Keep it indoors with the kids during Beaufort's colder days
By Jenn Luther | During the winter months in Beaufort with all the rain and cold weather we often prefer to stay indoors. This can be a difficult change of pace for anyone, but particularly for those with children who want to be active and engaged. In a town that’s known for its outdoor beauty and an abundance of activities it can seem hard to find something to do this time of year. Fear not though, we’re here to help with a few suggestions.
Spend some time at the Port Royal Sound Foundation Maritime Center
This stunning facility is an absolute gem! If you have kids who enjoy learning about history, local wild life, and amazing local sea creatures this is the place for you. With too many exhibits to mention, and several live critters, it makes for an enjoyable and fascinating experience. There’s a 3500 gallon aquarium that is home to large and beautiful native species of fish. The back room has turtles, puffer fish, blue crabs and more in open observation tanks. With a small table for coloring and a story hour every Wednesday at 10am. there’s something for everyone. You’re promised an entertaining, informative, and rich experience with an educational, visually pleasing and fun family activity. The Center also offers classes, so while you’re there, pick up one of the monthly schedules. 310 Okatie Hwy, Okatie (843)645-7774
One of our many amazing local community resources is the Beaufort County Library and there’s always more than we realize going on inside. For kids, there’s the Wee Read and Play (ages 0-4) every Monday at 11am and Tuesday at 10am. Here your little one will pull up a small square of carpet and listen to the teacher read stories. Between each story they learn a song that includes little dances and movements. After 3-4 story books they pull out all the toys and everyone plays to their little hearts content, or at least until it’s time to go. Snacks and drinks are allowed, and perfect behavior is not required so don’t worry if little Sally doesn’t want to stay put during story time. For the older kids there’s Story Time (ages 3-5) on Thursdays at 4pm and The Listeners Book Club (ages 8-11) Tuesdays at 2pm. 311 Scott Street, Downtown (843) 255-6430
Go for a tumble at Sports Academy Gymnastics
Tucked away near Laurel Bay, Sports Academy Gymnastics houses a fantastic set up and kids just love it. Every Thursday from 9:30 to 10:30am they host a Mommy and Me gymnastics class. With free play, circle time and a circuit to run, the kids have a phenomenal time and thankfully wear themselves out! They have access to balance beams, trampolines, and so much more. It’s great for kids of all ages, because there are so many options to choose from, even a 1 year old can have a blast in this class. The first session is free and there’s a monthly fee after that. If you have a little one who loves being active, and is basically already climbing around your house like a gymnast, I would venture to say you would find this class worth every penny.
They also host a Parents Night Out every other Friday. If your kids are 5 and up, you can take advantage of this opportunity to have 4 blessed hours to yourself. For $20 you kiddo will enjoy pizza, movies, and an open gym with supervision, and maybe even some help on the gymnastics floor. 20 Maxine Lane, (843) 843-1804
Shop in tandem at Bi-Lo Grocery Store
I know you must be thinking that a grocery store is an odd addition to this type of list, but just try to hear me out. We all have to grocery shop whether we like it or not and it’s usually not the most fun thing in the world especially for kids. However, the Bi-Lo on Parris Island Gateway has ingeniously added mini shopping carts to their store. These pint sized little grocery-getters are all the rage on any given evening. With parents hovering around the checkout lanes or driving through the parking lot in hopes of finding one available, it’s clear how much the kids enjoy them. If you go during the day these little green shopping carts are a bit easier to find, but it can also be fun hunting one down. So if you must get some shopping done and Suzie Q is needing to burn off some energy, hop on over to Bi-Lo and kill two birds with one stone. They’ll have a blast helping you shop. Try it! 860 Parris Island Gateway, (843) 524-2300
Grab a bite to eat in a kid-friendly restaurant.
There are a lot of restaurants in Beaufort, but some really stand out as being extremely kid-friendly. A few good ones automatically come to mind…Chick-fil-A has several highchairs with disposable place mats hanging over the back to accommodate your littlest. They have several healthy options on the kids menu, a container of antibacterial wipes and a fun play area, too. Finally, they have an incredibly friendly staff who bring your food to the table while you situate the high chair and secure the children.
Another great quick stop is Moe’s Southwest Grill at Beaufort Town Center. Moe’s also has several high chairs, healthy food options, friendly staff and they have a kid’s night every week with great deals.
Fat Patties loves kids and their fries, burgers and sausages are all favs with the little ones.
Gilligan’s Seafood sits on the marsh with great views from almost every table, but that’s not what attracts the kiddos. With bright colored pictures painted on the wall, including a “paint by numbers” picture of a shark, it is eye catching from the moment you walk in. Even better are all the aquariums, one large one as you enter the building and several others built into the booths. You can enjoy a meal while looking out over the marsh through a fish tank. Where else can you experience that!? As if that wasn’t enough, Gilligan’s is even more kid friendly offering one free kid’s meal for every adult entrée purchased on Monday nights from 4-9pm. Typically they also have a craft or coloring contest on Monday nights as well. Gilligan’s, 2601 Boundary Street
Get creative at Paints ‘N Paradise
If your family is the more artistic type this could be the place for you. Even if you’re not, you won’t be able to avoid the indoor fun at this cool Port Royal spot. Paints ‘N Paradise is a paint your own pottery studio, with other types of artful creations available including mosaics, glass fusing, and more. Tuesdays are the big days for kids with Tuesday Toddler Tales that has the kids read a book then paint a character from the story. For only $12 your child will enjoy a great story, giggles and a maybe a little spilled paint. They will learn to love reading and creating their own art, while you get to take it home and treasure it forever.
Paints ‘N Paradise has two classes available for TTT, a morning class and an afternoon class; register online for the class of your choice. They also offer an after school art class on Tuesdays for older kids called After School Artist with a different project each week. This class starts at $10 and also requires registration online. You can check their Facebook page for more details and to stay current on the events and classes they are offering each week. They do offer a walk in service Wed – Sat starting at 10 am, but it’s probably best to call ahead. 703 Paris Avenue, Port Royal (843) 982-7677
Play some games at Common Ground Coffeehouse and Market Café
Common Ground in downtown Beaufort isn’t just a typical coffeehouse. In addition to their delicious pastries and specialty drinks they offer sandwiches, quiches, pot pies, and so much more! The kids love them because they have hot chocolate, ice cream and BOARD GAMES. So no matter what the weather is like they have something just for you. It’s open and airy and you won’t feel out of place with the kids. It tends to feel a bit more like home. Grab a couch by the electric fire place and spend some time catching up with the kids or reading with them. If you want a little something more to do they also have board games available and you can always bring your own from home. On the shelf you can find Scrabble, chess, checkers, UNO and lots more. Common Ground is the perfect place to get cozy and enjoy a delicious treat and some fun family games, all while in the heart of downtown. 102 West Street Ext. (843 ) 524-2326
If quirky things are what your family is into you will be thrilled to learn that Beaufort has the only Kazoo Museum in the country devoted to the century long kazoo craze. The Kazoo Factory offers a Kazoo Museum, Factory Tours, a Gift Shop and more. Tour the Kazoo Factory and learn how kazoos are made, imprinted, packaged and shipped all over the world, and the kids can make their own to take home. 12 John Galt Road, (843) 982-6387