In 1969 the South Carolina General Assembly created the Rich-Lex Riverbanks Parks Special Purpose District, the legal and governing authority for what was to ultimately become Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. The seven-member Riverbanks Park Commission was established as the district’s governing authority and continues its role today.
The Riverbanks Park Commission is responsible to the citizens of the Midlands for the financial stability of the Zoo and Garden. It consists of seven members appointed for six-year terms. Two members are appointed by the Richland County Council, two by the Lexington County Council, two by the City of Columbia, and one jointly by the three entities.