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: Wildlife Classroom.

Scheduled Dates and Times:

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!

Wednesday, December 14

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

January 2017

Friday, January 6

Bear Business
@ 9:45am (ages 2–5)
Bears are so busy! Whether its raising cubs or finding food before the cold winter months, these animals are always on the go. Bears have more in common with us than you think! Explore what a day in the life of a bear is like. We will uncover what they eat, how they deal with the outdoors, and more!

Tuesday, January 10

Bear Business
@ 9:45am (ages 2–5)
Bears are so busy! Whether its raising cubs or finding food before the cold winter months, these animals are always on the go. Bears have more in common with us than you think! Explore what a day in the life of a bear is like. We will uncover what they eat, how they deal with the outdoors, and more!

Friday, January 20

Lounging Lions
@ 9:45am (ages 2–5)
ROAR! Come discover the amazing king of the jungle as we learn all about the mighty lion.

Tuesday, January 24

Lounging Lions
@ 9:45am (ages 2–5)
ROAR! Come discover the amazing king of the jungle as we learn all about the mighty lion.

February 2017

Friday, February 3

Panda Party
@ 9:45am (ages 2–5)
Pandas may just be the life of the party! But what do they eat? Where do they live? Let’s find out together.

Tuesday, February 7

Panda Party
@ 9:45am (ages 2–5)
Pandas may just be the life of the party! But what do they eat? Where do they live? Let’s find out together.

Friday, February 17

Extraordinary Elephants
@ 9:45am (ages 2–5)
Who is that you hear stomping the ground and trumpeting so loud? It must be those extraordinary elephants! These animals are a sight to behold and have so much to share!

Tuesday, February 21

Extraordinary Elephants
@ 9:45am (ages 2–5)
Who is that you hear stomping the ground and trumpeting so loud? It must be those extraordinary elephants! These animals are a sight to behold and have so much to share!

March 2017

Friday, March 3

Slithering Snakes
@ 9:45am (ages 2–5)
Smooth and slinky, snakes are so misunderstood! Why are snakes so important? Slither on over to find out!

Friday, March 24

Groovy Gorillas
@ 9:45am (ages 2–5)
Gorillas are some of the grooviest animals in the world! Join us to discover what they eat, how they communicate and other fun facts.

April 2017

Friday, April 7

Gentle Giraffes
@ 9:45am (ages 2–5)
The tallest animal in the world is nothing but grace and beauty. Take a safari into Africa and discover the amazing ways that giraffes survive in their home.

Friday, April 21

Vulture Voyage
@ 9:45am (ages 2–5)
Are vultures really gross? Or are they actually good at cleaning up? Find out why these birds are so important during this fun-filled program!

May 2017

Friday, May 5

Brilliant Butterflies
@ 9:45am (ages 2–5)
Landing lightly on flowers, these bright insects are truly unique! From their changing bodies to their jobs helping plants, butterflies are brilliant beyond a doubt!

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:

December 2016

Sunday, December 11

Enjoy the season of giving as we host a winter woodland celebration! Join us as we create a “giving tree” for our woodland friends with bird feeders, seed wreaths and more. Participants will play winter games, create a woodland critter craft, listen to The Giving Tree, plus enjoy a special visit from a woodland friend. All ages are welcome, but activities are geared to ages 3 — 10.

Enjoy the season of giving as we host a winter woodland celebration! Join us as we create a “giving tree” for our woodland friends with bird feeders, seed wreaths and more. Participants will play winter games, create a woodland critter craft, listen to The Giving Tree, plus enjoy a special visit from a woodland friend. All ages are welcome, but activities are geared to ages 3 — 10.

February 2017

Saturday, February 11

Fairy and Gnome Tea Party
@ 1:30pm (ages 3–10)
All the little fairies and gnomes are encouraged to join us for tea as we celebrate the magical world in the woods through a craft, games, story and a visit with our fairy friend! All ages welcome.

Fairy and Gnome Tea Party
@ 3:30pm (ages 3–10)
All the little fairies and gnomes are encouraged to join us for tea as we celebrate the magical world in the woods through a craft, games, story and a visit with our fairy friend! All ages welcome.

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:

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

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:

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