Family Programs

We want your children to grow up WILD with Riverbanks Zoo. Family Programs are special opportunities for families to learn more about the world of Riverbanks. Age-specific programs are offered to all groups from the very young to adults!

Favorite Education Program

Registration Policy:

  • Pre-registration is required for all activities. Available programs may be registered for via the eTickets Store. NO REGISTRATIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED BY PHONE.
  • Register early. Space is limited for all activities.
  • Upon receipt of your registration, a confirmation will be sent when you are placed in the activity. If an activity is filled, your payment will be refunded.
  • Cancellations and refunds: Written cancellations must be received at least two weeks before the scheduled program date in order to receive a refund or to reschedule your reservation. No refunds will be issued for cancellations made less than two weeks before the program date. Refunds will be given if the program needs to be cancelled by Riverbanks due to weather, low enrollment, etc.

For more information on Family Programs, call 803.602.0803 or e-mail education@riverbanks.org.

NEW Kids Programs at Waterfall Junction

Weekday activities geared for ages 2 to 10.

Cost: Free with a Riverbanks membership or paid admission.

Available Programs:

Mudpie Mondays — 10:00–11:00am

Remember the days of playing in the mud and making the most of delicious mudpies ever? Join us on Mondays to make a muddy mess! We provide the tools and the mud; you create the masterpiece.

Tree Top Tales Tuesdays — 11:00am

Ever get lost in the clouds reading a good book? Join us every Tuesday in the treehouses to go on an exciting reading adventure.

Wacky Wednesdays — all day

Things get a bit wacky at the Garden on Wednesday. Go on a scavenger hunt around Waterfall Junction to find the 12 items that just don’t look quite right. Pick up and return your marker and guide from the gate attendant.

Tantalizing Taste Bud Thursday — 2:00pm

From our garden to our table, learn how to grow, harvest and prepare some favorite foods.

Fossil Fridays — 11:00am–12:00pm

Trees, tyrannosaurus and trilobites … Oh My! Step back in time and learn about the flora and fauna that once inhabited the Earth. Fossils can tell us more than we could have ever known.

Learning on the Lawn — daily at 1:00pm

Join us each day to learn a new activity, game or skill.

Discovery Day Classes (ages 2–5 with an adult)

Young explorers and parents: Get ready to discover exciting things about nature! Each class is a learning adventure designed to teach your youngster new concepts that are appropriate for young minds. Classes are a combination of story time, songs, games, hands-on activities, animal encounters (when available) and crafts.

Cost: $6 for one child (with one adult) per class. Note: If you are not a Riverbanks member, a general admission ticket will also be required.

Location: Farm Classroom.

Scheduled Dates and Times:

September 2016

Wednesday, September 7

Lazy Lizards
@ 9:45am (ages 2–5)
One lizard, two lizards, red lizards, blue lizards! The world is full of fascinating lizards! Wiggle on over to learn all about them!

Tuesday, September 13

Lazy Lizards
@ 9:45am (ages 2–5)
One lizard, two lizards, red lizards, blue lizards! The world is full of fascinating lizards! Wiggle on over to learn all about them!

Wednesday, September 21

Tremendous Turtles
@ 9:45am (ages 2–5)
They might move slow, but they are nothing like a rock. Take a stroll to the zoo to learn all about our shelled friends.

Tuesday, September 27

Tremendous Turtles
@ 9:45am (ages 2–5)
They might move slow, but they are nothing like a rock. Take a stroll to the zoo to learn all about our shelled friends.

October 2016

Tuesday, October 11

Happy Hippos
@ 9:45am (ages 2–5)
Swim, float, and chomp! The lifestyle of hippos is fascinating. Come on over to soak up all there is to know about these grey giants.

Tuesday, October 18

Chasing Cheetahs
@ 9:45am (ages 2–5)
How fast can you run? As the fastest land animal in the world, these cats are truly amazing. Come learn more about this speedy feline!

November 2016

Tuesday, November 8

Gentle Guinea Pigs
@ 9:45am (ages 2–5)
Squeeeeekkk! Guinea pigs love to talk, and we love to talk about them! Come learn all about these adorable, furry friends!

Tuesday, November 29

Bouncy Bunnies
@ 9:45am (ages 2–5)
Hop on over to learn about rabbits, both wild and those who live at the Zoo!

December 2016

Tuesday, December 13

Observant Owls
@ 9:45am (ages 2–5)
Who Whoooo wants to visit the Zoo? Bring your little night owls to come learn about ours!

Family Fun in the Garden (ages 3–10 with an adult)

Join us for a variety of family activities at Waterfall Junction! The topics and activities vary, but each program is sure to delight and entertain while fostering a love of nature.

Cost: $10 per participant. Tickets required for both child and adult. Note: If you are not a Riverbanks member, a general admission ticket will also be required.

Location: Waterfall Junction Learning Center at Riverbanks Botanical Garden

Scheduled Dates and Times:

We currently do not have any events or programs scheduled. Please check back later.

Nature Adventures

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. Note: If you are not a Riverbanks member, a general admission ticket will also be required to Riverbanks Zoo on Zoo days.

Scheduled Dates and Times:

We currently do not have any events or programs scheduled. Please check back later.

Parents’ Night Out (ages 4–11)

Plan a night out on the town while your kids enjoy a fun-filled and educational evening full of adventure at Riverbanks Zoo under the care of Zoo staff and ZooTeen volunteers. Supervised activities will include games, crafts, animal encounters, a kid friendly movie with popcorn and a pizza dinner.

Download the Parents’ Night Out flyer. (PDF)

Cost per child: $20 Zoo members / $25 non-members. Dinner included (one slice of pizza, cookie and drink.) Reservations should be made online and will close one week prior to the program. No child will be admitted without a pre-paid ticket. All sales are final and non-refundable.

Drop Off: 6:00–6:30pm.

Pick Up: 9:00–9:30pm.

Late Pick Up Fee: There will be a late pick up charge of $10 for every five minutes you are late picking up your child after 9:30pm.

Restrictions: Children must be fully potty trained.

Scheduled Dates and Times:

We currently do not have any events or programs scheduled. Please check back later.

Family on Safari—Overnight (ages 5 and up)

Looking for a fun and exciting adventure for the whole family? Join us for Family on Safari themed events! On select nights, participants will enjoy dinner at the Zoo followed by an exciting program featuring animal encounters, behind-the-scenes tours, crafts and more! Settle down in our Discovery Center for the night, then wake up to a continental breakfast and a Zoo visit the following day!

NOTE FOR ALL FAMILY ON SAFARI PROGRAMS: Children may not be left unattended. Individuals must be accompanied by an adult. A minimum of 15 individual registered participants is required to conduct all Family on Safari programs as scheduled.

Scheduled Dates and Times:

September 2016

Saturday, September 24

Fall Fest
@ 6:00pm until 9:00am the next day (ages 5–adult ONLY)
There is a change in the air! Now that summer has come to an end, we are celebrating the arrival of fall! Join us for a fun-filled evening all about autumn. Admission for the park on the day following the event is included in ticket price. Dinner, snack and breakfast are also included.
Cost: $45 per person

Twilight Trek—Evening Only Program (ages 4 and up)

Looking for an engaging after-hours adventure for the family? Join us for Twilight Trek themed events! On select nights, participants will enjoy dinner at the Zoo, followed by an exciting program full of animal encounters, crafts and more!

NOTE FOR ALL TWILIGHT TREK PROGRAMS: Children may not be left unattended. Individuals must be accompanied by a ticket holding adult. A minimum of 15 registered participants is required to conduct all Twilight Trek programs as scheduled.

Scheduled Dates and Times:

October 2016

Friday, October 21

Spooktacular
@ 6:00–10:30pm (ages 4–adult ONLY)
Do you find nighttime scary or spooktacular? Many animals prefer the night shift to the day shift. Come in costume and explore the many benefits to being out after dark. Dinner, admission to Boo at the Zoo, keeper-led tours and snack are included.
Cost: $30 per person

November 2016

Saturday, November 19

Winter Wonderland
@ 5:00–10:00pm (ages 4–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 an evening filled with winter thrills as we explore the many wonderful ways animals survive the coldest time of the year. Dinner, admission to Lights Before Christmas, keeper-led tours and snack are included.
Cost: $30 per person

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