As a Class A affiliate of the New York Yankees, the Charleston RiverDogs aim to enchant fans with shapely curveballs and winning line drives. The club takes the field at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park, where fans can take in views of the Ashley River as they watch the next crop of MLB stars sprout from the nutrient-rich soil stored within their cleats. Between innings, fans can snack on the Riley Park's concession stands' pickle dogs, brat cheesesteaks, and old-fashioned boiled peanuts—just some of the delicacies that have lured ballpark-cuisine fans from the Travel Channel to The Joe.
Dolphins, birds, and sea turtles swim through choppy, salty waves. A 27-foot Stiletto catamaran cuts through the water. Without disturbing the peaceful scene, a USCG-licensed captain shares facts about local history, ecology, and marine wildlife with his enraptured passengers.
So goes another Charleston Harbor excursion from Prevailing Winds. The company’s captains lead daytime and sunset cruises for up to six passengers with on-board ice coolers to accommodate drinks, snacks, and pet penguins. Their private sailing lessons teach students to hoist sails, take control of the helm, and learn nautical terminology.
If Scuba John's Dive Shop doesn't carry the piece of diving equipment you want, they'll order it. This accommodation an example of how the staff members—which include the owners John Baker, his wife Amanda, father Mendle, and a number of scuba-diving instructors—go out of their way to make customers feel welcome. As members of the Divers Alert Network, the staff believes everyone should be able to explore underwater worlds—and that they should stay safe and avoid buying ocean-floor real estate while doing so. To that end, the store is stocked with top-flight dive equipment and accessories by brands such as Hog, Omer, Ocean Rhino, Aeris, and Edge.
All of the classes are led by an instructor and conducted to meet NAUI and SDI standards. Courses are designed for all levels, from beginner to master diver, instructors, and professionals. In specialty courses, participants learn skills required to become an enriched-air nitrox diver, deep-sea diver, search-and-recovery diver, or wreck diver. Students hone their open-water diving and dolphin-language skills in the brisk waters of Lake Murray or the warmer depths of Florida Springs.
The instructors at Defense Dynamics take firearms seriously—they had to during their previous careers in law enforcement and the Armed Forces. Proud veterans with more than 50 years of combined military service, these gunslingers draw upon their professional training to lead beginning and advanced firearms courses that combine classroom learning and hands-on range time. Students can also sign up for NRA-sponsored classes that cycle through the association's established safety practices and shooting fundamentals with passion and practicality.
At its two Columbia locations, Plex Indoor Sports aims to provide complete indoor recreation with artificial-turf fields, ice arenas, inflatables, basketball courts, family entertainment center, and full-service cafe. Both facilities offer after-school programs providing access to soccer, football, and lacrosse programs, ensuring that children learn the proper techniques required to work toward goals and play safely. Total-fitness classes are also available throughout the week, highlighting invigorating methods such as yoga, Zumba, and hip-hop aerobics. The Sandhills location hosts a roller-skating rink, and the Irmo location houses an NHL regulation-sized ice rink with public skate times in between hockey games and practice sessions of the local ice-fishing team.
A 30-foot rock-climbing wall towers over the Family Entertainment Center, granting visitors an elevated view of a facility packed with wall-to-wall inflatables and family activities. Visitors can roller skate, set new high scores at the arcade, or attempt to stay atop a mechanical bull. Other attractions include bungee jumping, a rock-n-roll ride, and more.