Free and affordable things to do for spring break fun
Spring break is just around the corner.
For Anderson, Oconee and Pickens counties it will be April 10-14. If you don't have any big plans for vacation, check out these affordable and fun things to do.
Water Safety Week at Anderson YMCA
This is the second year Madison Bronson, YMCA aquatics instructor, has hosted the Water Safety Week. The program is free and includes swim classes and information for how kids can be safe in the water. The program is for children ages 4 to 14.
This year, Bronson received a $2,000 grant from Upstate Splash, a nonprofit dedicated to helping children learn to swim. The grant will pay for snacks and T-shirts.
The classes will be Monday through Friday at a variety of times between 11:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Each lesson is 45 minutes and includes different swim lessons such as learning to float.
Bronson said it's important for children to learn about water safety because "there's a lot of backyard water, be it pools, lakes or creeks. Earth is 75 percent water and kids are 100 percent curious. We want to teach children to swim out of danger."
Parents can register at the front desk or online. Call Bronson at 864-716-6263 or email her at email@example.com with any questions.
YMCA Spring Break Camp
The spring break camp is Monday through Friday, from 7:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. The program costs $85 for the entire week or just $18 a day. Parents can register their children at the front desk up until Sunday and then they can register the day of at the camp. The YMCA Camp Venture is at 100 YMCA Camp Road near Lake Hartwell.
For the first time, the campers will be bused to YMCA to participate in the water safety week. During the camp, children will participate in hiking, volleyball and archery as well as arts and crafts. They will also need to bring their lunch.
"It's gives them a chance to be outdoors," said Amika Thomas, one of the camp coordinators.
For more information, call Jan Page at 864-617-6266 or Thomas at 864-617-6284.
Anderson County Library
The Anderson County Main Library in downtown Anderson will host its second annual BARK program April 14. Beginning at 9 a.m., children can read to therapy dogs.
Diane Smiley, director of youth services, said the program is for children who struggle to read or just want someone to read to.
"There are children who may not be confident in reading or struggling to strengthen their skills," Smiley said. "They like reading to the dogs, because there's no judgment there."
There are many other events throughout the week at all Anderson County library branches. For more information or to register for the Bark program, visit the library or call 864-260-4500.
South Carolina State Park Adventures
Children can participate in a free junior park ranger activity program and hit the trails at their own pace throughout the Upstate.
The participating parks in the Upstate are:
- Calhoun Falls State Park in Calhoun Falls;
- Sadlers Creek State Park in Anderson;
- Table Rock State Park in Pickens; and
- Lake Hartwell State Park in Fair Play.
To complete all three levels, children will visit different parks, receive a stamp for each park visited and get a prize. There are activity printouts on the website and the paperwork is also available at each state park office.
Some parks may have a $2 per adult fee or the fee may be per vehicle. Visit jrranger.southcarolinaparks.com for more information.
South Carolina Botanical Gardens at Clemson
The botanical gardens have various free events for the whole family throughout the week of spring break.
- On Saturday, there is a festival at which children and adults can learn about bugs, wildlife and nature trails at the Clemson Experimental Forest. Call 864-656-3405 for more information.
- On April 13, there is a teen gardening program at 5 p.m. at the Hanson Nature Learning Center. Call 864-656-2836 for more information.
- On April 14, Radio Rebellion will present a concert at 7 p.m. at the South Carolina Botanical Gardens amphitheater. Call 864-656-3405 for more information.
- An Earth Day festival with games and music will happen April 15 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m at the Bob Campbell Geology Museum. Call 864-656-4600 for more information.
Other free places to visit during spring break are:
- The Anderson County Museum from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday and then from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.
- Hagood Mill, an historic grist mill with a blacksmith shop and nature trails, in Pickens from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Parking is $5 only on the third Saturday of each month.
Follow Frances Parrish on Twitter @frances_AIM