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 803.602.0887 or e-mail ldaly@riverbanks.org.

Toddler Tales

Bring your toddler on Thursday for this age-appropriate program that includes stories, songs, and an adventure at the Zoo. Toddler Tales is a family program and not open to daycare or school groups. For a listing of educational programs for pre-K to grade 12, please visit our School Programs page.

Cost: Free with a Riverbanks membership or paid admission.

Location: Please check the front gate for program location.

Availability: Toddler Tales will resume this fall on Thursday, September 4. These 15-minute explorations will be held every Thursday starting at 11:00am and will focus on a new topic every week.

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 (across from the Farm).

Scheduled Dates and Times:

December 2014

Tuesday, December 2

Panda Party
@ 10:45am (ages 2–5 with an adult)
Pandas may just be the life of the party! But what do they eat? Where do they live? Let’s find out together.

Wednesday, December 3

Panda Party
@ 10:45am (ages 2–5 with an adult)
Pandas may just be the life of the party! But what do they eat? Where do they live? Let’s find out together.

Tuesday, December 9

Cuddly Koalas
@ 10:45am (ages 2–5 with an adult)
Not many animals look as cuddly as a koala. Are they bears? Or something else? Come on over, mate, as we explore this adorable Australian friend.

Wednesday, December 10

Cuddly Koalas
@ 10:45am (ages 2–5 with an adult)
Not many animals look as cuddly as a koala. Are they bears? Or something else? Come on over, mate, as we explore this adorable Australian friend.

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:

February 2015

Saturday, February 21

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.

March 2015

Saturday, March 21

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.

April 2015

Saturday, April 18

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.

May 2015

Saturday, May 23

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.

June 2015

Saturday, June 20

Riverbanks Zoo
@ 10:30am
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.

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:

February 2015

Saturday, February 14

Be Our Valentine
@ 6:00–9:30pm (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.

May 2015

Saturday, May 9

Celebrate Mom
@ 6:00–9:30pm (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.

June 2015

Saturday, June 20

Summer Splash
@ 6:00–9:30pm (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.

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.

Pony Classes

Meet our Shetland ponies up-close and personal! Sure to be an unforgettable experience for young pony lovers. Parent participation is required.

Scheduled Dates and Times:

December 2014

Saturday, December 6

Pony Pals
@ 11:00am (ages 2–5)
Children have a chance to learn all about the ponies at the Zoo through this fun, classroom-based class. Participants will get to explore stations, crafts, and even get to feed ponies a treat at the end of the program.
Cost: $10 per parent-child pair (plus admission for general public.)

Friday, December 19

Ponies 101
@ 9:00am (ages 6–11)
Children will experience what it takes to get Riverbanks’ ponies ready for a day of riding. Learn how to measure, groom and tack the Zoo’s gentle ponies during this fun-filled class. Then, to make sure the ponies are ready for the day, participants will get to go for a pony ride around the trail!
Cost: $18 per parent-child pair (plus admission for general public.)

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