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“Great zoo, have been to a lot, right up there” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden

Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden
500 Wildlife Pkwy, Columbia, SC 29210
803.779.8717
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Ranked #1 of 53 Attractions in Columbia
Type: Gardens, Nature/ Wildlife Areas, Zoos & Aquariums
Activities: Hiking
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Attraction details
Owner description: A popular zoo best known for its beautiful butterfly gardens and family-friendly atmosphere.
Useful Information: Activities for young children
Baltimore, MD
Top Contributor
79 reviews 79 reviews
17 attraction reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
“Great zoo, have been to a lot, right up there”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 11, 2013

We were at two world class animal parks within last 6 months and while the Columbia zoo doesnt have quite the diversity of animals, it exceeded our expectations. It was a hot day last Saturday but the majority of the zoo is well shaded. The kangaroos and koalas were sleeping but there was plenty going on overall.

Don't be put off by the large amount of cars in the parking lot, it didn't feel crowded yet it was still fairly compact inside the grounds

Worh an afternoon!

Visited October 2013
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Severna Park, Maryland
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Been there many times”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 10, 2013

Great zoo. Liked the compact layout. Something for everyone including a recent gorilla addition. There are also rides for the little visitors.

Visited October 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Abbeville, South Carolina
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
8 attraction reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
“Best zoo in South Carolina”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 10, 2013

Riverbanks is definitely the best zoo in SC (not that there are too many). This was our second visit and first with a young child. We all enjoyed the zoo. The animals look content and cared for, the exhibits well maintained. We were highly disappointed that the penguins were temporarily gone - and while it may have been posted somewhere we certainly were not aware. My niece had been excitedly looking forward to the penguins so that was difficult when we walk into the exhibit to see them gone.
Food is expensive as is typical for such attractions. While the lunch items were not too unreasonable, ice cream was a down right rip off - $4 for a soft serve cone that was no more than 2 swirls above the cone.
Overall it is a great place to visit in Columbia.

Visited October 2013
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Chapin, South Carolina
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Great place to visit”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 10, 2013

We are members of the zoo and even though we do not have a child at home anymore we enjoy walking through the zoo and looking at the beautiful botanical garden. My husband can never take enough pictures at the zoo! For a small fee you can feed the giraffes and birds which I enjoy.

Visited September 2013
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Charlotte, North Carolina
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 9, 2013

The Riverbanks Zoo is a real gem right in central South Carolina. They have a large variety of animals with the exterior exhibits featuring animals such as lions, tigers and bears. There are also elephants, giraffes and meerkats. The interior exhibits featuring a wide variety of animals in the reptile and fish venues. You will see a lot of animals from all over the world while visiting there.

During your look around the zoo, you will find a number of food venues and bathroom facilities. The food shacks offer some pretty typical fried foods such as chicken fingers but there are some specialty shops which also serve burgers or pizzas. There are also a number of gift shops in a few places so you can pick up a trinket or two that you can remember your trip by!

Parking is ample and shouldn't be a problem finding a spot to keep your car at. I would recommend a minimum of 6 hours to visit the zoo and that's if you just stroll through all the exhibits and have a quick peek. Another couple of hours would be nice if you want to spend some time in any particular exhibit.

The zoo is a great place to visit for all ages. My only recommendation might be to visit there either in the spring or fall. During the summer, it's very warm, which makes it a little uncomfortable being outside all day but mostly because the outside exhibit animals are trying to stay cool and often out of sight in their dens. If the weather isn't quite as hot, they will probably be outside and more visible.

Visited August 2013
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