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  • Lights Before Christmas

    November 21–December 30 — Don’t miss the Midlands’ most popular holiday tradition! Tickets are on sale now. All Zoo members enjoy a free visit.

    Tickets
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  • Shared Holiday Party Night at Lights

    Dec 18, 6-9pm, Ndoki Lodge - Join us for our all-new shared Holiday Party Night at Lights. Perfect for small groups of friends, family members or small companies!

    Tickets
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  • Zoo Book Makes Great Gift

    Riverbanks Zoo and Garden: Forty Wild Years is sure to be a favorite for family and friends near and far. On sale now at the Zoo’s main gift shop. Zoo members get 10% off!

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  • Winter Zoo Camp

    December 29–31—Campers ages 5 to 10 will enjoy up-close encounters, behind-the-scenes tours, zoo walks, games, crafts and more! Limited space available. Register today.

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  • Spreading Our Wings

    Over the next 2 years, the landscape at Riverbanks will vastly change as a result of a $36 million dollar expansion. Stay up-to-date on how your Zoo’s future is shaping up!

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Please Note

TEMPORARY AQUARIUM DIVE CANCELLATION :

The 12:30pm Aquarium dive presentation will not take place November 17-27 due to exciting upgrades taking place in the Aquarium-Reptile Complex. Please be sure to check out our other scheduled animal presentations each day.

Upcoming Events & Programs

Friday, November 21

Both boys and girls are invited to get creative with our newest holiday scout program—Crafty Critters Winter Workshop is a fun-filled evening of creative crafts, animal encounters and activities that will earn credits towards your badge requirements and journeys! Discover how “crafty” animals can be as they prepare for the winter months ahead. Will they hunker down in their hometown habitat for the holidays or head south from their summer homes for warmer weather? This Craft-A-Paloo-ZOO will begin with a brief presentation on wildlife in winter and then let your creativity run wild, crafting critters and other fun things! This exciting evening will wrap up with a Holiday Light Hike, where you will enjoy Riverbanks’ Lights Before Christmas**! On your self-guided hike, you will see some of Riverbanks’ most loved residents as colorful animated images, watch it snow, roast marshmallows and sip hot cocoa at the Jingle Bell Bonfire!

*Girl Scouts: Please plan to participate and bring a Christmas Critter themed S.W.A.P.s to exchange with your fellow Girl Scouts. **Admission to Lights Before Christmas is included in the program fee.

Program and activities will work towards Cub Scout, Girl Scout badge requirements and troop work for all levels that may include, but are not limited to: Daisy- 3 Cheers for Animals: Brownie- Try Its: Animals and Watching Wildlife, Eco-Explorer Badge. Junior: Earth Connections Badge and Amuse: Animals Habitats Badge, Cub Scouts: Tigers - Elective #42, Wolves- Achievement #10, Bears Achievement #5, 5, 5d, 5G. Webelos- Naturalist Badge #4, etc.

Cost: $22 per Scout/Child (Ages: 5–13) / $10 per Adult.
Registration ClosedScout Programs

Lights Before Christmas
@ 5:00–9:00pm
Experience Columbia’s longest running holiday tradition—the 27th annual Lights Before Christmas at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. The Zoo will light up each evening with more than one million twinkling lights and countless animated images representing some of Riverbanks’ most loveable residents. Guests can roast marshmallows at the jingle bell bonfire, visit with Santa and enjoy the festive sounds of the Music in Motion lights spectacular. Riverbanks is also the only place in town where it snows every night!
Cost: $10 Adults / $8 Children ages 2–12.
All Riverbanks members receive one free visit.

Celebrate the season with a sleepover at the Zoo! Meet a few of our animal friends up-close, sneak a peek behind-the-scenes with animal staff and experience the sights and sounds of Lights Before Christmas at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. Your overnight adventure will also include a marshmallow roast and free zoo admission the following day. Cost: $50 per person. Groups must have a minimum of 25 participants and a maximum of 50. Available dates are limited so register early by calling 803.602.0803.

Saturday, November 22

Lights Before Christmas
@ 5:00–9:00pm
Experience Columbia’s longest running holiday tradition—the 27th annual Lights Before Christmas at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. The Zoo will light up each evening with more than one million twinkling lights and countless animated images representing some of Riverbanks’ most loveable residents. Guests can roast marshmallows at the jingle bell bonfire, visit with Santa and enjoy the festive sounds of the Music in Motion lights spectacular. Riverbanks is also the only place in town where it snows every night!
Cost: $10 Adults / $8 Children ages 2–12.
All Riverbanks members receive one free visit.

Celebrate the season with a sleepover at the Zoo! Meet a few of our animal friends up-close, sneak a peek behind-the-scenes with animal staff and experience the sights and sounds of Lights Before Christmas at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. Your overnight adventure will also include a marshmallow roast and free zoo admission the following day. Cost: $50 per person. Groups must have a minimum of 25 participants and a maximum of 50. Available dates are limited so register early by calling 803.602.0803.

A facilitated, outdoor exploration with Riverbanks staff. Participating families will be loaned a backpack at the site of the Nature Adventure session and receive instructions on how to use the tools and resources contained inside. By using the field guides, magnifying glasses, collection jars and cameras in the backpacks, families can work together to discover new things and learn about our environment. Everyone will reconvene at a specified time to discuss their discoveries and what they learned. No one is an expert naturally; the joy comes in learning and discovering nature together in a safe environment.
Cost: $10 per family per session (plus the cost of admission to Riverbanks Zoo on Zoo days.)
Registration ClosedFamily Programs

Family on Safari: Winter Wonderland Event
@ 6:00pm until 9:00am the next day (ages 5–adult ONLY)
A chill is in the air! Get ready to be festive and full of cheer during this evening devoted to winter! Join us for a night filled with winter thrills! Dinner, admission to Lights Before Christmas, snack and breakfast are included.
Cost: $48 per person
Registration ClosedFamily Programs

Connect @

Our Partners:
Lights Before Christmas
Nov 21 – Dec 30 @ 5:00–9:00pm
**CLOSED NOV 27, DEC 24 AND 25**
$10 Adults / $8 Children ages 2–12.
All Riverbanks members receive one free visit.
Learn more.
500 Wildlife Parkway • Columbia, SC 29210 • 803.779.8717
(c)Riverbanks Zoo and Garden