My family and I come here at least once a year with our three young children! They have trams to help you get from one side of the zoo to the other and lots of shaded areas! They also host lots of other fun events that we love to do like boo in the zoo!
I grew up going to Riverbanks and now I take my kids--9,7,3, and 1. There is something for everyone. Stroller-friendly, although some exhibits (gorilla, for example) are inside and you park your stroller outside.
Go early. Crowds can build up in the late morning and afternoon, especially during spring break and often in the summer. Walk right (clockwise) when you enter the zoo; crowds tend to veer left.
There are lots of little extra that are both fun and can get expensive. The giraffe food, lorakeet nectar, and goat food are worth the money. The train, pony ride, rock wall and ropes course, is also fun but pricey. Agree on what you can spend ahead of time, or you can buy a wristband for $20 to do everything, although some attractions are just discounted (like the ropes course).
Bring your camera and sunscreen. Food options abound, but can be pricey and unhealthy (think fast food). Pack a lunch if you're budget- and/or health-conscious.
They are an AZA reciprocal museum, if you have that. Bonus is the botanical gardens. You can take a tram up there and enjoy the lovely gardens, which have a colorful kids area. Finally, don't miss the Lights Before Christmas. A South Carolina holiday tradition!
I think my title says it all. If you have a choice, take the trip to the NC Zoo in Asheboro. The Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia is clean, and the animals seem to be well cared for, but the exhibits are small compared to the NC Zoo and it feels more "touristy". Your children will love it - it's a zoo! But if you're looking for more nature, and less amusement park, make the trip to North Carolina!
The Riverbanks zoo is simply amazing. It is by far the best we have ever visited. There is a wide variety of animals and an amazing garden. The highlight of the zoo is the gorillas where the kids can get face to face with a gorilla through glass. There are also shows periodically making this a great place for the kids to visit.
This zoo is absolutely beautiful! They have a lot of different animals to look at and the lights at Christmas are very well done! The butterfly garden is fantastic and the botanical gardens are gorgeous! Just can't say enough about this beautiful zoo! Really, it's ideal for an enjoyable family day!
My family and I love the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. There are lots of different animals for the kids to see, and the zoo is always clean and nice looking. I personally love the gardens - the flowers are all so beautiful! It's almost like getting two excursions for the price of one. Definitely a fun way to spend a day with the family. Lots of fun things to do around the holidays as well. I would definitely recommend a trip there.
We have enjoyed visiting the Riverbanks Zoo every year for 10 years. They have recently added a kangaroo exhibit that allows the visitor to walk through the kangaroo enclosure in close proximity to the animals. Other exhibits allow you to pet the animals, though often for a price (pony rides, giraffe feedings, lorakeet feedings all cost $). Do not miss the botanical gardens, especially in the spring and summertime. A tram takes the visitor from the zoo to the gardens, or you walk a trail (approx 1/4 mile). Lights Before Christmas is a neat winter-time visit to the zoo, as is Boo at the Zoo (Halloween). To visit the zoo one time is rather pricey, particularly if you buy the wristband that allows you to do all the activities. If you plan to go more than once, it is advantageous to buy a membership.
Of all my zoo experiences, this was my favorite. They have lots of interactive stuff for the kids, feeding the Giraffes was the highlight of our day. Remember that this is a BIG zoo that covers a lot of ground. Bring strollers for little ones or rent them at the front gate. Columbia is pretty hot in summer so remember lots of drinks to stay hydarted and cool
This place is wonderful for families. The kids love seeing all of the animals and it keeps them entertained. The staff is friendly, and the facilities are well kept. The lights show at Christmas time is fabulous as well, and I would seriously suggest going then, but also taking a trip in the spring/summer/fall to see the animals since you won't be freezing while standing around!n Definitely a stroller location for the younger children!
Riverbanks zoo provides fun for the whole family. It has an extense aquarium to entertain the kids. You can feed the giraffes by hand as well. It will entertain your kids all day long so really get the value of your ticket price. There is even a carousel for the kids to ride. Don't forget to stop off at their gift shop. It is one of the better gift shops I have seen at any of the zoos we have visited. Definitely worth the trip.
I loooove the Lights Before Christmas at Riverbanks Zoo. It is a magical evening for adults and kids alike. Riverbanks Zoo itself is a great zoo, the animals are not locked in cages and there are stations to feed the giraffes and other things as well. Even though my husband complained that because the animals have such vast habitats, it's hard to see them at times, especially for a little kid. But the zoo makes up for it in their reptile and bird buildings, there it is up close and personal!
Its definitely a place you can take your kids on weekends when you are not looking to travel much and spend much. Also it is very educational for kids and they can have fun too watching different animals, birds and sometimes even feeding them. Botanical Garden is one of the world's most innovative zoos, specializing in breeding endangered species, such as toucans. It offers a relaxing, entertaining and unique educational experience for the entire family.The zoo is always well-kept and very clean. The grounds were in good condition, pretty flowers and shrubs in pots, it was hard to overlook the smallness and barren pen the four elephants were in. My kids love this place. It is definitely worth the price of admission for your kids and family. My kids love feeding birds, offcourse we did have hard time getting birds to come to us hehehe but overall it was definitely worth it! The puffins are soo cute we watched them and the Emporer penguins for quite a while.
Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is full of fun for everyone in your family. There are lots of fun animals to see, and everything is very clean and well-kept. You can take the shuttle over to the garden area of the zoo and walk through some of the most stunning flowers and greenery in Columbia. Lots of wonderful picture taking spots! Ticket prices are reasonable, and there are lots of fun activities around Halloween and the holidays. If you haven't been, you should really give the Zoo a try! You won't be disappointed!
My kids had a wonderful time at this zoo. Plenty to see and do, so plan a long day or be sure to come more than once. The family membership is a wonderful deal if you plan to come more than once. The one issue I had was the eating areas were very crowded and the only place I could find a seat was down stairs, so I had to carry my big stroller and baby down about five stairs with crowds of people around. Next time I will probably pack a cooler and eat outside in the picnic area....avoid the crowds and save some money!
This is such a nice zoo to take small children to! Parking is free, and very close to the entrance of the zoo. And it's just big enough to do in a few hours. You could spend more or less time than that depending on how much you really want to look at. Food is reasonable. Just a great zoo to go to!
The Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, SC, is one of the best zoos i've ever visited. It's right up there with the Fort Worth, TX, zoo for fun, naturalistic animal enclosures and breadth of animals available for viewing.
The zoo is well designed, allowing little dudes and families to walk through most of it without dropping from exhaustion. We love lemur island.
They are family friendly and a great value! The layout is fabulous and flows nicely. Linked to the property is a botanical garden which is a nice walk or easy tram ride up the hill and over the river. There are even a few hiking trails. They have a wide variety of animals and habitats for a regional zoo. Enjoy a fall or spring Saturday or Sunday with your family!
We had such an excellent time here! My kids loved all the animals and the garden trails are really easy to take even small children on. We had a great time just walking the trail and climbing on the big boulders that are all around the trail. The merry go round is also very low priced so my kids got to ride lots of times which made their day. The zoo itself is not the biggest or the most conservation oriented but I know having a small child that the less walking is nice.
We had a great time at the Riverbanks Zoo. It was small enough to walk around with the kids and not get them too worn out, but still got see lots of neat animals. My only complaint is that it was slightly dirty, actually more unkempt. It seemed like flower beds were not taken care of and areas just looked overgrown.
We love going to the Riverbanks Zoo! This zoo is very easy to walk around and has a great variety of animals to visit! We really love the gorilla exhibit where the gorillas come right up to the glass and sit there just inches away from you!
When you are done looking at the animals, dont forget to take a stroll through the Botanical Gardens for another memorable experience.