Friday, August 29, 2014

If only for the birds: Riverbanks Zoo

Come feed the little birds, show them you care
And you'll be glad if you do
Their young ones are hungry
Their nests are so bare
All it takes is tuppence from you
-from the song Feed the Birds written by the Sherman brothers for "Mary Poppins"


If you only saw the bird aviary and spent some time feeding and observing the birds, you'd go home happy. Besides, how else would a kid ever discover that a group of flamingos is called a "flamboyance", they really do have knobbly knees and stand on one foot, and they really are bright pink.  BUT, that is just one marvelous aspect of Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens in Columbia, SC.
 At just over an hour north of Charleston, this zoo is worth every penny of an annual family membership. A basic family membership is  $79 and you can easily recoup that in two visits (click here to consider all that membership privileges offer). Did I mention there's an awesome rope climbing challenge, a zip line adventure, the beautiful gardens, and of course all the animals? Set a full day aside and visit the Riverbanks Zoo! (visit the links provided below to get a good idea of what to expect on your day trip to the zoo)




Linking with this post Part IPart II, and Part III for picture stories of all the parts of this unique zoo.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Live: Riverdogs evening

This live post sponsored by Charlestoncurrents.com





                              Displaying photo.JPG

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

say anything... and the last child in the woods

"I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don't want to do that."
-from the 1989 movie Say Anything


*one of the books that inspired this website

At a party recently, I had a conversation with a guy I had just met and after I explained the basic premise of this website he had this to say: "What in the hell are you talking about? You're not using ads or selling anything?! Why are you not selling anything?!" As he fussed and fumed, the movie Say Anything (and the quote above) came to mind.

If you had a website and you could say anything, what would you use it to say? My one true mission for this site is just simply to share information about great local programs, people, and places that encourage the development of children. I draw on 16 years as a Charleston resident for inspiration. I pull from 10 years as a mother and a lifetime as a teacher and nanny. I'm not an expert in anything, but I do know that children are all the same. Their needs have been the same since the beginning of time. One of those needs is to have the freedom to connect with nature and time to roam around outside at their leisure. That's a freedom that's hard to come by these days. With shrinking neighborhoods, long bus rides to and from school, budget cuts that shave off recess time and dismiss physical education programs, and the magnetic pull of all things electronic, it's now up to parents more than ever to set boundaries and find ways to engage our kids outside to discover the same truths we learned from our backyards and neighborhoods as kids. 

I hope you will use this ad-free, quiet space to discover places your children can explore with a few recipes, books, history, and random stories thrown in for good measure. As always, thanks for reading. I appreciate each and every one of you for coming along for the ride.

my son fearlessly floating downstream after playing for hours with nothing but a handful of rocks


a quiet, solitary summer hike

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

up and coming events

As Labor Day weekend approaches, are you planning to hit the open road for a quick trip or do you prefer a local road less traveled?



Thanks once again to intern-magnificent Lauren for compiling this list of up coming events!
  • We're planning to head to a Riverdogs baseball game this week before the season ends. Deluge is coming to Riverdogs stadium this Sunday, August 31st.
  • Catch one of this season's last matches at The Charleston Battery Soccer Stadium on Daniel Island. There is a great little playground here along side the pitch to keep little ones happy!
  • Charlestowne Landing offers cannon firings every third Saturday each month! I just renewed my annual SC State Park membership and this fantastic site is included - worth every penny! click here for the schedule
  • Have you heard about the North Carolina US National Whitewater Center? (pictured below) This man-made facility offers the latest innovations in outdoor climbing, rapid kayaking, and zip line. Located just outside downtown Charlotte, you and your family could spend an entire day here. Click here for all the details




US National Whitewater Center, Charlotte, NC

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Make It Monday - Sticky Chicken


Here's a super easy, kid-can-do-it recipe for a yummy crowd pleasing dinner. The best part is you can cube leftover chicken (you'll want to make extra for this reason) to put on kebabs for school lunches!

Step 1: Gather your ingredients-
  • 2 lbs chicken thighs or breasts
  • 3 Tbls honey
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 Tbls white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • 4 tsp coconut oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • gallon size freezer bag
  • Serve with Basmati rice and broccoli 
Step 2: Method

Wash and tenderize the chicken and set aside. Heat the honey, pineapple juice, vinegar, and soy sauce in a small saucepan on low heat. Add the garlic, ginger, green onions, and coconut oil. Stir well, then remove and cool. Your child can measure and mix these ingredients and gently stir with supervision.
Put the chicken in the freezer bag. Add the honey mixture once cool and let your child work the mixture into the chicken in the bag using their hands (pictured below). Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Squeeze lemon juice over the chicken and roast in a pan for 35 to 40 minutes, turning a few times. Garnish with sesame seeds before serving.




Saturday, August 23, 2014

Learning Express makes learning fun


The new Learning Express in Mt. Pleasant makes learning fun with cool math games and a lot more - check out their Grand Opening all weekend featuring the visits from the princesses of Frozen, Cupcake the clown and prizes - Click here for details and event schedule.





Friday, August 22, 2014

up and coming



  • Next week, highlights from the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia with upcoming events there, and more on planning a trip with kids to the Smoky Mountains.
  • Hey Sullivan's Island school kids! Did you know the CO-OP on Sullivan's Island can pack your lunch every day?! Click the link for details.
  • The Learning Express opens this weekend in Mt. Pleasant! Check it out for great birthday gift ideas.
  • Have you settled back in to school? Don't forget to check Pluff Mud Kids archives for outdoor ideas for the weekends. Take your pup along for the ride on September 7th for Whirlin' Waters Dog Day - they can even swim in the lazy river!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

what readers say (part IV): hydration


As the kids head back to school, the playgrounds in the South are scorching. A decent water bottle is a must-have so here are a few of our favorites. Did you know you're supposed to drink a minimum of 64 ounces of water every day to stay properly hydrated? Yikes - that makes drinking water an Olympic sport!
A friend/reader recently sent me this info about staying hydrated and I thought it was fascinating so I'm passing it along:
 Daily Water Intake:
  • Drink 16 ounces when you get up in the morning
  • Drink 16 ounces before each meal
  • Limit your water to 4 to 8 ounces during a meal and start drinking water again 60 minutes after a meal
  • Drink 8 ounces before bed
Have you ever really focused on how much water you or your children drink throughout the day? Try experimenting with your intake - it's supposed to really help brain cognition all day long!



A reader/friend turned us on to this great bottle that has a built in infuser for lemon or peach slices or any combination (mint and ginger is great too!). It's only $4.99 at Walmart and it erases the desire to buy plastic flavor enhanced bottle of water. We LOVE this bottle.


This bottle by Thermos is cool as it lets you count your refills to help you keep track through the course of the day. Good luck with this challenge and keep flushing those toxins!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Charleston Currents feature August 2014



Edisto: A great place for a family day trip
By LEIGH SABINE, contributing editor
Special to Charleston Currents

AUG. 18, 2014 -- Now that school is back in session, it's the return of the occasional weekend family day trip to take a break from the drill of the weekly schedule.
At just over an hour from Charleston, Edisto really is the perfect quick getaway. We recently spent an extra long day soaking in the highlights at three well-known Edisto family-friendly destinations and encourage you to do the same as soon as you need a peaceful break from the ties that bind us. Be sure to pack dry clothes, swim suits, walking shoes and flip flops for your day in the Edisto area.
The Edisto Serpentarium

Did you know that as a young boy Teddy Roosevelt was so enthralled with the study of animals, insects and slithering reptiles that he opened a natural history museum in his bedroom and charged admission?! What boy doesn't love the irresistible allure of reptiles? The more they creep, crawl and slither, the more intrigued a boy or girl becomes (much to the chagrin of the child's freaked out mom!). Watch as your child steels their nerve, stands a little taller and becomes suddenly braver than they knew they could be.

Fifty miles from Charleston lies one of the best serpentariums we've discovered. You really have to allow a few hours to experience everything on offer here as the property consists of indoor and outdoor habitats and enclosures. I recommend sitting in on a snake show led by serpentarium experts, such as herpetologist Anne Clamp of the original Clamp family who opened the serpentarium here in 1999.

Anne's got you covered when it comes to fascinating facts about snake species. Don't miss the wall of historical photos and relics depicting her family's long history with herpetology. These photos trace the story of brothers Ted and Heyward Clamp, who devoted their lives to snake hunting and charming -- truly inspiring.

Your child will come away loaded with new information about some of their favorite creatures. Anne also dispelled a lot of myths regarding snakes too. Many species are actually thriving on Edisto Island! This facility has a shaded snack bar area with umbrella tables, picnic tables on the grounds, cold drinks, and a well stocked gift and information shop.

  • Location: 1374 State Highway 174, Edisto Island, S.C. Tickets: $10.95 to $14.95. Open Thursdays to Saturdays, Aug. 16 to Oct. 25. More.
Edisto Beach State Park
Walking, biking, and swimming with a bit of history thrown in -- it's all in your day trip to Edisto to Edisto Beach State Park. We loved the shaded walking trails, discovering the historical relevance and the Edisto Indian connection and then cooling down in the surf.

There are two entrances to this state park. One provides access to hiking and biking trails as well as an Edisto Indian shell midden and a second entrance takes you straight out onto the beautiful beachfront. Edisto Beach State Park is one of only four waterfront state parks in South Carolina. We recommend checking out this post on the Pluff Mud Kids website to clarify the two park entrances. Allow time to visit both locations.

  • Location: 102 State Highway 174, Edisto Island, SC 29438. Admission: $3-5. Open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.More.
Botany Bay
You have to see this amazing preserve to believe it exists so near to the hubbub of Charleston. This is such a tranquil spot for families to unplug and picnic in peace. End your day here with a beautiful sunset and walk along one of South Carolina's best beaches. To view Botany Bay, click here for a story by Pluff Mud Kids.
PMK tips:
  • This is a wildlife preserve, no pets allowed.
  • The walk from the car park to the beach is 1/2 a mile so plan to take plenty of water and a stroller for little ones. The beach is only accessible by foot and is two miles long, stretching between Seabrook Island and Edisto Beach.
  • You must not remove any "treasures" from the beach. Also be mindful and observe the nesting turtles.

    There is so much more to see on the property! 
  • Check in at the entrance. Click here for complete driving tour directions and the map that is provided when you check in.
  • Location: 1066 Botany Bay Rd., Edisto, S.C. 29438. Admission: FREE. More.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

hello school year, it's been a while

I survived summer break (just barely), did you? If you're like me you may need a moment to regroup.

Photo: Paris, café
Image Source: treat yourself to a little escapism on The Paris Blog - an excellent resource guide to one of our favorite cities. 

OR, just pretend you're in Paris at SDM cafe...


Sunday, August 17, 2014

The 10th summer of firsts

"Man is but a castaway
On this planet's shore.
He survives from day to day
Can he ask for more?"
- from Man is but a Castaway by Clarence Day




We have but a handful of summers to enjoy with our kids. They grow up and move beyond our orbit soon enough. This, our tenth summer together, was a summer of firsts. Our twins learned to paddle into their own waves and surf for longer stretches of time. They learned to water ski. They saw their first bears in the wild. They rode horses for the first time. They conquered fears and set higher goals and expanded their minds. One less summer on the planet, but so much the better for it. A fond farewell to the tenth summer of firsts.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Mr. Magnifilous and what readers say (Part II)

A few great tips from readers to pass along!

We heard the best time to go to Whirlin Waters Water Park is for an evening cool down when the crowds are thinned out and the admission is discounted to $10.99 per person (after 3pm until 6pm). We took the tip and tested it (pictured here) last night! Click here for details. The park is open for a few more weekends for one last giant splash...



We stopped by the Magnifilous Toy Emporium recently for an impromptu demonstration of their giant bubble wand by Mr. Magnifilous himself. The wand comes with a homemade recipe for refills just like our recipe for frugal bubbles. Having a party? These bubbles could be a winner! Wander along King St. to Jeni's Splendid Icecream and sample their flavors here.(readers say it's amazing).



We've heard fantastic reviews all summer about Sew Much Better - classes for all ages and sewing abilities. Peruse their FB page for fashions created by a few Pluff Mud Kids! Check out our review here.


Readers say Camp Perri in the old village of Mt. Pleasant is a gem... time to go check it out and report back to you soon!


Thursday, August 14, 2014

what readers say (Part I)


If you've been reading and enjoying this blog there are a few ways to help support it! Pass it along to a few of your friends who, like you, want to find new and interesting activities and adventures for families in Charleston and SC at large. By supporting this blog you are helping us highlight the public offerings and private businesses that support programs for children and families in South Carolina. Here are a few quick, easy ways to show your support for this community project:


  • Pluff Mud Kids post a new idea Monday through Friday - find an idea here to save for your weekend! We research activities so you can choose one to enjoy with your children. Did you know you can receive a fresh Pluff Mud Kids blog post daily by subscribing (above)?
                                                       
  • Like pluffmudkids Facebook page and follow along for great activities for your family. Have an idea to share? Comment on FB or send us an email at pluffmudkids@gmail.com.
                                                     
  • You can now follow on Instagram @pluffmudkids for live photos from family friendly local locations.

  • Did you read a great book this summer? Email us as pluffmudkids@gmail.com with a recommendation. 
  • New to the area or planning to visit? Use the archive to find recommendations for everything local from the beach to the mountains!
 As always, we thank you reading and supporting this project!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Edisto Serpentarium


"All I can say is that almost as soon as I began to read at all I began to like to read about the natural history of beasts and birds and the more formidable of interesting reptiles and fishes."
-Theodore Roosevelt from 'My Life as a Naturalist', American Museum Journal (May 1918)


Did you know that as a young boy Teddy Roosevelt was so enthralled with the study of animals, insects, and slithering reptiles, he opened a natural history museum in his bedroom and charged admission?! What boy doesn't love the irresistible allure of reptiles? The more they creep, crawl, and slither, the more intrigued a boy or girl becomes (much to the chagrin of the child's freaked out mom!). Watch as your child steels their nerve, stands a little taller, and becomes suddenly braver than they knew they could be.


50 miles from Charleston lies one of the best serpentariums we've discovered. You really have to allow a few hours to experience everything on offer here as the property consists of indoor and outdoor habitats and enclosures. I recommend sitting in on a snake show led by Serpentarium experts such as herpetologist Anne Clamp of the original Clamp family who opened the Serpentarium here in 1999...


Anne's got you covered when it comes to fascinating facts about snake species. Don't miss the wall of historical photos and relics depicting her families' long history with herpetology. These photos trace the story of brothers Ted and Heyward Clamp who devoted their lives to snake hunting and charming - truly inspiring.



Your child will come away loaded with new information about some of their favorite creatures. Anne also dispelled a lot of myths regarding snakes too. Many species are actually thriving on Edisto Island! This facility has a shaded snack bar area with umbrella tables, picnic tables on the grounds, cold drinks, and a well stocked gift and information shop...


The Edisto Serpentarium
1374 State Highway 174, Edisto Island, SC
50 miles from Charleston, SC
Admission: Adult (13+) $14.95, Senior (65+) $13.95, Children (4-12) $10.95, 3 and under are FREE. Group rates available.
Hours: now till August 16th, Monday- Sat 10am-6pm (last tickets sold one hour before closing). Open indoor and outdoor.
August 21- Oct 25, open indoor and outdoors Thurs, Fri, Sat only
Programs and Feedings: including venom extractions! click here
For further details and directions, visit their site here