Animal Enrichment at Riverbanks

Spot, sniff, poke, pounce… Enrichment encompasses a variety of items or activities designed to encourage the natural behaviors of animals under our care. Objects with hidden food, sounds and/or scents compel the animals to explore with their senses and natural instincts, while benefiting from important physical and mental stimulation that enhances their health and well being.

Video : Animal Enrichment at Riverbanks

Upcoming Animal Enrichment Events & Programs

April 2014

Saturday, April 26

Party for the Planet
@ 9:00am–3:00pm
Come out to Riverbanks, as we gear up for Earth Day with a Party for the Planet! This fun-filled celebration will give guests a closer look at ways they can make a positive impact on the environment. Party-goers can engage in interactive and exciting educational activities.
All activities are free with paid admission or membership.

May 2014

Saturday, May 17

Endangered Species Day
@ 9:00am–3:00pm
Join Riverbanks as we celebrate and take an in-depth look at conservation projects happening here in South Carolina and across the world to help save some of the rare species that call Riverbanks home.
All activities are free with paid admission or membership.

June 2014

Saturday, June 28

World Oceans Day
@ 9:00am–3:00pm
Dive in to the fun and fascinating world under the sea while learning how our actions impact waterways.
All activities are free with paid admission or membership.

September 2014

Saturday, September 20

Animal Enrichment Day
@ 10:00am–4:30pm
Save the date for Riverbanks’ annual Animal Enrichment Day. Enrichment day gives guests an opportunity to watch wildlife in action as our animals sniff, stomp, pounce and play with tempting treats designed to stimulate their minds and bodies and enhance their overall well-being. Additional details to follow closer to the event date.
All activities are free with paid admission or membership.

View a complete listing of what’s happening at Riverbanks.

How We Enrich the Animals

Search, dig, forage, devour… The animals at Riverbanks can investigate their surroundings every day with various enrichment items and activities provided by the animal care staff. Here are a few examples:

  • Parrots and monkeys are invited to figure out puzzle feeders.
  • Meerkats and monitor lizards can exercise their hunting instincts in the presence of live jumbo cockroaches.
  • Lemurs are offered edible flowers as a new food choice.
  • Lions can sniff around in search of “Zoo doo.”
  • Papier-mâché prey promotes the tackling skills of hornbills and tigers.

The examples above are just a snapshot of the countless ways Riverbanks keepers strive to enrich all of the animals and engage them each day.

Where to Find Enrichment at the Zoo

Everywhere! But look closely because it’s not always easy to see in the animals’ naturalistic exhibits. To help build awareness, the Zoo hosts a special Enrichment Day every September as well as a variety of other planned enrichment encounters throughout the year where guests can learn about the importance of enrichment while watching wildlife in action. Check the calendar for upcoming enrichment events.

How to Get Involved

  • Volunteer — Whether educating visitors or creating enrichment items, Riverbanks volunteers make a big difference! Learn more.
  • Intern — Learn what it takes to be a keeper—and build your resume! Learn more.
  • Donate — Contributions to the Enrichment Fund help pay for much-needed supplies that help keep the animals engaged in their environments. Make a donation today.
  • Discover — Attend Enrichment Day and other Enrichment Encounters. View calendar.
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