Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is home to more than 2,000 magnificent and fascinating animals and one of the nation’s most beautiful and inspiring botanical gardens. It is the mission of Riverbanks to foster appreciation and concern for all living things.
Riverbanks Zoo first opened its gates to the local community on April 25, 1974, and has continued over four decades to provide individuals, families and groups with a common place to connect with and learn about the world’s wildlife and wild places. Today Riverbanks is one of the largest mid-sized zoos in the United States and South Carolina’s leading destination attraction, boasting a national reputation as one of America’s best zoos and drawing one million visitors annually.
In June 1995 Riverbanks Botanical Garden opened to the public. The extraordinary garden blooms year-round with its more than 4,300 species of native and exotic plants and provides a living classroom for gardeners and non-gardeners alike. The formal Walled Garden offers a picture-perfect location for weddings and special events. One of Riverbanks’ newest attractions, Waterfall Junction, opened April 7, 2016. The 3-acre interactive children’s garden within the Botanical Garden inspires exploration, imagination and nature play with tree houses, a dinosaur bone dig, splash zone and plenty of room to roam.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1973, Riverbanks is also the site of structural remains dating back to the early 1800s with South Carolina’s textile industry and the Civil War. Historic ruins can be seen from various locations along the footbridge linking the Zoo and Garden as well as along the Woodlands Walk nature trail.