The Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History is a House-Museum, and is alive with activities that represent what Lucy Craft Laney lived and worked for in the Augusta area. In addition to exhibitions and lectures, the museum provides arts, history, preservation programs and storytelling activities.
A mother horse and her newborn colt saunter up to the wooden fence, greeting the children eager to pet the creatures' noses. The team members of Graystone Ranch thrive on seeing these types of interactions. Managing 500 acres of woods and pasturelands that serve as a preserve and rehabilitation center for both domestic and exotic animals, the ranch hands form a nonprofit team dedicated to teaching children and adults how man and animals can live in harmony.
Concurrent with such educational programs as summer camps, the grounds also host abundant recreational opportunities with two spring-fed lakes, wooded hiking and horse-riding trails, zip lines, and a petting zoo. Further diversions range from a gem-and-mineral museum to a horse-painting program, which lets kids put their colored handprints or re-creations of a favorite Monet on the sides of a white horse.
Though built in 1893 to manufacture textiles, the Columbia Mills’ storied stone halls now weave tapestries of knowledge with exhibits on everything from lasers and space travel to South Carolina's role in the Civil War. Boasting accolades by Columbia Metropolitan magazine and the Smithsonian, South Carolina State Museum devotes each of its four floors and part of its fourth dimension to art, cultural history, natural history, and science and technology represented by more than 70,000 artifacts.
Through a series of permanent exhibits, curators lead visitors on a cultural and geological voyage. Guests stroll through years of traditional and contemporary art by state artists, marvel at a 43-foot white shark display and full dinosaur skeletons, or cast imaginations back in exhibits on turn-of-the-century transportation, laser technology, and aviation. The museum also excavates the surrounding landscape to present 14,000 years of local culture in Native American tools and colonial-era lifestyle items.
Five galleries also house changing exhibits and have previously featured artifacts from such entities as the Titanic, Civil War–era Charleston, or the 300 years of American-made telescopes, with each carefully monitored to ensure they contained just the right amount of science. While museum staffers frequently rotate their exhibits, they also host traveling displays and send others on the road through the Traveling Exhibits Program. Various education displays such as interactive children's labs, living-history reenactments, and lectures from visiting scholars further enrich all-ages visitors.
Run by local painter Jackie Humphries, Tag it Art instructs aspiring aesthetes in the art of art. Adult night courses offer hands-on instruction paired with the muse-summoning powers of bringing your own beverage. During class, students sip and paint to produce pompous peacocks and enchanting Eiffel Towers, bringing home 16” x 20” masterpieces. Tag it Art's relaxing atmosphere is ideal for a night out with friends, book club buddies, or fellow kitten-lovers. Adult classes are held on Tuesdays and Fridays from 7–10 p.m.
Palmetto Outdoor Center promotes the preservation of natural rivers and forests. Because awareness is the best way to maintain the environment and cultural heritage, Palmetto spreads knowledge of local gems with river trips and walking tours. These organized tours and vessels for rent allow amateur explorers to discover South Carolina's uncluttered riverbanks while learning about how they can be protected. Civil War walking tours illuminate the history of the region, and canoe and kayak rentals plunge into the tree-lined waterways of the Congaree, which flows through protected national parkland with the continent's largest old-growth floodplain forest.
With art degrees from the University of South Carolina, Tom Lockart and Mark Woodham teamed up to found One Eared Cow Glass, a glass-working studio and gallery. The duo started out in a rent-free Bishopville barn, according to Columbia Living, and named their enterprise after a carved wooden cow’s head that was nailed to the door. Much like Mike Tyson’s teddy bear, the cow had only one ear.
Today, at their studio location in downtown Columbia, Lockart and Woodham host live demos throughout the week. During these demos, the pair shape molten glass—which can heat up to 2,300 degrees Fahrenheit—into the translucent artwork that lines their gallery’s shelves. Their work ranges from vases to birdfeeders, though they specialize in indoor and outdoor light fixtures.
Adventure Carolina's skilled kayakers lead paddlers on 2.5-hour tours of the rugged Saluda River. As participants propel through icy waters and bob for trout or striped bass, expert guides steer the watercraft and narrate notable sights. Along the way, Saluda River's gurgling rapids sweep kayakers on strong currents, sending them soaring at heightened speeds. Due to the river's unpredictable water levels and large rapids, Adventure Carolina suggests that kayakers, like aspiring pickleball champions, have some paddling experience.