Visiting the Zoo
As part of a phased approach that follows state and local guidelines to help slow the spread of COVID-19, Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is currently operating with limited attendance and programming, new standard operating procedures, and enhanced health and safety measures to safeguard our guests, staff, and the animals.
- Face masks are required at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, in compliance with City of Columbia Ordinance 2020-059. Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is located within the city limits of Columbia, SC, and as such is operating in compliance with City's ordinance to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Read more FAQ's related to the City's Face Mask Ordinance.
Here’s how the ordinance will impact your visit to Riverbanks Zoo and Garden:
- Since Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is an outdoor facility with indoor access, guests are expected to wear masks inside any buildings including restrooms.
- While walking around outdoors in the park, guests are not required to wear masks unless they are unable to maintain appropriate physical distancing of at least 6 feet.
- If you do not have access to a mask or face covering, for your convenience disposable masks are available at Guest Relations. Or reusable masks may be purchased at Riverbanks Gift Shop.
- As the ordinance outlines, if you have a medical condition or are under the age of 10, you are required to wear a mask.
- Timed-ticket reservations also are required for all members and guests. Group sizes are limited to no more than 8. Staggered arrival times for entry are made available every half hour; however, some time slots may be booked to capacity on busier days and membership does not guarantee a reservation. Visits are not restricted once admitted to the park. Tickets will be emailed and can be printed at home or scanned from your phone. Anyone without an advance reservation will not be admitted.
- Additional hand washing stations and hand sanitizer dispensers have been installed throughout the park for your safety and convenience.
We sincerely appreciate your patience, understanding and support as we get through this challenging time together.
Most outdoor exhibits and spaces are open for guest enjoyment with social distancing.
The following indoor exhibits, attractions and services also are open, with limited capacity and increased, rigorous cleaning and disinfecting:
- Aquarium-Reptile Complex
- Endangered Species Carousel
- Farm Experience
- Giraffe Feeding
- Kangaroo Walkabout
- Lorikeet Feeding
- Sea Lion Landing underwater viewing
- Spots ‘n’ Stripes kids’ train
Waterfall Junction children’s garden also is open; however, the Aflac Splash Zone, L’il Sprouts Splash Zone and Dino Dig are temporarily closed.
Dining options with outdoor seating and open-air stands are open including Wild Burger (now with mobile ordering), The Watering Hole, The Coop, Kodiak Point, ICEE, and Dippin’ Dots.
Souvenirs and a selection of face masks are available at Riverbanks Gift Shop. Specialty items are also available through our new online gift shop.
Please be advised that there is no tram service between the Zoo and Garden. Guests wishing to visit both the Zoo and Garden during the same visit are welcome to walk via the tram pathway or may drive around to the other side and re-enter the park with their ticket reservation. Parking is available on the Zoo side (500 Wildlife Pkwy, Columbia SC 29210) and on the Garden side (1300 Botanical Pkwy, West Columbia, SC 29169).
Additional exhibits, attractions, and services will open in future phases when it is deemed safe to do so.
Events & Programs
Many upcoming events have been postponed, cancelled or modified. Please visit our Signature Events page for additional information.
Summer Zoo Camps are underway, with limited capacity and enhanced health and safety protocols. Learn more and register here.
Updated information will be shared with members and registrants by email and on this page.
Construction is nearly complete on the Zoo’s new southern white rhino habitat. Soon guests will be meandering around the habitat in awe of these remarkable and inspiring animals! We can’t wait to share this new experience with you.
The animals at Riverbanks continue to remain healthy and are doing well. We currently have a surplus of essential food and medical supplies for the animals in our care but have contingencies in place and are proactively monitoring our supply chain to assure essentials remain on hand.
Creating (Remote) Connections: Z-Learning — The Wild Side of E-Learning
Online adventure awaits! Follow along on the Riverbanks Facebook page or watch one of our segments on YouTube as we discover the Zoo and Garden. From live features to behind-the-scenes peeks to fun too-cute-to-handle… we’re bringing Riverbanks to you!
We look forward to seeing you at the Zoo and Garden! Care is at the heart of our mission. We thank you for your patience, understanding and support as we strive to deliver the best possible experience while ensuring the safety of our guests, staff and the animals.
Riverbanks relies on membership and admission to help feed and care for the animals and support vital park operations. If you would like to help the Zoo and Garden recover from the impacts of extended closure, please consider making a donation in any amount. Thank you for your consideration and support.
Disclaimer: Riverbanks is taking every precaution necessary to ensure the health and well-being of our guests, staff and the animals related to highly contagious COVID-19 disease. All guests must practice personal safety during their visit. Visitors to the Zoo and Garden are assuming all risks associated with exposure to COVID-19.