Having Fun in Greenville Often Means Being Outdoors
By Libby McMillan
Greenville Local Expert
Whether you're five or ninety-five, Greenville has something fun to do. Like baseball? The Greenville Drive is the farm team for the Boston Red Sox and plays its games in a beautiful downtown replica of Fluor Field. Nearby is the museum celebrating hometown baseball star Shoeless Joe Jackson.
Our automotive-centric city also hosts the Greenville Road Warriors hockey team, which thrill crowds at the Bi-Lo Center during hockey season. Once spring thaw ends the war on ice, the Bi-Lo heats up with dozens of concerts and touring shows.
The swamp rabbit trail stretches from Greenville through the Furman University campus and on to Travelers Rest. It provides cyclists with a fun, easy way to see a lot of the area while enjoying the great outdoors.
The city's green spaces are legendary. Cleveland Park - a large, welcoming hub for families and outdoor enthusiasts - offers tennis, volleyball, a dog park, a lovely zoo, a large playground, fantastic walking trails, historic exhibits . . . all of which connect to downtown's Falls Park on the Reedy via the trails.
Museums, festivals and all sorts of cultural events add to the fun. . . and much of it's free.
10 Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum
A fun site for any baseball fan, the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum offers a look into the life of one of America's best hitters. Born and raised in the Greenville area, Joe received the nickname "Shoeless Joe" after playing a game without his metal cleats. Joe contracted with Cincinnati and Chicago before retiring in Greenville in the same house that is now a museum featuring various memorabilia and artifacts from his life. (864-235-6280)
9 Cleveland Park
This little piece of solitude in the heart of downtown offers pleasant distractions during warm, sunny days. The lush, 126-acre greenspace is crisscrossed with paved walking and running trails, allowing residents a safe place to attend to daily regimens. The park also features public volleyball, tennis and basketball courts. If the will to break a sweat is not so strong, picnic areas, playgrounds and the Greenville Zoo provide welcome alternatives. Perfect for a quick getaway or a day's excursion. (864-467-4355)
8 Paris Mountain State Park
Looking for fun things to do outside the bustling city? The 1,520-acre Paris Mountain State Park has a multitude of activities that the whole family can enjoy. Cool off with a swim in one of the lakes during the summer, or rent a pedal boat and explore the park by water. Stunning colors decorate the trees during the fall and are best experienced on the hiking and biking trails that wind around the park. (864-244-5565)
7 Roper Mountain Science Center
From a dazzling display of Christmas lights to a delightful butterfly garden, there is always something fun to see at Roper Mountain Science Center. Watch the ducks splash around in the Water Lily Pond, browse the various herbs growing in the Kitchen Garden and check out the thriving Vegetable Garden. Don't miss the Planetarium Shows each Friday, either, where kids can view outer space from the Daniel Observatory's 23-foot refractor telescope. (864-355-8900)
6 Frankie's Fun Park
Listen to the kids squeal as they whip around the Rookie Track in go-karts at Frankie's Fun Park. When they are finished racing, kids of all ages can go indoors to the arcade and try to win tickets to cash in for prizes. Plus, the whole family can compete against one another on the miniature golf course or splash around in the bumper boats. For smaller children, the Fun House playground is a blast. (864-627-9888)
5 Hollywild Animal Park
Kids who beg to feed and touch animals at traditional zoos love Hollywild because they can do both at this interactive park. Hop on a safari ride through the 70-acre habitat and look for rhinos, cheetahs, bison and more. While touring, kids have the opportunity to feed zebras and emus from their hands and baby goats and lambs from a bottle. Several of the creatures are also Animal Stars, appearing in popular commercials and movies. (864-472-2038)
4 Fluor Field
The best recipe for a spring or summer evening in downtown Greenville: follow the big lights to the historic West End for ice-cold beer and baseball. Fluor Field, home of the minor league Greenville Drive (a farm team for the Red Sox) , was built to resemble Boston's beloved Fenway Park and has been a downtown gem since its completion in 2006. You'll hear the crack of the bat and the roar of the crowd from blocks away, tempting you to partake in America's favorite pastime. (864-240-4500)
3 Swamp Rabbit Trail
Linking the charming town of Travelers Rest to the City of Greenville, the Swamp Rabbit Tram Trail is a fun way to explore these flourishing communities. Currently, the trail is over 13 miles long and is equipped for walkers, runners and bikers. In fact, on certain sections, there is even a rubber-padded path for low-impact running. Twisting through parks, along the Reedy River and through downtown, SRTT highlights all the great, differing aspects of Greenville. (864-288-6470)
2 Discovery Island Waterpark
Greenville natives and visitors don't have to sweat under the summer sun with no relief, thanks to Discovery Island Waterpark. Catch some southern rays while the kids zip down waterslides, or float alongside them in the lazy river. A leisure pool and play structure give children a place to try their doggy-paddles and room to run around; however, the Flow-Rider, a simulated surfing machine, is the main attraction kids can't wait to try. (864-288-6470, 864-963-4345)
1 Greenville Zoo
Located in Cleveland Park, the Greenville Zoo is an enticing, fun attraction for younger children. The 10-acre complex boasts exotic animals like red pandas, elephants, orangutans and even lions. Kids love exploring the Reptile Building and getting close to animals in the Petting Zoo. Visitors can also purchase crackers for the animals at the entrance gate and feed them as they wander through authentic and diverse habitats. (864-467-4300)
About Libby McMillan
A longtime travel journalist, Libby chose her beautiful city after a nationwide search for a new hometown. Greenville's amazing downtown, four mild seasons, varied terrain, friendly residents and countless nearby waterfalls made it a winner.
Libby previously spent 20 years in Florida, what she calls “the only place in the world where you drive north to reach the South.”
An avid college football fan, Libby has deep ties to the University of Oklahoma but graduated from rival Texas. She’s lived in Austin, Boston, Nashville, San Francisco and Captiva Island, Florida, including 4 happy years on a houseboat.
Read more about Libby McMillan here.