Child-Friendly Things to Do in Charleston, SC

Charleston's aquarium is among the city's child-friendly delights
Charleston's aquarium is among the city's child-friendly delights | © Lynne Harty Photography / Alamy Stock Photo
With its comfortable climate, stunning architecture and a compact downtown area that is easily explored on foot, Charleston is a great place to visit with children. It is a city that can inspire enthusiasm for everything from outdoor activities to learning first-hand about the biggest events in American history. Here Culture Trip has picked the best things to keep the kids entertained.

Charleston Fossil Adventures

Historical Landmark

Charleston Fossil Adventures has that unique ability to turn education into adventure rather than hard work. The kids will be taken on beach trips or river walks, where they’ll be able to hunt for fossils, bones and teeth from as far back as the Ice Age. Tour guides, who are all experts in palaeontology, will help your children realise how nature around you tells so many stories. They’ll also leave with plenty of stones in their pockets.

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South Carolina Aquarium

Aquarium
touch tank at Charleston Aquarium Charleston, South Carolina. Image shot 2005. Exact date unknown.
© Pat Canova / Alamy Stock Photo
Located in the historic harbour, the South Carolina Aquarium has all the usual trappings of a shark tank and the ability for kids to get hands-on with a sea urchin or stingray. But one of the real draws is the Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery which teaches you all you need to know about these cute reptiles. You’ll be able to watch as sick animals are treated and learn about how they’re released back into their natural habitat. A valuable lesson for the kids to learn about how important wildlife conservation is.
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Robert Lange Studios

Art Gallery, Historical Landmark, Architectural Landmark

Despite its location in a magnificent historical building in the French Quarter, Robert Lange Studios is no stuffy art gallery. In fact, quite the opposite. Mostly displaying young contemporary artists, and truly vibrant work, the gallery’s mission is to propel creativity and show that art is for everyone. The aim, essentially, is to look ahead in a city where history is always at the forefront. Whether your thing is hyperrealism, surrealism or more classical and figurative work, your kids will be encouraged enough to scratch out their own versions in sketchbooks.

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Seabrook Island Equestrian Centre

Natural Feature
Tourists on horseback watch Atlantic bottlenose dolphins as they swim past during strand feeding at Captain Sam's Inlet September 3, 2014 in Seabrook Island, SC. This unusual practice involves a group of dolphins herding a school of fish onto the beach an
© Richard Ellis / Alamy Stock Photo

Go riding on well trained and immaculately groomed horses, as friendly guides take you for well paced treks on stunning trails across Seabrook Islands. Whether it be across marshland or beach, this is a deeply pleasurable way to explore the Charleston coastline. Connect with your horse and the scenery no matter how inexperienced or advanced a rider you are, as all ages and abilities are catered for here.

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The North Charleston Fire Museum and Educational Centre

Museum

Real firefighters are on hand to help guide you through this Fire Museum which contains immaculately preserved fire fighting vehicles from the 1780s. With everything from 4D movies, interactive exhibits and the exhilaration of trying out a fire pole, your kids will learn more about the history of firefighting and also an important lesson in fire safety, leaving you all in good stead.

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The Charleston Museum

Museum
H L Hunley Civil War Submarine Replica The Charleston Museum Charleston South Carolina USA
© Richard Cummins / Alamy Stock Photo
Located downtown, and inspired by the British Museum, this spot is commonly regarded as the first of its kind in America and a must-do outing for those with a thirst for the riches of natural history. Fossils dating back some 300 million years, the jaws of a 40ft shark and the skeleton of an 18ft crocodile are just some of the wonders on display. Charleston and the Lowcountry is focused upon in the brilliant hands-on Kidstory exhibit, designed to immerse pre-teens in local history.
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These recommendations were updated on July 20, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.