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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

August 2019

Friday, August 23

Mermaid and Pirate Party
@ 7:00–9:00pm
Join us for an end of the summer party in Waterfall Junction! We will have an hour of water play before we engage in mermaid and pirate games throughout the garden. Kids will get to do a craft, look for buried treasure, meet Pearl the Mermaid and Firebeard the Pirate, and much more! *Parking on West Columbia side only.
COST: $15 per child (adults are free).

September 2019

Saturday, September 7

Meet and greet some real-life reptiles, learn fun facts about dinosaurs, dig for fossils, and play dinosaur games in this family fun program. Participants will be given tickets to see the new Dinosaur exhibit after the program. *Please note this program is held in the Farm Classroom in the Zoo.
COST: $10 per person (both child and adult need tickets), dinosaur exhibit included in this fee.

October 2019

Saturday, October 26

Miss Spider is hosting a tea party! Be her guest as we make a spidery snack cake, create a spider puppet, and read the book Miss Spider’s Tea Party. Everyone will discover some cool things about bugs, play some games and enjoy a festive tea party. *This program is held in Waterfall Junction Learning Center in the Botanical Garden.
COST: $15 per child (adults are free).

December 2019

Saturday, December 14

Celebrate winter before seeing the Lights Before Christmas. Enjoy hot apple cider as you play in our snow sensory bin or do the reindeer ring toss and snowball toss. Every child will make an ornament and get to meet an animal ambassador too. *Held in the Farm Classroom in the Zoo.
COST: $10 per child (adults are free).

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

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

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

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.

August 2019

Saturday, August 3

Reptilian Adventures
@ 6:00pm until 9:00am the next day (ages 5–adult)
Do you love all things scaly and slimy? Uncover the amazing world of reptiles and amphibians living in your own backyard—and their long-lost ancestors. Families will enjoy hands-on-activities, up-close encounters, and a behind-the-scenes tour. Plus, participants will get a chance to explore Dinosaurs Around the World: The Great Outdoors. Pizza dinner and marshmallow roasting are also included.
Capacity: Minimum 25 / Maximum 40.
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.