Spend the Day at Riverbanks Zoo & Garden in Columbia SC
Tuesday, July 26, 2022 12:00 AM by Kelly Barbrey
Follow along with Experience Columbia SC's expert itinerary to maximize your day with the animals at Riverbanks Zoo.
Arrive, park and make your way to ticketing to beat the crowds for 9:00 am park opening.
Get set with stroller and wheelchair rental. Grab a map and get ready for a day of fun. We’ve outlined some must-sees below, but there’s plenty more to entertain you in between these exhibits and attractions.
Sea Lion Landing: One of the first exhibits you see after walking through the gate is modeled after San Fransisco’s Pier 39 and is home to Riverbanks’ Sea Lions and a Harbor Seal. Stand above the water on the observation deck then take in a magnificent underwater view through a 35-foot long panoramic window.
Kangaroo Walkabout: Open the door to the Kangaroo Walkabout and feel like you’ve been transported to the land down under. Kangaroos hop and play just steps away without barrier.
Gorilla Base Camp: Enjoy interactive and educational exhibits indoors and one of the gorillas is sure to come up to the 36-foot glass enclosure for a close encounter!
White Rhinoceros: Newcomers as of 2020, Kande and Winne are White Rhinos making their home at Riverbanks. Did you know: White Rhinos are not actually white in color. According to the Riverbanks website, “their name comes from the Afrikaans word ‘wyd,’ meaning ‘wide,’ describing its mouth. English speaking settlers misinterpreted this word for ‘white.’”
Giraffe Overlook: You can buy lettuce to feed the giraffes from 10:30-1:30 daily. At up to 20 feet tall, giraffes are the tallest living animal, but you’ll have them eating out of the palm of your hand.
Lunch at Tuskers Restaurant: Take a break and enjoy indoor or outdoor dining at Tuskers, which features salads, sandwiches, pizza, burgers and chicken tenders as well as Starbucks coffee.
Experience the Farmyard: Feed llama and goats (small charge) and visit with barnyard favorites.
Spots & Stripes Railroad: Little kids will beg to do this once they see it chugging by, so you might as well go ahead and plan a ride on the tiny cars of the Spots & Stripes Railroad. There is an additional fee to ride.
Birdhouse: From the glamorous Pink Flamingos greeting you as you walk in, to the dapper Gentoo Penguins and everything in between, you’ll want to carve out a good chunk of time to experience the many avian personalities in the Birdhouse.
Endangered Species Carousel: Take a load off and purchase tickets to ride the classic carousel. Perfect for any age.
Koalas: They spend 18-20 hours sleeping, so don’t be surprised if you catch these cuties snoozing the day away.
Lions, Tigers and Bears (and some flying monkeys): As you are making your way towards the exit, spend some time marveling at the big cats, vocal primates and majestic grizzly bears.
Stop in to the Riverbanks Gift Shop for a souvenir before exiting the park.
*This itinerary focuses on the Zoo side of the park and gives just the tip of the iceberg of all there is to see and do in one day at Riverbanks. We noted some items that are an additional charge, but you can have just as much fun by sticking to the exhibits included in the price of admission. Stay tuned for more itineraries that incorporate the Garden side, including Waterfall Junction and more rides and attractions.