Located just off of I-26 and just outside of downtown Columbia, SC Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens opened their doors April 25, 1974. Today the attraction has come a long way from it's beginnings as the 170 acre site is home to historic sites, nature trails, sprawling gardens, over 2,000 majestic animals, and various activities that include a climbing wall, horseback riding, zip lines, and an obstacle tower in the center of it all.
This was easily a favorite of mine when I was a child and has remained a favorite now that I take my very own children to enjoy and explore all Riverbanks has to offer.
There is too much to do and too much to name and in all honesty this post will barely scratch the surface of what calls Riverbanks home. The lower section of Riverbanks Zoo is set up in the circle pattern with exhibits on the out edges and a birdhouse and aquarium in the center. Some of the premiere attractions are the newly opened sea lion exhibit patterned after the famous Pier 39 in San Francisco, the walk through reptile and aquarium building, a Gorilla habitat, Giraffe observation deck where they can be fed, and so much more.
On the other end of the zoo is a Merry go round and climbing wall before you reach a bridge that crosses the Saluda River which takes you toward the Botanical Gardens. You can always hike the trail that runs along the river for a relaxing stroll through the woods that gives you a chance to take a look at the Saluda River ruins that are proudly displayed. Or if you are not up for a walk, a trolley makes continuous runs from the top at the gardens to the bottom at the bridge to shuttle visitors back and forth to save their energy.
The botanical gardens themselves are a sight to behold and it would be easy to spend an entire day just there. There are tons of beautiful flowers and plants of all shapes, sizes, and colors wonderfully displayed for all to enjoy. There is also an enormous tree house style playground and splash pad for the little ones. More exhibits and additions to the garden are currently in progress as we speak. Riverbanks Zoo is constantly making efforts to improve the experience for their visitors and that has kept me coming back for years.
Riverbanks Zoo is located at 500 Wildlife Parkway Columbia, SC 29210.
They are open daily from 9am to 5pm with extended hours to 6pm from March through September.
Tickets are $15.95 for adults. $13.50 for children 2-12. Seniors and military $14.95.
Unlimited ride and attraction wristbands are available for $20 per person, this does not include zip lines and obstacle tower.
For more info and to plan your visit -
52 Saturdays a series of blogs written by JL Boney, about sights, points of interest, and things to do throughout the Greater Columbia, SC Area. It is meant to inspire you to explore everything we have to offer. So get out there and enjoy yourself. If you like what you see and what more info about previous articles or would like to make suggestion, please feel free to contact me at 803-730-9601 or email at James_Boney@yahoo.com. If you would like to call Columbia, SC or any of the surrounding areas home, I have you covered there too. Please visit Columbia, SC Homes for Sale and start your home search.