There’s one thing about the hot summer days in Famously Hot Columbia – they turn into comfortably warm evenings ripe for outdoor fun.
Whether you’re looking for an active but quiet night on the lake or a laid-back night listening to music, nighttime opportunities abound in the Midlands.
Here are five ideas.
Moonlight on the Murray
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Saluda Shoals Park
Moonlight on the Murray offers the opportunity to paddle on the water of Lake Murray while the sun sets and the moon rises. These nighttime canoe tours are offered through Saluda Shoals Park, where groups gather at 7 p.m. then take vans to Jake’s Landing where the paddling begins. The trips last until about 8:45 p.m. and are offered during or around the time of a full moon.
WHEN: Monday, July 18; Wednesday, Aug. 17; Thursday, Sept. 15
WHERE: 5605 Bush River Road
COST: $30 per person, includes kayaks or canoes, life jackets and paddles
WORTH NOTING: All ages welcome
Moonlight Cemetery and Secrets from the Grave Tours
One hundred and sixty years of history come to life during Historic Columbia’s popular Cemetery Tours through one of the city’s oldest cemeteries. Discover centuries of stories etched in stone on the markers and headstones found within Elmwood Cemetery’s acres of planned grounds.
WHEN: Thursdays on July 14, Aug. 11, Sept. 8. 7:30 p.m. start for Secrets from the Grave tours, 8 and 8:30 p.m. for Moonlight Cemetery tours
WHERE: 501 Elmwood Ave.
COST: Historic Columbia members, $8 adults, $4 youth; non-members: $12 adults, $6 youth
Summer Concert Series
There are several free concert series in and around Columbia during the summer months, but the one at Finlay Park is among the oldest. It features a mix of regional and national talents (Glenn Jones, Terrence Young, Pantasia Steel Band nad American Idol star Bo Bice) in R&B, jazz, Caribbean and Reggae and country music.
WHEN: Saturdays on July 2, 16, 30 and Aug. 13. Concerts start at 7 p.m.
WHERE: 930 Laurel St.
WORTH NOTING: Bring blankets and lawn chairs but no pets, glass or alcoholic beverages.
Twilight in the Garden
Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens
Enjoy some Friday nights with the family at Riverbanks, where the kids can cool off in the Splash Zone in the new Waterfall Junction kids play area from 6 p.m. until dusk. Then roll out a blanket on the grassy lawn and catch a movie in the garden’s amphitheater. Upcoming movies include “Kung Fu Panda 3 “(July 8) and “The LEGO Movie” (Aug. 12).
WHEN: Fridays, July 8, Aug. 12
WHERE: Parking and entry will be on the Botanical Garden side only; access the garden entrance from U.S. 378 via Mohawk and Seminole drives.
COST: $3 Riverbanks members; $5 general public
LIVE Sky Tour and Laser Salute to America
S.C. State Museum Planetarium
With LIVE Sky Tour, visitors can take a tour of the night sky with planetarium staff in a special presentation that will identify constellations, planets and other celestial objects that grace the skies above Columbia. Guests learn how the sky changes over the course of the night and journey through space to Venus, Mars, Jupiter, The Pleiades, and The Orion Nebula in these 25-minute shows, which run Tuesdays at 6 p.m.
From June 27-July 10 catch the planetarium’s Laser Salute to America, a 30-minute show that celebrates the spirit of America and honors its heroes through patriotic songs by various artists set to laser lights, including “Only In America,” by Brooks & Dunn, “ROCK in the USA” by John Mellencamp, “Living in America” by James Brown and “Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagles Fly” by South Carolina’s own Aaron Tippin.
WHEN: Tuesdays throughout the summer for LIVE Sky Tour; June 27-July 10 for Laser Salute to America
WHERE: 301 Gervais St.
COST: $4 for members; $13.95 for nonmember adults, $11.95 for nonmember children ages 3-12 (includes entry into museum)