Zoo Camp offers unique and engaging experiences to connect kids with wildlife. Campers explore little-known areas of Riverbanks, meet animals face to face, and leave inspired to care for the natural world. Each camp includes hands-on activities and experiences connected to the day or weeks theme.
Winter Break Camp
Explore the wonders of zoo life in these unique camp offerings! Each day, campers will learn about species while exploring a different aspect of work at Riverbanks including exhibit design, animal health, animal enrichment, or species conservation. Campers will enjoy hands-on activities, behind-the-scenes tours, zoo walks, meeting animal ambassadors, and more.
Opportunities are designed for youth in Kindergarten to Fourth Grade.
ZOOLIFE: Spectacular Scales and Slime
Campers will explore the many unique ways keepers care for the scaly and slimy residents at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden.
- Days :
December 18–22, 2023.
- Time :
- Drop Off :
- 8:15–8:45am at the designated camp gate. Please follow Zoo Camp traffic signs after you cross the railroad tracks.
- Pick Up :
- 3:45–4:15pm at the designated camp gate. Please follow Zoo Camp traffic signs after you cross the railroad tracks. Extended Stay and Play option is not available for this camp session.
- Cost :
- $235 Riverbanks members / $290 general public. This camp cannot be purchased by the day. Campers must register for all 5 days.
- Camp Shirts
Each child receives one complimentary T-shirt, handed out the first day of camp. T-shirts MUST be worn every day of camp. Additional shirts can be purchased in advance online for $15 each.
- Lunch and Snacks
A lunch option is not available for this camp. Please have your child pack a lunch daily and bring a filled water bottle. Two snacks (Goldfish, Popcorn, or Animal Crackers) will be provided for them daily.
- Late Fee
- A $10 late fee will be charged for every 5 minutes you are late picking up your child starting 15 minutes after specified end time.
- Sign In/Sign Out :
Parents or guardians must sign in/out with the camp staff each day. Campers will not be released to anyone other than those adults authorized to pick them up on the sign in/out sheets. Photo identification is required to pick up campers.
Summer Zoo Camp
Young adventure-seekers will explore wildlife and wild places when Summer Zoo Camp heats up at Riverbanks. Don’t miss the wildest camp in town.
Important Registration Information
To register online: Riverbanks’ Summer Zoo Camp online registration has changed to allow us to better serve our participants and their families. First-time users will be prompted to create an account using an email address. The new online process collects and stores household and individual camper information that can be updated at any time by logging in using the email and password set up when creating an account. Reserving additional weeks of camp, changing camp dates, buying additional shirts or lunch add-on options can all be completed now online even after registration for camp has been completed. If you are having trouble with the online registration process, please contact email us for assistance.
Camper placement: All camps have one single group of campers for each rising grade and will not be divided.
Medication needs: If your child is bringing medicine to be administered during camp, including epipens, you will need to complete a Medication Administration Form and bring it along with the medicine to the camp director.
Policies: Education Program Policies and Waiver
Cancellation or date change requests must be received three weeks in advance of the event to receive a refund of your registration. Riverbanks Zoo and Garden will retain a $25 processing fee for cancellations and charge a $25 processing fee for date changes.
Registrations are non-refundable and non-transferable should the cancellation or need to change a date occur within three weeks of the scheduled program.
In the rare event that Riverbanks Zoo and Garden must cancel the scheduled event, all deposits or money received will be reimbursed or an option to reschedule will be provided. Notification of cancellation will be provided at least ten days prior to the scheduled event (unless weather-related). Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is not liable for any other expenses that the guest may have incurred in the preparation and execution of the event.
Refunds will not be provided for individuals who do not show up for the event.
Frequently Asked Questions
I am a Riverbanks member. How do I get the member rate when registering?
To receive your member discount please enter the code “MEMBER23” under “Step 2: Select Sessions” of the registration process. The code can be entered by clicking the link “Enter a discount code…” located in “Your Cart” on the right side of the screen. Member verification will be requested during the enrollment form step of registration.
What will be different at Zoo Camp because of the Coronavirus?
Riverbanks Zoo and Garden will be using the CDC COVID-19 Community Level Tool as reference this year for appropriate preventative steps based on the community level spread of COVID-19 in Richland County. If the level increases to “high” over the course of the summer, Riverbanks will enforce the use of masks indoors by staff and children as recommended by the CDC. Campers or staff that choose to wear a mask during any community level will be supported fully.
What should my camper bring to Zoo Camp each day?
Campers should be prepared for the weather and lots of exploration of the Riverbanks campus. Water bottle, snacks and comfortable closed-toe shoes are among the most important items.
What if I want to purchase an additional Zoo Camp T-shirt?
Additional camp T-shirts can be purchased during registration or by credit card the first day of camp. T-shirts are $15 each.
My child will need to take medication during the day, what do I do?
Participants may not bring or self-administer medications, vitamins, or supplements during Program hours without parental/legal guardian (“Guardian”) consent and prior written communication with RBZG Program staff.
RBZG Program staff will store and administer all medication, vitamins, and supplements to Participants with a signed Medication Administration Form. All medicine should be given to the RBZG Program team at check-in clearly labeled with name, dosage, and time of administration in the original container. A medication administration form giving permission to administer medication must be filled out, signed, and dated. A new form must be completed for each educational program.
EpiPens and Inhalers will be kept in first aid bags with the RBZG Program staff at all times and can be administered to Participants in the event of emergency.
RBZG Program staff are not able to administer injections of any sort including blood sugar checks or insulin shots. Guardians should contact the RBZG Program staff to discuss alternative options.
What if I am running late to pick up my camper OR if I want to pick up my child early?
Please contact Riverbanks staff at 803.602.0803 (in advance) or 803.602.0814 (urgent). Due to the nature of camp and our end of day activities, we cannot accommodate early pick-ups after 3:15pm.
My child has a friend coming to Zoo Camp the same week. Can they be put in the same group?
There is a single camp group for each grade. Campers entering the same grade level will not be divided.
Can I put my child in another age group than their actual age?
Zoo Camp activities are designed for specific age groups. We do not allow children to be moved into another age bracket for any reason. There are no exceptions to this policy.
Campers should be registered for the grade they will be entering school the coming Fall. Campers younger than 5 years of age by the start date of their week of camp should be registered to attend our 3- to 4-year-old camp with an accompanying adult.
Can I accompany my child to camp one day during the week?
Adults are only permitted in the “Ages 3 to 4 with Adult” sessions held at Waterfall Junction Learning Center. If your child has special needs and requires assistance, please contact 803.602.0803 to make arrangement for an accompanying adult.
What if my child is sick the week they are registered or if I need to reschedule my week of Zoo Camp?
Please contact 803.602.0803 in the case of a camper illness. Registration is non-refundable if we are not be able to replace your camper with someone from the waitlist.
Refunds will not be provided for individuals who do not show up for the event.
Where do I drop off and pick up my Kindergarten to 6th grade campers each day of camp?
Campers in rising Kindergarten to rising 6th grade will need to be signed in at walk-up drop off and picked up using the carline at the gate indicated on the map. Please have your ID available during carline.
Where does Ages 3–4 (with an Adult) camp meet?
Campers ages 3 to 4 with their adult should meet at the Waterfall Junction Learning Center. We recommend parking and entering on the Garden entrance (1300 Botanical Pkwy, West Columbia, SC 29169).
If you have an older camper attending full day camp that you need to drop off prior to attending camp with your younger camper, please drop him/her off at the zoo. Then you may choose to drive around to the Garden entrance or enter the Zoo’s main entrance at 9:00am and walk to the garden to attend camp with your younger camper.
What is the Zoo’s tax ID number?