Friday, February 18, 2011

Downtown Greenville

Greenville, SC. If you live within 3 hours of this city, and have never been, you're missing out. Here's my recommendation: Pick either a spring or fall weekend, when the high won't exceed 85. Pack up your favorite picnic meal. If you have a bicycle, load it up, and head downtown to Reedy Falls Park. The bike trails take you through a network of connected parks from Reedy Falls all the way over to the Greenville Zoo and beyond. You can even link up with the Swamp Rabbit Trail and pedal over to Traveler's Rest, if you're looking to experience something a little more rural (if you do take this option, be sure and stop by Sun Rift Outfitters. It's an awesome outfitter store locally owned and operated). To really appreciate it, take some time and look up this history of Reedy Falls Park AFTER you go. The "before & after" stories will amaze you!

Usually when we are in Greenville, we are spending a night or two at the Dennis House, using it as a basecamp for hiking trips. This time, we made it a point to go hang out and NOT hit the trails. All of our visits usually end with a quick trip to the park in town. Everytime we go we end up wishing we had spent more time in town. So that's exactly what we did this weekend. After church, we swung by Greenville Tech and picked up Yosry, the Egyptian exchange student the Dennis's are hosting, and headed to Reedy Falls Park downtown to meet up with Pat and Jack, some local friends of theirs. The weather was perfect: low 70s, a light breeze, and not a cloud in the sky. We snacked on some sandwiches and spent a couple hours just lounging. The place was actually quite crowded with families enjoying 2011's first true spring-like weekend. I think this only added to the atmosphere. Kids were running around having a great time with other kids they had never met while the parents kicked back.

Gabriel found some other kids to play with, and ran around non-stop for about 3 hours. Finally, at around 4, we packed up and headed back to the Dennis House so Gabriel could take his nap. I treated our hosts to a steak dinner for Valentine's day, and we ended the day watching "Date Night". The next morning we woke up and headed off for the zoo. Now, Greenville Zoo isn't exactly going to knock your socks off, but its a charming little zoo nonetheless. It's also not going to hurt your wallet as much as other zoos might. $6 for adults seems pretty fair, considering Zoo Atlanta runs you $21.99. There are a series of playgrounds just outside tailored to kids of all age groups. And as mentioned before, it's connected with all the other Greenville parks with a nicely maintained bike path.

I could list out all the major attractions, but I'll just post the pictures. Not pictured, but worth mentioning, is a decent reptile/amphibian exhibit, and an alligator/alligator turtle exhibit. There was a special little surprise for us waiting right at one of the first exhibits. One of the monkeys had just had a baby in January, and the newborn was clinging to her swinging around in the cage.

(As you can tell, some animals warmed up to the camera a little more than others)

And after a big scare where I thought I lost my wallet, we packed up hit the road. A quick stop at Chipotle to spend a Christmas gift card that had been burning a hole in my wallet, and the trip was complete. If you're looking for a family friendly city in the Southeast, trust me, Greenville will not disappoint you.