Riverbanks is home to more than 2,000 magnificent and fascinating animals and one of the nation's most beautiful and inspiring botanical gardens. The lush 170-acre site features dynamic natural habitat exhibits, scenic river views, spectacular valley overlooks and significant historic landmarks. For more than 30 years, Riverbanks has provided individuals, families and groups with a common place to connect with and learn about the world's wildlife and wild places. Twice awarded the Governor's Cup for South Carolina's Most Outstanding Tourist Attraction, Riverbanks is the premier family choice for education and recreation in the Southeast. All of this just 1 1/2 miles from downtown Columbia!
The showpiece of the park is the award-winning 20,000-square-foot Aquarium Reptile Complex (ARC). The ARC displays reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates from around the world. This popular exhibit features four galleries -- South Carolina, the Desert, the Tropics and the Ocean, with its 55,000-gallon Indo-Pacific coral reef tank containing sharks, moray eels and other Pacific Ocean species. Diving demonstrations are performed daily.
Discover what farm life is like with a visit to Riverbanks Farm. Kids are encouraged to touch and feed the Jersey cow, llama and Nubian goats. However, the most popular part of the Farm has always been the pony rides. Children are invited to ride on a pony, with the assistance of a trainer, along a naturalistic trail. New additions to the Farm include a Royal Palm Turkey and rabbits.
A visit to the sea lion pool is always a splash! The sea lions swim gracefully in the water or soak up the sun while resting on rocky ledges. Visitors can see sea lion feedings and training twice daily.
Other exhibits feature giraffes, zebras, ostriches, gorillas, elephants, lions, tigers, bears, monkeys, hippos, alligators, various bird displays and much more. Riverbanks is a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Riverbanks has received several awards from the AZA for outstanding work in conservation and Species Survival Plans.
Hailed by Horticulture magazine as one of 10 gardens that inspire and by HGTV as one of 20 great public gardens across America, Riverbanks Botanical Garden boasts 70 acres of unparalleled beauty. Dramatic and themed gardens showcase more than 4,200 species of native and exotic plants, providing a living classroom for gardeners and non-gardeners alike and an ideal location for weddings and special events. In contrast, natural river views and valley overlooks in the adjacent woodlands blaze a scenic trail to historic ruins from the 1800s.
Botanical Garden adventures begin in the West Columbia Entrance parking lot with the drought-tolerant plants and river rocks of the Dry Garden. Just inside the Garden gate, visitors enjoy an impressive welcome from the enchanting Bog Garden. A leisurely walk over the Treetops Bridge leads to the tranquil Shade Garden.
Garden guests welcome the exquisite blooms and refreshing aromas of the Old Rose Garden. Discover the charm of the 34,000-square-foot Walled Garden, Riverbanks' premier botanical exhibit. This magnificent maze of seasonal and themed gardens inspires new ideas and awakens the imagination, often influencing the design of local backyards. >p> Visitors can ride to the Botanical Garden from the Zoo by tram or park at the entrance in West Columbia to enjoy the botanical buds and blooms before traveling down to the Zoo. Along the journey, consider exploring the Woodlands Walk on the way to the Zoo. This serene nature trail holds significant historical value as the location of one of South Carolina's first water-powered textile mills and as the site of Sherman's march on Columbia.
VISITOR INFORMATION:Admission rates, Days & Hours of Operation, Directions & Map
call (803) 779-8717
on the Internet: Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden
JOIN the Riverbanks Society to support Riverbanks Zoo and Garden and get FREE admission for one year: CLICK HERE for more information