Photo Post 15: Restaurants and Robots in South Carolina

We found some interesting spots on our trip through the Upstate that we did not visit this time around. Here’s an interesting sign in Anderson. In the brief period in the 1950s when Zesto was a nearly-national chain, this place opened. When the chain went bust around 1955, the stores were left to make it on their own. Sometime between 1955 and 1962, this store changed its name to Besto and it’s been happily serving up for the last fifty-plus years. It is closed on Saturdays. I guess nobody in Anderson wants a milkshake on Saturdays. (The actual building is a nondescript nothing of a fast food structure, not at all as fun and silly as many of the thriving Zesto stores in Atlanta and Columbia.)

In Spartanburg, I snapped a few pictures of this really terrific sign just up the road from Sugar -n- Spice. We don’t yet know anything about the restaurant, but what a great sign! And check out the little Sputnik on the roof!

Speaking of signs… when I did my circumnavigation of the Palmetto State in 2012, one of my last stops was Greenwood’s Dixie Drive-In. The sign at this place in Greenville is similar enough to make me wonder whether they were related at one point. This business is shuttered, so we pulled in to take a few pictures. You never know when a new owner might bring in a bulldozer.

But other than signs, we took pictures of robots and things! The wonderful people at The Children’s Museum of the Upstate gave us a really awesome two-hour Baby Mercy Break in their terrific three-story facility in Greenville’s downtown. This is a fantastic place, great for kids aged between, say, eight months and ten years. They have a new traveling exhibit, The Robot Zoo, in town through June 1. This was a little above our toddler’s head (he’s two and a half), but if you have kids in elementary school, I can’t recommend this highly enough. It’s a 2500-foot exhibit that explores the mechanics of animal movement, and that prompted them to bring in robot clubs from area schools for all sorts of fun demonstrations throughout the day.

The museum’s official mascot is a little fellow made of polygons who reminds children “I can be anything!” but they have a great big junior mascot as well. Greenzilla introduces visitors to the Talkin’ Trash exhibit, sponsored by Duke Energy, and he is fantastic. He’s made from all sorts of recycled things, including, tragically, a Mattel Justice League Question figure that I don’t have. Shame. I could’ve swapped ’em one of my sixty-eleven extra Supermen or Green Lanterns. But seriously, the monster is amazing, the museum is great, and we had a really good time. You all know that I’m a big proponent of children’s museums, both as Baby Mercy Breaks and for your young ones to spend a little while having some worthwhile, educational play, and TCM Upstate is definitely one of the best that we’ve seen. Add it to your travel plans!

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