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Family Programs

We want your children to grow up WILD with Riverbanks. Family Programs are special opportunities for families to learn more about the world of Riverbanks. Age-specific programs are offered to all groups from the very young to adults!

For more information on Family Programs, please call 803.602.0803 or email us.

Family Fun Events A variety of family activities at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. The topics and activities vary, but each program is sure to delight and entertain while fostering a love of nature.

  • Cost :

    Varies by event. Note: If you are not a Riverbanks member, a general admission ticket will also be required.

  • Location :

    Classes take place in the Waterfall Junction Learning Center at Riverbanks Botanical Garden.

  • Scheduled Dates and Times

April 2019

Saturday, April 6

Mad Hatter Tea Party
@ 1:00–2:00pm
Join us in Waterfall Junction for a Garden Tea Party! Inspired by Wonderland, we will play croquet with flamingos, create top hats and pocket watches, and play cards with the Queen of Hearts. Participants will enjoy refreshments and get to pet our rabbit friend.
COST: $15 per child.

May 2019

Friday, May 10

Fairies and Fireflies
@ 6:30–8:00pm
Glow and sparkle as we discover the magic behind summer fireflies during this fun evening in Waterfall Junction. Enjoy games, activities, crafts, and fairy house building as we celebrate the season of fairies and fireflies! Activities are geared to children ages 3 to 10.
COST: $15 per child.

June 2019

Saturday, June 1

Ice Cream Social
@ 1:00–2:30pm
Start off the summer with homemade ice cream using ingredients from our garden! We will show you some ways to use fresh fruit, mint and other herbs to create tasty ice cream. There will be games and activities for children as well.
COST: $8 per person.

Register for Program

Family on Safari—Garden Overnight themed events in the Botanical Garden for ages 5 and up.

Looking for a fun and exciting adventure for the whole family ages 5 and up? On select nights, participants will enjoy a pizza dinner at the Norman and Gerry Sue Arnold Learning Center at Waterfall Junction followed by an interactive program featuring games, nocturnal scavenger hunts, marshmallow roasting, crafts and more! Settle down in the children’s garden in a family-size tent for the night, then wake up to a continental breakfast and a Zoo visit the following day! *Each family of up to 4 will be provided with a 4-person tent and foam camping mats. Families over 4 participants will receive a second tent.

  • Cost :

    $50 per person (members); $60 per person (non-members).

  • Note :

    Children may not be left unattended. Individuals must be accompanied by an adult. A minimum of 25 individual registered participants is required to conduct all Family on Safari programs as scheduled.

  • Scheduled Dates and Times

June 2019

Saturday, June 1

Camping 101
@ 6:00pm until 9:00am the next day (ages 5–adult)
New to camping? Join us in Riverbanks Botanical Garden to set up a tent, roast marshmallows and sleep on the lawn at Waterfall Junction. Guests will learn some basic camping skills including Leave No Trace principles, how to create solar ovens and purify water. Four-person tents and foam mats are provided as well as pizza dinner, marshmallow roasting and water play in the Aflac Splash Zone at Waterfall Junction (weather dependent).
Capacity: Minimum 25 / Maximum 40.
Sleeping Accommodations: Tent Camping on Lawn at Waterfall Junction.

Register for Program

Family on Safari—Zoo Overnight themed events in the Zoo for ages 5 and up.

Looking for a fun and exciting adventure for the whole family ages 5 and up? On select nights, participants will enjoy dinner at the Zoo followed by an exciting program featuring animal encounters, behind-the-scenes tours, crafts and more! Settle down in our Colonial Life Discovery Center for the night, then wake up to a continental breakfast and a Zoo visit the following day!

  • Cost :

    $50 per person (members); $60 per person (non-members).

  • Note :

    Children may not be left unattended. Individuals must be accompanied by an adult. A minimum of 25 individual registered participants is required to conduct all Family on Safari programs as scheduled.

  • Scheduled Dates and Times

June 2019

Saturday, June 29

Coastal Close Up
@ 6:00pm until 9:00am the next day (ages 5–adult)
Join us for a splashing good time as you learn about our seals and sea lions, ocean life, aquatic habitats and how each of us can do our part to protect the ocean. Groups will enjoy exploration through hands-on activities, up-close encounters with animal ambassadors and a behind-the-scenes tour before heading to bed inside Sea Lion Landing. Pizza dinner and marshmallow roasting are also included.
Capacity: Minimum 25 / Maximum 40.
Sleeping Accommodations: Sea Lion Landing Exhibit.

July 2019

Saturday, July 20

Nature’s Night Owls
@ 6:00pm until 9:00am the next day (ages 5–adult)
Many creatures like to stay up late and work the night shift! These late risers use incredible adaptations to help them get the job done in the dark. Groups will become part of the Zoo’s night life through hands-on activities, up-close encounters with nocturnal animal ambassadors and a behind-the-scenes tour to discover who at Riverbanks prefers the dark to day. Pizza dinner and marshmallow roasting are also included.
Capacity: Minimum 25 / Maximum 80.
Sleeping Accommodations: Colonial Life Discovery Center Classrooms and Theater.

Register for Program

Twilight Trek Evening-only themed events in the Zoo for ages 4 and up.

Looking for an engaging after-hours adventure for the family? On select nights, participants ages 4 and up will enjoy dinner at the Zoo, followed by an exciting program full of animal encounters, crafts and more!

  • Note :

    Children may not be left unattended. Individuals must be accompanied by an adult. A minimum of 15 individual registered participants is required to conduct all Twilight Trek programs as scheduled.

  • Scheduled Dates and Times

We currently do not have any events or programs scheduled. Please check back later.