If you are in the Columbia, SC area, please take an afternoon and find out why we love the Riverbanks Zoo! My family recently visited the zoo there again and I was reminded why it is one of my favorite ways to spend a free day!
As a mom to two young children, my family is always on the hunt for a fun quick getaway that won’t break the bank. Living near Charlotte, NC, we do have quite a few options but few have a greater “bang for the buck” than the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, SC.
My sweet husband actually spent some of his childhood growing up in Columbia so it always brings back great memories for him. Which I personally love because it reinforces for me that all the efforts we are making each and every day to build memories for our own two girls will pay back in spades once they are older.
OUR FIRST TIME
Our first time visiting the zoo in Columbia was over 5 years ago – I was pregnant with Hazel and sweet Hannah was only 2 years old. It seemed like the perfect trip – a quick 2 hour drive and lots of inexpensive hotels near the Zoo.
Coming back this weekend reminded me not only why I love the Riverbanks Zoo but also how much our little family has changed in these 5 years. Hannah is now 7 and Hazel just turned 5. Time goes way too fast it seems lately. A reminder that sometimes we must do what we can to slow time down if only for a brief period.
Our girls were so excited for our overnight stay (had to of course find a hotel with an indoor pool!).
GREAT PRICED TICKETS
Upon entering the Zoo it was almost like being at Disney World – the music, the sounds. Similar to walking into Animal Kingdom (for about 1/4 the price of course!).
Ticket purchases are super easy to make online and you are even given a discount for doing so! For our entire family of 4 to spend the day at the zoo, we only paid $46!!
The zoo is very family friendly. The staff was super courteous and the grounds and restrooms were extremely clean. You can tell a lot about a place by its bathrooms!
KID FRIENDLY LAYOUT
We also love the layout of the Riverbanks Zoo. It’s more circular than the zoo I grew up going to and therefore it’s perfect for little legs. No exhibit is too far from the other so we didn’t have any whining that they needed a break or a stroller!
Because the Zoo is also an educational experience, I love how you can find simple, easy-to-read information about all of the animals in front of each exhibit. Even my girls were interested to check which species were threatened, endangered or no longer found in the wild.
The girls especially loved the hands on “Wildlife Up Close” feature…they loved petting this snake! I stood back just to get the picture!
There were lots of other timed events like that – feeding of the sea lions, up close with the penguins. But the great thing is you can still have a great time without making it to these if your family doesn’t go for that!
OUR MOST FAVORITE THING TO DO!
Probably our most favorite thing to do at the Riverbanks Zoo is to feed the giraffes. For $2, you get a huge handful of lettuce that those giraffes love!
We ended the day with some delicious Dippin’ Dots and headed to the pool for a relaxing swim at the hotel.
Perhaps the most important thing I should tell you about why we LOVE the Riverbanks Zoo is that we entered the zoo at 12:15 and walked out at 3:30 pm and had gone to every.single.exhibit!
A perfect day…a perfect getaway. A perfect to-do to add to your list!