For Immediate Release: October 12, 2023
All-New Wild Lights Will Illuminate the Zoo and Shine Light on Conservation
Columbia, SC — Imagine strolling under the stars with loved ones, sipping hot cocoa and coming across a glowing group of six-foot-tall sea otters or a brilliant blue eleven-foot-tall peacock fanning its feathers. Riverbanks Zoo and Garden will light up the Midlands in a whole new way this holiday season. For 35 years, Zoo visitors enjoyed Lights at Riverbanks. This year an all-new tradition is born — Wild Lights, inspired by nature.
“Wild Lights is a fresh take on the holiday lights experience that will create a more meaningful connection to our mission of conservation,” says Tommy Stringfellow, President & CEO of Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. “This brand-new event will set us apart from the growing number of lights events around the Midlands while shining a light on the beauty of nature and the importance of caring for our natural world.”
Guests to Wild Lights will encounter nearly 60 larger-than-life, handcrafted lanterns throughout the Zoo, from pollinators and plants to endangered (and even extinct) animals. Along the way, guests will experience engaging interactives, fun new photo-ops and nightly snowfall. Plus, kids of all ages can enjoy visits with Santa nightly through December 23. Other family favorites will be available for an additional purchase including carousel and train rides, s’mores, and hot cocoa.
Wild Lights will glow from 5pm–9pm on select nights November 17 through January 14. Advance registration is required for all Riverbanks members and guests. Tickets go on sale November 1; rates vary by night, starting at $20 for adults (ages 13 and up) and $15 for children ages 2–12. Children younger than 2 are free. Beginning November 6, 2023, through January 14, 2024, Riverbanks will close daily at 4:00pm; the Zoo will reopen at 5:00pm each night of Wild Lights.
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Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is home to more than 3,000 magnificent and fascinating animals and one of America’s best public gardens. The Zoo opened on April 25, 1974, and for nearly five decades, has connected individuals, families and school children with the natural world. Riverbanks is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and is recognized as a global leader in animal care and welfare, education, recreation, science and wildlife conservation. It is the mission of the Zoo and Garden to create meaningful connections and inspire actions that will have a lasting impact on conservation. For more information, visit riverbanks.org.