5 Best Spots to Stay Cool in the Summer for Kids in Greenville, SC


It seems like all at once school let out and the temperature went up about ten degrees, leaving energetic kids cooped up inside and parents everywhere going just a little bit more insane. Rather than sweating your socks off at yet another outdoor playground, or watching that popsicle melt, find an air-conditioned spot that will entertain the youngsters and help you not only cool off, but also keep your cool.

Upcountry History Museum
A museum may seem like an unconventional suggestion for a place to entertain children because museums have a reputation of being boring. Admittedly, large portions of this museum will be highly boring for children. The Upcountry History Museum makes the list for Summer 2016 because of the Storyland: A Trip through Childhood Favorites exhibit, which is on display until September 11. The exhibit brings to life seven beloved children's books in a whimsical and interactive format. Designed for children from birth to age eight, it entertained one particular toddler for no less than one and a half hours, as well as several adults. So even if you have some adults in tow (such as in-laws for example), this museum appeals to all ages. There is definitely nothing boring about it.

Admission to the museum is six bucks for adults and four dollars for children over four, but on the first Thursday of every month, you can enjoy the exhibit (plus all the others) for free. The Neighborhood Nights program also features story time for younger kids and book giveaways.

The Library
There's an amazing place that you may or may not have heard of and it has these fabulous things of yore called books. Seriously, though. Libraries do not get enough credit. Where else can you go on endless free adventures all in frosty air-conditioned comfort? In addition to the obvious of rows and rows of books, libraries also have awesome free programming for kids, and the Greenville libraries are no exception.

The Hughes Main Library offers something virtually every day, from music programs to story hours to pajama night. During hours where no program is offered, there is still an huge play area with a playhouse and games, as well as a separate dedicated room with felt matching games, a play kitchen, and more. You certainly are not limited to the main branch, though. Find your nearest library, and explore all it has to offer.

Another insider's tip: You can now check out passes to both the Upcountry History Museum and the Children's Museum from the library. There may be a waiting list, but you will receive an email once a pass becomes available.

Haywood Mall Playground
This mostly enclosed, soft-ground indoor play area is perfect for getting out some kiddo energy. Complete with a slide and tunnel, it's perfect for toddlers and younger kids. Moms and caregivers can sit and relax along the cushioned benches on the perimeter. Park at Dillard's for easy access, and go early in the day to avoid the crowds. The toughest part of this expedition is getting the kids to leave. Lure them away by promising french fries at the nearby food court, and everyone goes home happy.

The Children's Museum of the Upstate
Another absolutely non-boring museum, the Children's Museum is the one location on this list where you must have a child along with you to be able to enter. But, rest assured, there is no shortage of children whose parents would appreciate, no salivate, over the thought of two child-free hours. So, if you have a kid, gain some bribing traction and take 'em. If not, find your nearest niece, nephew, or neighbor and put a smile on both the kid's face, and their parents', by suggesting an afternoon at this fun and interactive spot.

With a mission to inspire a "lifelong lifelong passion for curiosity and learning through play," the emphasis on hands-on learning can be felt throughout the museum. The museum is open seven days a week during the summer. Admission fees are $9 for children ages one to fifteen, and $10 for adults.

Take the Trolley
The free, air-conditioned trolley bus runs throughout downtown, the West End, and North Main on Thursdays through Sundays. It also features an extra stop at the museums and main library at Heritage Green on Saturdays and Sundays, so it would be a cool add-on to those spots, or it's fun on its own as well. Download the trolley tracker app to minimize waiting in the heat, and sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.

Rather than hunkering down in your house until fall arrives, get out and about at some of these refreshing spots. Your kids will thank you.

Jannan Poppen is a travel writer based in Greenville, SC. She's an explorer at heart and will try just about anything once.