Riverbanks Receives an Early Present

For Immediate Release: December 1, 2023

Most Anticipated Aquarium Resident Makes It Home for the Holidays

Columbia, SC — It is officially December and while many children are ready to celebrate a sleigh pulled by eight tiny reindeer from the North Pole, Riverbanks is celebrating a new cephalopod with eight tiny arms from the North Pacific. Almost 9 months to the day after the opening of the Darnall W. and Susan F. Boyd Aquarium and Reptile Conservation Center (ARCC), Susan, the Giant Pacific Octopus, has finally joined the Riverbanks family.

When The Boyd Foundation originally made their generous donation for the ARCC renovation, Mrs. Boyd really wanted her favorite animal, an octopus, to be a part of the guest experience. The octopus is named Susan in honor of Mrs. Boyd. In fact, Susan Boyd was one of the first to meet Susan the Octopus early this morning.

Kendra Bottini, Aquarium Curator at Riverbanks says, “The number one question we get day after day is when will the octopus be here, and now we have an answer.” There were delays revolving around mechanical issues with the water chiller and tank sealant, but after months of hard work the tank is ready, and the new homeowner is finally here. Bottini continues, “I’m just happy to finally lay eyes on her. Octopi are just really amazing creatures. To have the opportunity to care for one is absolutely thrilling.”

Riverbanks guests can visit Susan starting Friday December 1st during regular daytime visiting hours inside the Aquarium and Reptile Conservation Center directly across from the moon jelly wall. Visitors are reminded that the Zoo closes daily at 4pm until January 14 for the Wild Lights event.

Susan Video | Susan Pictures | Susan Boyd & Susan the Octopus |



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.