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“A Lovely Zoo To Visit!”

Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden
Ranked #1 of 113 things to do in Columbia
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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.
Reviewed June 26, 2013

First of all the zoo is very easy to find off the highway. The parking lot is a easy walk to the entrance of the zoo. This was important to us because we visited with my 81 year old mother who can't walk long distances. Upon entering the zoo, there is a nicely stocked store with items you may have forgotten at home. The stroller/wheelchair rental is very close to the entrance along with restrooms, sitting areas, etc.

The layout of the zoo is exceptional. The food areas are all centrally located throughout the zoo. We had lunch at the Kenya Café which was reasonably priced. The food was good and they offered healthy selections.

I especially enjoyed the Giraffe, Kangaroo, and Penguin/birdhouse habitat areas. Currently, there is a baby Giraffe and baby Koala Bear. This zoo is very educational compared with others I have visited. They have several scheduled feeding times posted.

This zoo also has a wonderful Botanical Garden which is exceptional. There is a tram ride to the garden which is included in your admission and very enjoyable. I love gardening and I really enjoyed this!

There is a children's area with train/pony rides and a carrousel. For the adventurer, there is also a sky-high ropes course and rock climbing wall. Extra fees are required for this.

The zoo is extremely clean and well thought out. If your in the area, you should definitely plan a visit to Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden.


1  Thank klw10services
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"zip line"
in 106 reviews
"pony rides"
in 61 reviews
"ropes course"
in 55 reviews
"giraffe feeding"
in 33 reviews
"merry go round"
in 33 reviews
"train ride"
in 31 reviews
"wide variety of animals"
in 28 reviews
"rock climbing"
in 27 reviews
"bird house"
in 25 reviews
"sea lion exhibit"
in 41 reviews
"before christmas"
in 57 reviews
"day trip"
in 89 reviews
"across the river"
in 41 reviews
"animal exhibits"
in 25 reviews
"well taken care"
in 37 reviews
"all ages"
in 96 reviews
"under construction"
in 30 reviews

1,915 - 1,919 of 2,475 reviews

Reviewed June 25, 2013

My kids love going to the zoo! Walking around the gardens, visiting and learning about the animals. They especially love the interactive areas like feeding the birds. :) The lights before Christmas and their Halloween trick or treating events are a must!

Thank Lindsay W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 25, 2013

The gardens and shading on the walkways made the zoo manageable on even a hot day. It was a good size for a day trip and had a nice assortment of animals. There were demos of feeding the penguins and a place you could feed the giraffes for $2. It was free to go onto the feeding deck, though. I live near the national zoo (Washington DC) which is fantastic but so large that it took 2 days to see everything. When the kids were little, we went to the Baltimore zoo so we could do it all in one day. This zoo is a good size for a family day trip. We ate at the cafe ($7-9) and had a really nice Southwestern salad with chicken. The greens were fresh and chicken tender and tasty overall. We did not go up to the botanical gardens. Could it really be any better than the beautiful landscaping of the zoo? It was just too hot. The zoo is a bit heavy on the reptiles (which may be your thing) but the visit proved to be a delightful day trip in an area that does not have much to see or do.

Thank Candee V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 24, 2013

This is by far, the best Zoo in the southeast. The grounds are beautifully landscaped and the paths are clean. The animal selection here in incredible. Not only can you see big game like elephants, gorilla, tigers, giraffes, etc. but you can also take time to visit their well-stocked reptile building and aquarium. Prices for admittance are also reasonable, averaging $10/ea for families with children. A great experience for a price less than going to a movie.

Thank BlueRidgeCouple
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 24, 2013

The only qualm I could possibly see having with this location is the same qualm I have with all places like this: food and drink are severely over-priced. However, at Riverbanks they have very convenient, and well shaded picnic tables where you can eat your own food. There is a downside to this picnic area, though: there are no restrooms (not even porta-potties).

Anywho, I still have them a 4/5 because everything (garden & zoo both) is beautiful, and well kept. I've seen zoos where the animals live in filth, where there's garbage everywhere, but here it's almost impossible to take a bad photo (which is a big deal for my photoholic wife). Also, the staff is extremely informative and happy to help, even if the question has nothing to do with their position at the zoo (think Publix).

Whether with friends or family (I wouldn't recommend going alone), this is a great trip.

Thank Ryan B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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