Riverbanks Backstage

Get an inside look at animal care, meet some of your favorite animals, and learn about the Zoo’s efforts to protect endangered species!

Each tour is a private experience for your group. Check out the descriptions below to learn more about select opportunities.

Penguin Backstage

Join Riverbanks’ penguin colony for a chilly backstage encounter. Learn all about our different penguins before bundling up to head behind the scenes. Get a cool view of these flightless birds while our keepers feed them their midday snack.

Each ticket is for a private tour for up to 5 participants ages 8 and up. Participants under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Face coverings and closed toe shoes are required for all Backstage Experiences.

This Backstage opportunity is not ADA-accessible due to uneven terrain and will involve climbing a flight of stairs.

Register for Backstage Encounter

Rhino Backstage

Join us behind the scenes to meet the second largest land mammal in the world! On this rhino-riffic tour, you’ll get the opportunity to explore our rhino barn, come face-to-face with our rhino residents, and learn all about how Riverbanks cares for these gentle giants.

Each ticket is for a private tour for up to 6 participants ages 8 and up. Participants under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Face coverings and closed toe shoes are required for all Backstage Experiences.

This Backstage opportunity is not ADA-accessible due to uneven terrain and will involve climbing a flight of stairs.

Register for Backstage Encounter

Sea Lion Backstage

Experience Sea Lion Landing like never before — and maybe get your feet a little wet. See the inner workings of the habitat, help our keepers prepare the morning diet, and then join the animal care staff for a training demonstration. This memorable tour will definitely get your seal of approval.

Each ticket is for a private tour for up to 6 participants ages 8 and up. Participants under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Face coverings and closed toe shoes are required for all Backstage Experiences.

This Backstage opportunity is not ADA-accessible due to uneven and slick terrain.

Register for Backstage Encounter

Registration Information

  • Preregistration is required for all Riverbanks Backstage experiences; visit Riverbanks’ e-ticket store to register.
  • Admission to Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is not included but is required.
  • Only guests ages 8 and up are permitted on any Riverbanks Backstage Experience.
  • All guests under 18 must be accompanied by an adult during the entire experience.
  • Closed-toe shoes and face coverings are a requirement for all experiences.
  • ADA accessibility is limited for many experiences. Please contact the education department at 803.602.0803 for more information.
  • Due to the unpredictability of the animals, Backstage experiences are subject to change or cancellation. Participants must abide by all staff instructions.

Cancellation and Refunds

  • Cancellation or date change requests must be received ten days in advance of the event to receive a refund of your registration. Requests must be received in writing at education@riverbanks.org. Registrations are non-refundable and non-transferable should the cancellation or need to change a date occur within ten days of the scheduled program. Times, prices, and tour components are subject to change.
  • In the rare event that Riverbanks Zoo and Garden must cancel the scheduled event, all deposits or money received will be reimbursed or an option to reschedule will be provided. Notification of cancellation will be provided as soon as possible.
  • Refunds and reschedules will not be provided for individuals who do not show up for the event.

Questions about Riverbanks Backstage?

Please call the Education Department at 803.602.0803 or email us.