Looking for fun family friendly activities in Greenville, SC? Look no further as Greenville.com has a comprehensive listing of family friendly events!

Tuesday, November 29, 2022
Bon Secours Festival of Trees
Nov 29 all-day
Hyatt Regency Greenville, Courtyard by Marriott Greenville Downtown, and Embassy Suites by Hilton Greenville Downtown RiverPlace

The 37th annual Festival of Trees will bring the 2022 holiday season to life! Spectacularly decorated trees line the entranceway of three hotels in downtown Greenville, giving visitors and community members the chance to experience the magic of the holidays. View trees November 18 thru December 26 at Courtyard Marriott Downtown, Embassy Suites by Hilton – Riverplace, and Hyatt Regency Greenville.

All proceeds will support the purchase of a second mammography coach.

Santa’s Wonderland returns to Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s with FREE photos with Santa 
Nov 29 – Dec 24 all-day
Cabela's

Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s is proud to invite families to the beloved tradition of visiting Santa Claus this holiday season during the annual Santa’s Wonderland experience.

Visit your local store to be one of the more than two million kids and families to take a photo with Santa. Photo sessions will start on Sunday, November 6. Reservations are recommended. To learn more and make a reservation, visit www.cabelas.com/santa.

Dinosaurs: Land of Fire and Ice
Nov 29 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Upstate History Museum

 

Dinosaurs will roar into the Upstate South Carolina, when the Upcountry History Museum presents Dinosaurs: Land of Fire and Ice. Crossing the threshold of this interactive exhibition means traveling back in time to explore the Age of the Dinosaurs.

 

Dinosaurs: Land of Fire and Ice is the first child-centered exhibit in the country dedicated to expanding the understanding of dinosaurs and their habitats. Designed for young explorers, ages 3-10, the bilingual (Spanish and English) exhibit features three distinct sections that build on a child’s innate curiosity about dinosaurs: Land of Fire (a warm dinosaur habitat), Land of Ice (a cold dinosaur habitat), and a Field Research Station (complete with a Big Dig experience).

 

The steamy Land of Fire, present day Montana, introduces visitors to the Triceratops, T-Rex and the dinosaurs who called this environment home. Children can circle the land in insect costumes, buzz through a volcano with oozing lava, work through a swampy bog and identify an ecosystem of animals and plants.

 

No coats are needed for a trip across the Land of Ice where visitors meet the dinosaurs who made their homes in the cold climate of Alaska. Activities include: climbing rocky steps, breezing down an icy slide, and hopping across stepping stones in an icy river.

 

In the hands-on Field Research Station children and their caregivers don goggles and research vests, as they uncover dinosaur bones in a dig station and examine fossils to identify dinosaurs.

 

The exhibit builds on the popular fascination with dinosaurs and includes science, history, and literacy based activities to challenge all ages. Sculpted, touchable dinosaurs, featuring the most recent scientific findings about dinosaur colors, textures and structural form create opportunities for young
explorers to investigate clues that the dinosaurs left behind.

 

Book a Field Trip!

Nutcracker: the Exhibition
Nov 29 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Upstate History Museum

The nutcracker sits under the holiday tree, a guardian of childhood stories. Feed him walnuts and he will crack open a tale…

In the Christmas season of merry making, the ways of celebrating are as many and as varied as possible, but familiar traditions and stories connect all of us during this time, influencing our celebrations and holding a special place in our hearts. One such story and tradition is The Nutcracker.

Whether it’s a tradition to see the ballet or if you only know the songs from hearing them played on Christmas playlists, we are all familiar with the story of The Nutcracker. Or are we truly?

The Upcountry History Museum in partnership with Walt Disney Archives, The Walt Disney Family Museum, Charles M. Schulz Museum, artists James Ransome and Jan Brett, R. Michelson Galleries, and the Carolina Ballet Theatre will invite visitors to explore the history of the surprisingly dark story behind the ballet and its evolution into a holiday classic.

From its origins as a short story written by Prussian author, E.T.A. Hoffman in 1816, to its premiere as a fairy tale ballet in two acts that opened a week before Christmas in 1892, The Nutcracker has become the most popular ballet to be performed around the world at Christmas time.

Nutcracker: The Exhibition, a 1,200 square foot exhibition, organized by the Upcountry History Museum, will explore the kaleidoscope of artistic re-imaginings of The Nutcracker, from the 1820’s to the present. The immersive experience will take visitors on a journey from The Nutcracker’s beginnings as a short story, to its artistic interpretations in literature, ballet, theater, and film. Original illustrations, drawings, film and ballet costumes, props, and ephemera will examine multiple perspectives of one of literature’s greatest paradoxes that continues to inspire imagination, creativity, and discussion.

Rich with visual interpretation, the exhibition will take visitors on a journey through the cultural, technological, and societal shifts that have compelled artists, filmmakers, and fans to return to tale of The Nutcracker time and time again.

Wild Things: The Art of Maurice Sendak
Nov 29 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Upstate History Museum

See the source image

He was one of the greatest creators of children’s books in the 20th century – though he didn’t like the term “children’s books” and preferred “books that children like.” Author and artist Maurice Sendak upended expectations by depicting menace, anxiety and “wild” behavior in picture books devoured by readers of all ages.

The Upcountry History Museum will serve as the only South Carolina stop on the Wild Things national exhibition tour. Visitors of all ages will experience the fantastical imagination of Maurice Sendak as they explore over 50 pieces of original artwork and step into the pages of his beloved books.

The immersive exhibition celebrates Sendak’s life and work by showcasing his most famous pieces through preliminary sketches, finished artwork, and interactive experiences. All of this is told through the words of Sendak himself, intimately connecting the artist to his art and stories.

Sendak created a visual language that has captivated generations of children. Although he sometimes indulged in lighthearted plots, his picture books often had menacing elements: fanged monsters, baby stealing goblins and young protagonists placed in dangerous situations. Sendak intentionally gave children the opportunity to engage with ethical dilemmas, to feel afraid as well as joyful, and to take part in imaginative play.

During his long career Sendak illustrated over one hundred books, which continue to thrill and fascinate life-long learners all over the world. The fifty works of art in the exhibition will be accompanied by quotes from fellow illustrators, friends, and celebrities, sharing their thoughts on Sendak and the ways in which he inspired them. As comedian Stephen Colbert stated, “His art gave us a fantastical but un-romanticized reminder of what childhood truly felt like.”

Curriculum based lessons, along with “rumpus themed” family and adult programs will coincide with the exhibition and its timeless messages.

United Community Bank Ice on Main
Nov 29 @ 2:00 pm – 9:00 pm
United Community Bank Ice on Main

United Community Bank Ice on Main is an open outdoor ice skating rink in the heart of downtown Greenville, South Carolina. This year, this winter tradition and favorite activity of many in the Upstate is open from November 11, 2022 to January 16, 2023. Located at Village Green near the Courtyard Marriott, you’ll truly be skating in a winter wonderland when you come skate with us! The rink is open 7 days a week, excluding Christmas Day.

Ice On Main Skaters on Ice

Five Forks Library: Holiday Crafts
Nov 29 @ 3:30 pm – 4:15 pm
Five Forks Library

Meeting Rooms A & B Supplies provided. Ages 11 and under.

THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride
Nov 29 @ 3:59 pm – 4:59 pm
Great Smoky Mountains Railroad Depot

THE POLAR EXPRESS™ with the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad is back in 2022! The 1¼ hour round-trip passenger excursion comes to life as the train departs the Bryson City depot for a journey through the quiet wilderness for a special visit at the North Pole. Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, guests on board will enjoy warm cocoa and a treat while listening and reading along with the magical story. Children’s faces show the magic of the season when the train arrives at the North Pole to find Santa Claus waiting. Santa will board THE POLAR EXPRESS™, greeting each child and presenting them with a special gift as in the story, their own silver sleigh bell. Christmas carols will be sung as they return back to the Bryson City Depot.

Weather

We encourage guests to plan ahead and stay apprised of the latest weather developments. Cancellations of a POLAR EXPRESS departure because of inclement weather are very rare. If you’re staying in the Gatlinburg/Sevierville, Tennessee area, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Service announces road closures and openings on Twitter, or call (865) 436-1200 extension 631 for a recorded message. In such case Highway 441 is closed through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Interstate 40 typically remains open. Use 45 Mitchell Street, Bryson City, North Carolina 28713 as your destination to find an alternate route.

Hollywild’s Holiday Lights Safari
Nov 29 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Hollywild

Hollywild Animal Preserve will host the 32nd Holiday Lights Safari from Nov. 18 to Dec. 31. This family-oriented event will offer an unforgettable opportunity for children and adults to share and embrace the Christmas spirit. Admission will be $10 per person for the drive-through. Admission to the Enchanted Deer Forest is optional, with an additional charge of $10 per vehicle (Including a bag of animal food). The event will be open daily from 6-9 pm with extended hours on selected nights. Visit www.hollywild.org for exact closing times each night.

The North Carolina Arboretum Winter Lights
Nov 29 @ 6:00 pm
The North Carolina Arboretum

Winter Lights is a spectacular open-air walk-through light show made from over one million lights! Located at the North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville, North Carolina, this year’s event features favorites like the famously tall 50-foot lighted tree and the Quilt Garden, along with enchanting new details designed to delight and surprise.

alternatetext  The Lights!

This year’s show features over a million lights and mixes enchanting new displays with old favorites like the 50ft tree and Quilt Garden. Winter Lights is a walk-through light show with countless opportunities for photos. Use our hashtag #NCWinterLights22 to share the magic!

View the photo gallery here

   Live performances

Live performances are scheduled nightly at the Education Center, near Bent Creek Bistro. View the music schedule here.

  Rocky Cove Railroad*

During Winter Lights, our beloved g-scale model train offers nightly service to the North Pole. All aboard!

  Storytime at Woodland Cove

Visit the Education Center for a whimsical window display that follows a young bear’s journey to discover new habitats. This is an educational exhibit that will delight the whole family.

  Gift Shops

Still have a bit of shopping to do for the holidays? our Connections Gallery Gift Shop in the Baker Visitor Center and Winter Lights Shop in the Education Center are open 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. daily, and from 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. nightly, during Winter Lights.

  S’mores and Firepits*

If the winter nights turn a bit chilly, cozy up to the fire pits and heaters throughout the gardens.

S’mores kits are available for purchase at the Bent Creek Bistro, where there’s an especially large fire pit for all your marshmallow-roasting needs!

 Wishing Trees

A favorite Winter Lights tradition, the Wishing Trees return this year in a new location! Look for them near Rocky Cove Railroad, and make sure to leave a wish for the coming year.

  Eat and Drink**

Looking for something to warm you up while you stroll? Cocoa, beer, and wine are available at both the Cocoa Shack and Bent Creek Bistro.

View the menu for Bent Creek Bistro

Bent Creek Bistro Hours: Full menu: 6:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. | Snacks: 9:30-10:00 p.m.

 

*The Rocky Cove Railroad and the fire pits cannot run in certain weather conditions, and may be closed without notice.

**Alcohol purchased on-site may only be consumed in the event area and is not permitted in the parking lot or on the trails. Outside alcohol is prohibited at all times, on all parts of the property. This includes the parking lot and trails.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022
Bon Secours Festival of Trees
Nov 30 all-day
Hyatt Regency Greenville, Courtyard by Marriott Greenville Downtown, and Embassy Suites by Hilton Greenville Downtown RiverPlace

The 37th annual Festival of Trees will bring the 2022 holiday season to life! Spectacularly decorated trees line the entranceway of three hotels in downtown Greenville, giving visitors and community members the chance to experience the magic of the holidays. View trees November 18 thru December 26 at Courtyard Marriott Downtown, Embassy Suites by Hilton – Riverplace, and Hyatt Regency Greenville.

All proceeds will support the purchase of a second mammography coach.

Tuckasegee River Excursion
Nov 30 all-day
Great Smoky Mountains Railroad Depot

Join us for a relaxing ride through quiet countryside on your way to small town life in western North Carolina on the Tuckasegee River Excursion. Departing from Bryson City, this 4 hour excursion travels 32 miles round-trip to Dillsboro and back to the Bryson City Depot. Pass by the famous movie set of The Fugitive starring Harrison Ford!

The Tuckasegee (tuck-uh-SEE-jee) River Excursion includes an 1 hour and 20 minute layover in the historic town of Dillsboro, where you’ll find more than 50 shops, restaurants, a brewery, and country inns. There is time to shop, snack, and visit the many unique shops before returning to Bryson City.

Swamp Rabbit Trail Tour
Nov 30 @ 9:30 am
Reedy Rides

The Swamp Rabbit Trail is a 22-mile multi-use (walking and bicycling) greenway that traverses along the Reedy River, an old railroad corridor and City parks to connect Travelers Rest with the city of Greenville, South Carolina.

From our location, you can venture south on the trail through Greenville’s many parks. The Swamp Rabbit links up with Falls Park on the Reedy, Cancer Survivors Park and down into Cleveland Park. Heading north, you’ll see how the trail has transformed from an old railbed to a thriving trail with many breweries and eateries, as you head toward Furman University (7 miles) and Travelers Rest (1 miles).

 

Running every Monday/Wednesday 9:30am and 2:30pm and Fridays at 2:30pm

 

2 Hours | Approx 8-10 Miles | $65 per person

Dinosaurs: Land of Fire and Ice
Nov 30 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Upstate History Museum

 

Dinosaurs will roar into the Upstate South Carolina, when the Upcountry History Museum presents Dinosaurs: Land of Fire and Ice. Crossing the threshold of this interactive exhibition means traveling back in time to explore the Age of the Dinosaurs.

 

Dinosaurs: Land of Fire and Ice is the first child-centered exhibit in the country dedicated to expanding the understanding of dinosaurs and their habitats. Designed for young explorers, ages 3-10, the bilingual (Spanish and English) exhibit features three distinct sections that build on a child’s innate curiosity about dinosaurs: Land of Fire (a warm dinosaur habitat), Land of Ice (a cold dinosaur habitat), and a Field Research Station (complete with a Big Dig experience).

 

The steamy Land of Fire, present day Montana, introduces visitors to the Triceratops, T-Rex and the dinosaurs who called this environment home. Children can circle the land in insect costumes, buzz through a volcano with oozing lava, work through a swampy bog and identify an ecosystem of animals and plants.

 

No coats are needed for a trip across the Land of Ice where visitors meet the dinosaurs who made their homes in the cold climate of Alaska. Activities include: climbing rocky steps, breezing down an icy slide, and hopping across stepping stones in an icy river.

 

In the hands-on Field Research Station children and their caregivers don goggles and research vests, as they uncover dinosaur bones in a dig station and examine fossils to identify dinosaurs.

 

The exhibit builds on the popular fascination with dinosaurs and includes science, history, and literacy based activities to challenge all ages. Sculpted, touchable dinosaurs, featuring the most recent scientific findings about dinosaur colors, textures and structural form create opportunities for young
explorers to investigate clues that the dinosaurs left behind.

 

Book a Field Trip!

Nutcracker: the Exhibition
Nov 30 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Upstate History Museum

The nutcracker sits under the holiday tree, a guardian of childhood stories. Feed him walnuts and he will crack open a tale…

In the Christmas season of merry making, the ways of celebrating are as many and as varied as possible, but familiar traditions and stories connect all of us during this time, influencing our celebrations and holding a special place in our hearts. One such story and tradition is The Nutcracker.

Whether it’s a tradition to see the ballet or if you only know the songs from hearing them played on Christmas playlists, we are all familiar with the story of The Nutcracker. Or are we truly?

The Upcountry History Museum in partnership with Walt Disney Archives, The Walt Disney Family Museum, Charles M. Schulz Museum, artists James Ransome and Jan Brett, R. Michelson Galleries, and the Carolina Ballet Theatre will invite visitors to explore the history of the surprisingly dark story behind the ballet and its evolution into a holiday classic.

From its origins as a short story written by Prussian author, E.T.A. Hoffman in 1816, to its premiere as a fairy tale ballet in two acts that opened a week before Christmas in 1892, The Nutcracker has become the most popular ballet to be performed around the world at Christmas time.

Nutcracker: The Exhibition, a 1,200 square foot exhibition, organized by the Upcountry History Museum, will explore the kaleidoscope of artistic re-imaginings of The Nutcracker, from the 1820’s to the present. The immersive experience will take visitors on a journey from The Nutcracker’s beginnings as a short story, to its artistic interpretations in literature, ballet, theater, and film. Original illustrations, drawings, film and ballet costumes, props, and ephemera will examine multiple perspectives of one of literature’s greatest paradoxes that continues to inspire imagination, creativity, and discussion.

Rich with visual interpretation, the exhibition will take visitors on a journey through the cultural, technological, and societal shifts that have compelled artists, filmmakers, and fans to return to tale of The Nutcracker time and time again.

Wild Things: The Art of Maurice Sendak
Nov 30 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Upstate History Museum

See the source image

He was one of the greatest creators of children’s books in the 20th century – though he didn’t like the term “children’s books” and preferred “books that children like.” Author and artist Maurice Sendak upended expectations by depicting menace, anxiety and “wild” behavior in picture books devoured by readers of all ages.

The Upcountry History Museum will serve as the only South Carolina stop on the Wild Things national exhibition tour. Visitors of all ages will experience the fantastical imagination of Maurice Sendak as they explore over 50 pieces of original artwork and step into the pages of his beloved books.

The immersive exhibition celebrates Sendak’s life and work by showcasing his most famous pieces through preliminary sketches, finished artwork, and interactive experiences. All of this is told through the words of Sendak himself, intimately connecting the artist to his art and stories.

Sendak created a visual language that has captivated generations of children. Although he sometimes indulged in lighthearted plots, his picture books often had menacing elements: fanged monsters, baby stealing goblins and young protagonists placed in dangerous situations. Sendak intentionally gave children the opportunity to engage with ethical dilemmas, to feel afraid as well as joyful, and to take part in imaginative play.

During his long career Sendak illustrated over one hundred books, which continue to thrill and fascinate life-long learners all over the world. The fifty works of art in the exhibition will be accompanied by quotes from fellow illustrators, friends, and celebrities, sharing their thoughts on Sendak and the ways in which he inspired them. As comedian Stephen Colbert stated, “His art gave us a fantastical but un-romanticized reminder of what childhood truly felt like.”

Curriculum based lessons, along with “rumpus themed” family and adult programs will coincide with the exhibition and its timeless messages.

United Community Bank Ice on Main
Nov 30 @ 2:00 pm – 9:00 pm
United Community Bank Ice on Main

United Community Bank Ice on Main is an open outdoor ice skating rink in the heart of downtown Greenville, South Carolina. This year, this winter tradition and favorite activity of many in the Upstate is open from November 11, 2022 to January 16, 2023. Located at Village Green near the Courtyard Marriott, you’ll truly be skating in a winter wonderland when you come skate with us! The rink is open 7 days a week, excluding Christmas Day.

Ice On Main Skaters on Ice

Swamp Rabbit Trail Tour
Nov 30 @ 2:30 pm
Reedy Rides

The Swamp Rabbit Trail is a 22-mile multi-use (walking and bicycling) greenway that traverses along the Reedy River, an old railroad corridor and City parks to connect Travelers Rest with the city of Greenville, South Carolina.

From our location, you can venture south on the trail through Greenville’s many parks. The Swamp Rabbit links up with Falls Park on the Reedy, Cancer Survivors Park and down into Cleveland Park. Heading north, you’ll see how the trail has transformed from an old railbed to a thriving trail with many breweries and eateries, as you head toward Furman University (7 miles) and Travelers Rest (1 miles).

THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride
Nov 30 @ 3:59 pm – 4:59 pm
Great Smoky Mountains Railroad Depot

THE POLAR EXPRESS™ with the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad is back in 2022! The 1¼ hour round-trip passenger excursion comes to life as the train departs the Bryson City depot for a journey through the quiet wilderness for a special visit at the North Pole. Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, guests on board will enjoy warm cocoa and a treat while listening and reading along with the magical story. Children’s faces show the magic of the season when the train arrives at the North Pole to find Santa Claus waiting. Santa will board THE POLAR EXPRESS™, greeting each child and presenting them with a special gift as in the story, their own silver sleigh bell. Christmas carols will be sung as they return back to the Bryson City Depot.

Weather

We encourage guests to plan ahead and stay apprised of the latest weather developments. Cancellations of a POLAR EXPRESS departure because of inclement weather are very rare. If you’re staying in the Gatlinburg/Sevierville, Tennessee area, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Service announces road closures and openings on Twitter, or call (865) 436-1200 extension 631 for a recorded message. In such case Highway 441 is closed through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Interstate 40 typically remains open. Use 45 Mitchell Street, Bryson City, North Carolina 28713 as your destination to find an alternate route.

Hollywild’s Holiday Lights Safari
Nov 30 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Hollywild

Hollywild Animal Preserve will host the 32nd Holiday Lights Safari from Nov. 18 to Dec. 31. This family-oriented event will offer an unforgettable opportunity for children and adults to share and embrace the Christmas spirit. Admission will be $10 per person for the drive-through. Admission to the Enchanted Deer Forest is optional, with an additional charge of $10 per vehicle (Including a bag of animal food). The event will be open daily from 6-9 pm with extended hours on selected nights. Visit www.hollywild.org for exact closing times each night.