School Programs

Whether you teach preschool or high school, we have a school program to fit your needs. All programs are carefully crafted around South Carolina Science Academic Standards and are developed to involve your students in active, student centered learning.

Registration Policy:

  • Programs may be reserved in advance online via our School Programs Request for Information form or by calling the Education Department at 803.602.0803 Monday through Friday between 9:00am and 4:30pm.
  • Don’t see something that meets your needs? We will create custom programs for your group. Requests must be made at least 30 days in advance. A nominal development fee will be charged.

If you have any questions, please email or call 803.602.0803.

Classroom Style

Cost: A program fee of $55.00 is charged for each program reserved.

Capacity: Each classroom can hold up to 25 students, plus 2 additional adults (teachers and/or chaperones).

Time: 45 minutes.

Available Programs:

On the Move (Preschool–Kindergarten)

Can you swim like a fish? Slither like a snake? Swing like a siamang? Students will explore animal movement as they hop, crawl and wiggle their way through a story, song and activities.

SC Early Learning Standards: AL-5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4; ELA-1.2, 3.6; M-1.5; PD-1.1, 2.2
Kindergarten Science Standards: K.L.2A.3, K.L.2A.6

Critter Café (Preschool–Kindergarten)

Eating healthy is important. Have a crazy day at the Critter Café as we learn about what the animals like to eat. Program includes a story and activities.

SC Early Learning Standards: AL-5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4; ELA-1.2, 3.6; M-1.5; PD-1.1, 2.2
Kindergarten Science Standards: K.L.2A.3, K.L.2A.6

Sense-ational Safari (Kindergarten–Grade 1)

As you listen, feel, smell and see your way through this class you will be amazed how your senses help you discover the world around you. True for our animals as well, learn how some animals taste with their feet or smell with their tongue, in a Sense-ational Safari.

Kindergarten Science Standards: K.S.1A.1, K.S.1A.4, K.S.1A.4, K.L.2A.4, K.P.4A.1, K.P.4A.2
1st Grade Science Standards: 1.S.1A.1, 1.S.1A.4

Wild about Weather (Kindergarten–Grade 2)

Whether you like it or not the weather affects us every day. This means a change in dress and a change in the ways that animals and plants behave. Explore the adjustments that are made each season by living things as the weather changes.

Kindergarten Science Standards: K.L.2A.1, K.L.2A.5, K.L.2A.6, K.E.3A.1-4
1st Grade Science Standards: 1.L.5B.3
2nd Grade Science Standards: 2.E.2A.1, 2.E.2A.2, 2.L.5B.3

Bringing Up Baby (Kindergarten–Grade 2)

From egg to adult organisms change as they grow. Experience the journey of life as students learn about the growth and development of plants and animals.

Kindergarten Science Standards: K.L.2A.1, K.L.2A.5
1st Grade Science Standards: 1.L.5A.2
2nd Grade Science Standards: 2.L.5A.1, 2.L.5A.3

Amazing Africa (Grades 1–3)

Get swept up in wild Africa! This safari adventure winds through grassy plains of the Serengeti, into tropical rainforests of the Congo, and along sandy desert paths of the Sahara. Discover how amazing animals survive in this world within the world.

1st Grade Science Standards: 1.E.4A.2, 1.L.5B.1, 1.L.5B.2
2nd Grade Science Standards: 2.L.5A.2, 2.L.5B.2
3rd Grade Science Standards: 3.L.5A.1

Circle of Life (Grades 2–3)

Food fight! Animals must eat to live. Figure out who is eating who and find out where all that energy goes. Dig into the food web through biofact exploration and live animal encounters. Follow an animal’s journey from beginning to end in the circle of life.

2nd Grade Science Standards: 2.L.5B.1, 2.L.5B.3
3rd Grade Science Standards: 3.L.5A.2

Critter Classification (Grades 2–4)

Tish Rabe’s book for Dr. Seuss asks, “Is a Camel a Mammal?” We have the answer. Whether it has fins, fur or feathers, you can tell a lot about a critter by its covering. You will discover that all these animals have class.

2nd Grade Science Standards: 2.L.5A.1, 2.L.5A.2, 2.L.5A.3
4th Grade Science Standards: 4.L5.A.1, 4.L5.A.3

I Can Adapt to That (Grades 2–4)

Outplay, outwit, outlast; for animals, survival is not just a game. Animals depend on their adaptations to survive. Some get skills by their own wits and some get them from their parents. Distinguish inherited from acquired adaptations as we learn how animals survive in some of the world's harshest places.

2nd Grade Science Standards: 2.L.5A.2, 2.L.5B.2, 2.L.5B.3
3rd Grade Science Standards: 3.L.5A.1, 3.L.5B.2
4th Grade Science Standards: 4.L.5A.4, 4.L.5B.1, 4.L.5B.3

Home Sweet Biome (Grades 3–5)

Explore the unique ecosystems from the land and water, including aquatic, desert, forest, grasslands and tundra. See what makes each home unique and how plants and animals function within these intriguing homes.

3rd Grade Science Standards: 3.L.5A.1, 3.L.5A.2
4th Grade Science Standards: 4.L.5B.3
5th Grade Science Standards: 5.L.4A.1, 5.L.4A.2, 5.L.4B.1, 5.L.4B.2, 5.L.4B.3

Covering Carolina (Grades 3–5)

What is it about South Carolina that makes it so special? How about the fact that it has 5 distinct regions, each with its own ecosystem and wildlife. We will travel from the mountains to the sea in this interactive class to truly understand how this amazing state functions.

3rd Grade Science Standards: 3.L.5A.1, 3.L.5A.2, 3.L.5B.1, 3.E.4B.2
4th Grade Science Standards: 4.L.5B.3
5th Grade Science Standards: 5.L.4A.1, 5.E.3B.2, 5.E.3B.4

3rd Grade SC Social Studies Standards: 3-1.1, 3-1.2, 3-1.3

CSI: Coat and Skull Investigation (Grades 4–6)

Follow the clues to solve a wild crime! Try your hand at forensic science to observe and categorize evidence about animals. Interactive scientific skill stations and animal encounters can help you provide wild justice.

4th Grade Science Standards: 4.L5.A.1, 4.L5.B.3
5th Grade Science Standards: 5.L.4B.1, 5.L.4B.3
6th Grade Science Standards: 6.L.4B.1*, 6.L.4B.2

* Indicates partial completion of standard

Assembly Style

Cost: A program fee of $55.00 is charged for every 25 students or part there of.

Capacity: Theater can hold up to 100 students, plus 10 additional adults (teachers and/or chaperones).

Time: 50 minutes.

Available Programs:

Growing Up Wild (Kindergarten–Grade 2)

The animal kingdom is full of working parents and wild children. Sound like your house? Some animal parents stick around, while others lay eggs and then leave town. Investigate the cycle of life and the parents who make it possible.

Kindergarten Science Standards: K.L.2A.1, K.L.2A.5
1st Grade Science Standards: 1.L.5A.2
2nd Grade Science Standards: 2.L.5A.1, 2.L.5A.3

Feet, Feathers, Fins and Fur (Grades 2–4)

How do animals survive in their habitat without all the ease of modern technology? By using their built in skills of course! Uncover what abilities are learned and inherited through this exploration of physical and behavioral adaptations.

2nd Grade Science Standards: 2.L.5A.2, 2.L.5B.2, 2.L.5B.3
3rd Grade Science Standards: 3.L.5A.1, 3.L.5B.2
4th Grade Science Standards: 4.L.5A.4, 4.L.5B.1, 4.L.5B.3

Chain Reaction (Grades 3–5) NEW!

From the birds of the forest to the fish in the sea, living things in every habitat need energy to live and grow. Where does the energy come from? Follow the food chain to find out! See how important each and every animal is to its ecosystem as we uncover the complexities of food webs in a variety of environments.

3rd Grade Science Standards: 3.L.5A.1, 3.L.5A.2
4th Grade Science Standards: 4.L.5B.3
5th Grade Science Standards: 5.L.4A.1, 5.L.4B.1, 5.L.4B.2, 5.L.4B.3

It’s Taxing (Grade 6)

Classification can be taxing, but we can help! King Phillip keeps it all straight. Learn how each group of animals inherited or learned adaptations allow them to be able to meet the requirements needed to live in the natural world. Join us for a little tax-onomy relief.

6th Grade Science Standards: 6.L.4A.1, 6.L.4A.2, 6.L.4B.1, 6.L.4B.5, 6.L.5A.1*

* Indicates partial completion of standard

Tour Style

Cost: A program fee of $55.00 is charged for each program reserved.

Capacity: Tours are for up to 25 students, plus 2 additional adults (teachers and/or chaperones).

Time: 45 minutes.

Available Programs:

Balancing Act (Grades 5–12)

Biotic and abiotic factors create quite a balancing act in ecosystems. Visit forests, marshes, grasslands, and oceans in just 45 minutes. Find out how unique these ecosystems are, how interdependence keeps ecosystems running, and what we can do to help maintain the balancing act.

5th Grade Science Standards: 5.L.4A.1, 5.L.4A.2, 5.L.4B.1, 5.L.4B.2, 5.L.4B.3, 5.L.4B.4
6th Grade Science Standards: 6.L.4B.2, 6.L.4B.3, 6.L.4B.5
7th Grade Science Standards: 7.EC.5A.1, 7.EC.5B.1, 7.EC.5B.4 HS Science Standards: H.B.6A.1, H.B.6C.1

Animal Behaviors 101 (Grades 6–12)

It takes more than good looks to survive in the wild. Animals have to out compete, outwit and out play to survive. Tour the Zoo with us to find out how behaviors help animals survive and what enrichment is all about!

6th Grad Science Standards: 6.L.4B.3, 6.L.4B.4, 6.L.4B.5
7th Grade Science Standards: 7.EC.5A.3, 7.EC.5B.1
HS Science Standards: H.B.5.1, H.B.6A.1*

* Indicates partial completion of standard

Animals Around the World (Grades 6–12)

Around the world in 80 days? Explore the world’s biomes with us in just 45 minutes. Your around-the-world adventure will take you to places like the grasslands of Africa, taiga of Russia and rainforests of Southeast Asia, but get you back in time for lunch.

6th Grade Science Standards: 6.L.4B.1, 6.L.4B.2, 6.L.4B.3, 6.L.4B.5
7th Grade Science Standards: 7.EC.5A.1, 7.EC.5B.1
8th Grade Science Standards: 8.E.6B.1
HS Science Standards: H.B.6.A.1

The List: A Conservation Challenge (Grades 6–12)

Some celebrities make the “A” list; some animals make the “E” list. Making the list is great for celebrities, but not for animals. Tour the Zoo to see animals that have made the list and animals that have made it off the list. Find out what Riverbanks is doing to get animals off the list and to help prevent animals from making the list in the future.

6th Grade Science Standards: 6.L.4B.1*, 6.L.4B.2, 6.L.4B.3
7th Grade Science Standards: 7.EC.5A.1, 7.EC.5A.3, 7.EC.5B.4
8th Grade Science Standards: 8.E.6B.1, 8.E.6B.2
HS Science Standards: H.B.5.1, H.B.5.3, H.B.5.4, H.B.6.A.2, H.B.6D.1*

* Indicates partial completion of standard

Zoo and Garden Careers (Grades 6–12)

Are you interested in photography, art, retail, horticulture or guest services? Believe it or not, the Zoo might be the place for you! Take a tour with us where you'll see that it really takes teamwork and a lot of talented people to run the Zoo.

6th Grade Science Standards: 6.L.4A.1, 6.L.4B.3, 6.L.4B.4, 6.L.4B.5
7th Grade Science Standards: 7.EC.5A.1, 7.EC.5B.1
8th Grade Science Standards: 8.P.3A.6, 8.E.6B.1, 8.E.6B.2
HS Science Standards: H.B.6A.1

Garden Programs for Schools

Cost: A program fee of $55 is charged for each class of 25 students.

Capacity: Garden programs can accommodate any group size. These informal programs are held in the Botanical Garden amphitheater, with participants sitting on the grass.

Available Programs:

Bug Hunt (Preschool–Grade 2)

Children learn the importance and characteristics of insects before going out into the Garden to dig up their own creepy crawly bugs. The group will look for bugs in various habitats discovering the secret world where insects live. The tour ends with an appropriate story.

All Living Things (Preschool–Grade 2)

As plants grow from tiny seedlings to mature plants, they provide many different elements for other living things. Students will learn about plant life cycles and the important relationship of insects and plants. They will also discover the many vital elements plants provide for humans and animals.

Plant Adaptations (Grade 3–6)

Students will see various plants from different habitats that include the desert, wetlands and rainforest. Their explorations will lead them to investigate the different adaptations that are necessary to survive in each habitat.

College-level

If you are interested in college level programs, please contact the Education Department at 803.602.0803.

Customized Teacher Workshops

Teacher workshops are a great way to enhance classroom lessons with Riverbanks resources. Each hands-on workshop will arm you with effective methods of active science instruction, both at the Zoo and in your home classroom. Experience using the Zoo as an educational resource through customized training designed to meet your specific needs.

Days, times and lengths of workshops are arranged to fit with your teaching schedule.

  • Fee: Please call for pricing.
  • Group Size: Minimum number of participants per session is 15; maximum is 30.

For more information, call 803.602.0803 or email.

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