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Cold temperatures in February mean most parents are looking for indoor opportunities to spend time with their kids, and sometimes traveling far isn’t an option. Fortunately, Greenville is home to a number of free and affordable museums that can make the day fun and educational for families. All but one are located at Heritage Green, making a day at multiple museums an easy option.

BMW Zentrum Museum

BMW closed and renovated its popular Zentrum Museum a couple of years ago, but you might not realize it reopened late last year. I recently took a trip to see the renovations, and there are a lot of changes. The most notable change is fewer vehicles on display, which isn’t as much fun for young kids, but admission to the museum is free and can help you pass an hour or two. Kids 12 and older who love cars will probably enjoy their visit. Currently on display until the spring is Elvis Presley’s BMW 507, and there are two electric-powered cars guests can sit in and explore. It’s a small and simple destination, but worth visiting at least once as a resident of the Upstate.

The Children’s Museum of the Upstate

This is an obvious choice for families, but museum visitors can now access a free smart phone app to interact with iBeacons at museum exhibits. The iBeacons send notifications to visitors’ mobile devices as they enter an exhibit, including information about developmental milestones and recommended age appropriate activities. Parents can use the information to see their child’s progress toward cognitive and physical developmental milestones. Plus, the Spark!Lab exhibit opens this month, offering children a chance to see how inventions are created. If you haven’t been to the museum lately, these new features makes a visit worth it.

Upcountry History Museum – Furman University

Through Feb. 19, The Smithsonian Institution’s exhibit “Things Come Apart” will be on display at the Upcountry History Museum. The 2,000-square foot exhibition explores how things are designed and made and how technology has evolved over time. It features more than three dozen photographs depicting everyday objects both carefully disassembled and “falling apart,” along with accompanying videos, hands-on learning opportunities, and disassembled objects. Children and families can experience the exhibit through special activities from Spark!Lab, developed by the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation.

Greenville County Museum of Art

Depending on the age of your children, you might enjoy browsing the Greenville County Museum of Art, which offers free admission. The museum features the largest and most complete collection of Andrew Wyeth watercolors owned by any public museum in the world. Open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, and 1 – 5 p.m., it’s home to a wide array of art pieces.

Want to go?

BMW Zentrum Museum

Open 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Mondays through Fridays

Admission: Free

1400 Highway 101 S, Greer

www.bmwusfactory.com/zentrum

The Children’s Museum of the Upstate

Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays

Admission: Free for children under 1 and members; $9 for children ages 1 to 15; $10 for adults

300 College St., Greenville

www.TCMUpstate.org

Upcountry History Museum – Furman University

Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays; 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays

Admission: $6 for adults; $5 for seniors and college students; $4 for children ages 4 to 18; free for children 3 and younger

540 Buncombe St., Greenville

www.upcountryhistory.org

Greenville County Museum of Art

Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays – Saturdays; 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays

Admission: Free

420 College St., Greenville

www.gcma.org

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