Riverbanks Zoo and Garden

Riverbanks Zoo and Garden

500 Wildlife Parkway
Columbia SC 29210
803-779-8717

Hours:
Mon: 10:00am , 5:00pm

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The Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is a 170-acre zoo, aquarium, and botanical garden located along the Saluda River in Columbia, South Carolina, United States. A small portion of the zoo extends into the nearby city of West Columbia. 

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Reviews
  • Sep 09, 2021 by Cody H.

    I have been coming to Riverbanks Zoo since I was born, and will continue to bring my family whenever we get the chance to go. I love watching Riverbanks continue to grow and expand.

  • Aug 14, 2021 by Guy W.

    Folks, if You Love animals and I do, this is the BEST Zoo around!!!! So many of my Personal Favorites, with New additions too!!! Bring the Kids and enjoy a Day of Fun with those Wonderful and Beautiful Animals !!!!

  • Aug 07, 2021 by Moriah L.

    First time to the zoo in years and I really like the changes in enclosures and decor around the park! I will say, I'm disappointed that you can no longer pay cash to do things like feed the lorikeets and giraffes. Instead, you have to purchase a pass that's separate from your admission ticket. We had free passes given to us by a friend or we would not have participated. Much too expensive. Especially for families, which is who primarily visits these places. Seems like a money grab. I understand money is required to maintain and provide health care for the animals and pay employees, but paying cash does these events DOES bring money in.

  • Jul 20, 2021 by Davlon S.

    My kids and I always enjoy coming to Riverbanks zoo. Although it was raining when we first arrived there were plenty of animals out and about, frolicking in the water puddles and enjoying the mud. It seems we see something new each time we visit and the zoo is always upgrading its exhibits which is great to see. We have been to several zoos around the country, and  Riverbanks definitely ranks among the best of them.

  • Jul 18, 2021 by Becky J.

    We heard wonderful things about the zoo so we decided to spend a day exploring. It's a difficult zoo to navigate as a first time visitor, I recommend downloading the app to help with this. Once inside the park we felt like there were way too many add on experiences. For example, you can't visit the lorikeet exhibit unless you pay the $2 to feed them, you can't walk into the giraffe observation deck unless you pay the $2 to feed them, after paying over $100 for a family of four to visit the park we would at least be able to observe the animals in these spaces. My daughter couldn't wait to visit the farm exhibit but once again the part that is included only had 2 alpacas and 2 bunnies. You have to pay to pet the other animals. Most of the food and beverage kiosks were closed so we had to backtrack to find water. The aquarium and reptile exhibit was the best and the splash park near the botanical gardens helped us all relax and cool off after a day walking around.

  • Jul 03, 2021 by Haley Creamer

    This is the best zoo I have been to so far! It is very clean and well kept. The staff are very nice. I enjoyed seeing the animals and there is plenty to look at. I really liked the feature of it mainly being the zoo and another side of it is nothing but their botanical gardens. Their aquarium is awesome! They literally have a little bit of everything. They have it to where you feel like you are closer to the animals and there is plenty to do for kids as well. It's definitely well worth it! Make sure to wear comfortable clothing and shoes also.

  • Jun 27, 2021 by Abe Murz

    We love this zoo. Much better than Atlanta. Come here if you have a choice. The enclosures are amazing. The animals look happy and the staff is great. Lots of activities for the kids. We have been zoo members since discovering and will continue to support in the future. We bring all of our out of town family.

  • Jun 12, 2021 by Michelle V.

    Visited for the day from Ohio. Great spread of animals, park very clearly marked, clean. Really cool opportunity to feed the giraffes (we had bands). This place caters to individuals of all ages. Surely be back when visiting the area in the future.

  • Jun 11, 2021 by Karen Thomas

    Loved the botanical gardens. Very kid friendly with lots of activities including some water features. The large formal gardens include numerous themed garden sections and we're well maintained. There is a free tram connecting the zoo with the gardens. Lots of water/beverage and food stands through out the zoo. Free water is available at the garden and was much appreciated after spending some time there on a warm day.

  • May 31, 2021 by Tracy Downs

    Riverbanks is amazing! I have been going here since I was around 10yo. We went a couple of weeks ago and had a great time. some things are very familiar to what my memories are, and others are just wonderful updates. The layout is appealing and easy to navigate. Beautiful scenery and habitats. Delicious snacks. So sweet to see the variety of animals, and all looking happy and healthy. And... a great time to spend with family! ❤️

  • May 23, 2021 by Chelsea Westbury

    Definitely going again! Worth the drive and money even though neither were outrageous. Very, very cool place. Has SO many more animals than we expected! And my son got to feed a giraffe… super random but super awesome! I would definitely recommend this place to anyone! I love how google maps tells you when they are busiest so you can plan around it!

  • May 16, 2021 by Angela Sikorski

    Awesome zoo experience. Highly recommend a zoo membership. The perks are well worth going an unlimited amount throughout the year. Very well kept. Plenty of animals to see. Train rides. Giraffe feedings. Rock climbing. Zip lining. Carousel rides. Goat petting zoo. Farm animal experience in a barn. Multiple gardens to visit. Clean bathrooms scattered throughout. Restaurants. Ice cream stands. Educational centers. Botanical gardens is a whole extra side of the zoo extending through town. All included. Water works side for the kids is an exclusive splash pad for all ages of children. Food and drinks for all here as well. The experiences are endless here.

  • Apr 14, 2021 by ColtonandStephani Wood

    This was super fun! I'm 32 and this was my first time to a zoo, as well as my 3 children. We had an absolute blast. It was super fun to feed the giraffes, feed the birds, see all the animals. I wish we could have partaken more of the demonstrations but due to covid I don't think they were doing them. Lots to see. Lots to do. Would love to go back again when visiting. Give yourself 4-5 hours if you've never been and are with kids.

  • Apr 13, 2021 by Cassandra Gaskins

    We had the best time. They have really vamped up the animal sites && you can interact with the animals more. Our favorite was feeding the giraffes, the monkeys, petting the goats, hand feeding the birds && the train ride. We also walked to the botanical gardens. Although it was a steep hike about a half a mile uphill, the gardens && spring flowers blooming was worth it. Great job on the cleanliness during the pandemic.

  • Apr 04, 2021 by Hunter C.

    Amazing food went there on a week day and it was soooo good it was kinda pricey but at the same time I felt like it was worth it.

  • Mar 31, 2021 by Jim W.

    First, I'll stat that I was more interested in a relatively short couple's visit to the Botanical Garden than a longer joint visit to the zoo also. However, they offer you an all-or-nothing proposition. You can apparently park at either the zoo-end or the garden end. We parked at the garden and there were plenty of spaces available. We entered around 1:30 p.m. on a Thursday. There were not a lot of people in the botanical garden, honestly. There were a few couples and some parents with kids. We visited in the off season (March) when there were a few blooms, but not a lot. It was okay. We then opted to hike to the zoo to get our money's worth. In non-Covid times, there is apparently a tram. Sadly, it was not running when we visited. Instead, there was a 1/2-mile hike between venues.  Down a significant hill. We eventually made it to the zoo. The exhibits were pretty good, given the size of the city. They had a carousel, seals, lions, tigers, apes, etc. It was more geared towards those with kids, but it was okay. I don't think I'd return without some kids in tow, but this is a decent venue for first-time visitors to Columbia.

  • Mar 24, 2021 by Demetria Johnson

    Riverbanks Zoo is always is a fun experience every time I go. Clean park, super friendly and professional staff members. Big gift shop. All the animals were very interactive today. My kids were sad to not see the elephants but it was cool seeing the rhinos and their new habitat setup. I usually like going during the week because there's No one there and you'll get to enjoy seeing the animals full on! The food is always really good as well with a decent variety of items to choose from the menu.. they even sell BEER!! So I FINALLY became a member (yesterday actually) and now own a year round pass for myself and family. The different packages and benefits for membership is actually pretty legit. I cannot wait to start coming here on the regular FOR FREE with my family!! Our summer is about to be so much fun this year!!!! We will always cherish our awesome Riverbanks Zoo.

  • Mar 02, 2021 by Yuvraj Tandon (Israel)

    I was able to visit during the free Fridays that they had during January to February...

    I love zoo’s... had an amazing experience at the Riverbanks Zoo & Garden. Simple enjoyed thoroughly being there... amazing experience with the birds section, the lion and giraffe, the food section was also good enough.

    You can literally spend an entire day there with your family and loved ones. Due to the virus the rock climbing and other interactive section were closed... however it was an great experience overall...

    The summer season is coming and it’s the best place for kids to come more and more closer to nature... and wildlife...

  • Feb 26, 2021 by Rachael B.

    This was a wonderful experience! I loved that they adhered to CDC COVID guidelines and it wasn't very crowded. The zoo was easy to navigate with strollers and easy to get back to the main area from wherever you in the zoo. My favorite aspect is the nursing room! It was so pleasant, comfortable and very thoughtful. In order to access the nursing room, make sure to check with the information desk and they will take you to a private room by the entrance

  • Jan 26, 2021 by AWhite23

    Imagine the zoo in your hometown...it pales in comparison _(for most) as the Riverbanks zoo is one if the best in the country, and for good reason! An amazing variety of animals from around the world, in large, similar-to-nature habitats. Very family friendly and handicapped accessible as well. The restaurants are even amazing, and I used to be a sous chef in Charleston! Dont waste your time with the Botanical "gardens" this time of year (1/24/2021). Bring a camera, or push your camera's phone to it's limits!

  • Jan 23, 2021 by Vincenzo Pace

    Awesome time! Great staff, very clean, enforce masks and kept everything sanitized (from what I could see). Always adding new exhibits and animals. Animals seem very happy and healthy.

    While I'm not a huge fan of zoos. I feel that animals deserve to live their life in the wild. Now of course, a dying or injured animal needing recovery is different.

    Having said that, they do everything they can to make those animals lives amazing. They genuinely care and love them so 100% support these guys and go out there. It's also just a blast for kids. They have train rides, petting Zoo and a ropes course. Also a good restaurant inside.

    Fridays in JANUARY and FEBRUARY are FREE!!!!

  • Jan 12, 2021 by Mitch K.

    A nicely packaged zoo with all the regular animals to see.  No hills, flat layout and easy to negotiate with a wheelchair or stroller. Having worked my high school and college summers at the San Diego Zoo, I have a pretty critical eye when it comes to zoos.  Riverbanks, though small, does a good job with their displays, information and cleanliness.  No trash about and the keepers keep the enclosures so clean that you cannot smell the animals. Regular admission for adults is about $20.  Military and senior discounts make admission $17.95.  Parking is ample and you have not choice of other areas to park so $5 is added to your admission.  Open 9am - 5pm daily. Covid restrictions slowed down your movement through enclosures, like the wallaby's, where an employee metered in people so as to maintain spacing.  Most people were Covid-conscious while standing around displays, so along with required masks, it was relatively safe. Try to go, especially with children, during weekdays to avoid the crowds of weekends.  You might not have choice, but the grounds are open, but can easily become crowded. The botanical gardens are part of your admission.  There is a bridge you can cross, or a little tram runs to shuttle people back and forth.

  • Jan 02, 2021 by Corey Rogers

    Have been several times before. Took my 2yr old today on a daddy daughter date. We had a blast. All the attractions were open, the level of sanitation for prevention of germs was good but not overbearing. The food was great and reasonably priced. My daughter loved feeding the giraffes. That was her favorite part. Will definitely be back!

  • Dec 28, 2020 by Erin B. 8 photos

    Great experience! Many awesome exhibits which took about 2 hours to see it all depending on your pace.

  • Dec 21, 2020 by Karen M.

    You've got to Love the zoo. They are annoying with all their construction all the time and maybe they've got a little too big for their britches but really it's a good wholesome family activity that you can never get enough of. Love the attitude of the employees and I love the cleanliness of the zoo. You just can't go wrong going there for a day.

  • Dec 13, 2020 by Bob B. 6 photos

    Close to downtown Columbia is a small little zoo, showcasing Christmas lights festival. From the Vista, it took us about 9 minutes to get to the park entrance. Once you found where to park your car. You climb this staircase that bridges overall a railroad track to where the park is located at. Minor grips about the park. For the Holiday lights packages I purchased. I didnt know I had to check my email to get my barcode ticket. Parking was adequate,  but was not clear on where to pay for parking, which is when you purchase your ticket. The Covid situation led to a virtual map which was no clear so we spent alot of time wondering the park and looking at their light setup.  Alot of the animals seems to be tucked in for the night so much of the entertainment was based on the lights. One of the fun things to do was right where we entered the park which is why I gave it a higher rating than I would on a regular visit. Upon entering the park we ran into a park camera woman that convinced us to take these amazing park photos behind a pre-built green screen. The photo-shoot took less than 5 minutes, because mainly we were goofing around in the photo. She told us the poses to do and all the photos taken were all selected in the final pose. My only hesitation before starting the photo-shoot was that I ask if we social-distance if we could take off the mask. She happily compiled. We went away with some pretty awesome souvenirs for our wall. High marks for the camera woman for making the visit so memorable!

  • Dec 09, 2020 by Caren Williams

    Visiting here has been a family favorite for years. The zoo is a nice smaller sized zoo. They have done lots of upgrades to the enclosures and do lots of enrichment for the animals. You can easily spend half a day here just looking at the animals. If you add in the extra attractions (some have an additional cost) and the botanical garden you could easily make this a family day trip. Good value for the cost. We have done the lights before Christmas and boo at the zoo over the years and always enjoyed them. Check the weather and plan accordingly, most of the exhibits are outside.

  • Dec 04, 2020 by Silver G.

    This is the perfect place to go with your little ones during the holidays. So many animals to see and activities to do. We decided to purchase the year pass because there are so many things to do! My daughter is two and half and loved everything they had to offer. We went during one of their Christmas light nights and it did not disappoint. The zoo had fake snow, an amazing Christmas tree display, lights through out the zoo, a s'more station and endless lights to look at. They still serve food a drinks at almost all stations, and also offer light up toys to buy for the little ones. We road the carrousel and the train, my daughter had a blast! We already decided we'll be going back before the end of the Holidays to experience it all over again. It's a must see!

  • Nov 29, 2020 by Alex Robinson

    I've been here a hundred times with my family. It's just a spectacular place. Every staff member is nice and helpful. The bathrooms are all very clean. The food is good and they have a pretty diverse selection. The pricing isn't bad, about what you'd expect. In addition to the zoo, the botanical gardens across the river are absolutely gorgeous. Definitely worth the 2.5 hr drive for us.

  • Nov 24, 2020 by Natalie E.

    Cute little zoo. It's a tad overpriced for how small it is. It only took 3 hours to see everything. Our day started off bad because I had called to see if they were still doing reciprocal agreements with other zoos, they said yes. We then arrived and they refused to give us the deal, not even a discount. The he guy selling tickets also refused to give us a military discount even though my brother is active army and had his Id. He said "no discounts or deals because of Covid." Even though I was told on the phone they were honoring both. It was slightly disappointing. The animals looked happy and the workers seemed knowledgeable. 5 stars for them. Pretty flowers and garden area. No one was really social distancing and there were lots of people not wearing masks. The staff weren't enforcing it either. Animal feedings weren't open because of Covid either.

  • Nov 11, 2020 by Deanna D. 9 photos

    This was an adorable zoo. It was not very packed during the week so you were able to see everything very well. All the zoo animals looked well kept and were friendly. I love that it has a garden area in addition to the zoo definitely makes it different and a relaxing place to visit.

  • Nov 11, 2020 by Deanna D.

    This was an adorable zoo. It was not very packed during the week so you were able to see everything very well. All the zoo animals looked well kept and were friendly. I love that it has a garden area in addition to the zoo definitely makes it different and a relaxing place to visit.

  • Nov 01, 2020 by SCH Travel

    This is by far one of the prettiest zoos I’ve ever been to. Everything is so well maintained and taken care of. A lot of detail has gone into making this zoo amazing. They had two animals that I had previously not seen at a zoo before! To me, that makes it even better! I love to see animals and I love to see animals being repopulated.

    The food is so good but expensive (like all zoos). The gift shop is HUGE! They take your picture at the entrance, which I personally like.

    The only problem that I’d say is it doesn’t follow the easiest path. You have to backtrack a little to go through which a lot of zoos are like that so no big deal.

    I didn’t see a place to rent strollers or anything like that so bring your own. Bathrooms are clean.

    All around, I’d def go again.

  • Oct 30, 2020 by Marcelo Ortiz

    I've taken my family with 3 children to Riverbanks Zoo over the past 5 years. They've removed the elephant exhibit, and replaced it with a rhino exhibit. We absolutely love the zoo. As they have fish, reptiles, marsupials, birds, apes, monkeys, and mammals. The park is a great size, and there is plenty of parking (although parking now costs $5). The zoo always makes a phenomenal day trip, and is perfect for young families.

  • Oct 30, 2020 by Byron T.

    O-M-Freaking-G! I JUST LOVE THE ZOO!!! I can talk about the animals and garden all day, however, it's the food y'all probably care more about. So this burger called "The Tiger" is an amazing pimento cheese burger that'll make you wanna hug someone during a pandemic. It's located at the Wild Burger restaurant and you'll get to see awesome monkeys swing and play. Get the loaded tots and you'll just be a happy camper. Also, they serve craft beers, so come ready for a fun time!

  • Oct 26, 2020 by Edith “Edi” Arangies

    Amazing habitats and great variety of wildlife.
    The bird exhibits were incredible! After seeing the amazing back drops on the bird house we were a little disappointed with the Koala exhibit, the plain green wall took away from the room, unless it's a work in progress.

    The map was a bit confusing, some of the animals weren't where the map showed.

    At times it was too close for comfort with the amount of people that went in the different houses. Many did not adhere to the social distancing. I personally feel that until this Covid is over with, entry to the different houses need to be limited or controlled better.

    Thank you to Pamela at the Kangaroo exhibit for the great chat and being so friendly.

    We drove 3 hours to get there and left at closing. We haven't seen everything yet so we will definitely be back. All in all very impressed. Thank you to all the amazing Zoo Keepers for the incredible job you all do!

  • Oct 26, 2020 by Shekera P.

    I attended Boo at the Zoo yesterday and it was sooo nice! Will definitely be attending next year! All of the staff was so friendly and helpful, especially William at the Icee stand. We had a blast! Thanks for giving us something to look forward to!

  • Oct 25, 2020 by Critical P.

    The only things that bother me is that people don't even read the signs saying to wear masks. We legally have to in Columbia now, so wear the freaking masks! It's not that hard! There's signs everywhere saying to wear them! It's only a mild inconvenience for a few hours. If the people working there can wear them all day in the heat then you can wear it for a two-hour visit. Smh. Also, I recommend splurging on a wristband if you're bringing little ones and they like to do a lot of activities, like petting the goats or feeding the giraffes and birds. Otherwise you'll have to get a gift card and load up money on it. There's signs talking about that too, but of course, people don't read those and take up the line for a while and then get mad when it's their turn and they didn't even think to check the big sign next to their heads saying it costs $2 extra. Otherwise, the animals look happy, there's fans and misters for hot days and areas blocked from wind and rain on cold days. They look like they can move freely around their exhibits, which is great. The staff is pretty knowledgeable and friendly for the most part, and even with Covid there was still a pretty decent crowd. A good way to spend time for the day.

  • Oct 24, 2020 by jenna hernandez

    A great family fun opportunity to do together. Right now you have to wear masks and make appointments to be able to enter the park. But so worth it with all the beautiful animals and wildlife they have there. Take a stroll over to the gardens where you will find endless amounts of flowers and history.

  • Oct 24, 2020 by Brian W.

    Very clean place and never crowded, Riverbanks has a lot to offer. Has nice tidy enclosures, many indoor exhibits to cool off at with neat creatures to stare at.

  • Oct 22, 2020 by Cliff A.

    The animals look well taken care of, even though there aren't many. For 20$ a person and extremely overpriced food options, I'd expect at least twice as many animals spanning with less of a focus on African mammals. Most of the animals were put up at least an hour before closing as well. If the animals aren't going to be out the entire time, put a disclaimer or offer reduced prices later in the day. Charging full price for half the experience just seems like a money grab to me.

  • Oct 16, 2020 by Chris M.

    Go about three times a year it's always really fun and we always get slushees. So much to do and see and a great time for family or group of friends.

  • Oct 13, 2020 by Rachel Scott

    Its our families Favorite Zoo so far! Nice size, you can see all the animals within a few hours, but your not too exhausted either! We love bringing a picnic lunch and eating outside the zoo gates where they have some tables set up. We liked it better when the tables were in the forest area though. Animals seemed happy and well taken of with large exhibits. For those saying masks aren't enforced... if you read the signs and policies, they say you only need a mask when inside or close to other people. So while walking around outside, you dont need it. Every staff member we encountered was wearing one appropriately and customer service was great!

  • Oct 05, 2020 by Brooke Stout

    The zoo is one of my favorite places!! I go about once every year as a family day, and it has something for everyone! The garden is a great quiet place, awesome for pictures! The kiddos love the splash zone! The gorilla exhibit is a fun one! The bird feeding area is exciting! That's just a few of the great things the Riverbank Zoo has to offer.

  • Oct 05, 2020 by Nancy Probst

    I love Riverbanks Zoo and have been a member for years; however I will not be going back until the virus is long gone. We (two of us) made reservations in advance for Sat Oct 3 at 2:00pm. When we got inside the zoo we were shocked by what we saw and turned around and left. The place was absolutely packed with people, and we saw many people without masks. I guess even though the zoo tried to space people out checking in, there was no way to get them to leave in a set time, and the number of people just exploded during the day.

  • Oct 04, 2020 by Georgia Bred

    Great place to take your family. Great exhibits and lots of exotic animals that you don’t see at any zoo.Only one issue I had and that’s there was a lot of us that come from out of town that just happen to be a smoker. I totally understand the smoke free facility especially around the animal exhibits and around the public but would be nice if they had designated smoking areas for the ones that do smoke so we can smoke a cigarette without having to go all the way up front to go out gate and fight to get back in without paying again. Or at least have a area where they can vape if the smoke is too strong smelling. Other than that I had a great time but even Disney world has smoking areas

  • Oct 03, 2020 by David Frye

    Garden Center was open unfortunately, not a lot of staff. The Main area was packed with things to see. All in all a great time. Good to see Family and friends are going out again.

  • Sep 24, 2020 by Wendy Barron

    We really enjoyed the Zoo better than the garden, that’s only all the flowers not in season right now. I’m sure it’s beautiful garden when the flowers are blooming.

  • Sep 23, 2020 by Natalya Kosyanenko

    Great place for family visit. Animals seem to be happy - they have plenty of space and treated well. Sea lions are amazing. You can feed giraffes and parrots. Awesome aquarium - you might have to wait in the line before you get in, but it shouldn't take long and definitely worth it. The botanical garden attached to the zoo is also beautiful

  • Sep 21, 2020 by Jonathan Cress

    I brought my wife and 2 sons to the Zoo and we had a wonderful time viewing the exhibits. The aquarium/reptile exhibit was probably the highlight for me - lots to see inside! Feeding giraffes is as fun and entertaining as it sounds. The Koalas were incredibly cute and active. This was the closest I've ever been to a Komodo Dragon!! The park was very clean and orderly and felt like things were handled very professionally. Will definitely return in the future.

  • Sep 13, 2020 by Brandy Deal

    Great place. Wonderful time. Memories

  • Sep 13, 2020 by mike H

    Awesome and could not believe that the zoo was not brand new. Absolutely spotless and all the exhibits where gorgeous and so well laid out.

  • Sep 09, 2020 by CMON BMW

    The zoo is huge and connected to a large mountainside garden. My son loved being able to touch animals and even walk through the forest.

    One thing which could have been better is the forest walk was not labeled in the best way. Once you get half way into the forest, there are signs to tell you the rest of the way is not wheelchair or stroller accessible. It would be nice if these signs were posted at the beginning of the route to tell people.

  • Sep 07, 2020 by Nat Shor

    The zoo is very compact and therefore it's easy to walk with little kids, the territory is nice. Many don't put away their credit cards- constantly hold them in hands, at first I was very confused by it but later I found that you pay for literally everything inside the zoo: for the entrance tickets you pay almost the same amount for a kid as for an adult which is very expensive, buy a ride, buy lettuce to feed the animals from the farm, giraffes, etc. ... Buy lunch... Pay to see birds... Always have to buy everything, buy buy buy. Really annoying

  • Sep 06, 2020 by Noël Estes

    Someone who works at the zoo needs to ask folks to leave if they won't wear masks.

  • Sep 05, 2020 by Charles Howell Jr

    Wonderful,we enjoyed it so much, but go early, we took the 9am entrance option, and it was not crowded, but around 11 AM the crowd was large, still plenty of room to move around

  • Sep 05, 2020 by Clara Madison

    Absolutely Beautiful, I would love to go back. This Time, Take My Grandchildren.

  • Aug 30, 2020 by April Gracey

    Just a good place to take the kids to get out the house. Wasn't too crowded so that the kids could actually enjoy it rather than before this pandemic.

  • Aug 30, 2020 by Shirl See

    Great experience at the zoo. We had a great time despite many of the exhibits being closed. We rode the train and carousel. The train cars were not disinfected between rides like the carousel but I packed plenty of wipes so I was not deterred.

    I noticed mobile handwashing stations scattered throughout the park. It gave me peace of mind knowing we could wash our hands without having to visit the restroom.

    I was pleasantly surprised to see a Coop food truck because their food is delicious. Most of the snack and drink stations were opened today which was great because it was a scorcher.

    We only stayed for about 2hrs because it was hot and by then we saw all the attractions in addition to chowing down on some Coop! I can't wait to go back. Hopefully the splash pad and some more stuff will be opened.

  • Aug 23, 2020 by Mike Roy

    Very beautiful zoo with lots of hand sanitizers throughout. Large assortment of animals but in rather small "habitats". I feel bad seeing three lions in an area smaller than my house for their lives. 2.5hrs is not enough time to adequately see everything, but will wear the kids out for sure

  • Aug 12, 2020 by Hinton Cranford

    We took our grandkids to Riverbanks Zoo and we had an awesome day. Lot of animals, an aquarium, a reptile house, lots of birds. We went on a Mon. so it wasn't real crowded. The kids had a blast snacks and food are pricey just like an amusement park. Also there are other additional costs to feed the animals and birds and to ride the train.

  • Aug 11, 2020 by Lizbeth Jimenez

    Have to purchase hr tickets. Things aren't the same ,due to Covid. Which is understand. No food is been sold. Shaved ice cream is. No crowds. Much calmer.

  • Aug 11, 2020 by Sajata Rogers

    Nice morning at the zoo. Guest and Staff were appropriately masked and distanced. Rhinos are here and almost ready to be released! We caught a glimpse of them! Sadly Gorilla and Tiger exhibit were closed this morning and last months visit as well. Hopefully we'll catch them next time. Overall great visit at one of our favorite places!

  • Aug 09, 2020 by Scott CochranJr

    Hot? YES! But also lots of fun! We went today and had a blast. Kinda disappointed that we didn’t get to see any otters

  • Aug 03, 2020 by Melanie Brunson

    Clean and spacious! The animals are very friendly and visible. The only ones that aren't really out are the lions, tigers, and gorillas. To be fair it was very hot. The otters and penguins are awesome to watch and interact with. There is a good amount of shade that you can walk in, but some areas are very sunny. If you have a stroller, I would recommend bringing a fan and water for your child. Not many vendors are open right now.

  • Aug 02, 2020 by Jewel Finley

    Extremely clean, lots of areas for cooling off. Animals are well kept. A lot of new exhibits are being built which is nice to see! Im excited to see the update. Everyone is friendly and helpful. Mask are required in all buildings and to enter however you can walk around without masking.

  • Aug 01, 2020 by King Breland

    My 4 month old daughter loved looking at the animals! Zoo was safe and followed social distance protocols! Will definitely be taking my family there again!

  • Jul 25, 2020 by Valencia Cobb

    It's a good place to kill time. Some of the exhibits are closed due to COVID but still a great experience.

  • Jul 20, 2020 by deedee wortman

    Great place to take the kids and see the animals. There are air conditioned places to cool off if you go when its hot. The water feature is off during Covid as well as a few other attractions so keep that in mind. You have to wear masks inside, but not outside. Otherwise, a lot of fun.

  • Jul 17, 2020 by Cole Hepler

    Was so much fun! Not too crowded because of the pandemic. The acquarium was hands down the best part. I had never seen such an amazing collection of snakes!

  • Jul 09, 2020 by Leslie Huezo

    Nice little zoo! I thought it would be much bigger but it’s not. It’s a great zoo to see a variety of animals and it’s very kid friendly. Prices are not bad. We went through it in 2 hours if that says anything. If you’re looking for a bigger zoo I’d try the N.C. zoo it’s huge and has a ton of animals. But this was good for small kids and to just walk around and enjoy some animals

  • Jul 04, 2020 by Hahna Robinowich Hayden

    We had fun. Masks inside, optional outside if you can socially distance. It was HOT! Overall a fun day spent tiring out some kiddos. They loved the animals. Flamingos and snakes were their faves.

  • Jul 01, 2020 by Nicole Bonham

    They did a good job making sure there were plenty of places to clean your hands. Some of the exhibits were closed due to COVID19. Some animals just weren't out. Overall we had a good time.

  • Jun 27, 2020 by John McArthur

    Riverbanks Zoo & Botanical Gardens is my favorite place in Columbia! They have a great diversity of lovely animals with great habitats! They're also doing very well enforcing COVID-19 resistance methods!

  • Jun 16, 2020 by Cassandra Huston

    Love it here...the aquarium is so beautiful! The gardens are lovely. They offer a lot of up close animal exhibits, like bird feeding, kangaroo walk, and so on...as an FYI though many of these exhibits are shut down due to covid.

  • May 31, 2020 by Jason Davis

    We took our daughter on her first trip to the zoo and we were very happy with our experience. There is so much for a little one to enjoy: train rides, petting zoos, giraffe feeding, and more! We are happy we bought a membership because we will be returning over and over!

  • May 30, 2020 by Brad Saunders

    Best tourist attraction in the Midlands. Family friendly, reasonably priced for a day trip. Fantastic, award winning landscape and flora. Worth the drive. Kids activities aside from the animals. Even can grab a drink for the adults.

  • May 30, 2020 by Jean Winston

    Well maintained and clean. Beautiful gardens and walking paths among the animal attractions. Drinks and snack prices were reasonable. Entrance prices were also reasonable compared to other zoos I've visited that are similar in size. The grandkids love this zoo! We spent approximately two hours and enjoyed many exhibits and activities.

  • May 24, 2020 by Gaspar Ruiz

    Great place to visit; animals could be seen without any waiting. Service was respectful, it's safe for children and kept clean. Lastly the food was quite delicious.

  • May 23, 2020 by Janiera Harris

    I thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the zoo. This facility was clean and everything was easy to access. We ended up renting a stroller and again I was pleased. Excellent customer service and clean equipment.

  • May 23, 2020 by Josh Cantrell

    As is 5/22/20, the zoo has set up a reservation system for entry. Make sure you have the confirmed reservation on entry it you can not gain entry. The limited crowds make manuvering the park easier, but social distancing rules keep some parts and exhibits closed. Still enjoyable

  • May 15, 2020 by Rebecca Brown

    Love this zoo. They are always working to bring new attractions and improve their enclosure areas. They have done a lot to the botanical gardens side with a mini water park for the kids.

  • Mar 17, 2020 by Anthony Couillard

    I grew up with a Riverbanks Zoo pennant on my wall most of my young life. My parents brought me there and I totally enjoyed it. Few years back we were in the area visiting family and we saw they were doing Boo at the Zoo. We kind of plan for it on our way down bringing our costumes. We had a great time. The park was all decorated for Halloween. The exhibits were too. It is a great zoo! Lots to see and do, barely can do all in 1 day. Take your time, check out their schedule and try to attend some of the cooler things. You can't go wrong here!

  • Feb 29, 2020 by Amy Brass

    Loved every minute of our visit. Animals are happy and in clean environments. Staff are friendly and very informative. The Botanical Garden is beautiful. Even in February. Definitely a great place to visit.

  • Feb 28, 2020 by Orange Juice

    The animals are an amazing sight to see. There was an area were you can pet goats, the goats were peaceful creatures. A rhinoceros area is coming in summer, 2020. The most fun I had was called the ropes. The ropes got your adrenaline going. Trust me you will not want to get off of it. I totally recommend going to Riverbanks Zoo & Garden.

  • Feb 28, 2020 by Orange Juice

    The animals are an amazing sight to see. There was an area were you can pet goats, the goats were peaceful creatures. A rhinoceros area is coming in summer, 2020. The most fun I had was called the ropes. The ropes got your adrenaline going. Trust me you will not want to get off of it. I totally recommend going to Riverbanks Zoo & Garden.

  • Feb 17, 2020 by Ra Ra

    I really enjoyed it. During the holidays my husband and I went to a bonfire they were doing there at the time. We walked around to look at the animals. It's a huge zoo, and a great place to go for a family day out.

  • Feb 16, 2020 by Andrew Martindale

    Our family has held annual passes for the last few years. We love making the trip to visit every couple of months. The zoo is reasonably sized and can be walked and viewed in detail in about 3-4 hours. It is very well kept and makes for a good time with the family. The gardens, which are across the river and reachable by tram or a short (uphill) walk, are an added bonus. That said, doing both in a single trip makes for a long day. The gardens have a water play area for the summer and large treehouse play area. The botanical gardens are somewhat small, relatively speaking.

  • Feb 15, 2020 by Maria Tzolis

    Although it is most recommendable to come in the spring, especially when you're heavy on loving different array of flowers. The Riverbank Zoo & Garden sure had its perks through sightseeing and attractions. I especially loved how all of your coworkers and trainers there are so passionate in their workings with each animals that were featured there! It was sweet as it was exciting!

  • Feb 04, 2020 by Craig Null

    Had a great day and loved seeing all the animals!

  • Jan 27, 2020 by Anna Kristine

    The place was awesome. They have the most incredible reptile exhibit. Husband and I loved it more than the tots. The place is super clean as well as the I called animal housing was really clean. I'd recommend it to everyone

  • Jan 24, 2020 by Jason Pogar

    Great zoo. We frequent here a couple times a year. Worth the drive up from Charleston. Lots to do and see here. Lots of large animals. Kids favorite thing is feeding the giraffes and goats. Can easily spend half a day here. We usually bring food and drink with us in the kids bags.

  • Jan 24, 2020 by Jason Pogar

    Great zoo. We frequent here a couple times a year. Worth the drive up from Charleston. Lots to do and see here. Lots of large animals. Kids favorite thing is feeding the giraffes and goats. Can easily spend half a day here. We usually bring food and drink with us in the kids bags.

  • Jan 14, 2020 by Matthew Davis

    Great family experience with lots of interactive exhibits.The trainers feeding for certain animals are exciting educational fun for the whole family. This zoo is well maintained and very clean. Nice restaurant and areas for private parties.The digital download of the map is very convenient and a breeze to navigate. Overall wonderful experience for the whole family.

  • Jan 07, 2020 by Arunprasad Chandrasekaran

    One of the best zoo with equal number of wild and non wild animals. They have good petting area, train ride and they also have many other entertaining aspects for kids. The light decoration throughout the zoo during the festive season is pleasing treat to the eyes. They have enough water station and rest rooms throughout the zoo. There is an aquarium and also a flamingo pond. The food snacks bar are also available with some enough seating. We can also feed parrots which kids will love to indulge. Overall this mayn’t be a big one but one time visit will not disappoint you.

  • Jan 01, 2020 by Ricardo Morales

    For its size this zoo really offers a lot. Very well themed, well kept grounds, healthy animals that are vibrant and lively (except the ones that love to sleep). It does offer quite a bit for the small footprint it fills. The only thing I wish different would be a little less for the price of admission.

  • Dec 29, 2019 by Kyle Pope

    Great smaller zoo that is easily walkable in one day with small kids.
    The animals are all very “viewable” when compared to other zoos. This means that their enclosures are smaller, but still seem sufficient and well maintained to meet the needs for the animals.
    The garden section was really cool and had some nice fun features for kids especially on a warm day. Bring a bathing suit or change of clothes.

  • Dec 29, 2019 by Asimur Rahman

    Quaint little zoo. But I feel there is always more to learn and explore. Watched the gorilla feeding here. It was amazing to learn how they train these animals. There are classes and additional things here to explore. Highly recommend visiting.

  • Jan 18, 2016 by Joanna H.

    Riverbanks Zoo was one of our favorite stops on our vacation! The animals looked healthy and happy and there were many exhibits to visit. The zoo was clean, the price was amazing, and it wasn't overly crowded. I loved how you could get so close to the giraffes and feed them. That was one of my favorite parts. :) We stayed for about 4 hours and really took everything in. I recommend this zoo to anyone who is planning a trip to the Columbia area. It will definitely be worth it!! If I ever have the opportunity, I will certainly visit again. :)

  • Aug 20, 2013 by rlthomas

    The Riverbanks Zoo is a hidden gem in the Columbia area, and has a much more polished look and a wider variety of exhibits (including many hands-on opportunities that the kids loved) than you would expect to find in a small city. It is definitely worth the trip.

  • Jul 23, 2012 by goldceiling

    one of the best zoos i've been to. it's not so obnoxiously large that you can't walk through it in an afternoon, but it's definitely not small either. it was a blast when i took my two kids. we all had so much fun. but minus one star for the columbia summer HEAT. bring water!

  • Jul 27, 2010 by amrodney

    River Banks Zoo is an awesome place. Everything is clean. The animals look to be well cared for. The exhibits are truly life like and the area for the small children is awesome. The botanical garden is beautiful. Run - don't walk for sure. Great place to visit.

  • Apr 24, 2010 by DaniellesDad

    We went to Riverbank in early April and found the facility to be clean and well kept. The habitats were very natural and the animals were very active. The weather was perfect with a high of about 75 degrees. Perfect zoo weather.