Charleston Parks Conservancy Celebrates 10th Teddy Bear Picnic on March 3, 2019

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New activities include Teddy Bear Tea Party, scavenger hunt for older children

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Now a beloved family tradition, the Charleston Parks Conservancy will celebrate the 10th Teddy Bear Picnic on Sunday, March 3. Over the last decade, families have been enjoying an afternoon of free fun in one of Charleston’s favorite public spaces: Hampton Park.

Children and their teddy bears will once again take over the park to enjoy musical entertainment, face painting, seed planting, crafts and more at this year’s event set for 1:30-4 p.m. Sunday, March 3 in Hampton Park, 30 Mary Murray Drive. Admission and all activities are free; advance registration is encouraged.

New this year is a Teddy Bear Tea Party and a scavenger hunt geared toward older children who want to explore Hampton Park. Also joining the event is The Lady Bug Lady and her lady bug car, Ms. Lulu. The popular Teddy Bear ER will be back, helping “injured” bears needing treatment and well bear checkups.

The idea for the Teddy Bear Picnic came from the Conservancy’s volunteer Park Angels who wanted to create a free event that encouraged families to spend time in the park.

“We started this event as a way for families and children to make memories in the park. Now, we have children who have literally grown up attending the Teddy Bear Picnic,” said Neves Richards, director of volunteers. “And many of our participants are now part of the more than 100 Park Angels who volunteer with us year after year because they love this event so much.”

Part of this year’s 10th celebration is Parker Bear, star of “Here, There and Everywhere with Parker Bear,” a children’s book written by the Conservancy’s volunteer Park Angels and photographed by Charleston photographer Libby Williams.

In the book, Parker Bear goes on a Charleston parks adventure, visiting 10 city parks before meeting his friends at Hampton Park for the annual Teddy Bear Picnic. The book was released at the 2017 Teddy Bear Picnic, and copies will be available for purchase this year as well.

Families are invited to bring a picnic lunch, blankets and chairs to enjoy an afternoon in the park. Food trucks will have food available for purchase.

The event is free, but to save time at check-in, families are encouraged to pre-register online and pre-order their copy of “Here, There and Everywhere with Parker Bear.” Books are $12 each or two for $20. Learn more and pre-register at https://www.charlestonparksconservancy.org/event/teddy-bear-picnic.

The rain date for the event is Sunday, March 10.

About the Charleston Parks Conservancy

The Charleston Parks Conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring the people of Charleston to connect with their parks and together create stunning public places and a strong community. The Conservancy opens doors to individuals and organizations in Charleston wanting to engage with their parks and green spaces in a kaleidoscope of positive ways. With the help of its Park Angels, the Conservancy improves, enhances, and invigorates these spaces, making Charleston even better, stronger, and more successful. For more information about or to support the Charleston Parks Conservancy, please visit www.charlestonparksconservancy.org.

Charleston Parks Conservancy on social media:

Twitter / Instagram @charlestonparks

Facebook www.facebook.com/CharlestonParksConservancy

Event hashtag: #teddybearpicnic & #parkerbear

Caw Caw Interpretive Center and Wildlife Preserve provides absolute escapism

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Less than 30 minutes outside of the Charleston city limits is a wildlife escape.? From the sounds of the birds to the slither of snakes to the restful ominous stare of the alligators, Caw Caw Interpretive Center and Wildlife Preserve is a categorical natural wonder.? From the rice fields to the swamps, each path introduces you to a new segment of the ecosystem.? With miles of pathway, you can lose yourself in this park system.

We warn you not to go alone.? There is calming silence throughout, so when the sound of a bird echos, a sea creature lurks from the swamp or squirrels hop from tree to tree you may get a little shocked.? At times, the sounds of the birds resembled instruments being tuned up for an orchestra performance.? As we walked the grassy path, we encountered five alligators, two snakes crossing the walk way, heron, cardinals and so much more.

From swampland and forests that provide shelter from the scorching sun to open skies and rice fields all around, Caw Caw is educational, healthy and full of natural wonder.

It truly summarizes the authenticity of the Lowcountry from its early nature roots.? Pay close attention to the aging and decay of trees, many of which are hundreds of years old.

For $2.00 a person, you cannot beat this bargain.? They do cater to tours as we were fortunate to see a group of bird watchers all decked out in their binoculars.

Come with us and see for yourself through these images we captured in our two hour excursion:

Clear open skies for miles
Clear open skies for miles

 

 

Reflections in the water
Reflections in the water

 

Resting gator
Resting gator

 

Getting a little closer and a little more nervous
Getting a little closer and a little more nervous

 

Snakes crossed our path
Snakes crossed our path

 

Large gator taking in the sun
Large gator taking in the sun

 

Rice fields
Rice fields

 

Waterfowl area
Waterfowl area

 

 

 

A nice rest after a long walk
A nice rest after a long walk

 

Walkway for all the eye can see
Walkway for all the eye can see

 

Ready for the swamp boardwalk?
Ready for the swamp boardwalk?

 

 

 

 

Beware of the creatures lurking in the swamp
Beware of the creatures lurking in the swamp

 

Which path to follow?
Which path to follow?

 

caw11

 

Pack the kids or your special someone, put on some comfortable shoes and grab some water and make a day out at Caw Caw.

Caw Caw Interpretive Center Information Guide

Desirable Places in Charleston, SC to Escape Life

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By Minta Pavliscsak

Ever have one of “those” days? Sure you have; we all have. The type of day where you just want to be alone and escape life for a bit. Between work, school, family, friends, and the constant connection with technology, places where you can just be alone are difficult to come by.

However, as long as you do not check in on Facebook or Yelp when you get there, you can seclude yourself and escape life if you wish to do so. Turn off your phone, bring a book, magazine, your puppy, a notebook, or simply your own thoughts, take a few deep breaths and enjoy your solitude.

Here are a few of the best hidden places in Charleston to escape life, if only for a few minutes.

Folly Beach: You have a few options here. The best places to go to be alone with your thoughts are as far east as you can go on the island, and as far west as you can go. On the east end you will enjoy a scenic view of Morris Island Lighthouse. The far west end is a bit further of a walk, but totally worth it. The walk there is part of the destination itself.

Charleston Waterfront Park swings at night: There’s not a sound much more soothing than the sound of water, and when accompanied by the feeling of gently swinging back and forth under the moonlight, worries seem to melt away. Bring a comfy sweatshirt, even in summertime as it tends to get a little chilly.

Melton Peter Demetre Park (formally Sunrise Park): If you want a unique view of Charleston and the surrounding areas, here is your spot. Nestled deep within James Island, this is the perfect place to start your day or spend the afternoon in peacefulness.? In the distance you can view the Cooper River Bridge or the church steeples of the peninsula.

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Allan Park

Fishing and Crabbing Dock at James Island County Park: Even if there is someone fishing, they usually just nod to say hi and focus on catching a big one. The dock is large enough for you to have your own spot to yourself. Bring your fishing pole, crab net, or just sit and enjoy the view.

Allan Park: Located just off of Ashley Avenue near Hampton Park, Allan Park is a splendid half acre of tranquility. There is a large fountain in the center and plenty of grass for picnics. There are also benches around the fountain if a blanket is not your thing.

Caw Caw Interpretive Center: Located about sixteen miles from downtown Charleston, Caw Caw Interpretive Center has remained virtually untouched over the years. Once several rice plantations, it is now home to a multitude of wildlife which you can enjoy along over six miles of trails winding throughout swamplands, cypress trees and boardwalks.

Magnolia Cemetery: Not many people think “relaxing” when it comes to cemeteries, but trust us on this one. Magnolia Cemetery is located on the banks of the Cooper River and in our opinion has to be one of the most beautiful places one could spend their resting days. Taking a stroll through this 92 acre stretch of land can give a whole new meaning to “escaping life”.

MUSC Urban Farm:? Right in the heart of the medical district off of Bee Street between Ashley and Courtenay is a safe haven.? In the heart of this square escape is an educational community garden where you will find everything from lemons, to rosemary to sunflowers with free gardening and nature lessons weekly.? Just outside the garden are open grassy areas and benches to relax, have a meal or just daydream.? Also, enclosed in this area are stretching equipment to keep your body physically fit.? This is a true mental and physical realm of health and solitude in the heart of the Charleston peninsula.

 

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Magnolia Cemetery

We know there are more, but we do not want to give away all of the secrets! If you have a favorite spot that you like to go to escape life and would like to share, please comment below.

Secrets of Hampton Park: The Citadel’s Friendly Neighbor

By Mark A. Leon
By Mark A. Leon

So many of us have bore witness to weddings, sat on a blanket enjoying life music, relaxed in the gazebo, fed the ducks, smelled the beautiful floral arrangements all around, biked the outer rim of the park or just held hands with someone you love walking over the bridge and listening to the sounds of the fountain.? That is Hampton Park, one of our most beloved park gems.? With The Citadel on one side and Charleston Strong with its doves of unity on the other, this park is a haven for baseball, basketball, weddings, concerts, jogs, bike rides and children playing. ? Hampton Park has brought so much joy to Charleston.

Here are a few facts that may open your eyes about Hampton Park and its rich history:

  • The full size of Hampton Park is 60 acres.
  • Hampton Park is named after Wade Hampton III, Governor of South Carolina from 1877 – 1879 during Reconstruction
  • From 1792 – 1900, Hampton Park was a horse racing track called Washington Race Track.? It was started by the South Carolina Jockey Club.? Though the track was historically closed in 1900, the last race was in 1877 due to the damage caused by the Civil War.
  • It was originally the front yard of a large plantation called “The Grove”.? The plantation was destroyed during the Revolutionary War and put up for land sale because the couple that owned the plantation had no children.
  • During the Civil War, the land was used as a prisoner of war camp for Union Soldiers being moved from Andersonville, Georgia to Florence, South Carolina.? Over 200 died due to illness and are buried in unmarked graves near the parking lot on the Wagoner Terrance side.
  • That in 1901, several businessmen decided to hold a regional trade exposition in Charleston and bought the land from the Charleston Library Society for part of the grounds.? The Expo was considered a failure by many but in 1902 Teddy Roosevelt came to the event and one year, the actual Liberty Bell made an appearance.? Officially called the South Carolina Inter-State and West Indian Exposition, this event brought new business to Charleston including the American Cigar Company and United Fruit Company.
  • The Boston Bean Eaters (today known as the Atlanta Braves) held two weeks of spring training in the park in 1905, and lost to the Detroit Tigers.
  • In 1917, the City of Charleston leased two acres to the 18th Infantry for an encampment to prepare for World War I service?
  • Mr. Archer Huntington donated $1000 and a collection of exotic animals from his personal collection at Brookgreen Gardens to get a zoo started in 1932.? zoo included lions, bears, and native species in a series of big chain link cages located between the current bandstand and the Cleveland Street entrance.? By 1972, the zoo was in such bad condition, it was deemed in violation of new federal codes of animal welfare treatment and was soon closed.

Today thousands flock to the closing concerts for Piccolo Spoleto and MOJA festivals with families and loved ones to listen to great music and celebrate community.? Next time you are having a picnic in Hampton Park or going for a jog, think about the celebrated history of this land.

McLeod Plantation: Discover history and serenity right on James Island

By Mark A. Leon
By Mark A. Leon

Built in 1851, the McLeod Plantation, located on James Island played a critical role in some of the most significant periods of United States history providing shelter for soldiers during the Civil War, serving as a headquarters point during the war, raising cotton at the hands of slaves and offering transition homestead for freed slaves.? In 1991, the final offspring of the McLeod family legacy passed away and with that the end of an era.? He donated his land to historic Charleston who came very close to selling the land to the College of Charleston for a sports complex.? Fortunate for the legacy of Charleston and its rich heritage, the Charleston County Park Council purchased the land and has restored this critical piece of Charleston history for all of us to share.

I came into my adventure onto this sacred and historic property with a desire for knowledge acquisition about our land and walked away with a feeling of serenity and peace.? Like myself, many will go in looking for a little visual history lesson, but will walk away spending time in a place that has preserved its look and integrity for 160 plus years.

We invite you to step back in time and walk with us as we show you some of the visual spectacle of McLeod Plantation:? one of Charleston truest historic and visual gifts.? From the Big House to the Wappoo River, you will find yourself lost in yesteryear and get swept away in the romanticism of the land.

The Big House
The Big House

Blossoming flowers
Blossoming flowers

Majestic trees
Majestic trees

Back of the Big House
Back of the Big House

Cotton storage facility
Cotton storage facility

View from the front porch of the Big House
View from the front porch of the Big House

Learn a little history inside the house
Learn a little history inside the house

Or relax on the front porch
Or relax on the front porch

Fresh open views all around the property
Fresh open views all around the property

Plenty of shade on those warm summer days
Plenty of shade on those warm summer days

Hidden shack in the woods
Hidden shack in the woods

Transition Row where freed slaves transitioning lived and soldiers during the Civil War
Transition Row where freed slaves transitioning lived and soldiers during the Civil War

Transition Row
Transition Row

Transition row home interior
Transition row home interior

Interior chimney
Interior chimney

Dark interior
Dark interior

Cemetery on the grounds
Cemetery on the grounds

Perspective on life in those times
Perspective on life in those times

Wappoo Creek: Gateway to the World
Wappoo Creek: Gateway to the World

Calm Wappoo Creek
Calm Wappoo Creek

Gated Main Entrance
Gated Main Entrance

Original foundation
Original foundation

Back of the Big House
Back of the Big House

Walking along the property path
Walking along the property path

Relax in the shade
Relax in the shade

Quiet romantic walk
Quiet romantic walk

Take a morning or afternoon, pack a picnic and enjoy one of the most beautiful escapes just three miles outside of Charleston proper.? You will not be disappointed.