Adventure Tours

Experience the Wild Side of the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden 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 exotic animal care and the amazing efforts that go into creating and sustaining a world-class zoo.

Join us for an Adventure Tour today! Please visit the eTicket store for tour schedules.

Patron and Gold-level Members: Please call 803.602.0803 to redeem your two free Adventure Tour tickets and schedule your tour.

Adventure Tour Topics

Adventure Tour — Big Cats

That isn't a house cat staring back at you! Join us to meet one of our big cats whisker to face. Marvel at their size and strength and learn what it takes to keep these large predators healthy. It is the PURRRfect way to spend an afternoon! This one-hour tour also includes other animal areas and plenty of photo opportunities. Space is limited to 12 participants.

  • Recommended for adults and children age 8 and up.
  • Infants are NOT allowed on behind-the-scenes tours.
  • All children under the age of 18, must be accompanied by a ticket holding adult.

$22 members / $27 general public (per person)

Register for Tour

Adventure Tour — Elephant

An elephant never forgets. Tour with us behind the scenes—in the elephant barn—to meet the largest animals in the Zoo! Watch a training session to see just how much an elephant can remember. This 1-hour tour also includes other animal areas and plenty of photo opportunities. Space is limited to 12 participants.

  • Recommended for adults and children age 8 and up.
  • Infants are NOT allowed on behind-the-scenes tours.
  • All children under the age of 18, must be accompanied by a ticket holding adult.

$22 members / $27 general public (per person)

Register for Tour

Adventure Tour — Gorilla

Ever wanted to see where a gorilla sleeps? Take a tour behind the scenes into the gorilla night house to learn all about our keepers daily routines taking care of our magnificent boys. With some luck, one of the boys will stop in to say "Hi" too. This one-hour tour also includes other animal areas and plenty of photo opportunities. Space is limited to 6 participants.

  • Recommended for adults and children age 10 and up.
  • Infants are NOT allowed on behind-the-scenes tours.
  • All children under the age of 18, must be accompanied by a ticket holding adult.

$22 members / $27 general public (per person)

Register for Tour

Adventure Tour — Hyena

Step behind the scenes to encounter Riverbanks Zoo's hyena duo! Watch a training session and see what makes these spotted hyenas "laugh." This one-hour tour also includes other animal areas and plenty of photo opportunities. Space is limited to a 12 participants.

  • Recommended for adults and children age 8 and up.
  • Infants are NOT allowed on behind-the-scenes tours.
  • All children under the age of 18, must be accompanied by a ticket holding adult.

$22 members / $27 general public (per person)

Register for Tour

Adventure Tour — Penguin

Meet a penguin face to beak! Feel the chilly air, hear the penguin calls and see the three different species of penguins that call Riverbanks Zoo and Garden home. Join us to learn how the Zoo's animal care staff feed and care for these amazing, flightless birds. This one-hour tour also includes other animal areas and plenty of photo opportunities. Space is limited to 12 participants.

  • Recommended for adults and children age 3 and up.
  • Infants are NOT allowed on behind-the-scenes tours.
  • All children under the age of 18, must be accompanied by a ticket holding adult.

$22 members / $27 general public (per person)

Register for Tour

Adventure Tour — Reptile Rendezvous

Scaly critters can climb as well as Spider Man, find their way around in the dark and swallow their dinner in one big bite. Come meet the coolest cold-blooded animals at the Zoo. This one-hour tour includes visits to two reptile areas and an up-close encounter with one of our education reptile ambassadors. Plenty of photo opportunities are available. Space is limited to 6 participants.

  • Recommended for adults and children age 6 and up.
  • Infants are NOT allowed on behind-the-scenes tours.
  • All children under the age of 18, must be accompanied by a ticket holding adult.

$22 members / $27 general public (per person)

Register for Tour

Adventure Tour — Tortoise

Ever wanted to meet a giant? Giant tortoise that is. Giant Galapagos tortoises are peaceful herbivores that spend their days wallowing in mud puddles, grazing on grass and enjoy a relaxing scratch from you! Get hands-on with our oldest Zoo residents. This one-hour tour also includes other animal areas and plenty of photo opportunities. Space is limited to 12 participants.

  • Recommended for adults and children age 8 and up.
  • Infants are NOT allowed on behind-the-scenes tours.
  • All children under the age of 18, must be accompanied by a ticket holding adult.

$22 members / $27 general public (per person)

Register for Tour

Adventure Tour — Tropical Waters

Escape to the tropics! Visit our tropical flamingo friends up-close and personal. Help their keepers deliver lunch and learn how what our pink pals eat affects their color. Next, join us as we journey to the second floor of the Aquarium and look into the watery world under the sea—a fin-tastic opportunity to view the giant Indo-Pacific Coral Reef fish tank from a different perspective! This one-hour tour includes plenty of photo opportunities. Space is limited to a total of 6 participants.

  • Recommended for adults and children age 5 and up.
  • Infants are NOT allowed on behind-the-scenes tours.
  • All children under the age of 18, must be accompanied by a ticket holding adult.

$22 members / $27 general public (per person)

Register for Tour

African Adventure Tour

(special group tour—for groups only)

No need for a plane ticket. You can explore the signs and sounds of Africa right here at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. This group tour is designed for 15 - 25 participants to wander through the elephant barn while our elephant girls are out for the day. See what is required behind-scenes to keep our elephants happy and healthy. This one-hour tour also includes other animal areas and plenty of photo opportunities.

Groups of 15-25 people MUST preregister two weeks in advance. To book your private group tour today, please call 803.602.0803. Tour times are available Wednesday through Friday, 12:30 - 1:30pm.

  • Recommended for adults and children age 3 and up.
  • Infants are NOT allowed on behind-the-scenes tours.
  • All children under the age of 18, must be accompanied by a ticket holding adult.

$15 (per person)

Register for Tour

Registration Information

(please review before registering)

Preregistration is required for all tours! Most tours take place on Saturday and last one hour. You may visit the eTicket store to register for available Adventure Tours. The African Adventure Tour is only available Wednesday through Friday by preregistration two weeks in advance. Please call 803.602.0803 to register.

  • Adventure Tour tickets are separate from admission into the park.
  • Participants will meet their tour guide by the lion statue at the main Zoo gate. To ensure the best quality experience, we ask that participants arrive on time.
  • Tours are designed for adults and older children. Recommended age range is dependent on program topic. Please follow the required age restrictions for your chosen tour. Children under the age restriction will not be allowed to particpate in the behind-scenes portion of the tour. All children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a ticket holding adult. For safety reasons, infants may NOT participant in behind-the-scenes tours.
  • Due to the nature of these programs, behind-the-scenes areas are not handicap accessible in all locations. Please call 803.602.0803 for more information.
  • Participants will need to dress for the weather with proper attire for being hands-on. Closed toed, comfy shoes are required.
  • All tours include a live animal encounter.
  • All tours include a take-home memento.
  • Due to the unpredictability of animals, tour experiences may vary. Participants must abide by staff instructions at all times.

Cancellation and Refund Policy

(please review before registering)

  • Written or verbal cancellation 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 scheduled program date.
  • Tours run rain or shine! Refunds will be given only if the program needs to be canceled by Riverbanks. Zoo staff will contact tour participants if program is cancelled.
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