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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.

Ages 3 to 4 with an Adult

Scheduled Camps

Around the Pond

(Weeks: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

From cattails and polliwogs to turtles and willow trees, there is an amazing world of life in and around the pond! Let’s explore the unique plants and animals that call the pond home.

City Critters

(Weeks: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)

What animals are lurking in our city? Come discover the fascinating secret lives of the critters that live just outside our doors!

Camp Details

Location :
Waterfall Junction Learning Center at Riverbanks Botanical Garden.
Days :

Tuesday – Thursday.

  • Week 1: June 7 – June 9, 2022
  • Week 2: June 14 – June 16, 2022
  • Week 3: June 21 – June 23, 2022
  • Week 4: June 28 – June 30, 2022
  • Week 5: July 5 – 7, 2022
  • Week 6: July 12 – 14, 2022
  • Week 7: July 19 – 21, 2022
  • Week 8: July 26 – 28, 2022
  • Week 9: August 2 – 4, 2022
  • Week 10: August 9 – 11, 2022
Time :
9:30 – 11:30am.
Cost :
$65 members; $85 general public.

Entering Kindergarten to 4th Grade

Scheduled Camps

Entering Kindergarten

Creature Features

(Weeks: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Sometimes what’s on the outside is truly what matters most. Flamingos don’t need shells to survive and turtles would look strange with feathers. Discover the wonder and importance of different animal coverings.

KinderZoo

(Weeks: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)

Warm up for kindergarten this summer as we explore why bright colors, unique patterns and basic shapes are important to living things. Campers will love this giant game of “I Spy” as we explore the zoo, sing songs, and read stories to find letters, numbers, and more.

Entering 1st Grade

Wild Neighbors

(Weeks: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

It’s a jungle in your own backyard and at the Zoo! Meet some of South Carolina’s spectacular creatures as we compare them to the Zoo’s out of town residents. Campers will be awed by the Zoo’s local wildlife that calls Riverbanks home.

Fight or Flight

(Weeks: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)

Secret weapons or great escapes are what it takes to survive where the wild things are. Don’t miss out on discovering the art of animal armor and defenses.

Entering 2nd Grade

Nature’s Network

(Weeks: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Why do all living things need food? What is a food chain? Join the quest to uncover how all living things connect in the great web of life.

Life without Light

(Weeks: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)

Light is such a part of our everyday life, it’s hard to imagine animals that never see it. Come explore the ocean depths, underground tunnels, and the dark of night as we meet animals that eyes’ glow and plants that bloom without light.

Entering 3rd Grade

Science of Ewww…

(Weeks: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Animals do some weird, creepy and completely yucky stuff. Owls regurgitate their food, vampire bats drink blood, and koala mom’s feed their joeys’ poop! Spend the week with us investigating how being gross can be beneficial.

Island Fever

(Weeks: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)

Get ready to take an excursion across the planets strangest yet most amazing islands, as we visit the Galapagos, Madagascar, and Australia. Beware! You just might catch the fever for these mysterious places.

Entering 4th Grade

Rainforest Excursion

(Weeks: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Rainforests are incredible places full of amazing things from fish that sometimes swim in the trees to butterflies with glass like wings. Come climb the layers of the rainforest as we take a tropical safari and meet several of the zoo’s rainforest ambassadors along the way.

Nature’s Magic

(Weeks: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)

The natural world is a magical and mysterious place, join us as we explore animal transformations, toxins & venoms, exceptional animals, and more! We’ll meet animal ambassadors, spend time in the botanical gardens, and discover the magic of nature.

Camp Details

Location :
Riverbanks Zoo.
Days :

Monday – Friday.

  • Week 1: June 6 – June 10, 2022
  • Week 2: June 13 – June 17, 2022
  • Week 3: June 20 – June 24, 2022
  • Week 4: June 27 – July 1, 2022
  • Week 5: July 5 – 8, 2022 (no camp July 4th)
  • Week 6: July 11 – 15, 2022
  • Week 7: July 18 – 22, 2022
  • Week 8: July 25 – 29, 2022
  • Week 9: August 1 – 5, 2022
  • Week 10: August 8 – 12, 2022
Time :
8:45am – 4:00pm.
Drop Off :
8:15 – 8:45am.
Pick Up :
3:45 – 4:15pm.
Extended Stay Available
4:00 – 5:30pm. $50/week per participant.
Cost :
$195 members; $250 general public.
Lunch Option

Available for purchase by the week and does not include a drink. $42.50/week per participant.

Summer Lunch Menu

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.

Entering 5th or 6th Grade

Please note: Enrollment in one session is for 2 consecutive weeks of weekday camp programming. Participants should only sign up for one session for summer 2022.

Scheduled Camps

ZooVenture

Join Riverbanks Zoo for a ZooVenture! This all-new experience is an exciting 2-week long adventure complete with on and off-site excursions, teambuilding challenges, animal encounters, and more. During this outdoor-based camp, campers will work together to develop leadership skills, build relationships with their peers, and learn about opportunities to support wildlife conservation. In addition to behind-the-scenes tours, campers will also enjoy one Riverbanks overnight experience (1st Thursday evening of each session), guest speakers, and off-site explorations of local wildlife.

Camp Details

Location :
Riverbanks Zoo.
Days :

Monday – Friday.

  • Session A: June 6 – 17 (weekdays only; Overnight: Thursday, June 9)
  • Session B: June 20 – July 1 (weekdays only; Overnight: Thursday, June 23)
  • Session C: July 11 – 22 (weekdays only; Overnight: Thursday, July 14)
Time :
8:45am – 4:00pm.
Drop Off :
8:15 – 8:45am.
Pick Up :
3:45 – 4:15pm.
Extended Stay Available
4:00 – 5:30pm. $50/week per participant.
Cost :
$475 members; $600 general public.
Lunch Option

Available for purchase by the week and does not include a drink. $42.50/week per participant.

Summer Lunch Menu

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.

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 Policy

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 “MEMBER22” 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.

Zoo Camp Health Plan

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.

Camps & Field Trips What to Bring Every Day

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.

Drop-off & Pick-up Map

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?

56-0946437

Questions about Zoo Camp?

Please call 803.602.0803 or email us.