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“Great Visit”

Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden
Ranked #1 of 109 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.
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Great Visit”
Reviewed April 21, 2013

Haven't been to the Zoo in awhile, had a great time. Enjoyed the walk thru the Gardens, and seeing the animals up close. Never did get to see the Gorilla's, they were hiding..

Visited April 2013
Thank Monkeyshines2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,256 reviews from our community

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English first
Level 4 Contributor
35 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“perfect medium sized zoo”
Reviewed April 21, 2013

Perfect size...not too big, and not too small. You can get around it in about 2-3 hours. Decently shaded (with some rooms air conditioned) which means even during the hottest months it is still tolerable.

Visited March 2013
Thank JackStrawSC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Columbia, South Carolina, United States
Level 5 Contributor
81 reviews
51 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“One of the Best for a reason”
Reviewed April 20, 2013

Since I was 2 years old I have been going to Riverbanks with family and friends alike. I have seen animals and staff come and go and I have seen this zoo expand greatly. The park is a wonderful zoo and is rated at the #2-#3 zoo in the country. The staff is nice, helpful, and very informative. There is a large variety of animals to see from Africa, Asia, and all over the globe. Lots of amazing things to do from feeding the giraffes to watching the many animal shows (look on the site for show times). The ARC or Aquarium Reptile Complex along with the Bird House are inside exhibits with beautiful and colorful birds and fish to dangerous and exotic reptiles, amphibians, and insects. There are also activities (that cost tokens and or money) such as the carousel, rock wall, and the recently added ropes course that are fun to do as well. The Botanical Gardens are separate from the zoo across the river and can be reached by tram (usually a 5-15min wait between rides depending on zoo traffic) or walked to on foot. The gardens are always full of beautiful flowers and trees and offer a relaxing atmosphere away from the zoo. The forest trails are intresting to walk and allow hikers to view historic parts of SC history (Sherman's Bridge, Cotton Mill, etc....)

Visited April 2013
Thank CFordham
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
Level 6 Contributor
101 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
“Take the walking trail instead of the trolly!”
Reviewed April 19, 2013

My first few times visiting the zoo, I rode the trolly from the botanical garden to the zoo, but on my most recent visit, we decided to walk the nature trail that takes you from the garden to the zoo. The trail is paved, which was really nice because you don't have to worry about tripping on roots (I'm so clumsy!) You walk right by the river, and there are also a few historic markers and the Saluda Factory Interpretive Center, which has some history about the area and the rivers and about that mill that used to be there. If you go frequently and have the time to spare, I would definitely recommend taking maybe 30 minutes to walk this trail. The zoo is great, and the flowers in the botanical garden are gorgeous, but the natural beauty of the area really shines. I also recommend buying a season pass because paying for individual tickets can be expensive, but they have one pass thats like 60-70 dollars, and you can bring a guest with you each time you go, so if you go even just 3 times with another person, it literally pays for itself.

Visited February 2013
Thank southerngirl745
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fernandina Beach, Florida
Level 6 Contributor
116 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“Family fun”
Reviewed April 18, 2013

This is a beautiful zoo. It is a little expensive but worth it. There are places for families to picnic and a tram to take you from zoo to botanical gardens. There is a great area for a rope challenge that costs seperate. You can feed giraffes, goats, and other animals. It is a large zoo and small children may tire out but as I said there are a lot of rest areas.

Visited March 2013
Thank tobytovar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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