Photo by David C Baker

Often, I see Lexington/Richland School District Five students, teachers, and parents on tour in the lobby of the State House. These trips are usually arranged by the third-grade teachers and I always enjoy getting to say hello or maybe even introduce a few classes sitting in the balcony while we’re in session!

If your child has yet to visit the State House, or if you’d like a tour yourself, I’d encourage you to come visit sometime! The House and Senate are in session January to June; but because of various committee meetings and other obligations, if you’d like to see the House and Senate actually in the chambers, it’s best to pick a Wednesday morning or afternoon.

The State House is located at 1100 Gervais Street, which is at the intersection of Gervais and Main Streets, Columbia, South Carolina. Guided tours are available Monday through Friday free-of-charge. Each tour is preceded with the viewing of a 15 minute DVD on the history and architecture of the State House. Reservations for groups are recommended. Once a reservation is made, the tour office will send an information packet which includes information on parking. Typically, parking is allowed along Sumter Street for school buses and vans. Private vehicles must use metered spaces near the State House. For more information or to schedule a guided tour, call the Tour Office at (803) 734-2430.

During session months (January – June) the Tour Office is open Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Tours will begin on the hour and half-hour, 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM and 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM. The Gift Shop will be open from 9:00 A< to 4:30 PM eadh day, Monday through Friday. The Tour Office now offers six guided tours the FIRST SATURDAY OF EACH MONTH, beginning at 9:30 AM, 10:30 AM, 11:30 AM, 1:30 PM, 2:30 PM, and 3:30 PM. These tours tend to attract many tourists visiting the capitol city as well as famillies who cannot take tours during the work week. Saturday tour times may be reserve for parties of 12 or more. Of course, if you can't get a tour by calling the Tour Desk yourself, please call my Legislative Aide, Janet Holland, directly at 734-9966 and we will work to accomodate your family and friends as best as possible. One other service my office provides is the ability to help you purchase either a South Carolina or United States flag that has flown above the State House, along with a certificate. If your family, scouting group, school, church, or civic organization are interested, please call my office at 734-2969. It's an honor and privilege for me to represent our neighbors in the Ballentine, Chapin, Dutch Fork, Irmo, and White Rock area! I want you to be able to visit your State House and learn more about the building, grounds, and historic individuals that have served the Palmetto State!