‘Tis the season for family togetherness – as holiday breaks approach and there is plenty of free time to explore what our great city of Columbia has to offer. We all know occupying our day with family-friendly events helps tire the kids out while giving them something to share when they return to school. Pull out your planner and let’s make the most of this time together. We’re going to let you in on a secret this year, and we give you full permission to share with your friends:
The Soda Cap Connector is here to help get from point A to point B for all of your downtown playdates and holiday shopping and merriment needs!
That’s right, leave behind parallel parking and leave feeding the meters to us when you meet up with friends this holiday season. We’ve come up with a few fun ideas for a day downtown, all family-friendly. There’s even an app for download in Google Play or the App Store.
You’ve seen The COMET and Soda Cap Connector buses around the city and there’s a high chance that your little one has pointed them out in excitement. Let the adventure begin with the Soda Cap Connector as your guide.
Family-Friendly Playdates (With Younger Children)
You can check out Richland Library’s Outdoor Family Storytime in the morning, then play some ‘I Spy’ while you ride the Soda Cap Connector over to EdVenture to visit the big guy in Santa’s Holiday Village. Holidays at EdVenture contain fun activities like writing a letter to Santa and Hot Chocolate Science programming.
Grab a quick bite to eat while browsing local goods at Soda City Market on Saturday mornings. After tasting all of the samples, board a Soda Cap Connector bus to head over to the State Museum and watch Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer in 4D.
Family-Friendly Playdates (With Older Children)
Columbia is alive with music and the arts this holiday season. Grab lunch in The Vista and then take the Soda Cap Connector to see an afternoon performance of Columbia City Ballet’s Nutcracker. Every moment is a learning moment — let your child plot out your journey as they navigate you to upcoming stops.
Stop by Mast General Store to help your child shop for teachers, friends or family members. Afterward, take in the city’s holiday decorations while you ride the Soda Cap Connector into Cayce for a few games at Bowlero.
Mom-Friendly Dates (Because We Know Moms Need a Playdate as Well!)
Enjoy all the sights on the West Columbia Riverwalk with your girlfriends and then hop onto the Soda Cap Connector to get some holiday shopping done in The Vista (pro-tip: The State Museum has a great gift shop, The Cotton Mill Exchange).
Finally, get that pedicure in The Vista and then spend a few hours antiquing for that perfect gift for your friend who has everything. Extend your outing with a glass of wine at Lula Drake Wine Parlour before returning back home refreshed.
The Soda Cap Connector gets you and yours around town with little hassle. Soda Cap’s Route 1 allows you to travel throughout Columbia without having to fight traffic or find parking. The connector runs every 30 minutes from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Every Soda Cap bus comes with cell phone charging ports (for those cases where a pop charge is much needed), free Wi-Fi and hand sanitizer. The cost to ride is $1.00 per person and these buses quickly take you to most of Soda City’s best attractions like the State Museum, Main Street District, the Colonial Life Arena, West Columbia’s River District and more.
If you haven’t ridden before, it’s easy to learn! Look for the Soda Cap signs placed around the city. Be sure to arrive 5 minutes before the half hour or hour. Once the bus pulls up, board and pay your fare — only $1.00 per person. Plus, children under 6 can ride free (up to 4 children with an adult). When your destination is coming up, do one of these three things to let the bus operator know you will be getting off at the next stop:
Pull the cord.
Push the yellow strip near the window.
Call out “next stop”.
Any questions about the route? The bus operators are dedicated to helping make sure you and your family get to the right destination.
Check out a list of all transit stops at http://catchthecomet.org/ or download the Transit App from Google Play or the Apple App Store to plan your trip. You can let your littles track the Soda Cap Connector while you ride or wait! During the month of December, all Soda Cap buses will have “Adventures with Pop” coloring books for your little ones to enjoy.