Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Day One, Charleston: Museum and The Battery

Our first full day in Charleston was sunny and hot, hot, hot (96 degrees). It was Sunday and very quiet in town. I don’t know if it was due to the heat or the day of the week.

Two adult couples and four boys, ages 12, 12, 15 and 16 made up our group.

We introduced ourselves to the city with a visit to the beautifully air-conditioned Visitors Centre where we collected pamphlets and discount coupons then paid a small fee to watch a movie about Charleston. The movie was actually more of a forty minute Charleston advertisement.

After a quick lunch we explored the Charleston Museum which was right across the street from the Visitors Centre. Parking is free at the museum lot if you are a customer.

We pre-purchased a package from Groupon which included admission to the museum, The Joseph Manigault House (located across the street) and the Heyward-Washington House. Normally it’s a deal to buy the package at the museum, but it became a real steal when we found it for less than half the package price on one of the internet group couponing web sites.

The museum, which is America’s oldest museum (founded 1773) was a real treat. It showcased a variety of exhibits of both cultural and natural history including Civil War, Military, Southeastern prehistoric animals and Southern decorative arts. The interactive exhibits were as interesting for adults as they were for kids. My friend and I probably had the most fun trying on the Southern belle hoop skirts.

Over two hours later, we emerged from the Charleston Museum back into the heat. We opted to leave the two historic houses for later in the week since our museum combo tickets offered the flexibility of touring the sites on different days.

It was refreshment time so we pulled out our half price Groupons for ice cold smoothies. Perfect.

Tip: With kids, regular stops for food and refreshments are imperative to a happy touring day.

Normally we would have walked to Battery Park but with the heat we opted for a ten minute drive. All the males in our group decided to sit in the shady park while my girlfriend and I checked out the gorgeous mansions along the water front. Beautiful sculpture, gorgeous architecture, trickling fountains and ornate ironwork were a feast for our eyes.

This first taste of Charleston left me craving more.

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