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“Growing too large for a one day visit.” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden

Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden
Ranked #1 of 108 things to do in Columbia
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is home to nearly 2,000 animals that represent more than 350 species from around the world. A visit to the Zoo will play host to an array of wild adventures from a diving expedition on a Pacific coral reef to a safari through the plains of Africa to an interactive Outback encounter with a flock of sociable lorikeets. The Botanical Garden boasts 70-acres of unparalleled beauty and is considered one of the America's best public gardens. Dramatic and themed gardens showcase more than 4,300 species of native and exotic plants, providing a living classroom for gardeners and non-gardeners alike. The Garden also is the gateway to natural river views and spectacular valley overlooks. In addition, guests can view structural remains dating back to the early 1800s with South Carolina's textile industry and the Civil War.
Columbia, SC
Level Contributor
158 reviews
81 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 119 helpful votes
“Growing too large for a one day visit.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 2, 2013

When we moved to Columbia in 1988, Riverbanks Zoo was a sweet little romp with the kids. Inexpensive season memberships could be had. We'd spend the day, usually picnic and have a fine time. Over the years major exhibit renovations, an entire botanical garden was added and new areas were incorporated. The zoo is world class now. Beautiful with excellent exhibits, unusual species you won't see elsewhere and significant contributions to animal conservation. There are great hiking paths through the woods between the zoo and garden or you can take the free tram. There's a 3d theater, feeding stations, an aquarium, many gift shops and snack bars, a working farm and petting zoo and miles and miles of pavement to see it all. We never feel like we see the whole thing on a visit anymore. It's too big.

Visited October 2012
Helpful?
2 Thank DugRau
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Greenville, South Carolina
Level Contributor
55 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“One of the best zoos we've seen”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 2, 2013

We liked it because of the easy walking flow. It was well laid out and you could see something as you walked unless many other zoos where you walk and walk and see nothing. The monkeys were entertaining and animated as were most of the animals. The flamingo were the most beautiful I've seen. Their fish exhibit was better than some aquarians we've been to. There is a lot to do if you have children like rides, rock climbing and horse back riding. A great value. Beautiful zoo!

Visited February 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank pittword
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johns Island
Level Contributor
59 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“A MUST”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 30, 2013

Loved the botanical gardens especially the colorful plants during the winter month. There is a tram that will take you to both sides of Riverbank and we found both aspects of the zoo to be well worth a visit.

Visited January 2013
Helpful?
Thank PAsnowbirds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Waterloo, Iowa
Level Contributor
271 reviews
52 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 124 helpful votes
“What a great place to visit”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 27, 2013

I'm a midwesterner, so to be able to visit a zoo in January in comfortable weather was a treat. Hadn't been to a zoo in a long time - this one is so well-kept and has a great variety of animals. A few very fun looking activities for kids (extra fee required if you don't get the 'all-inclusive ticket') and well-placed ammenties (restrooms, food/drinks). Lots of up-close opportunities for photos, and a couple encounters where you can walk through the animals enclosures (kangaroos and rainbow lories) were great. At first, I thought we'd get lost and miss a few animals, but the zoo is well laid out (plus a map is offered) - very well planned layout. My friend who lives close to this zoo is already planning her next trip. Thank you for a fun afternoon!

Visited January 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank tawney112
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlotte, North Carolina
Level Contributor
47 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Really fun zoo for everyone”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 25, 2013

Loved our visit to the zoo, though next time, won't visit in late June again-way too hot. Zoo was really fun, enjoyed the penguins most of all. Very playful and great exhibit. Loved seeing the elephants, though they were hot too so they were in the water most of the time. The turtle was huge, my son loved him.

Visited June 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank JesusAboveAll
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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