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Destination Riverbanks Ahead

For Immediate Release: March 13, 2014

Zoo Expansion Cranks Up in Advance of 40th Anniversary

[Columbia, SC] — A major multi-million dollar expansion that will change the landscape of Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is now underway. The $32-million development project—dubbed Destination Riverbanks and approved by Richland and Lexington counties—also kicks off an exciting year in Zoo history with the celebration of Riverbanks’ milestone 40th anniversary.

Highlights on the horizon include new exhibits and animals, a 3-acre interactive children’s garden in the Botanical Garden, an enlarged entryway to the Zoo with improved access, additional guest parking, renovated dining and retail facilities and enhanced guest amenities.

"We want to make Riverbanks a true destination attraction that continues to draw tourists from outside of the region and motivates more of them to spend a night or two in the Midlands,” said Satch Krantz, president and CEO of Riverbanks Zoo and Garden.

Among the new exhibits in the Zoo’s future is a seal/sea lion habitat that will resemble the infamous Pier 39 in San Francisco. "The sea lions are going to come back in incredible fashion,” Krantz said. "Visitors are going to be fascinated by this state-of-the-art exhibit.”

Along with the exciting changes that lie ahead, Riverbanks is also celebrating the trails it has blazed since opening in 1974. Beginning on Monday, March 17, the Zoo will kick off Countdown to 40 in preparation for its landmark 40th birthday on Friday, April 25. Each week leading up to the milestone occasion, Riverbanks will offer special savings on Member Mondays, cool prizes on Trivia Tuesdays and discount admission of $19.74 for one adult and one child on Throwback Thursdays. During this time (March 17–April 25), the Zoo also will be offering discounted family memberships for $74 (discount may not be combined with any other promotional offer).

Just in time for the Zoo’s anniversary festivities—Columbia’s wildest new restaurant and rental facility will officially open to the public early next week. Tuskers is the only restaurant of its kind in the Midlands offering guests an exceptional dining experience with views of giraffes, zebras and ostriches.

Destination Riverbanks is expected to be complete in early to mid 2016. A news conference and tour for the media with new information and additional details on the expansion is planned for Friday, April 25, beginning at 10am. Refreshments will be provided.

Stay up-to-date with plans for Riverbanks’ 40th anniversary celebration, Destination Riverbanks projects and the latest "Hard Hat Happenings” at In addition, be sure to check out the Zoo’s 40th anniversary video at