The Fourth of July is more than a week away, but one Upstate community will celebrate the holiday early this weekend while others will have the chance to observe history come to life, meet exotic animals or catch a play.

The weekend kicks off Friday morning with a Turtle Trail Naturalist Hike at 10 a.m. at Paris Mountain State Park. This one-mile, ranger-accompanied walk costs $7 each, payable at the gate instead of park admission. Registration is required, and children must be accompanied by an adult. Call 864-244-5565 or email to register.

The Chautauqua Festival continues its living history programs with special events throughout the weekend, including a visit with Maya Angelou at 11:30 a.m. Friday at the Phillis Wheatley Community Center and 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Greenville Technical College; a session with Cesar Chavez at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Greenville Technical College; meet Walter Cronkite at 2 p.m. Sunday at Greenville Technical College and see Abraham Lincoln speak at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Greenville Technical College. Performers interact with audiences so they can experience history firsthand. For details, call 864-244-1499 or visit

Disney’s “The Lion King” continues its run at the Peace Center in Greenville with shows at 8 p.m. Friday and 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday. For tickets, visit

Hubbell Lighting Light It Up Friday Night Fireworks return to Fluor Field this weekend following the June 23 Greenville Drive game. Friday is 80s Night at The Greenville Drive. Sunday is Share the Magic Day at the Drive, with proceeds benefiting local children’s charities. Following the 4:05 p.m. game will be BlueCross BlueShield Kids Run the Bases. For more information, visit or call 864-240-4528.

William Sonoma at Haywood Mall will host a parent/child cooking class at 10 a.m. Saturday. Sarah Michelle Gellar's new family friendly cookbook "Stirring Up Fun with Food" will be used. Cost is $50 for one parent/one child, with additional children for $15 each. The class will include preparing (and eating!) Wagon Wheels and Meatballs, Grilled Cheese Ties and Pineapple Lime Snow Cones. Participants will also receive a copy of "Stirring Up Fun with Food." For more details, call 864-234-7740.

Families can meet pups in need of adoption during a special event 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Saturday at M Judson Booksellers & Storytellers in Greenville. Barks & Books will include a story time for kids with Miss Debi at 10:30 a.m. Chocolate Moose will provide treats. For more details, call 864-603-2412 or visit

Paris Mountain State Park will also hold a program on frogs, and a lessons from nature hike Saturday. At 10 a.m. stop by for "Ribbit! Amphibians of Paris Mountain,” led by Ranger Cathy Taylor. If you live near water, you have heard the frogs and toads calling during the night. Start out in the park lab to learn how to identify Paris Mountain’s amphibians by sight and sound. Find out about Frogwatch, and about what scientists are doing locally to monitor these amazing, environmentally sensitive creatures.  Afterward, practice searching for frogs, toads and salamanders around the Lake Placid area. Meet in the Park Center for this two-hour program.  No registration is required and there is no charge for the program beyond park admission. At 1 p.m., take a hike on the Turtle Trail with Ranger Cathy Taylor, learning lessons from nature: adapt to conditions. follow the sunlight, and branch out. Let nature be your teacher on this easy to moderate 1 1/2 mile-, 1 1/2-hour hike.  Meet at Park Center.  The program is $7 per person.  Admission is waived, but registration is required. To register, email to, or call the park office at 864-244-5565.

Safe Haven & Educational Adventures Inc. will observe its 10th anniversary as a sanctuary for wild and exotic animals with a Helping Hands Festival 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free, but wristbands will be sold for $5 allowing guests to touch and feed some of the animals. The event will include food, raffle, games, a bake sale and live animal encounters. Kids ages 6 – 15 can be a deputy animal keeper for a day with pre-registration. Deputies will have special encounters with the sanctuaries bobcat, alligator or monkeys. Email or visit for more information.

Lake Conestee Nature Park is hosting "Dragonfly Summer – Draw!" 10 a.m. – noon Saturday. Samantha Bell will be the instructor for this art in the park experience. She is a children’s writer and illustrator and mom of four great kids. She’s also taught drawing and painting to children and adults for the past 20 years. Her favorite subject to paint: wildlife! Come learn how to paint one of these amazing creatures in acrylics. Cost is $20. For details or to register, visit

If you missed it last weekend, you still have a chance to see “Miss Nelson is Missing” presented by South Carolina Children’s Theatre at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday at the Peace Center. The kids in room 207 were misbehaving again. Spitballs stuck to the ceiling. Paper planes whizzing through the air. They were the worst-behaved class in the whole school. Until Miss Nelson goes missing, that is. Will they be able to trick their substitute? For tickets, visit

Greenville County Animal Care is hosting The Big Lick 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Saturday. For one day only, all dogs, cats, puppies and kittens will be free to adopt. Free ice cream will be available. The shelter is located at 328 Furman Hall Road, Greenville. For details, visit

Get a head start on celebrating the Fourth of July during Freedom Blast 6 – 10:30 p.m. Saturday in Greer City Park.One of the largest fireworks shows in South Carolina, the free community event features live entertainment, food vendors offering festival fare, army vehicles and numerous activities for children. The annual Freedom Blast fireworks show accompanied by patriotic music in City Park will begin at 10:10 p.m. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Pets are not permitted. For more information, visit

Looking ahead

Lake Conestee Nature Park will host "Knee-high Naturalists: It's Raining!" 9:30 a.m. – 11 a.m. Monday. Participants will hike and explore the vernal pools found in the park that rely on rain and then create our own thunderstorm to bring in the rain! Children will get to create rain sticks to take home.Open to children ages 3-6 that are accompanied by an adult. Cost is $10. Pre-registration is required at

The Monday Matinee Movie is at 2 p.m. Monday at the Upcountry History Museum. Visit for details.

Find more events and resources online at


Read or Share this story: