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Family Friendly Attractions in Charleston

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For many, Charleston evokes a sense of rich history and refined gentility. But it also has a brash and colorful side, which will come as a relief if you have children to occupy and amuse. With raucous amusement parks, interactive exhibits, and plenty of family-friendly dining options, you’ll have no problem tailoring your trip to the tastes of your youngsters.

 

Amusement parks

 

If you visit Charleston in the steamy summer months, you’ll most likely find the prospect of plunging into a shimmering pool very appealing. Luckily there’s a host of waterparks within easy reach of the city center. There are also thrill-packed amusement parks and fairgrounds, popular with visitors of all ages.

 

Frankie’s Fun Park

 

If you’re traveling with kids in tow, Frankie’s is an absolute no-brainer. Here you’ll find stomach-tipping rides, thrilling go kart tracks, a beautifully landscaped mini golf course, and an extensive video arcade packed with the best of retro and cutting-edge arcade games. If you work up a hunger after all that excitement, there’s also a tempting grill restaurant serving family favorites like hot dogs and buffalo wings.

 

5000 Ashley Phosphate Road, Charleston SC 29420. Tel: +1 843 767 1376

 

Frankie’s Fun Park website

 

Splash Island Water Park

 

Less than 12 miles from Downtown Charleston, amid the lush vegetation of Mount Pleasant Palmetto Islands County Park, lies this thrill-packed aquatic amusement park. Swirling water rides, thrilling flumes, and refreshing waterfalls are among the attractions here, and there are few better places to frolic in the hot summer season.

 

444 Needlerush Parkway, Mount Pleasant SC 29464. Tel: +1 843 795 4386

 

Splash Island Water Park website

 

Stunning sea life

 

Home to an abundance of rare sea dwellers and beautiful birds, Charleston Harbor is a wildlife watcher’s paradise. You’ll also find this world-class attraction, where you can learn much more about the city’s non-human natives.
South Carolina Aquarium

 

This compellingly interactive harborside aquarium is indisputably one of Charleston’s top family attractions. It’s home to an array of colorful tropical fish, majestic sharks, sleek amphibians, and other-worldly invertebrates. Kids will love the opportunity to pet rays and visit the sea turtle hospital. There’s also a thrilling 4D cinema show complete with water spray effects and vibrating seats, and a fun play area especially for toddlers.

 

100 Aquarium Wharf, Charleston SC 29401. Tel: +1 843 720 1990

 

South Carolina Aquarium website

 

History made fun

 

Many of Charleston’s major museums include special exhibits and areas for kids. But here’s an historical attraction guaranteed to keep the whole family enthralled throughout the day.

 

Boone Hall Plantation

 

Less than 30 minutes by car from the city center lies one of America’s oldest working plantations. If makes for a great family day out, with its exquisite gardens, opulent mansion, and fascinating exhibits about slavery and the Civil War. Younger visitors will love the open-air coach tour, and the chance to leap around the beautiful butterfly pavilion, surrounded by countless mesmerizingly colorful winged creatures.

 

1235 Long Point Road, Mt Pleasant SC 29464. Tel: +1 843 884 4371

 

Boone Hall Plantation website

 

Family dining

 

Eating is serious business in Charleston, and the variety of restaurants in town ensures there’s truly something for everyone. Here are a couple of joints that cater particularly well to pint-sized patrons.

 

Fleet Landing

 

A much-loved waterfront restaurant, this elegant but laid-back eatery boasts pleasing views that will captivate young and old alike. There’s a great kids' menu, with tempting treats like fried flounder and Southern fried chicken fingers. Parents, meanwhile, will enjoy gorging on decadent delights like Carolina crab cakes and ribeye steak with pimento cheese croquettes.

 

186 Concord Street, Charleston SC 29401. Tel: +1 843 722 8100

 

Fleet Landing website

 

Bubba Gump

 

The Charleston incarnation of this fishing-themed family chain boasts an enviable Market Street location. The delicious children’s menu features smaller portions of perennial favorites like pepperoni pizza and mac ‘n’ cheese. The real clincher for many kids, however, are the build-your-own ice cream sundaes.

 

99 South Market Street, Charleston SC 29401. Tel: +1 843 723 5665

 

Bubba Gump website