Real Local: Shanika Pichey

From major attractions to hidden gems, Shanika Pichey is the queen of finding family activities that are out of the box and good for the soul. Read along for her tips on how to have a family-friendly weekend that’s as equally exciting for the parents as it is for the kiddos.

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My name is Shanika. Mother, Daughter, Sister. Unique, Black Sheep of the family (in a good way….if possible. Let’s just say I’m really different). Creative mind, thinks outside of the box, vintage lover, antique-aholic and DIY-er. Here's a peek into my family's weekend adventures.

FRIDAY EVENING: At the end of the week, unwind with some reading and playtime. Head to the Richland Library Main Campus where you’ll find a vibrant building that offers a home for all ages, like the children and teen areas that are filled with books, magazines, public art and a highly trained staff. Not to mention you can bond with the kiddos by teaching them that reading can be a fun hobby.

Featured: Richland Library

FRIDAY DINNER: Head to Cantina 76 for a kid-friendly atmosphere and some seriously good eats. This spot is so popular there are two locations within three miles of each other. Order up a Tres Hombres to curb any hangry feelings and be sure to ask for the weekly food special when you go. They’re always cooking up new recipes according to what fresh ingredients are in season.

Featured: Cantina 76


SATURDAY MORNING: A trip to Riverbanks Zoo & Garden is sure to expend some energy. Check out behind the scenes experiences with farm animals, sea lions, giraffes, tortoises and more – It’s no wonder it’s one of the top ten zoos in the US. Plus, when the weather’s warm, they have activities for the older siblings like Waterfall Junction and Zip the Zoo.

Featured: Riverbanks Zoo & Garden

SATURDAY MORNING: Locals may take for granted the regal building that’s nestled on one end of the Main Street district. Guided & self-guided tours of the South Carolina State House are totally free and totally educational for everyone in the family. Learn about South Carolina’s history inside, or meander through the gardens and find the historic monuments throughout the grounds. Bonus – the iconic steps are perfect for a free and easy way to get some physical activity in.

Featured: South Carolina State House



Zesto has a long line of loyal customers who keep coming back for classic Zestoburgers and soft-serve. Look for the little blue shop under “the giant cone in the sky” – you can’t miss it.

Featured: Zesto of West Columbia

SATURDAY AFTERNOON: For chic children’s clothing, check out Marigold Modern Kids on Devine Street. With unique patterns and trending styles, this boutique will have you wanting everything to come in adult sizes too. You could spend a whole day in the Devine Street neighborhood, dotted with locally owned restaurants and boutiques, perfect for finding one-of-a-kind gifts (and a little something for yourself).

Featured: Marigold Modern Kids

SATURDAY AFTERNOON: Gardeners Outpost is a sustainably-focused, urban garden center located just down from Five Points. Enjoy perusing the rows of in season-in bloom plants or pick up some gardening tools or decor for your garden back home. 

Featured: Gardeners Outpost

SUNDAY MORNING: From aerial classes and kid’s mindfulness yoga to goat and puppy yoga, there’s a class for everyone at Fit Columbia. The best part? There are no contracts or monthly fees. You can sign up per class and even choose something that you can do with the family. It’s the ideal ending to a weekend packed with activities.

Featured: Fit Columbia