As the weekend is approaching and I've been staying in town week after week to save money, I feel a little bit antsy so I decided to come up with a few day trips from Bluffton that won't break the bank. A day trip with the kids takes a little prior planning, but we can usually drum up some bags and get in the car pretty quickly when we put our mind to it.
Columbia is such an easy drive; only 2 hours and it really doesn't even feel that long, and such a great place to take the kids if you have never been there. They have a wonderful zoo, called the Riverbanks Zoo that boasts a carousel, a train ride, animals that you can feed if you get there in time, and pony rides too. The price is very reasonable for how large it is, Adults are $11.75, children ages 3 to 12 yrs are $9.25, and children under 3 are free. Senior citizens and military also receive extra discounts. Since my two kids are both under 3, it only costs us $23.50 for the day for entry to the park. If you happen to be able to go on a Tuesday this summer, they are offering 2 for 1 admission if you bring 2 cans with you for recycling. Rides and feeding the animals are anywhere from $1 to $5 per person in the zoo, but you really don't have to do those things if you don't want to. To save money on food, we would opt to pack a lunch and eat it on the way, or there is a picnic area near the zoo that you can use as well. The last time we went, we only bought a few snacks, but one of the cafes offered a tiger lunch box that included a PB&J sandwich, Teddygrams, and a juice box for $6.50. It was a super bonus because my toddler got a souvenir and a snack all for $6.50, not bad in a place like that. Check out the website to the zoo for more information:
If it happens to be raining, head to the EdVenture Children's Museum, which is such a fun interactive place for little ones and their imagination. Children and Adults are $9.50 each, Seniors and military receive a discount, and children under 1 year are free. Our clan pays $28.50 for entry but it is well worth it to wear out our toddler and have a lot of fun ourselves. Again, I would recommend packing a lunch and eating on the way to save on funds, but they also have McDonalds inside if you don't want to stop somewhere on the way. Kids can grocery shop, climb through the worlds largest child, make a large variety of crafts, or go camping indoors!
Since a tank of gas for my car costs about $35.00, and I normally can get at least 4 hours or more of highway driving in, this entire trip costs no more than $75 for the day, if you don't want to pack your lunch or bring snacks for the car, you could still get to Columbia and back for under $100. So get packing, cause your going on a day trip this weekend!!