No matter the cause, here are a few helpful hints from local families and experts to help get back on track in 2014.

    There are many reasons families may need to re-evaluate their budgets, from life changes to illness to other hardships. We talked to three local moms, all of whom learned how to re-evaluate their monetary priorities and accommodate life’s big surprises.

    Laney and her husband have two children. Their family finances took a hit when her husband unexpectedly lost his job in November 2012. (Laney did not want her last name used for this article.)

    Callie Cromer’s husband Clay recently left the Coast Guard to pursue a career in Christian ministries. He is currently attending graduate school. They have two children: James, 3, and Caleb, 2.

    April Sampson was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a double mastectomy and is receiving chemotherapy treatments. She and her husband have two children: Summer, 14, and Lela, 9.

    Budgeting is a Learning Process


    Jason Langdale, a financial consultant for First Community Bank, advises families that budgeting is a learning process. No one masters it in one or two months. He suggests that families review budgets each month and revise as needed.

    “No one gets the budgeting process right the first time and that expectation causes people to give up,” he says. “Begin small by tracking your monthly income and expenses and grow from there.”

    Going from a two-person income to a single one can be especially difficult.

    Laney knows this all too well: In November 2012, her husband unexpectedly lost his job.

    “Needless to say, we were pretty scared,” she says. “His salary was our main income — providing everything from the house to health care.”

    Laney and her husband knew they had to re-evaluate their finances and make a list of priorities. Despite having a full-time job, Laney had no health insurance through her employer, so health insurance became a top priority, along with food and their house.

    Laney, a self-identified “non-generic eating snob,” says she had to get over the stereotypes of generic labels and foods. The days of free-range snacks were over and only essential foods were purchased. Her two children started taking their lunches to school.

    “What it costs to eat two days at school can pay for almost a week and a half of sandwiches,” she says.

    Another plus for Laney: “This has actually become an added bonus as we are totally able to monitor what they are eating.”

    Callie Cromer’s husband’s job change was planned, so, unlike Laney, they had some time to save for their change in direction.

    “We had the benefit of seeing far enough down the road to really plan well for it,” says Callie Cromer. “We chose to save like crazy for the last year-and-a-half he was in the Coast Guard ... we began learning how to live on less, so when our income decreased it wasn’t such a shock.”

    Cromer’s family began prioritizing their needs as a way to estimate living expenses. They also moved into an apartment to cut housing expenses. Each month, they deposit savings into their checking account and pay their rent, groceries and insurance. When extras pop up, she and her husband communicate to make sure their finances are in check.

    They’ve found that they can save money by going out less — and that this also cuts down on stress.

    “Having preschoolers means going out to eat is usually a hassle, so we do most of our meals at home,” Cromer says. “It’s healthier and cheaper.”

    Both Laney and Cromer agree that budgeting has resulted in healthier eating habits for their families — an additional positive outcome.

    A year into the budgeting lifestyle, Cromer advises that everyone in the family understand the goals and be committed and disciplined.

    Expert Langdale agrees: “Know where your money is going each month and keep a general budget, knowing what funds you may need in the future.”

    Planning is important, but flexibility is also required. Langdale advises that families stay committed to the process, keep track every month and take some time to review what worked and what did not.

    What Should Children Know?


    Should our children know when we are facing a financial hardship? How much is too much when talking about family finances?

    Langdale encourages parents to include their children in general budget discussions but cautions against involving young children in stressful money talk. He suggests starting with a piggy bank and discussing the value of money. Give children an allowance and guide them through the process of saving and spending. As children grow, have them open up a savings account at a local bank and encourage teens to take on part-time jobs.

    Since Laney’s children are older, they found out from hearing others’ speak about their father’s job loss — a fact that Laney wishes she had handled better. After learning that her children knew about their hardship, Laney reassured her two children that things might change but that she and her husband would minimize those changes for their children. The kids would still have their drama and drum lessons; it was very important for Laney to make sure that her children were not giving up the hobbies that they love.

    April Sampson also included her children in on family budget talks. Sampson is honest about her cancer diagnosis, and she wanted her two daughters to know that their family’s needs would change.

    “I think it’s important for them to understand the financial realities of our situation and they were immediately on board,” she says.

    Since her two children are older, Sampson believes that her two daughters grasp the situation.

    “I think it is important that they understand that we only have a certain amount of money coming in, and we have certain bills that have to be paid and we only have so much money to spend on other things.”

    She adds, “Lela even agreed to only ask Santa for two things (this year), which — for her — is a big deal.”

    Cromer feels that her two sons are too young to understand the ins and outs of living on a strict budget. She adds, however, that her kids “have done well with the lifestyle change. As long as they get to play, have plenty of attention and their basic needs met, they’re living the good life.”

    Financial Tips


    Jason Langdale, a financial consultant with First Community bank, offers these tips to families starting out with a budget.

    • Begin budgeting for holiday expenses in January. Use Christmas Clubs or savings accounts.

    • Put your budget on paper so you can see where your money is going each month.

    • Find an accountability partner to help you stay on track. A spouse or friend can gently remind you of your budgeting promises and can hold you accountable.
    Successful budgeting requires consistency and accountability.

    • Do not use high interest credit cards but do use points from credit cards to buy holiday gifts. Pay off credit cards each month.

    • Use cash as much as possible so that you can actually “feel” what you’re spending.

    • Use free software such as Mint.com to track your spending.

    • Talk to your children about the importance of money. Start small with a piggybank and move up to savings accounts as they get older. Have them assist in the process by clipping coupons.

    • Find a free financial planner in your community. Seek help and guidance from reputable sources.

    Growing Savers


    Looking for some ideas to help your kids understand money? The Richland Library’s Growing Savers program teaches children about financial literacy and educates families about saving money.

    Heather McCue, children’s librarian, suggests that children can learn to make choices between needs and wants. Talking to your children about those differences is a huge step.
    “Research has shown that, just like reading and books, your children are looking to you when it comes to money,” McCue says. “Giving them the opportunity to practice making choices is a good first step.”

    Even Lunch Money, Columbia’s own Kindie Rock band, wrote a song for the Growing Savers program. Download “Shake, Shake My Piggy Bank”
    from Richland Library’s site at richlandlibrary.com/saving-money.

    Need some book recommendations for teaching kids about money?


    Bunny Money by Rosemary Wells (ages 3-7)
    Benny’s Pennies by Pat Bisson (ages 3-7)
    The Paperboy by Dav Pilkey (ages 5+)
    In Business with Mallory by Laurie B. Freidman (ages 7+)
    Mr Chickee’s Funny Money by Christopher Paul Curtis (ages 8-12)
    — Heather Green

    comments powered by Disqus Free Times Family Magazine / Tantrums & Triumphs /

    Tantrums & Triumphs

    By Free Times Readers
    Wednesday, February 5, 2014 |
    Send your tantrum or triumph to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

    There’s nothing like being woken up in the middle of the night by a little person yelling, “There’s pee all over me!” One day I’ll get a full seven hours of sleep a night, right?

    This is a rant to Richland County School District One: What’s up with all these half days and closed days? Are you aware that most parents have jobs?

    Yeah, now that you’re a teenager, I know you’re embarrassed to be seen walking with your parents in the mall. Well, we’re not all that happy about having to drive you there either.

    Hey, remember all those birthday presents we gave you over the years? How about remembering to send us a birthday card one of these years.

    My child for three weeks straight: I can’t wait to be out of school. My child on the second day of Christmas break: This break is ruined. I’m bored.

    The good news: My teenage daughter is smarter than I am. The bad news: My teenage daughter is aware that she’s smarter than I am.

    Kudos to my son for enlisting the help of the neighbor kids to clean his entire room when I held his Xbox controller for ransom. True leadership. Why do it yourself when you can get others to do it for you?

    My husband bought my 3-year-old the explicit/parental advisory version of a CD. I figure she can’t understand it at all, right? Much like when our parents bought us Madonna & Prince. We’re parents of the year!

    Elf on the Shelf: Thanks for highlighting what a gullible child I’ve raised for the past 7 years.

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    FT Parent February 2014: PDF

    By Free Times
    Wednesday, February 5, 2014 |



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    Restaurant Week Columbia: Jan. 9-19

    Participating Restaurants
    By Free Times
    Thursday, January 2, 2014 |


    Alodia’s
    2736 North Lake Dr., Irmo/Ballentine
    803-781-9814

    Blue Marlin
    1200 Lincoln St., The Vista, Columbia
    803-799-3838
    bluemarlincolumbia.com


    Carolina Ale House
    277 Columbiana Dr., Irmo/Harbison
    803-407-6996
    carolinaalehouse.com

    Carolina Ale House
    708 Lady St., The Vista, Columbia
    803-227-7150
    carolinaalehouse.com


    Cellar On Greene
    2001D Greene St., Five Points, Columbia
    803-343-3303

    Figaro, The Dining Room
    1117 Boyce Street, Newberry
    803-276-0101

    Gervais and Vine
    620-A Gervais St., The Vista, Columbia
    803-799-8463

    Harpers Restaurant
    700 Harden St., Five Points, Columbia
    803-252-2222

    Il Giorgione Pizzeria & Wine Bar
    2406 Devine St., Columbia
    803-521-5063
    ilgiorgione.com
    Eat at Gio’s


    Liberty Tap Room
    828 Gervais St., The Vista, Columbia
    803-461-4677

    Liberty on the Lake
    1602 Marina Rd., Irmo/Ballentine
    803-667-9715

    Lizard’s Thicket
    818 Elmwood Ave., Downtown Columbia
    803-779-6407

    Lizard’s Thicket
    501 Knox Abbot Dr., Cayce
    (803) 791-0314

    Lizard’s Thicket
    3147 Forest Dr., Columbia/Forest Acres
    (803) 787-8781

    Lizard’s Thicket
    402 Beltline Boulevard, Columbia
    (803) 738-0006

    Lizard’s Thicket
    1824 Broad River Rd., Columbia
    803-798-6427

    Lizard’s Thicket
    2240 Airport Boulevard, West Columbia
    803-796-7820

    Lizard’s Thicket
    7938 Garners Ferry Rd., East Columbia
    804-647-0095

    Lizard’s Thicket
    7620 Two Notch Rd., Columbia
    803-788-3088

    Lizard’s Thicket
    4616 Augusta Rd., Lexington
    803-785-5560

    Lizard’s Thicket
    7569 St. Andrews Rd., Columbia
    803-732-1225

    Lizard’s Thicket
    621 West Main Street, Lexington
    803-952-3555

    Lizard’s Thicket
    10170 Two Notch Rd., Columbia
    803-419-5662

    Lizard’s Thicket
    711-1 University Village Dr., Blythewood
    803-451-8400

    Midlands (inside the Columbia Marriott)
    1200 Hampton Street, Downtown Columbia
    803-771-7000

    Moe’s Grapevine
    4478 Rosewood Dr.
    Columbia/Rosewood
    803-776-8463

    MoMo’s Bistro
    2930 Devine St., Columbia
    803-252-2700

    Mr. Friendly’s New Southern Café
    2001-A Greene St., Five Points, Columbia
    803-254-7828

    Motor Supply Company
    920 Gervais St., The Vista, Columbia
    803-256-6687

    The Oak Table
    1221 Main St., Downtown Columbia
    803-563-5066
    theoaktablesc.com


    Pearlz Oyster Bar
    936 Gervais St., The Vista, Columbia
    803-661-7741

    Rioz Brazilian Steakhouse
    410 Columbiana Dr., Irmo/Harbison
    803-708-3151

    Ristorante Divino
    803 Gervais St., The Vista, Columbia
    803-799-4550
    ristorantedivino.com


    Rosso Trattoria Italia
    4840 Forest Dr., Columbia/Forest Acres
    803-787-3949

    Rue 77
    1301 Assembly St., Downtown Columbia
    803-708-4785

    Ruth’s Chris Steak House
    924-A Senate St., The Vista, Columbia
    803-212-6666

    Saluda’s
    751 Saluda Ave., Five Points, Columbia
    803-799-9500

    Solstice Kitchen and Wine Bar
    841 Sparkleberry Ln., Northeast Columbia
    803-788-6966

    Terra
    100 State St., Cayce
    803-791-3443

    Tombo Grille
    4517 Forest Dr., Columbia/Forest Acres
    803-782-9665

    Villa Tronco
    1213 Blanding St., Downtown Columbia
    803-256-7677

    Yesterday’s Restaurant
    2030 Devine St., Five Points, Columbia
    803-799-0196
    yesterdayssc.com



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    Get Ahead: Guide to Career Advancement Winter 2014

    Hot Jobs for 2014 and Financial Advice for Non-traditional Students
    By Free Times
    Wednesday, December 25, 2013 |


    comments powered by Disqus Bites & Sights Visitors Guide /

    Bites & Sights Columbia SC Visitors Guide Winter 2014

    By Free Times
    Wednesday, December 18, 2013 |


    comments powered by Disqus Free Times Family Magazine / Feature /

    Caring Kids

    Moving from Me-Me-Me to Social Responsibility
    By Free Times
    Wednesday, December 4, 2013 |
    USC Women’s Basketball Coach Dawn Staley gives sneakers to kids through the nonprofit Innersole. Courtesy photo
    Pieces and parts of toys from holidays past litter the bottom layer of the toy box. The torso of an Optimus Prime Transformer lies mixed in with Doc McStuffin’s medical kit and empty video game cases.

    In the background, kids — whipped into a frenzy by a barrage of television commercials — scream, “I want that, I want that!” Amid the cacophony, a glum voice proclaims, “Santa never gets me what I want.”

    As the blood rushes to your face, you wonder if your kids truly realize how blessed they are. Do they understand that not everyone watches Disney Channel on a flat-screen TV? That for some, relieving hunger isn’t as easy as running to the freezer, grabbing a Hot Pocket and nuking it in the microwave?

    Some of the kids without flat-screen TVs — or even homes — live here in the Columbia area. In Richland County, there are 1,754 homeless students. This number fluctuates, but it is steadily going up. Richland County School District One’s homeless count is up 22 percent over the 2011-12 school year.

    A federal law, the McKinney-Vento Act of 1987, provides federal funds for a number of services to homeless students. This inspires school districts to maintain an accurate census to ensure homeless students can get the services available. But no matter how you figure the numbers, there’s a good chance a student in your kid’s class lives in a shelter, a hotel, the back of a car or on the streets.

    How can you encourage your children to be more socially conscious, to move from “I want” to “I want to help,” not only around the holidays, but all year round?

    Be The Change

    One of the most decorated players in women’s basketball history says if you want to inspire change, lead by example.
    Hall of Famer and USC Basketball Coach Dawn Staley is encouraging everyone to “Be The Change.”

    “We’re challenging everyone to help us do 50,000 acts of random kindness this year,” Staley says.

    When a young person lets military personnel cut ahead of them in the fast food line, or simply opens the door for a stranger, they post their good deeds and pictures on Twitter at SC_WBB_RAoK or on Facebook here. It’s a low-budget way for kids to do something good, think of others over themselves, and in turn take a step toward becoming a better person.

    Circle of Giving

    Laura Long, a Midlands mom with a 16-year-old daughter, says, “As parents, we all need to start teaching our children at an early age to truly give. Not just going to Walmart with the parents’ money and buying a present. Children need to work for the money or give away a toy that is near and dear to them.”

    For Long and her daughter, Katherine, volunteering with Circle of Giving has become a holiday tradition.

    “Our family has all we need and so many families struggle to put food on the table —much less presents under the tree,” Katherine says.

    Circle of Giving is a joint effort between Eastminster Presbyterian Church and The Cooperative Ministry. Over the holidays, children living in shelters and transitional housing are bussed to the church where they can pick out gifts for their immediate family.

    While the goodies are fun, people who take part will tell you the most important aspect of the program has nothing to do presents. During Circle of Giving, young volunteers serve the kids from the shelters as they shop. It opens discussion and enables the kids on both sides to get to know one another.

    Katherine Long says, “Children at any age can understand how important it is to help other families.” Studies show Long is right.

    Behavior is Learned

    Kelly Mulvey, assistant professor with the Department of Educational Studies at the University of South Carolina, says while toddlers may appear selfish when they grab a toy out of another kid’s hands and proclaim “mine, mine, mine,” that’s not the whole story.

    “Studies show even infants don’t like seeing inequality,” Mulvey says.

    Communication plays a key role in a child’s early moral development, according to Mulvey.

    “If you explain to a child that if they don’t share, it will hurt the other child’s feelings or harm will occur, even young children can use that information to make fair and just decisions,” Mulvey says. Conversely, “If a parent says you must share with this child, but doesn’t explain why the child is being asked to share, the child will have a harder time processing the information.”

    Theresa Adams’ 12- year- old son Avery was born with a giving gene. “He’s been active in helping me gather gifts for Operation Christmas Child at church,” says the Lexington mom, “buying gifts for needy kids at Christmas, donating things to Goodwill, and gathering food for food drives at school.”

    Avery says: “It makes me feel really good inside — kinda warm — to be able to help people who don’t have much. I just like to help.”

    Adams says in her family, it’s not about what you spend, ”It’s as simple as [when] someone is sick, you take them food. That is just what you do.”

    Innersole

    Coach Staley’s playbook also includes her nonprofit called Innersole. Born in poverty in Philadelphia, Pa., Staley recalls how a new pair of sneakers could do a lot toward positive self-esteem and motivation. The confidence that came with her new sneakers and a lot of hard work on the basketball court helped pull her out of poverty. Now she’s hoping that Innersole — which provides donated sneakers to children need them — can help build the same confidence and motivation in a new generation of young people.

    Staley says she’s blown away by the number of kids who have collected sneakers with their parents’ help and encouragement.

    “Innersole went deeper than someone helping someone else who was less fortunate,” she says. “It’s changing generations, parents showing their kids something a little different ... it’s giving first.”

    Staley’s three-stall garage is now a shoe warehouse thanks to moms like Kellah Webster. Webster, a big fan of Staley’s, used Innersole as a teaching opportunity when her nieces and nephews visited her family’s Lowcountry home a few months ago. She loaded the kids into the car and went sneaker shopping. When one of her nieces became enamored with a pair of sparkly, silver sneakers, Webster explained, “It’s not about us ... that’s not what we’re doing today. The point of the trip is not about you.”

    Kids learn many things: how to make a jump shot, how to beat the hottest video game on their iPad and how to nuke fast food in the microwave. They can also learn how to lend a hand up to others, how to care for others in need and share their good fortune with the less fortunate. After all, as Teresa Adams says, “It’s just what you do.”


    Looking for ways to open 
your child's eyes?


    • Spend a few hours visiting someone you know. Is there an elderly neighbor who will be alone during the holidays?

    • Kids 15 and older can volunteer to help serve meals at The Oliver Gospel Mission.

    • Gather warm coats and take them to The Salvation Army or The Cooperative Ministry.

    • Most importantly, mark a date on your calendar for three or six months from now. Many charities have almost too much help at this time of year. Call the charity then to see how you can help out.


    County programs put focus on youth homelessness


    Chances are, someone in your child’s class is homeless.

    This isn’t a trend that’s going away. The number of homeless students identified in Richland School District One and Two has increased annually over the last seven years. Last year, District Two served 554 homeless students — up from 64 in 2006; District One served 1,200.

    Organizations are struggling to keep up with the area’s needs. Sometimes kids are turned away if a shelter doesn’t have space or if the shelter’s mission doesn’t mesh with the child’s specific situation.

    You can learn more about homelessness in our area at a free forum sponsored by the Richland Public Library. “Living on The Edge; Youth Homelessness” will be Nov. 17 at 3 p.m. at the main branch; a second event will be held in March. Learn more at richlandlibrary.com.

    comments powered by Disqus Free Times Family Magazine / Health /

    Holiday Angst

    Is Your Stress Affecting Your Kids?
    By Heather Green
    Wednesday, December 4, 2013 |
    Molly Ledford, mom to two school-aged kids, likes to help her children work on their Halloween costumes. Courtesy photo
    Fall. It’s one big holiday extravaganza. From Halloween candy to holiday shopping, how many months of gluttony and overspending must one family endure? Add in the parties, trick-or-treating, school recitals, office gatherings, and other obligations and the stress level multiplies. What parents may not realize is how children are influenced by their stress.

    Dr. Jenny Savitz-Smith, a licensed professional counselor, says that children easily pick up on parental stress and understand that something is off. “A child may sense that their parent is stressed or unhappy and may think it is something that the child did wrong. In some cases, children may act out more by becoming more angry or sad in reaction to their parents’ emotions.”

    Savitz-Smith suggests not putting too much pressure on yourself and family during the holiday season and cautions parents to look out for erratic mood swings and temper tantrums. These may be symptoms that the holiday season is too overwhelming and stressful for your child.

    The stressors are easy to identify: memories of idyllic holidays of your youth and wanting to create that same picture-postcard memory for your children, time pressures, financial demands running headlong into financial realities, and the inherent pressures of family — sometimes broken ones, sometimes non-traditional ones, sometimes interfaith ones — that often reveal inherent conflicts.
    Solutions can be hard to come by, harder still to stick to.

    Stay on schedule

    Like adults, children get stressed when their schedules and structured days are extremely altered. Melissa Sanderson, mother of two, believes staying on schedule is important. “Sometimes I find that, like me, the kids are exhausted from trying to make it to all the fun events that go along with these great holidays,” she says. “So, moods start swinging and they aren’t their normal chipper selves!”

    Keeping children on routine helps ease the fatigue and irritability caused by too many holiday activities. Like Sanderson, Graham Duncan, a divorced dad, tries to limit his daughter’s holiday stress by keeping life as normal as possible, no matter how busy life is around them.

    “Friday night is movie night so we try our best to stick to that even if we’re away from home,” he says.

    Having to decline a few holiday parties and activities in order to stick to a family routine may ease stress for everyone. Choose a few fun holiday activities and invitations and then allow some family downtime to recoup.

    Set a budget and expectations to meet it

    When did gift giving morph into thousands of dollars of debt? Before setting your alarm for Black Friday, make sure you have a budget in mind. Consistently talk to your children about gift expectations and the amount of money that gifts cost. Setting those expectations early can save both you and your child a lot of holiday stress. Dr. Savitz-Smith says less may be better. “Children do not need an inordinate amount of money spent on them. If parents stay within a budget, it will cause less stress and less tension in the home.”

    Be realistic

    Starting out the holiday season with too many unrealistic expectations of a perfect holiday with glistening snow and pumpkin-spice perfection only leads to holiday hangovers. Molly Ledford, mom to two school-aged kids, says togetherness is most important in her family. “Helping the kids figure out how to make their Halloween costumes, watching the Thanksgiving parade (and trying to hide that the school marching bands move me to tears), wearing hats and sweaters, celebrating the love we all have for each other” is what matters most.

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    Holiday Gifts for Teachers

    Keep it Simple, Inexpensive and Personal
    By Amanda Ladymon
    Wednesday, December 4, 2013 |
    Some teachers don’t like the clutter of “stuff” in their room, so stick with something like a holiday ornament for the tree or something that is child-safe and easy to store away for certain times of the year. File photo
    The holidays are when we say thank you to everyone who has made a difference in our lives, which makes this time of year special but equally stressful. Hard-working teachers are making that difference every day. So, how do we show our appreciation for their services with limited time, money or resources?

    Keep it simple.

    A 2008 holiday stress poll by the American Psychological Association showed that more than eight out of 10 Americans anticipate stress during the holiday season. Households with children anticipate even more stress than those without.

    The main source of this stress? Money and gift buying.

    Depending on your child’s age and what type of school they attend, there could be a lot of teachers — homeroom, art, gym, foreign language, music — to thank. Some parents choose to focus one gift on the homeroom teacher, while others divvy out a little something for everyone.

    The choice is entirely up to you and no hurt feelings will result from either decision.

    Most of the time, teachers pay no notice to what their peers received from parents. Deana Rennick, mom and high school art teacher, says she is “simply happy to get a thank you note.”

    If you prefer to send a gift, make it small, simple and inexpensive. Send the same gift to all the teachers in your child’s life; it’s OK.

    So, what do teachers want? Local teachers offer several ideas:

    • If you are short on time and budget, then a handwritten thank you card is always nice. Many teachers appreciate the consideration and simplicity of a card.

    • Another quick option is a $5 or $10 gift card to places where they can purchase supplies for their classrooms such as Staples, Office Depot or Barnes & Noble. In some cases, homeroom moms band together and collect money from each parent to purchase a gift for the teacher. Often the teacher is aware of this arrangement and “gives a list of preferred places they like to shop and eat, or a preferred gift they would like,” according to Jill Whitaker, a mother of three. Bare minimum, you give a cash donation to the homeroom mom, the teacher gets what they asked for and everyone’s happy.

    • For nontraditional gift-givers, crafty types or parents who have extra time on their hands, Pinterest is the first place to start in searching for that unique handmade idea. But avoid making items that are large or potentially hazardous to keep in the classroom. Some teachers don’t like the clutter of “stuff” in their room, so stick with something like a holiday ornament for the tree or something that is child-safe and easy to store away for certain times of the year.

    • Another way to give is by volunteering with the class. For example, a local librarian mom donates one hour per week of story time. A local mother of three shared a gift idea that also aids education. In her child’s homeroom class, each student brought in a book from home, writing their name and a brief note in the book. The books were then donated to help build the classroom library. It’s a special and unique way for kids to participate in a gift for the teacher.

    Of course, you can never go wrong with baked goods. Hint: chocolate.

    No matter which option you choose, keep it simple, practical and affordable. Teachers do not expect gifts to be super elaborate or expensive — really, they don’t expect to receive gifts at all. Sometimes a simple thank you is all it takes.


    The Five-Minute Thank You


    Pressed for time? Here are quick grab-and-go ideas:

    • Grab a gift card at a local retail store, restaurant or while grocery shopping. Publix has racks with dozens of local and chain gift cards right by the front door.

    • Buy a box of 20 thank you or holiday cards (stick with general holiday themes) with matching envelopes and make it thoughtful by including a handwritten note from you and your child.

    • Buy mini-truffle four-piece boxes. They sometimes include a little place to write a thank you on top.

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    Holiday Horror Stories

    Drunks, Fights, Jail, Yay! It’s the Holidays!
    By Anne Postic
    Wednesday, December 4, 2013 |
    Remember that there is no perfect holiday. File photo
    Which is worse? A blowout fight with the in-laws or a blowout baby diaper in Santa’s lap?

    How about a loud toddler requesting “Copacabana” in church? Or you saying the worst thing at the worst time, totally by accident, as your family looks on in horror?

    Which is worse? Hiding Dad’s arrest from the kids on Christmas Day or postponing the holiday for a couple of days, because the kids will never know?

    Some of those things are too hard (or disgusting) to talk about, even years later, but some people don’t mind sharing the memories.

    My worst Christmas ended with me in the bathtub sipping (okay, guzzling) wine and watching Grey Gardens on my laptop. The details are none of your business. My worst Thanksgiving? There was vomit. Also not a story I care to share.

    I will share a story about a holiday disaster we avoided, thanks to the clear thinking of my husband. I have a thing about Santa Claus. He’s real, he’s awesome, and he occasionally needs a little help from parents. My husband didn’t always agree with my view, so I had to go overboard to prove how great Santa could be.

    ‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring ... except me.

    The children were nestled all snug in their beds ... while I chewed carrots and spit them on the sidewalk in front of our house. The sight of chewed carrots would prove that reindeer had been there and enjoyed the heck out of the snacks we provided. My husband tucked a newspaper under his arm and made the same joke he always makes after a big meal.

    His droll little mouth drawn up like a bow ... to the bathroom he went, not the slightest bit slow. But I stopped him. What would be even more impressive on the front lawn than chunks of chewed carrot? Post-digested carrot, of course! My idea was brilliant, the perfect way to make this Christmas epic, as the kids say.

    What to their wondering eyes would appear? Not a sleigh, not St. Nick, but the poop of reindeer!

    He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf ... but my husband wisely refused. As my little round belly shook with laughter like a bowl full of jelly, he was steadfast. I kept pushing, until he reminded me that Daddy in jail on Christmas morning would be way worse than the absence of reindeer poop on the lawn. I relented.

    He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, and filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk ... wait. I was the jerk. I was sent to bed, knowing I had narrowly avoided a lump of coal in my stocking.



    I’m not the only parent who knocks back a few during the holidays. Josephine Bogart remembers one December in her pre-school years when her mother told her father Charles to take a can of spray snow and decorate the windows. He did as he was told, merrily spraying holiday cheer on the front window of their home, spelling out “Merry Christmas Charles” for all the neighbors to enjoy. (No, we aren’t using real names here!)

    Then there was the Christmas I spent triple to have that one Very Important Toy overnighted to my home by a savvy Ebayer who knew slackers who’d waited too late would pay through the nose to avoid ruining Christmas.

    A friend of mine found herself in the same bind, but got some great advice. The toy her son had to have wouldn’t arrive until the day after the big day. “Miranda?” her mom asked. “Do you remember the Christmas when y’all were 4 and 6 and Mimi and Pop-Pop came and surprised you?”

    My friend remembered that happy holiday well. “Sweetheart, that wasn’t Christmas. They couldn’t get there until the 27th. We lied.” Was my friend stupid? How did she miss Christmas? Her mother explained, “All you have to do is keep the kids away from television and people for a few days. They’ll never know.” Try it. They aren’t as smart as you think they are.


    Real Advice to Avoid Holiday Hell


    • Plan ahead. The younger your children, the more time you should allow for mishaps.

    • Talk things over early with your partner, so you know each other’s holiday expectations. Never assume.

    • Don’t drink too much.

    • Drink just enough.

    • Be kind but assertive with grandparents and other relatives about what works for your family.

    • Secure the tree to the top of the car, so you don’t lose it on the highway. When you get home, check the tree stand twice for leaks and stability.

    • Book childcare early to make sure you have enough relief during what can be a stressful season.

    • Enjoy your family and friends. The perfect gift or meal doesn’t make a perfect holiday. People do.

    • Remember that there is no perfect holiday.

    comments powered by Disqus Free Times Family Magazine / Religion and Spirituality /

    Merry Hanukkah!

    Celebrating the Holidays in Mixed-Faith Households
    By Anna Gelbman Edmonds
    Wednesday, December 4, 2013 |
    Deb and David Tedeschi are raising their children in a Jewish home. Photo by Sean Rayford
    For parents of different cultural and spiritual backgrounds, determining which holidays to observe and how to celebrate them can be a challenge. How can interfaith families navigate religious holidays with their children and maintain peace on earth?

    “We live Jewishly,” says David Tedeschi, 49. He is Catholic and his wife Deb, 46, is Jewish. David didn’t convert to Judaism, but the household functions as a Jewish home. He attends temple regularly with Deb and their two sons, Louis 13, and Daniel, 11, but goes to church with his parents when he visits them.

    There are no Christmas trees or Easter baskets in the Tedeschi home, but they enjoy those things when visiting with David’s family. “It’s a sacrifice sometimes,” David says. “I have felt it or feel it more [at some times] than at other times, but I’m very happy with the choices we’ve made.”

    The boys are kept home from school in observance of the high holy days of Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah.

    “We made the decision that raising the children in one faith was better than raising them with no faith at all,” says Deb.

    Spencer and Keagan Herring, both 30, of Irmo, were each raised in Protestant homes. Today Keagan’s leanings are agnostic while Spencer studies all religions. Several of his tattoos are religious symbols; icons, such as Buddha and Virgin Mary, are displayed around their home. “I take a little bit from all of them,” says Spencer.

    The Herrings have friends and family members of various religious faiths. Sharing the holidays with them is an opportunity for their daughter Kira, 5, to experience and learn from all of them.

    Expecting their second child in February, the family celebrates Christmas with a tree and presents because it’s fun but they don’t actively bring the traditional Christmas story into their home. Kira is learning that it’s fundamentally a Christian holiday, but that’s not the focus in their home. They spend Easter, Christmas and other traditionally religious holidays with family.

    “We gear the religious holidays toward the children,” says Spencer.

    The Herrings believe it’s best to expose their children to a diversity of religions, encourage their curiosity and give them a neutral base from which to determine their own spiritual path when they’re older.

    Barbara Soblo, 51, is an atheist. Her family celebrates traditionally religious holidays in secular ways, with Christmas trees, Easter baskets and family dinners. She and her husband are science teachers. They and their two children also make up their own holidays, such as practice Thanksgivings (to stretch the stomach in preparation for the real thing), random full moon parties, and unbirthdays. They also celebrate school holidays and science-related phenomena. “The pagan celebrations — solstices, equinoxes and moons — are random excuses to eat cake,” she says.

    “Food is a large part of all holidays,” says Rev. Roy Mitchell, Chaplain and Director of Church Relations at Columbia College. “Food was how the ancients communed with God or the gods.” Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Baha’is and people of nearly all faiths incorporate food into their celebrations. Food will always be a way to bring families together on holidays, no matter what their belief system.

    “It’s about raising children consistently,” says David Tedeschi. “Make a plan and stick to it.”


    Strategies


    Holidays can be stressful under the best of circumstances, but couples with different religious and cultural backgrounds often face added challenges. Here are some strategies to help get through the holidays peacefully:

    • Communication is key. Don’t assume everyone is on the same page about decorations, traditions, menus and religious services.

    • Teach and learn. The more you understand about your spouse’s religion or culture, the more you can appreciate what holds importance and why.

    • Blending aspects of the different holidays is wonderful, but don’t expect a full merge. A hybrid experience can be developed over time as you learn what does and does not work.

    • Disagreements about holiday traditions are inevitable. When the disagreements are counterproductive or linger year after year, consult a clergyperson or family counselor for help.

    comments powered by Disqus Free Times Family Magazine / Family Finance /

    Two Little Letters, One Big Message

    Learning to Say ‘No’
    By Kevin Oliver
    Wednesday, December 4, 2013 |
    “To enable them to turn into a responsible human being, sometimes you have to say no even if you want to give them everything they want.” File photo
    No. It’s such a small word, but it can be a big deal.

    That’s especially true when the fall signals the coming of cooler weather and the inexorable rush to the gift-giving and gift-receiving season.

    Children in particular can be sucked into “I want” mode much more easily this time of year with all the new games, toys and other products advertised for them. So as a parent, it’s important to know when and why you sometimes need to use those two little letters.

    Financial adviser Ben Rast of The Rast Group in Columbia says managing the gift monster comes down to setting expectations and sticking to them.

    “I’m a fan of lists,” he says. “Prepare an initial list — it’ll be a long one. Go through it with them and whittle it down to what they really want.” The process teaches children how to make choices, just as you do at the grocery store with your lists that help you spend less money on impulse items as you shop for the essentials.

    “It is an issue of self-control,” Rast explains. “You can acquire that different ways, but understanding that you can’t have something today, you have to wait for it — that is where the parents want to wind up with their kids.” The key is to make this a year-round effort, not just during the holidays, so that it doesn’t come as a shock or a shift in policy from mom and dad.

    “Teaching kids ‘don’t buy now, wait’ doesn’t come naturally to them,” Rast adds. “Giving them an incentive for that waiting is a good opportunity to develop that skill.” He doesn’t have a problem with parents simply saying ‘No’, either.

    “We are not here to be their friend, but to be their parent,” Rast says. “To enable them to turn into a responsible human being, sometimes you have to say no even if you want to give them everything they want.”

    The issue is more complex than just a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, though.

    “Budgeting for the holidays should be a little flexible, not like budgeting for most things,” Rast says. “Have guidelines but don’t make them inflexible — there has to be leeway because, let’s face it, we’re dealing with the individuals on earth we are closest to and love the most.” He adds that it is wise to appoint a ‘captain’ or point person in the family to do the majority of the financial stuff.

    “Typically in a marriage there is someone more capable with budgeting, so they should be the ones keeping track,” Rast says. “There is room for compromise, even some errors, but contain them and you’ll be fine. Take an approach with guidelines that are comfortable and that you can afford, and allow for a process of adjustment.”


    A Time to Learn, Not Just to Spend


    Ever wonder if you’re the only one out there worrying about your holiday budget? If you cruise the local blogosphere, you’ll find yourself in good company.

    Lexington mom blogger Kati Horton of LexingtonMommy.com says that her readers had a pretty good discussion about this very topic last year.

    “We had a conversation about how to handle presents on the blog last Christmas,” Horton says. “There were several suggestions, but they all boiled down to putting parameters on it ahead of time, setting proper expectations for your children and not letting them think they are getting 57 presents under the tree.” Horton also suggests turning the big purchases into opportunities for personal growth.

    “If there is something they really want and it is expensive, even if you do have the money to buy it, there is an opportunity to turn the purchase into a life lesson,” She says. “Number one, they are not the only 13-year-old without a cell phone. Number two, you can allow them to earn their own money to buy it.”

    Horton concludes that mom and dad need to be the decision makers in this instance, and stick with the decision.

    “Parents should never feel guilty about a decision you feel strongly about, like this one,” she says. “Children should know that the world is not going to tell you ‘yes’ for the rest of your life.”


    comments powered by Disqus Free Times Family Magazine / Learning /

    Learning Listings

    Help Your Kids Develop Their Interests
    By Free Times
    Wednesday, December 4, 2013 |
    Each child has different interests— from math to science, from foreign languages to outer space. File photo
    Reading, writing, ‘rithmetic, sure — but what if your child has trouble with the three Rs? Or what if your child shows exemplary skill in them? Each child learns differently, and each child has different interests — from math to science, from foreign languages to outer space. To help your kid learn, check out the following.

    Aim High Education
    4801 Hardscrabble Rd., 788-6894
    aimhigheducationsc.com
    Customized after-school education programs and tutoring.

    The Afterschool Zone
    theafterschoozone.com
    Offers afterschool pickup from Lexington/Richland 5 and Richland 1 schools. Students engage in physical and educational activities.

    Aspire Early Learning Academy
    1103 B Ave. (West Columbia), 834-4976
    aspireearlylearningacademy.com
    Pre-K program using the Creative Curriculum, a nationally approved curriculum based on the ideas of the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

    Be Great Academy
    500 Gracern Road, 231-3100
    begreatacademy.com
    After-school program operated by Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands.

    Bright Start
    720 Gracern Rd., 929-1112
    brightstartsc.com
    Provides quality comprehensive services to all individuals with special needs and developmental delays.

    Brookland Academy
    1054 Sunset Blvd., 796-7525
    brooklandbaptist.org
    Child development center operated by Brookland Baptist Church; for children ages six weeks to 4. Offers 4-K.

    Challenger Learning Center
    2600A Barhamville Rd.
    929-3951, thechallengercenter.net
    The Challenger Learning Center of Richland County School District One is an aeronautics- and space-themed learning program designed to provide interactive learning experiences, integrating science, technology, engineering and math curricula with 21st century life skills.

    Discovery Program of South Carolina
    8807 Two Notch Rd., 419-0126
    discoveryprogramsc.org
    Noted as a program of excellence with the National Institute for Learning Development (NILD), the Discovery Program helps those struggling to learn — whether via learning disabilities or other learning disorders — to become independent students.

    Glenforest School
    glenforest.org
    Works with K-12 students who have not thrived in traditional learning environments, including students with dyslexia, attention-deficit disorder or other developmental challenges.

    Hammond Plus Programs
    854 Galway Lane, 695-8624
    hammondschool.org
    In addition to being a top college-prep school, Hammond offers a wide array of after-school classes for children and adults.

    Head Start
    1400 St. Andrews Rd., 898-2550
    A comprehensive school readiness program serving kids 0-5 that has a strong focus on ensuring that they start school ready to learn.

    Lango South Carolina
    langosouthcarolina.com
    At Lango, your child will learn another language, make developmental strides, explore other cultures. At various Midlands locations.

    The Language Buzz
    1921 Henderson St., 252-7002
    thelanguagebuzz.com
    A unique foreign language learning center that promotes the early command of languages through language immersion, contextualized learning, and the learning and acceptance of different cultures.

    Mathnasium
    mathnasium.com
    Offers math help for students from grades 2 through 12.

    My Amigos
    myamigosbec.org
    Language immersion programs for ages 30 months to 5th grade.

    Pearson Professional Centers
    107 Westpark Blvd., 798-3001
    Offers GMAT testing.

    Personal Pathways to Success
    scpathways.org
    Provides educational and career planning resources.

    Provost Academy South Carolina
    sc.provostacademy
    A tuition-free, online-only public high school. Live online classrooms give students the ability to includes the ability to participate in discussions and ask questions.

    REACH
    reachgroup.org
    A support group for Columbia-area home schoolers; provides information and activities, offers information about academic résumés and transcripts.

    Richland County First Steps
    rcfirststeps.org
    Works with kids, parents, schools and childcare providers to promote health, literacy and school readiness in young children.

    comments powered by Disqus Free Times Family Magazine / Life /

    Life Listings

    Finding Answers to Tough Questions
    By Free Times
    Wednesday, December 4, 2013 |
    Life is full of tough questions. Is your 4-year-old ready for a sleepover? Should your 12-year-old be on Facebook? How do you talk to your 16-year-old about sexting? Teach your children well, or so the song says — and here’s how you can help them learn how to live.

    ASY Counseling Services
    1825 St. Julian Pl., 254-1210
    asycounseling.com
    Providing quality mental health services to children and families in the Columbia area.

    Behavior Consulting Services
    3227 Sunset Blvd.
    behaviorconsultingservices.com
    Serves children with a variety of special needs, including autism spectrum disorders, behavioral difficulties and academic difficulties.

    Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Columbia
    bbbs.org
    Oldest and largest youth mentoring organization in the United States. Serves children ages 6 through 18.

    Boys & Girls Club of the Midlands
    bgcmidland.org
    Formed in 1959, operates 31 clubs, eight summer camps and a teen center serving youth and families from Fairfield, Lexington and Richland Counties.

    Children’s Chance
    609 Sims Ave., 254-5996
    childrenschance.org
    Children’s Chance’s mission is to improve the quality of life of children and families who are dealing with the trauma of pediatric cancer.

    Children’s Trust of SC
    1634 Main St., 733-5430
    scchildren.org
    Aims to promote healthy, nurturing relationships between children and adults — because strengthening families is the best way to prevent abuse, neglect and unintentional injuries.

    Christian Counseling Center
    1500 Lady St., 779-1995
    christiancounseling.ws
    Offers counseling on a variety of topics; also offers spiritual and religious counseling. Offered by First Presbyterian Church.

    Columbia Counseling Center
    900 St. Andrews Rd., 731-4708
    columbiacounseling.accountsupport.com
    A Christian perspective on counseling.

    Crossroads Counseling Center
    130 Whiteford Way, 808-1800
    solutionsforlife.org
    Counseling for adults, adolescents, children and marriages.

    Family Connections of South Carolina
    2712 Middleburg Dr., 252-0914
    familyconnectionsc.org
    Statewide organization of parents helping parents of children with disabilities, developmental delays, and chronic illnesses.

    Family Service Center of South Carolina
    2712 Middleburg Dr., 733-5450
    fsconline.org
    A multi-service non-profit agency offering adoption services, consumer credit counseling, child dental clinics, an eye care clinic and more.

    Kennedy Drivers Training School
    Box Turtle Court, 318-4264
    kennedydriverstraining.com
    Started in 1998 after the company owner taught her own teenagers to drive.

    Lake Murray Counseling Center
    7511 St. Andrews Rd., 781-1003
    lakemurraycounseling.com
    Offering counseling for children’s and adolescent issues.

    Leadership Institute at Columbia College
    columbiacollegesc.edu/leadership_inst/
    Girls Empowered and LEAD residential programs.

    Lexington-Richland Anti-Drug Abuse Council
    Lexington County: 1068 S. Lake Dr., 726-9400
    Richland County: 2711 Colonial Dr., 726-9300
    lradac.org
    Alcohol and drug abuse authority offering a wide array of prevention, intervention and treatment programs, including child and adolescent programs.

    Mental Health America of South Carolina
    1823 Gadsden St., 779-5363
    mha-sc.org

    NAMI Mid Carolina
    namimidcarolina.org
    Local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

    Palmetto Counseling Associates
    1911 Gadsden St., 254-9767
    palmettocounseling.com

    SC Childcare
    scchildcare.org, childcare.sc.gov
    Clearinghouse of information on childcare licensing and childhood development programs.

    South Carolina Youth Advocate Program
    779-5500
    Nonprofit child-placing agency offering training, support and compensation to qualified families who provide a home to a foster child.

    Three Rivers Behavioral Health
    West Columbia: 200 Ermine Rd., 791-9918
    West Columbia: 2900 Sunset Blvd., 796-9911
    threeriversbehavioral.org
    Provides comprehensive residential treatment for children and adolescents providing treatment for psychiatric and chemical dependency related illnesses.

    University of South Carolina Speech and Hearing Research Center
    1601 St. Julian Pl., 77-2614
    sph.sc.edu/shc/
    Provides a variety of evaluation and treatment programs for individuals of all ages.

    comments powered by Disqus Free Times Family Magazine / Health /

    Health Listings

    Keep Your Kids Fit as Fiddles
    By Free Times
    Wednesday, December 4, 2013 |
    For check-ups, vaccines, boosters and general wellness, you’ll need a family practitioner or pediatrician. File photo
    If your kid has a legitimate emergency, you take him or her to the emergency room. If your kid has a bad case of the sniffles, you go to an urgent care facility. But for check-ups, vaccines, boosters and general wellness, you’ll need a family practitioner or pediatrician. Here’s a list to help get you started, along with a list of dentists, orthopedists and other health-related resources to keep your kids fit as fiddles.

    Advanced Dentistry Columbia
    1701 St. Julian Place, 254-6763
    advanceddentistrycolumbia.com
    Super-friendly, family owned practice led by Dr. Nicholas Gee.

    Ballentine Pediatrics
    11134 Broad River Rd., 732-0920
    ballentinepediatrics.com

    Ballentine Family Dentistry
    3533 Dreher Shoals Rd., 732-3001

    Camden Family Care
    1017 Fair St.,424-1260
    camdenfamilycare.com

    Capital Children’s Dental Center
    655 St. Andrews Rd., 252-7775

    Carolina Children’s Dentistry
    7701 Trenholm Rd., 736-6000
    carolinachildrensdentistry.com

    Carolina Pediatrics
    Downtown: 2113 Adams Grove Rd., 256-0531
    Irmo: 7033 St. Andrews Rd., 376-2838
    carolinapediatrics.com

    Carolina Teen Health
    carolinateenhealth.org
    Questions about sex and STDs answered in a teen-oriented format.

    Child Care Services
    childcare.sc.gov
    An arm of the Department of Social Services, childcare.sc.gov is an online hub with information on everything from child-care center licensing to Head Start programs. Also see related site scchildcare.org.

    Children’s Dental Group of South Carolina
    7210 K Broad River Rd., Irmo, 781-5141
    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
    Children’s Dental Group of South Carolina is the fastest growing children’s dental office in Columbia, offering oral conscious sedation for a more pleasant dental experience. We gladly accept insurance and Medicaid for ages 1-21.

    Chapin Family Practice
    1612 Chapin Rd., 345-3414

    Children’s Choice Pediatrics
    6108 Garners Ferry Rd., 647-1265
    childrenschoicepeds.com

    Chrysostom Family Dentistry
    3308 Platt Springs Rd., 350-9124
    drdeno.com

    City of Columbia Community Gardens
    columbiasc.net/communitygardens
    Five-by-12-foot publicly owned plots available for lease to residents and organizations. Cost is $20 per year.

    Columbia’s Cooking!
    cpcp.sph.sc.edu/cooking, 576-5636
    Healthy cooking classes for kids 9 and older and adults.

    Colonial Family Practice
    3930 Devine St., 256-1511
    colonialfamilypractice.com
    Part of a Sumter-based practice group.

    Creative Cooking
    creativecookingsc.com
    Classes and camps for children ages 3 to 12.

    Eat Smart Move More South Carolina
    eatsmartmovemoresc.org
    Offers events, live training and web training to assist local organizers in creating, managing and maintaining obesity prevention programs. 

    Family Medicine Centers of South Carolina
    Downtown: 1910 Gregg St., 931-0100
    Hardscrabble: 300 Rice Meadow Way, 227-7777
    Irmo: 7611 St. Andrews Rd., 724-1100
    Lexington: 3630 Sunset Blvd., 239-1600
    Northeast: 1721 Horseshoe Dr., 788-7884
    Southeast: 813 Leesburg Rd., 783-4433
    fmcofsc.com
    Private family practice group.

    Five Points Pediatric & Walk-in Care
    1228 Harden St., 748-7002
    ecchc.org
    Part of the Eau Claire Cooperative Health Centers.

    Girls on the Run
    gotrcolumbia.org
    Inspires pre-teen girls to be joyful, healthy and confident through a fun curriculum that creatively integrates running.

    Hutchinson Family Dentistry
    209 W. Main St., 359-0566
    lexingtonscdentistry.com

    Kids First Dental
    2700 Broad River Rd., 772-4949
    kidsfirstdentalsc.com

    The Kids Group
    206 Medical Cir., 796-9200
    thekidsgroup.com

    Kool Smiles
    5422 Forest Dr., 753-8064
    mykoolsmiles.com

    Lake Murray Pediatric Dentistry
    740 Old Lexington Hwy., 345-2483

    Lakeside Pediatrics
    811 W. Main St., Suite 205 (Lexington)
    lakesidepediatric.com
    Led by Dr. Douglas Luberoff; part of the Lexington Medical Center network.

    Lexington Family Practice
    Ballentine: 1846 Dutch Fork Rd.,781-3843, lfp.lexmednetwork.org
    Irmo: 7037 St. Andrews Rd., 732-0963, lfp.lexmednetwork.org
    Lake Murray: 2006 Augusta Hwy., 785-4747, lfplakemurray.lexmednetwork.org
    Lake Ridge: 557 Columbia Ave., lakeridge.lexmednetwork.org
    Lexington: 122 Powell Dr., 957-0780, lfp.lexmednetwork.org
    Northeast: 76 Polo Rd., 699-7255, lfpnortheast.lexmednetwork.org
    Sandhills: 811 W. Main St., 358-6420, sfm.lexmednetwork.org
    Spring Valley: 229 Longtown Rd., 419-4949, svfp.lexmednetwork.org
    West Columbia: 3314 Platt Spring Rd., 791-3494, lfpwestcolumbia.lexmednetwork.org
    White Knoll: 5535 Platt Spring Rd., 951-1880, lfpwhiteknoll.lexmednetwork.org
    The Lexington Family Practice network is an umbrella group of the Lexington Medical Center.

    Lexington Medical Center
    2720 Sunset Blvd., 791-2000
    lexmed.com
    A frequent winner of Best Hospital in Free Times’ Best of Columbia poll.

    Dr. Samuel J. Marsh
    Pediatric Dentistry
    2302 Bush River Rd., 798-8675
    wemakekidssmile.com

    Medcare Urgent Care Center
    110 Medical Cir., 509-7316
    medcareurgentcare.com

    Midlands Orthopedics
    1910 Blanding St., 256-4107
    midlandsortho.com

    Milestones Pediatrics
    120 Wildewood Park Dr., 788-7882

    Moore Orthopaedic Clinic
    Columbia: 14 Medical Park, 227-8000
    Columbia: 114 Gateway Corp., 227-8000
    Lexington: 104 Saluda Pointe Dr., 227-8000

    Northeast Children’s Dentistry
    147 Summit Cir., 865-1421
    northeastchildrensdentistry.com

    Palmetto Health
    palmettohealth.org
    A frequent runner-up for Best Hospital in Free Times’ Best of Columbia poll.

    Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital
    7 Richland Medical Park Dr.
    ch.palmettohealth.org
    A state-of-the-art children’s hospital with comfortable family-centered spaces, age-appropriate play areas and therapeutic diversions to help reduce stress and encourage healing.

    Palmetto Health Family Medicine Practices
    Harbison: 190 Parkridge Dr., 407-3857
    Irmo: 190 Parkridge Dr., 749-0693
    Lakeview: 1316 N. Lake Dr., 358-1191
    Northeast: 115 Blarney Dr., 736-6262
    South Hampton: 5900 Garners Ferry Rd., 695-5450
    Twelve Mile Creek: 4711 Sunset Blvd., 356-3609
    University: 4311 Hardscrabble Rd., 419-6334
    palmettohealth.org
    Family practice wing of Palmetto Health.

    Palmetto Pediatric & Adolescent Clinic
    Downtown: 140 Park Central, 779-4001
    Harbison: 16 Woodcross Dr., 732-0140
    Lexington: 1970 Augusta Hwy., 358-2370
    Northeast: 74 Polo Rd., 788-4886
    Rice Creek: 300 Rice Meadow Way, 788-6360
    Affiliated with Richland, Baptist, Palmetto Richland Children’s and Lexington Hospitals.

    Palmetto Smiles
    139 Whiteford Way, 951-9100,
    palmetto-smiles.com

    Pediatric After Hours Care
    114 Gateway Corporate Blvd., 865-4900
    Open 6-10 p.m., Mon-Fri; 2-8 p.m., Sat-Sun.

    Pediatric Dentistry
    8905 Two Notch Rd., 788-9353
    wecaredentalsc.com

    Providence Hospitals
    Downtown: 2435 Forest Dr.
    Northeast: 120 Gateway Corporate Blvd.
    Another of Columbia’s top-flight hospital systems.

    Providence Northeast Family
    300 Long Pointe Ln., 462-7193
    providencehospitals.com

    Rice Creek Family Dentistry
    101 Rice Bent Way, 788-2676,
    ricecreekdmd.com

    Safe Kids Midlands
    7 Richland Medical Park Dr., Suite 7186
    safekidsmidlands.org
    Dedicated to decreasing the number of injuries to children. Offers information on safe car-seat practices, product recalls, safety with household products and more.

    Smile Columbia
    690A Columbiana Dr., 781-9090
    smilecolumbia.com

    South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy
    teenpregnancysc.org
    Provides information and resources for teens, parents, educators and community organizations.

    South Carolina Dental Center
    2020 Laurel St., 254-4543
    southcarolinadentalcenter.com

    South Lake Family Dental
    1223 S. Lake Dr., 520-5580
    southlakedmd.com

    Sterling Sharpe Pediatric Center
    4605 Monticello Rd., 252-7001
    ecchc.org
    Part of the Eau Claire Cooperative Health Centers.

    Teen Talk
    palmettohealth.org/teentalk, 296-2273
    Offers numerous resources for teens, including Teen Talk newsletter, peer-to-peer discussions and an ask-an-expert program.

    USC Family Medicine Center
    3209 Colonial Blvd., 434-6113
    familymedicine.med.sc.edu
    Offers complete care for children and adults with a focus on prevention.

    USC Sports Medicine Center
    Two Medical Park, Suite 104, 434-6812
    uscsportsmedicine.com
    Open to athletes at all levels — recreational to high school, college and professional.

    Vista Smiles
    515 Richland St., 779-9666
    vistasmilesofcolumbia.com
    Offers full range of family dental services with advancing technology in a welcoming environment.

    Wellspring Family Medicine
    114 Gateway Corporate Blvd., 865-9655
    wellspringfmed.com

    Wild Smiles
    203 N. Lake Dr., 356-1606
    wildsmiles.net

    comments powered by Disqus Free Times Family Magazine / Activities /

    Activities Listings

    Where You and Your Kids Can Play … and Play Together
    By Free Times
    Wednesday, December 4, 2013 |
    EdVenture is the South’s largest children’s museum. Photo by Daniel Coston
    With the myriad options for children’s programming on television these days, it’s tempting to plop your kid down in front of the flat-screen to keep him or her occupied. But kids like to be active, and we know you dig that whole quality-time shebang. So we have put together a select list of places where you and junior can play … and play together.

    All4Fun Party Rental
    all4funbouncehouses.com
    Rents bounce houses and slides.

    Art Smart Academy
    732o Broad River Rd., 667-9912
    artsmartacademy.com
    Walk-in pottery and painting, birthday parties and more.

    Bouncerific
    921 Longtown Rd., 865-7939
    bouncerific.com
    No, Bouncerific isn’t a place to send your kid to learn to be a doorman; it’s an indoor party and play center for kids and families. Inflatable bouncers, slides, dress-up, games, more.

    Capital Karate
    capitalkaratesc.com
    Develops character, discipline and focus as well as physical conditioning and skills.

    Carolina CrossFit
    1804 Blanding St.
    carolinacrossfit.com
    Offers kids’ Crossfit classes.

    Chuck E. Cheese’s
    1775 Burning Tree Dr., 772-0435
    chuckecheese.com
    The motto of the nationwide family entertainment center chain: Where a kid can be a kid. Often home to birthdays, play groups and school fundraising events, Chuck E. Cheese’s features games, rides, prizes, food and entertainment for all ages.

    City of Columbia Parks & Recreation
    columbiasc.net/parksandrec
    Family-friendly Columbia boasts 52 public parks where your wee ones can run and jump and skip and play, plus a host of community gardens, three swimming pools, one splash pad water park, and a public skate park. The city also offers a host of youth sports and outdoor environmental programs.

    Colonial Life Arena
    801 Lincoln St.
    coloniallifearena.com
    When Disney princesses and the Sesame Street gang come to Columbia, this is where they play.

    Columbia Arts Academy
    787-0931, columbiaartsacademy.com
    The largest music school in the state of South Carolina, the Columbia Arts Academy boasts a large and qualified staff to train your kids in electric and acoustic guitar, voice, piano, bass, drums and year-round rock band classes.

    Columbia Blowfish
    254-3474, blowfishbaseball.com
    Take ‘em out to the ballgame: During the summer months, Capital City Stadium hosts the Columbia Blowfish, which play in the Coastal Plain League, a collegiate wood-bat summer league. And, yes: They sell peanuts and Crackerjack.

    Columbia Children’s Theatre
    3400 Forest Dr, 691-4548
    columbiachildrenstheatre.com
    Professional theater company for young audiences and families.

    Columbia Marionette Theatre
    401 Laurel St., 252-7366
    cmtpuppet.org
    Founded in 1988 by famed puppeteer Allie Scollon and her son John, the Columbia Marionette Theatre has established itself as a premiere children’s theater in South Carolina. Its mission is to entertain and educate children and adults through the long-standing tradition and artistry of puppetry.

    Columbia Museum of Art
    1515 Main St., 799-2810
    columbiamuseum.org
    Offers plenty of fun programming for kids, from its Passport to Art semi-monthly open studio program to its weekly Wee Wednesday art exploration sessions to its summer camps and school programs.

    Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum
    301 Gervais St., 737-8095
    www.crr.sc.gov
    For more than a century, the Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum’s has collected and preserved the military history of this state.

    Congaree National Park
    776-4396, nps.gov/cong
    This 22,000-acre park boasts the largest old-growth, floodplain forest on the continent. It’s also an International Biosphere Reserve, a Globally Important Bird Area and a National Natural Landmark. Activities include hiking, boating, camping, canoeing, fishing, kayaking, nature walks and more. Located in Hopkins, 20 miles southeast of Columbia.

    Cottle Strawberry Farm
    2533 Trotter Rd., 695-1714
    cottlestrawberryfarm.com
    This 30-plus-year-old strawberry farm tucked in southeast Columbia is open to the public every spring — usually from April through May, and sometimes into June. Mmm … freshly picked strawberries.

    CrossFit Vista
    1125 Lady St., 600-5134
    warriorfitnesssc.com
    CrossFit Kids is a strength and conditioning program used by many athletic teams, martial arts schools and P.E. programs. A great way to address childhood inactivity and obesity. Also has a location in Blythewood.

    Dreher Island State Recreation Park
    3677 State Park Rd., 364-4152
    southcarolinaparks.com
    Located 30 miles northwest of Columbia in Prosperity, the Dreher Island recreation area consists of three islands encompassing 12 miles of shoreline on Lake Murray. Especially popular for fishing and boating, Dreher Island also offers lakefront camping, cabin and villa rentals, water skiing and picnicking.

    Drew Park Splash Pad
    2101 Walker Solomon Way
    drewwellnesscenter.com
    Sure, there’s a playground, a jogging track and a gazebo, but you’re coming here to get wet in the gigantic spray pad and lighted fountain. (Many of the city’s public parks offer smaller spray pools, too.)

    EdVenture Children’s Museum
    211 Gervais St., 779-3100
    edventure.org
    The South’s largest children’s museum, with more than 70,000 square feet of cool stuff to keep the kids occupied.

    Frankie’s Fun Park
    140 Parkridge Dr., 781-2342
    frankiesfunpark.com
    This Harbison-area entertainment center packs three go-kart tracks, three 18-hole mini-golf courses, batting cages, bumper boats, an arcade, a 5,000-square foot multi-tiered laser tag arena and a super-tall drop zone that says “In your face, gravity!” into 14 acres filled with fun for all ages. What, do you hate fun or something?

    Flying High Academy
    flyinghighacademysc.com
    Dance, tumbling, gymnastics and cheerleading programs.

    Harbison State Forest
    896-8890
    state.sc.us/forest/refharb.htm
    If you didn’t know it was there, you’d never expect to find 2,177 acres of forest along the sprawling mess that is Broad River Road. But there it is — one of the largest public green spaces inside the city limits of a metropolitan area in the eastern United States. Features more than 16 miles of roads and trails (popular for biking) and a canoe landing.

    Irmo-Chapin Recreation Commission
    icrc.net
    The Irmo-Chapin Recreation Commission offers kids sports, programs and activities at Crooked Creek Park, Saluda Shoals Park and Seven Oaks Park.

    Laugh N Leap
    647-960, laughnleap.com
    Need to buy or rent an inflatable bounce house, water slide, dunk tank or obstacle course? Laugh N Leap has you covered.

    Lexington County Recreation Commission
    lcrac.com
    Offers youth sports, programs and activities at parks, playgrounds and activity centers in Lexington County.

    Lexington County Soccer Club
    lexingtoncountysoccerclub.org
    Live in Lexington Country? Think your kid’s the next Ronaldo? Sign him or her up with this club team, which offers playing options from recreational to elite traveling squads.

    Lexington School of Music
    711 E. Main St., 929-7867
    lexingtonschoolofmusic.com
    Offers flexible schedules for lessons on guitar, voice, bass, piano and more.

    Little Gym
    2005 N. Beltline Blvd., 738-1115
    thelittlegym.com
    The Little Gym is an experiential learning and physical development center offering children’s physical activities centered on movement, music and learning.

    Little Loggerheads Swim School
    littleloggerheads.net
    Offers morning, afternoon and evening swim lessons for children between the ages of 6 months and 6 years.

    The Mad Platter
    3101 Millwood Ave., 771-8080
    mymadplatter.com
    Art, studies have shown, makes kids smarter. So take your tykes here, a paint-your-own pottery studio, where they can throw clay, paint plates and explore their creative sides.

    Mad Science
    midlands.madscience.org
    Offers a wide variety of fun science programs at birthday parties, summer camps, pre-schools and more.

    Monkey Joe’s
    171 Newland Rd., 788-1102
    monkeyjoes.com/columbia
    For kids, Monkey Joe’s offers a place to monkey around, with wall-to-wall inflatable slides, jumps, climbing walls and obstacle courses. And for parents, there’s comfortable seating, free Wi-Fi, concessions and sports on large, flat-screen TVs.

    My Gym
    110 Forum Dr., 788-1230
    my-gym.com
    A non-competitive gymnastics and play center keeping children healthy by making fitness fun.

    Owens Field Skate Park
    Jim Hamilton Blvd.
    The 14,500-square-foot custom concrete park, when it opened in 2010, replaced a small skate park many local skaters considered bogus. Ramps, bowls, rails, more.

    Palmetto Children’s Music
    palmettochildrensmusic.com
    Offers Music Together classes — Music Together is an internationally recognized early childhood music and movement program for infants through five-year-olds and the grownups who love them.

    Palmetto Falls Waterpark
    3381 Marion Ave., 751-3475
    fortjacksonmwr.com/waterpark/
    Tucked just inside of Fort Jackson’s Gate 2 entrance, Palmetto Falls Water Park offers a 10,000-square foot family pool, two water slides, a 600-square foot splashdown pool, a 2,500-square foot kiddie pool, a lazy river stretching 800 feet, and a snack bar. Open to the public Tuesdays through Fridays during the summer.

    The Patch
    3807 Augusta Hwy., 359-3276
    This Gilbert strawberry patch is open for picking during strawberry season, typically April through May.

    Patchwork Playhouse
    1508 Columbia College Dr., 333-0372
    patchworkplayers-sc.com
    A long-running children’s theater featuring child-sized puppets and actors.

    Plex Indoor Sports
    plexindoorsports.com
    There are two locations of this local indoor sports complex franchise: The Sandhills location, by the Village at Sandhill, offers indoor soccer, basketball courts and a skate park; the Irmo location, off the Peak exit on I-26, features a ice rink, an indoor soccer field and an remote-controlled car track. Both locations offer summer camps, birthday party packages, after-school programs and youth sports.

    Richland County Recreation Commission
    richlandcountyrecreation.com
    Offers youth sports, programs and activities at parks, playgrounds and activity centers in Richland County.

    Riverbanks Zoo & Gardens
    500 Wildlife Parkway, 779-8717
    riverbanks.org
    It’s a natural fact that kids love animals. And Riverbanks Zoo — one of the nation’s finest, according to TripAdvisor — offers plenty of ‘em, from elephants to gorillas to ibexes to an aquarium and reptile complex stocked with fish, frogs, lizards are more. Riverbanks also offers myriad educational programs, day camps, overnight adventures and other fun kids’ events.

    Saluda Shoals Park
    5605 Bush River Rd., 731-5208
    icrc.net
    Situated on 270 acres downstream from the Lake Murray Dam, Saluda Shoals features a popular water park, an environmental education center, canoe trips, nature hikes, biking trails, fishing spots, picnic shelters, art exhibits, summer camps, health and wellness programs, meeting facilities and more. Good trout fishing, too, if your wee ones are into that.

    Samurai Karate Studio
    samuraikaratestudio.net
    Offers classes for children and adults, as well as conducting stranger-danger and anti-bully workshops.

    Sesquicentennial State Park
    9564 Two Notch Rd., 788-2706
    www.southcarolinaparks.com
    This 1,419-acre park features a 30-acre lake surrounded by trails, picnic areas and campsites. Also offers boating, fishing, swimming, meeting facilities and trails. Trails include a 6.1-mile mountain bike trail, a 1.9-mile nature trail, and a 3.5-mile walking and jogging trail.

    South Carolina State Museum
    301 Gervais St., 898-4921
    scmuseum.org
    The South Carolina State Museum, named one of the top three museums in the Southeast by readers of Southern Living, offers a wide variety of kids programming, such as camp-ins, birthday parties, summer camps and living history re-enactments.

    Talbot Swim School
    792-7298, talbotswimschool.com.
    Before you can run, you gotta walk, right? Well, before you go to the pool, you gotta learn to swim, and Talbot Swim School offers private lessons year-round.

    Topspin Racquet and Swim Club
    topspinsc.com
    Clay tennis courts in Lexington offering family clinics.

    Trenholm Little League
    eteamz.com/trenholmbaseball
    Fun, intensive baseball league. Parents can choose clinics only or clinics and team play. Fall and spring seasons.

    Trustus Theatre
    520 Lady St., 254-9732
    trustus.org
    Offers customized acting classes with individualized instruction.

    U.S. National Whitewater Center
    5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy., Charlotte, N.C., 704-391-3900
    usnwc.org
    OK, so the U.S. National Whitewater Center isn’t in Columbia; it’s a little more than an hour north in Charlotte. But it’s worth the trip up I-77: An official Olympic Training Site for whitewater slalom racing, the nonprofit U.S. National Whitewater Center is a huge outdoor adventure and environmental education center dedicated to promoting healthy and active lifestyles and developing environmental stewardship. Offers whitewater rafting and kayaking, flatwater kayaking, mountain biking, rock climbing, zip lines and more.

    YMCA
    columbiaymca.org
    The YMCA in downtown Columbia was one of the first 50 Ys in the United States. It now has five branches — including locations in Northeast Columbia, Lexington, Irmo and Orangeburg —with which to provide childcare, camps and after-school programs.

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    Music & DVD Reviews

    Plus: Apps for Kids
    By Free Times
    Wednesday, December 4, 2013 |
    The Dirty Sock Funtime Band
    The Dirty Socks Come Clean
    Self-released CD

    One of the things I sometimes lament about kid’s music is that there isn’t enough of it that’s comparable to the grownup music I tend to listen to even in the presence of my children, some of which has inappropriate content in the lyrics even if the music’s good.

    Enter a band such as New York ensemble the Dirty Sock Funtime Band, whose varied approach resembles the kind of variety band that populates many bars and nightclubs — except for the lyrics, which are aimed squarely at the very underage set.

    Appropriately named, the Funtime Band’s sound is full of funky grooves from reggae and rock to R&B and even a little country-music twang. They’re more than competent musicians, meaning if you don’t pay attention to the lyrics it’s almost like listening to Sublime or No Doubt when they drop into a ska-like style on a song such as “National Hiccup Day.”

    It’s those lyrics that will keep your children from doing the eye-roll thing when this album comes on the car stereo; how can they possibly tune out when the band starts singing about “Garbage Bugs” or “Robots From the Fourth Dimension”?

    Don’t come looking for any educational value with this release, but for good clean fun, it’s hard to beat.

    Mister G
    ABC Fiesta!
    Self-released CD

    Want to introduce Spanish to your kids in a way that won’t make them feel like they are learning something in the process? Parent’s Choice award winner Mister G has made a career in kids music by offering bilingual, entertaining songs, and his latest is another wonderful collection that straddles English and Spanish in a fun way.

    Centered around a theme of literacy, songs such as “Quiero Leer” (“I Want to Read”) celebrate reading as a way into other worlds of stories and characters. The title track features a call and response Spanish-English listing of terms — “read,” “write,” “stories,” “books” — set to a lilting Caribbean rhythm. But there’s fun too. Other songs such as “Vamos A La Playa” celebrate days at the beach, while “Bongo Bongo” is an ode to the healing, relaxing power of music.

    Mister G expresses his thoughts over an intoxicating mixture of Caribbean, reggae and acoustic folk that’s sure to reach the involuntary muscle centers in children, making them move and dance even as the language lessons sink in.

    Liberty’s Kids: The Complete Series
    DVD
    Mill Creek Entertainment

    If you have been lucky enough to discover this animated series on local television’s Cookie Jar TV segments any Saturday morning, you already know how entertaining and historically accurate it is.

    This new DVD collects all 40 episodes of the show, which revolves around two very different teenagers in the midst of the American Revolution. Not content to simply chronicle battles and the war effort, it also addresses cultural changes and other issues surrounding the birth of our nation, featuring many of the real historical figures of the time such as Ben Franklin, George Washington and John Adams.

    The animation is classic two-dimensional but very well done, and the voice talent is staggering. Main voices include Dustin Hoffman, Walter Cronkite, Annette Bening, Michael Douglas and Billy Crystal, while Whoopi Goldberg, Ben Stiller and even Norman Schwarzkopf make appearances via supporting characters.

    This is an excellent, informative and engaging way to augment the history lessons kids get in class through first-rate storytelling that’s intelligent and well-structured while still simple enough for even younger children to understand and appreciate.

    Apps for Kids


    Endless Alphabet ($4.99)
    Originator (iOS)
    Ages: 3 - 7

    This fun and beautifully designed app is sure to be a hit with young children and parents alike. Kids will enjoy hearing letters make their sounds as they drag and drop them into a variety of interesting words. After a word has been spelled, silly monsters illustrate its meaning in a way that children can easily understand. Endless Alphabet provides an entertaining way for children to grow their vocabularies while practicing letter recognition and letter sounds. — Georgia Coleman, Richland Library

    Graphing Calculator ($1.99)
    Appcylon (iOS)
    Ages: For teens

    One of Time’s Top 10 Back-to-School iPhone Applications, this free app allows students to ditch the bulky, expensive graphing calculators of the past. Students can graph multiple equations at a time and email results. A free alternative for math students. — Heather Green, Richland Library Wheatley

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    Books

    Some Monsters are Different; The Wild Book; This is What Happy Looks Like
    By Free Times
    Wednesday, December 4, 2013 |
    Some Monsters are Different
    David Milgrim
    Henry Holt and Co., 36 pages, $16.99
    Ages: 3 to 5

    Some monsters like to talk and some monsters are quiet. Some monsters like bath time and some monsters would rather stay dirty. This very silly and fun picture book teaches young children (and reminds adults) that everyone is unique and although we don’t all love the same things, we’re all special and valued. With simple text and fun monsterrific illustration, even the littlest listeners will enjoy this read-aloud. — Heather Green, Richland Library Wheatley

    The Wild Book
    Margarita Engle
    Harcourt Children’s Books, 144 pages, $16.99
    Ages: 10 and up

    Fefa is a Cuban girl growing up in the early 1900s. The doctor diagnoses her with “word blindness” and says she will never read or write. Her mother refuses to believe the doctor and deals with Fefa’s dyslexia by simply presenting Fefa a blank book. She is to practice patiently writing in her book each day. School and the teasing of other children assail Fefa’s self-image, but her dogged determination and her mother’s encouragement keep her learning. When kidnappers threaten the lives of her siblings, Fefa is able to decipher information in the ransom note that the adults have missed. The love and strong family ties shine throughout this novel written in verse. — Becky Dickey, Richland Library Southeast

    This is What Happy Looks Like
    Jennifer E. Smith
    Poppy, 416 pages, $17.99
    Ages: 13 and up

    A misaddressed email brings together 17-year-old Ellie O’Neill and famous teen actor Graham Larkin. Soon the teens begin exchanging emails, quickly becoming e-Pals. When Graham convinces his director to film his newest movie in Ellie’s idyllic hometown of Henley, Maine, the two finally meet face-to-face. As they learn more about each other they discover that neither of their lives is as perfect as they seem. Ellie lives in a beautiful town, but is hiding a secret, while Graham has fame and fortune he feels alienated from friends and family. Together, they begin to discover that they are not defined by life’s circumstances and that it’s up to them to decide what “happy” looks like. A follow-up to Jennifer E. Smith’s popular novel The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, this is a charming and endearing story about first love and friendship. — Christina Fuller-Gregory, Richland Library

    Rime of the Modern Mariner
    Nick Hayes
    Viking, 336 pages, $32
    Ages: 13 and up

    Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner gets updated for a modern setting in Hayes’ graphic adaptation. A grizzled sailor tells the tale of a fateful trip where stray wreckage and garbage lost at sea attacked his ship and sanity. The book is a lengthy poem with one line or beat per page, with mesmerizing art throughout. Panels and art are laid out to flow easily and suggest the rhythm of the poem, not unlike a Dr. Seuss book, and with no less a universal theme than the survival of our species. — Thomas Maluck, Richland Library






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    Media Listings

    Places Where the Mind and Imagination Can Be Nurtured
    By Free Times
    Wednesday, December 4, 2013 |
    Barnes & Noble
    Forest Acres: 3400 Forest Dr., 787-5600
    Harbison: 278-A Harbison Blvd., 749-9009
    barnesandnoble.com
    The mega-chain bookstore stocks tons of reading material for kids, sure, but it hosts kid-friendly events — storytimes, games, etc. — too.

    The Book Dispensary
    710 Gracern Rd.,798-4739
    mybookdispensary.com
    The best books, often, are ones that have been treasured and cared for, and Columbia’s oldest specializes in pre-loved books.

    Books-A-Million
    Forest Acres: 4840 Forest Dr., 782-4475
    Harbison: 275 Harbison Blvd., 749-9378
    Northeast: 164 Forum Dr., 788-4349
    booksamillion.com
    The mega-chain bookstore stocks tons of reading material for kids, sure, but hosts kid-friendly events — storytimes, games, etc. — too.

    Books Revisited
    7366A Two Notch Rd., 865-9990
    booksrevisitedsc.com
    A quality source for quality used books; also hosts storytimes, book clubs, writing workshops and more.

    Ed’s Editions
    406 Meeting St., 791-8002
    edseditions.com
    This quaint, family-owned bookstore is a nigh-yearly winner in the Free Times Best of Columbia awards.

    GameStop
    gamestop.com
    A recent study, ABC News reported, from the Education Development Center and the U.S. Congress-supported Ready To Learn Initiative found that a curriculum that involved digital media such as video games could improve early literacy skills when coupled with strong parental and teacher involvement. The key was having educational video games, but video games also improve hand-eye coordination, teach basic skills, improve multitasking and can promote exercise and social play. There are some 15 GameStop locations in Columbia, so buy Junior that Zelda title if he does well in school, OK?

    Heroes and Dragons
    510 Bush River Rd., 731-4376
    Like video games, comic books, too, provide benefits, stimulating the imagination and creativity. So don’t toss your kids’ Avengers comics.

    Lexington County Library
    Main Branch: 5440 Augusta Rd., 785-2600
    Batesburg-Leesville: 203 Armory St., 532-9223
    Cayce-West Columbia: 1500 Augusta Rd., 794-6791
    Chapin: 129 NW Columbia Ave., 345-5479
    Gaston: 214 S. Main St., 791-3208
    Gilbert-Summit: 405 Broad St., 785-5387
    Irmo: 6251 St. Andrews Rd., 798-7880
    Pelion: 206 Pine St., 785-3272
    Swansea: 199 N. Lawrence Ave., 785-3519
    South Congaree: 200 Sunset Dr., 785-3050
    lex.lib.sc.us
    Books are invaluable to a child’s development. The 10-branch Lexington County Library system stocks tons of books for kids, but will also help your child understand them, too. Offers classes, book clubs, homework help, kids’ events and much more.

    Rainy Day Pal Books
    711 E. Main St., 951-2780
    Located on the bottom floor of Lexington’s historic Old Mill, Rainy Day Pal Used Books is known for its wide selection, and it specializes in children’s books.

    Richland Library
    Main Branch: 1431 Assembly St., 799-9084
    Ballentine: 1321 Dutch Fork Rd., 781-5026
    Blythewood: 218 McNulty Rd., 691-9806.
    Cooper: 5317 N. Trenholm Rd., 787-3462
    Eastover: 608 Main St., 353-8584
    North Main: 5306 N. Main St., 754-7734
    Northeast: 7490 Parklane Rd., 736-6575
    Sandhills: 1 Summit Pkwy., 699-9230
    Southeast: 7421 Garners Ferry Rd., 776-0855
    St. Andrews: 2916 Broad River Rd., 772-6675
    Wheatley: 931 Woodrow St., 799-5873
    myrcpl.com.
    For many years running, the Richland County Public Library won the Best Place to Expand Your Mind category in the Free Times Best of Columbia awards. Like the library system across the river, the 11-branch Richland County Public Library system stocks tons of books for kids, but will also help your child understand them, too. Offers classes, book clubs, homework help, kids’ events and much more.

    Rolling Video Games
    rollingvideogamescolumbia.com
    Rolling Video Games delivers what it promises: a mobile video game theater stocked with the latest titles available for birthday parties, bar mitzvahs, whatever.

    Silver City Comics
    538 Knox Abbott Dr., 791-4021
    Remember what we said about Heroes and Dragons? Ditto for Silver City.

    South Carolina State Library
    1430 Senate St.
    statelibrary.sc.gov
    The South Carolina State Library is home to the South Carolina Center for the Book, which co-sponsor adult and adolescent literary events, such as the South Carolina Book Festival, the State Library Read-In, Letters About Literature, and many workshops.

    Thomas Lee Hall Library
    4679 Lee Rd., 751-5589
    fortjacksonmwr.com/library
    Military kids don’t have to go off-post to find a great library.

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