Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Four special events for families available for limited time only 
By LEIGH SABINE, contributing editor
Special to Charleston Currents

"There is nothing like returning to a place unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered."

-- Nelson Mandela
FEB. 17, 2014 -- In the coming months, you'll find special events all across the state for the whole family that are available for only a limited time. The purpose of Pluff Mud Kids blog is to capture and highlight some of these fantastic opportunities for kids to experience something big.
On the surface, many events that seem geared to adults can also be a perfect way to include your child in a teachable moment. The events listed here may only be offered for a limited time each year but your child will reap the benefits of learning something new by returning year after year.
Spoleto Festival USA and Piccolo Spoleto: Once a year in downtown Charleston, Spoleto fills the streets and venues throughout the end of May and early June. There are many Piccolo Spoleto offerings that give children a chance to observe other children perform as artists and musicians. These casual performances are a great way for little ones to approach the arts and come away inspired to perhaps play an instrument themselves.
I first attended a Spoleto ballet with my boys when they were 3 and every year since we have looked forward to studying the calendar of events that arrives in the mail. In this way, you and your child can pick one main event to attend that sounds exciting. Get dressed up and make it a memorable occasion each year.
Our pick this year? "A Simple Space - Gravity and Other Myths" is the American premiere of Australian acrobats that will be sure to please 10-year-old boys! Each year, my boys come away in silent awe of what the human body is capable of through the experience of dance, art, and music.
Artfields: Like Spoleto, Artfields in an offering of new and unique expressions of art, music, and beauty in common objects reinvented. Located in Lake City, Artfields is now in its second year and completely takes over this little town transforming into a huge open venue for the whole family to enjoy.
You will need to arrive early and allow an entire day to take in all the exhibits. Pluff Mud Kids visited twice last year and especially enjoyed actively voting on their favorite art, helping to spray paint a mural wall art installation open to the public, eating their way around town, and soaking in the quaintness of the town itself. Click here for last year's post highlights and information. 
Spider Lilies at Landsford Canal State Park: As you will see from last year's posted highlights (click here), the famed spider lilies that bloom here each year just outside Rock Hill are elusive and that makes the adventure all the more special.
There is a finite window of time to witness the incredible bloom of these perennial bulbs that cover the canals in this state park. You can even get out on the water for a closer perspective (detailed on the blog post). I recommend calling ahead to check on the river conditions and the state of the lilies in bloom as the time approaches to make your visit a success. This is also a great place to hike and picnic with an easy trail for young children.
The College of Charleston Observatory: There are only two opportunities left to peer through the telescopes provided during the College of Charleston Observatory's public open houses before the doors are closed at the Hollings Science Center for several years for renovation.
Volunteers are on hand to answer all the questions parents may otherwise have to Google later making this the perfect way to introduce your child to the amazing night sky. For an excellent description of what the open house is all about, click here.

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