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Riverbanks Backstage

Coming Soon

Feed an elephant. Touch a tortoise. Help prepare a snack for the bears. Get an inside look at animal care, learn about the Zoo’s efforts to save endangered species, and find out how you can help! Choose from five interactive and educational one-hour encounters.

Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Elephant

Meet the Zoo’s largest residents and gain a bigger backstage perspective. Discover just how massive elephants are and learn about the care they receive at Riverbanks. Each guest will have the chance to feed an elephant as part of the animals’ morning training. Don’t forget your camera for some great photo opportunities!

$45 Riverbanks members and $60 general public.

Grizzly Bear

See Riverbanks from an extraordinary perspective. Help the animal care staff prepare a mid-morning snack for the grizzlies. Each guest will have the opportunity to feed a bear behind-the-scenes before watching them enjoy their hidden treats on exhibit. Don’t leave your camera at home—there will be many photo opportunities!

$45 Riverbanks members and $60 general public.

Please note: Portions of this behind-the-scenes area are not ADA accessible.

Giant Tortoise

Meet the oldest Riverbanks residents face-to-face in the tortoise habitat. Each guest will have the opportunity to touch and handfeed the Zoo’s giant Galapagos tortoises. Make sure to bring along a camera to capture this memorable experience!

$45 Riverbanks members and $60 general public.

Please note: Behind-the-scenes area is not ADA accessible.

Penguin

Join the Zoo’s penguin colony for a chilly backstage encounter. Get an up-close view of these flightless birds and learn how Riverbanks feeds and cares for them. Make sure to bring along a camera—there will be plenty of cool photo opportunities!

$45 Riverbanks members and $60 general public.

Please note: Behind-the-scenes area is not ADA accessible.

On Stage with Sea Lions

Experience Sea Lion Landing like never before—and maybe get your feet a little wet. See the inner workings of this state-of-the-art habitat, and then join the animal care staff on deck during our public training demonstration. Make sure to bring along a camera—there will be countless photo opportunities!

$75 Riverbanks members and $100 general public.

Please note: Behind-the-scenes area is not ADA accessible.

Registration Information

  • Preregistration is required for all Riverbanks Backstage experiences; visit the eTicket store to register. Experiences run approximately one hour and take place on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
  • Patron and Gold-level Members: Please call 803.602.0803 to redeem your two free Riverbanks Backstage passes and schedule your encounter.
  • Admission to Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is not included but is required.
  • Only guests ages 8 and up are permitted on Riverbanks Backstage experiences.
  • All guests under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a ticket holding adult.
  • Space is limited to 8 guests per backstage experience.
  • Closed-toed shoes are a safety requirement on all backstage experiences.
  • Guests are encouraged to arrive at the designated area 15 minutes before scheduled Riverbanks Backstage experiences.
  • ADA accessible options are not always available within behind-the-scenes areas. Please call 803.602.0803 for information.
  • Due to the unpredictability of animals, backstage experiences are subject to change or cancellation. Participants must abide by staff instructions at all times.

Cancellation and Refunds

  • Guests who arrive late may miss certain components or may not be accommodated due to limited tour availability.
  • Times, prices, and tour components are subject to change.
  • Cancellations with less than 24-hours notice are nonrefundable.
  • Riverbanks Backstage experiences take place rain or shine. Refunds within 24 hours of the start time will only be given if the program needs to be canceled by Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. Tour guide will contact registered guests if cancellations occur.