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Do Your Black Friday Shopping at a Real Zoo…

For Immediate Release: November 22, 2011

[Columbia, SC] — The mall will be a zoo, so why not shop at a real zoo on Black Friday? From family memberships to eco-friendly products, Riverbanks Zoo and Garden offers several unique gift-giving ideas that also give back for the holiday season.

Family Membership

Wild adventures begin with a membership to Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. Join the pack and receive free admission to the Zoo and Garden every day for an entire year, guest passes, discounts and a whole lot more. Plus, your membership contribution helps support Riverbanks’ education and conservation programs, helping to make your Zoo and Garden a world-class facility. Gifts of membership may be purchased online at or at any guest services window.

Tribute Bricks

Looking for a timeless, heartfelt gift for someone wild about the Zoo? Engraved tribute bricks not only serve as a permanent celebration of friends and family, but they also provide building blocks for the future, helping to make Riverbanks Zoo a better place for the animals, our children and our community. Tribute bricks are available for a tax-deductible contribution of $100. If you order by December 31, the brick will be installed by the end of February 2012. The purchaser will immediately receive a certificate of engraving as a stocking stuffer, and a certificate of installation identifying the brick’s location will be mailed when the brick is installed.

Wild Parent Animal Sponsorship

Wild about wildlife? Sponsor an animal at the Zoo. Your sponsorship as a Wild Parent will help provide care to one of your favorite animals and support the preservation of its species. Sponsorship is tax-deductible and renewable every year. Wild Parents receive an official sponsorship certificate, fact sheet with color picture and refrigerator magnet. Higher levels of sponsorship include a car magnet, adorable plush animal and certificate for a behind-the-scenes Adventure Tour. Order Wild Parent gifts online by noon, December 16, to ensure delivery before Christmas.


Get a load of this…Riverbanks comPOOst is the perfect gift for any gardener! ComPOOst is an all-natural composted zoo poo effortlessly produced by some of Riverbanks’ most popular residents. ComPOOst is sold at Riverbanks in pint-size and two-gallon containers; or to really pile it on, it may also be purchased by the truck load (but you must call ahead to schedule a pick up). Proceeds support the Zoo’s ongoing conservation efforts.

Behind-the-Scenes Adventure Tours

Experience Riverbanks Zoo through the eyes of the animal care staff. Walk on the "wild side” as you get an inside look at some out-of-sight places. Encounter animals up close, explore behind the scenes and meet experienced keepers. Adventure Tours allow participants to marvel at the unique challenges of animal care and the amazing efforts that go into creating and sustaining a world-class zoo.

To learn more about these and other gift ideas, visit or call 803.779.8717. Guests visiting the Zoo will also want to stop by Elephant’s Trunk Gift Shop for an assortment of animal-themed toys and Riverbanks clothing.

Want to "zoo” more? Get into the holiday spirit with a visit to Riverbanks Zoo and Garden’s Lights Before Christmas. The Midlands family tradition—now in its 24th year—is presented by First Citizens Bank and features nearly one-million twinkling lights. Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for children if purchased in advance at the Zoo’s ticket window or online at Ticket prices increase $2 at the gate after 5:00pm. Lights will be closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.