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Riverbanks Shatters Attendance Record with New All-Time High

For Immediate Release: July 17, 2013

Zoo Crowds Exceed Last Year’s Record by Nearly 10,000 Guests

[Columbia, SC] — Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is once again boasting record attendance numbers welcoming 1,039,372 guests during the 2012-2013 fiscal year that ended on June 30. Budgeted attendance for the year was 975,740.

This is the fourth consecutive year that Riverbanks has attracted more than one-million visitors to the park. These numbers also largely surpass the previous record high of 1,029,492 set during the 2011-2012 fiscal year.

"A key factor in the Zoo’s success is that our product is ever-changing,” said Satch Krantz, president and CEO of Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. "From new animals to new attractions, we continue to present our guests with a dynamic and participatory experience.”

Riverbanks is the largest gated attraction in South Carolina and ranks as one of the largest mid-sized zoos in the nation. Krantz adds that Riverbanks attracts more visitors than many zoos in larger cities such as Atlanta, Dallas and Miami.

During the 2012-2013 fiscal year, Riverbanks also set a single day spring break attendance record on Saturday, April 6 when 12,979 guests visited the park.

According to Krantz, these impressive numbers may also be attributed to the number of out-of-towners that visit the Zoo and Garden each year. "Nearly 40% of our guests travel 50 miles or more from outside of Columbiato enjoy a fun and affordable family outing, making Riverbanks a major contributor to the Midlands economy.”

In a recent study commissioned by Riverbanks, the University of South Carolina College of Hospitality, Retail and Sports Management revealed that the Zoo and Garden is a power player in the local economies of Richlandand Lexingtoncounties—generating more than $60 million in local business sales and creating more than 700 jobs in the community.

Riverbanks is now in the process of planning a $32 million expansion that will greatly change the landscape of the park over the next few years. The Zoo is also currently constructing its newest attraction—a zip line canopy tour—scheduled to open later this summer.

Other highlights of the 2012-2013 fiscal year include the births of a babirusa, koala, giraffe, rockhopper penguin and two flamingos. The Zoo also recently expanded its animal collection with the additions of a Malayan tapir and western lowland gorilla.