It’s another Saturday, ten a.m. and the kids are lying on the couch, watching cartoons. The lawn needs to be mowed and there’s laundry to put away, but you realize, not this Saturday – I want to spend the day with my family. But what to do? Where can you take them so your ten year-old isn’t bored and the four year-old isn’t whining? Then it hits you – of course: The Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens!
With something for everyone, the Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens is a great place to take the family. Rated 4th Best Zoo in America by TripAdvisor, the zoo boasts nine animal exhibits, including the African Plains, Australian Animals, Large Mammals, Riverbanks Farm and Lemur Island. Roaming the grounds are giraffes, zebras, koala bears, kangaroos, grizzly bears and so much more. Located in the Aquarium Reptile Complex are four galleries: South Carolina, the Desert, the Tropics and the Ocean home to creatures such as sharks, pythons and Galapagos tortoises.
The other half of the Riverbanks Zoo is the Gardens, with 70 acres of natural beauty. Considered to be one of the 20 great public gardens in America by HGTV, there are five very unique gardens to explore: the Bog Garden, the Dry Garden, the Old Rose Garden, the Shade Garden and the Walled Garden. In the Old Rose Garden, take notice of the Noisettes – the first class of roses cultivated in the United States.
Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens has been listed on the National Registry of Historic Places since 1973. Numerous historical landmarks are protected within the 170-acres of wildlife and greenery such as the ruins of the State Road Bridge and Saluda River factory.
Numerous events and activities take place at the Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens year-round, ensuring there’s never a dull moment in your calendar. Sip your favorite beer at Brew at the Zoo in August, take your children trick-or-treating during Boo at the Zoo and enjoy festive decorations and hot cocoa at the Lights Before Christmas.
Open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas day, the hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. with extended times during the spring and summer. The main entrance is located at 500 Wildlife Parkway, Columbia, SC, 29201. Enjoy the animals, the garden and other activities such as scaling the rock wall, riding a pony or climbing all over the sky-high safari. Whatever you do, you are guaranteed to have a great time!