Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden

Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden, Columbia: Hours, Address, Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden Reviews: 4.5/5

Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden

Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden
4.5
Nature & Wildlife Areas • Zoos • Gardens
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
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.
Suggested duration
More than 3 hours
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4.5
2,895 reviews
Excellent
2,050
Very good
668
Average
142
Poor
23
Terrible
12

L T
3 contributions
Great zoo, not too big, not too small
May 2021
Highly recommend, great activity during COVID since most exhibits are outside. Masks are required, only a few people chose not to follow rules. Great food options and many animal feeding options
Written 3 May 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

emerald515
Dunnellon, FL141 contributions
Worth it for sure!!!
Apr 2021
We had company from out of state and we all enjoyed this Zoo very much. I would definitely go back and take any visitors. It was clean, neat and looked like the animals were very well taken care of.
Written 17 April 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

SeanandLarue
Beaufort, SC346 contributions
Great day at the Zoo...
Apr 2021 • Family
We were on our way back to Beaufort and have never been to the Zoo in Columbia and it was definitely well worth the stop, weather was perfect and loved the walk up to the Botanical Gardens our kids really enjoyed it, they have a great variety of animals to see and just overall a great place. They have a farm area with goats, pigs, ducks and alpacas that you can actually interact with, plenty of places to grab a snack and water, they also have a great carousel. If you are looking for a fun family place and something to spend a nice day doing this is it.
Written 17 April 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

twister2223
Verona, VA10 contributions
Nice trip
Mar 2021
We enjoyed everything. There wasn't much blooming at the Botanical Garden area and trams not going probably due to Covid so I would probably skip that if they are still not operating when you go. It is not as big as Cleveland Ohio Zoo or the Washington DC zoo, but still very nice.
Written 15 April 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

caraCHS
Charleston, SC2 contributions
Complete lack of enforcement of Covid precautions
Mar 2021
I grew up visiting this zoo and have been looking forward to taking my children here. However, at our recent visit, I was appalled at the lack of enforcement of covid restrictions. While the website and signs state that masks are required both inside and outside if physical distancing is not possible, only about 1/3 of people were wearing masks, even in crowded areas and inside when lingering for long periods of time (like when in the gorilla viewing area). I asked a few employees and they stated that though there is a mask ordinance, they could not enforce it. I did not see any other safety precautions or wiping down of surfaces, even at the outdoor restaurants. I was really surprised at this given the required time entries and many signs purporting to enforce mask requirements. My kids enjoyed the zoo (although now it seems that many things that used to be free now require extra payment) but the lack of masks ruined my trip and I truly felt unsafe.
Written 1 April 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Jim W.
Atlanta, GA682 contributions
A decent zoo given the size of Columbia
Mar 2021
First, I'll stat that I was more interested in a relatively short couple's visit to the Botanical Garden than a longer joint visit to the zoo also. However, they offer you an all-or-nothing proposition.

You can apparently park at either the zoo-end or the garden end. We parked at the garden and there were plenty of spaces available. We entered around 1:30 p.m. on a Thursday. There were not a lot of people in the botanical garden, honestly. There were a few couples and some parents with kids. We visited in the off season (March) when there were a few blooms, but not a lot. It was okay.

We then opted to hike to the zoo to get our money's worth. In non-Covid times, there is apparently a tram. Sadly, it was not running when we visited. Instead, there was a 1/2-mile hike between venues. Down a significant hill. We eventually made it to the zoo. The exhibits were pretty good, given the size of the city. They had a carousel, seals, lions, tigers, apes, etc. It was more geared towards those with kids, but it was okay.

I don't think I'd return without some kids in tow, but this is a decent venue for first-time visitors to Columbia.
Written 31 March 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Taylore Kay
Lyndhurst, OH3 contributions
Nice zoo!
Mar 2021 • Friends
I’m lucky enough to have Cleveland Zoo as my home zoo, so I compare everything to that. I thought this zoo was nice and clean and definitely family oriented. The gardens were beautiful, I wish I was able to catch it while everything was in bloom. I do think admission price is a little steep, especially since there are things within the zoo that cost additional money, such as handing some food to giraffes. Overall a nice experience though!
Written 22 March 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Beccag8h
Alamogordo, NM1 contribution
Go at your own risk
Mar 2021
This is a great zoo and in the past I would rate it a 4. BUT given the current Covid situation it’s a 1 due to over crowding, lack of safety measures and the number of unmasked people.
We use to live in the area loved the Riverbanks so much that we were members. Since we have moved and were back in the area for a visit. We thought with the beautiful weather the zoo would be a great activity for the family. Well apparently us and everyone else in SC! We attend on a Friday afternoon after I went online to get a timed entry tickets for my family of 4. There were suppose to be limited number of entrees due to covid however it seemed even busier than pre Covid days. It says mask are required to enter and must be worn when indoors like restrooms and indoor exhibits as well as when you are outdoors and you can not safely maintain 6ft of social distancing, which is impossible with the number of people they are letting into the zoo with “limited capacity”. There were also no other extra safety measures in place. Try wiping down/sanitizing high traffic touch areas every once in awhile! The observation glasses were so gross, smudged with kids faces and finger prints all over. We’ve been to a handful of public places (Playgrounds, Water Parks, Busch Gardens, Sesame Street Place, National Zoo) and have felt safe with mask regulations and the extra safety precautions they take. This was the first time we felt like we might catch covid. So be forewarned on that front.
Anyway, if you are fine rolling the dice (no mask, large crowds and lack of disinfecting) by all means it’s a solid 3! Pros: Great animals. Good size with out being too big. Great indoor exhibits. Usually very clean zoo. Good value if you are a member. Cons: It is pretty expensive! That if you are going to go more than 2 times it’s to your benefit to get a membership. Everything like the carousel, rock climbing, train, feeding the birds, giraffes, ropes course, is all an extra fee to now include parking and the goat petting/farm which both use to be free.
Written 13 March 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Trek-Always
Alpharetta, GA2,412 contributions
Very Kid Oriented
Feb 2021
We did not go to the zoo -- only the botanical garden. If is clean and well maintained. Not as large as we expected. Very kid oriented.

Overall, after visiting gardens as often as we can, we were really disappointed.

Zoo might be great but the garden was not.

If this review is helpful then please indicate so below.
Written 9 March 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

MomFamily2
1 contribution
Signs Say Mask Required but Nothing Enforced
Feb 2021 • Family
It says mask required but no one is enforcing it. It gets very crowded with many who are not wearing their mask and no social distancing. We couldn’t even do the indoor stuff because there were so many unmasked people.
Written 2 March 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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