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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.
Moore, South Carolina
Level Contributor
34 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed July 16, 2013

My wife and I took our two children (3 and 2) along with another couple and their two children here July 5th. Other than having to dodge rain storms we had a great time. Most of the refreshments are fairly priced for the most part. I've seen some places that are double their prices. The only bad thing about the zoo on a rainy day is that a lot of the animals are hiding in their caves, cages, etc and you don't get to see them.

Visited July 2013
1 Thank Chris E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,228 reviews from our community

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Clemson, South Carolina
Level Contributor
81 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Nice Zoo and Gardens”
Reviewed July 13, 2013

Took the day to visit this zoo and gardens. The zoo is nice and has lots of birds. There are elephants, zebra, monkeys, tigers, and other large animals.The gardens were nice but not spectacular. We spent about 4 hours on our visit. The price was reasonable.

Visited July 2013
1 Thank Tim G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
51 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
“Awesome Zoo, Top 10 in the U.S.”
Reviewed July 11, 2013

This is a very modern, well thought out zoo. The only zoo I have seen that is better is the San Diego Zoo. This was unexpected since Columbia is only a semi-large city. They have several cool, air conditioned buildings where people can get out of the heat. (For example the primate/gorilla building) I've never been to a zoo where I was within inches of an enormous playful Gorilla. but I was here. The gorilla was outdoors and preferred the heat. We were on the other side of the glass and air conditioned. There is also a long, beautiful walking bridge over the river. (Is this the Broad River? I'm not sure.) The bridge has large umbrellas and relaxing chairs if you want to sit and watch the river, swimmers in inner tubes, and kayakers. Highlights were gorillas, elephants, giraffes, Koalas, one with a baby on her back,(and yes she was outdoors but we could watch her from indoor air conditioning.) The flamingo's were also great, and there are too many others to mention. If you are anywhere near Columbia, SC and like zoos, go here. By the way, the botanical garden is on the other side of the river. We never quite made it that far on this trip. Also, the zoo is in the process of building zip lines for the adventurous. Will one go across the river? These are still being constructed, but if you are interested you can keep checking on the progress. Highly recommended!

Visited June 2013
Thank RickTX28
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Eagan, Minnesota
Level Contributor
63 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Nice zoo, lots to see and do, and AIR CONDITIONED BUILDINGS.”
Reviewed July 8, 2013 via mobile

Staff always friendly and accommodating. When we inform them my nephew is autistic, they work WITH us to help him, whether it is ordering a slushie, doing the rock climb, or opening a locked retail box so he could select and purchase something he'd seen earlier. The grounds are kept clean. Yes, the facilities and animals are great, but it would not be the same without the amazing staff.

Visited June 2013
2 Thank Kelly J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Garland, Maine, United States
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Sunday July 7, 2013”
Reviewed July 8, 2013

We had an awesome time feeding the giraffes with their long tongues, and the beautiful colorful birds at the Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden in Columbia South Carolina. We saw the lions, which is one of my favorite places in any zoo, I love loins! We had a great time watching the monkeys, and we loved to hear the tiger ROAR! We saw a very entertaining Gorilla, and some kangaroos who seemed very shy. The Penguins were fun to watch, and read about.The children loved the train ride, and they came home with one of the giraffe and monkey stuffed animals. We went intending to stay only a few hours and ended up staying most of the day. It was a beautiful day of walking around checking everything out. We drove down from Maine to visit the area.

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

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