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Kids Activities at Riverbanks Zoo & Garden

Upcoming Events at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden
500 Wildlife Parkway, Columbia, SC 29210
The park is open daily from 9am to 5pm, except for Thanksgiving and Christmas day. Admission: $11.75 for adults, $9.25 for children ages 3 – 12 & free for children 2 and younger. Group rates & other discounts may apply. Year-round membership packages are also available. For more information, call Riverbanks at 803.779.8717, visit www.riverbanks.org  or www.facebook.com/riverbankszoo .

YEAR-ROUND PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES

New – Now Showing in the 3-D Adventure Theater

Daily – Every 30 minutes from 10am until 4pm

Behind-the-Scenes Adventure Tours

Every Saturday

Walk on the “wild side” as you get an inside look at some out-of-sight places. Meet a penguin face-to-beak, scratch a Galapagos tortoise, measure up to a grizzly bear, help train an elephant, get face-to-whiskers with a tiger or feed a flamingo! Encounter animals up close, explore behind the scenes and meet experienced keepers. Marvel at the unique challenges of animal care and the amazing efforts that go into creating and sustaining a world-class zoo. A variety of Adventure Tours are available. For schedules and pricing, visit www.riverbanks.org or call (803) 978-1113.

Educational Programs at Riverbanks

Homeschool Mondays
Most Mondays, September through May

Homeschooled children ages 5 to 13, accompanied by an adult, are invited to participate in Homeschool Mondays at Riverbanks. Programs last 45 minutes and are offered twice monthly from September through May. Class times are 9:30am for the 5- to 7-year-old program, 10:45am for the 8- to 10-year-old program, and 12:00pm for the 11- to 13-year-old program. The per student fee is $9 for Riverbanks members and $12 for the general public. Admission for one student and one accompanying adult is included. This rate applies only to those taking part in the program; regular Zoo admission rates apply to those not participating. For more information, email gkim@riverbanks.org. For a complete listing of program topics, visit www.riverbanks.org.

Overnights and Night Howls

Throughout the Year

Discover the nightlife at Riverbanks! The Zoo’s interactive nighttime programs include live animal encounters, keeper-led behind-the-scenes tours, a hike through the Zoo at the end of the evening and a light snack. For those groups spending the night, light breakfast, a morning program, and free daytime admission to the park is also included. Nighttime adventures take place year-round, any day of the week, so call early to get your preferred date. Beginning in October, special event overnights are offered on select dates during Boo at the Zoo and Lights Before Christmas. A minimum of 15 participants are required for Night Howls and 25 for overnights. The Zoo can accommodate two groups per night with a maximum group size of 50. For availability and details, visit www.riverbanks.org  or call (803) 978-1113.

Upcoming Events

Wildlife Gardener Camp
February 21-23, 2012
This 3-day camp for kids, ages 6 to 10, fosters an understanding and appreciation of wildlife in a garden habitat. Campers will enjoy fun, hands-on activities that emphasize animal habitats, food sources and gardening. Participants will create various forms of shelter and food sources as well as explore the Botanical Garden and Zoo for different habitats. The cost is $100 and includes a T-shirt. For more information or to register email asegura@riverbanks.org or visit www.riverbanks.org.

March for Meals 5K Run/Walk at Riverbanks
March 3, 2012
Lace up your sneakers and dash out to Riverbanks Zoo and Garden for the 2012 March for Meals 5K Run and Walk on Saturday, March 3. The race will kick off at 7:30am and check-in begins at 6:15am. Register online at www.seniorresourcesinc.org or call (803) 252-7734. All proceeds benefit Meals on Wheels. Please note: Jogging strollers will only be welcome on the walking course. No strollers will be permitted on the running course.

Spring Break Zoo Camp
April 3–5 and 10–12, 2012
Zoo Camp at Riverbanks is the ideal spring break retreat for kids ages 5 to 9. This year campers will learn about animals that get a bad reputation for being smelly, ugly, scary, dirty, or even loud, but many of them are just misunderstood. Come explore the softer side of the wild kingdom’s most rebellious public enemies. Daily animal encounters, behind-the-scenes tours, zoo walks, arts-and-crafts and games make Zoo Camp a can’t-miss spring break destination! Camp runs from 9am to 3pm; extended play and stay options are available. This fun, interactive, 3-day camp is $120 for Riverbanks members and $150 for the general public. Extended stay and play is an additional $45. Register online at www.riverbanks.org or call (803) 978-1113 for more information.

Springtime at the Garden Festival
March 24, 2012
Dig up inspiration for a successful gardening season at the Springtime at the Garden Festival, hosted by RiverbanksBotanical Garden on Saturday, March 24. Guests can consult experts on how to keep their backyards in bloom, manage those pesky fire ants and even tackle tougher questions with the Master Gardeners from Clemson Extension. In addition to garden-related activities, enjoy live music and arts-and-crafts stations just for kids. Participation is free with paid admission to Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. Call (803) 779-8717 or visit www.riverbanks.org for more information.

Party for the Planet
April 21, 2012
Come out to Riverbanks on Saturday, April 21, as we gear up for Earth Day with a Party for the Planet! This fun-filled celebration will give guests a closer look at ways they can make a positive impact on the environment. From 10am-3pm party-goers can engage in interactive and exciting educational activities. All Earth Day activities are free with paid admission to Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. Call (803) 779-8717 or visit www.riverbanks.org for more information.

Wine Tasting at RiverbanksBotanical Garden
April 27, 2012
The annual Wine Tasting at RiverbanksBotanical Garden invites wine novices and enthusiasts alike to sip a variety of domestic and imported wines in one of the nation’s most beautiful and inspiring public gardens. Listen to live jazz, sample light bites from local restaurants and gab about grapes with wine experts. New this year: silent auction and a beer garden. Event is rain or shine. Proceeds support ongoing conservation and education efforts at Riverbanks. Advance tickets are $40 for Riverbanks members and $50 for the general public. All tickets purchased the day of the event will be $60. A limited number of tickets will be available for this sell-out event, so make plans early. For more information, visit www.riverbanks.org or call (803) 779-8717.

Plant Sale
April 28, 2012
Riverbanks horticulture staff has handpicked employee and visitor favorites for this year’s annual spring plant sale. More than 40 varieties totaling more than 4,000 individual plants will be available for purchase. The sale will run from 9am to noon and there will be no pre-sale. Most plants will range from $5 to $10. Admission is free for those who enter at 1201 Seminole Drive, West Columbia
For more information, call (803) 779-8717 or visit www.riverbanks.org.

Rhythm and Blooms
May 3, 10, 17, 24 and 31, 2012
Every Thursday during May
Music and flowers after hours—you won’t experience a night like this anywhere else in Columbia! Guests can enjoy live entertainment and local artists in the Botanical Garden every Thursday in May from 6-9pm. Cash bar and food will be available for purchase at the event. For more information, visit www.riverbanks.org or call (803) 779-8717.

Members’ Night Series
May 25, June 22 and July 20
The 2012 Members’ Night Series is free, after-hours and for members only (no guest passes, please). Riverbanks members can stroll through the Zoo on three Friday evenings for three extraordinary hours – when the park is normally closed to the public. Come one evening or all three. Gates open at 6pm. Parking is at the main Zoo entrance only. Pre-registration is not required. For up-to-the minute details, log on to www.riverbanks.org and click on membership.

Summer Camps for All Ages
10 One-Week Sessions Beginning June 4, 2012
Three- to four-year-olds grow wild with Sprout Camp! Four- to five-year-olds can’t wait for KinderCamp! Six- to twelve-year-olds go ape over Wild Weeks! All campers learn about animals, plants and how to save the earth that we all share! Don’t miss the chance to enroll your child in Riverbanks Zoo and Garden’s summer camp programs—the most popular summer programs in the Midlands. Send your camper for TWO weeks of camp instead of one with multiple themes for KinderCamp and Wild Weeks! A discounted holiday week will be offered July 2-6 with no camp on July 4th. Don’t miss the early registration discount for 25% off each registration starting Feb. 6 thru March 15. Discounts do NOT apply to Sprout Camp. For more information, visit www.riverbanks.org or call (803) 779-8717 x1113 (for Sprout Camp, call x1799).

Brew at the Zoo
August 3, 2012
Make plans now to join us for the coolest suds sippin’ safari in Columbia! Brew at the Zoo provides the perfect remedy to a muggy day in the Midlands—samples of cold, frothy beer. From domestics to imports to specialty micros, guests can choose their brew and meander through the Zoo or hang out in the plaza and listen to live music. Rain or shine. No one under 21 will be admitted. Proceeds support ongoing conservation and education efforts at Riverbanks. Visit www.riverbanks.org or call (803) 779-8717 for tickets and information.

Riverbanks ZOOfari
September 28, 2012
Don’t miss the wildest event in town! Riverbanks ZOOfari, the Zoo’s premier fundraiser, is set for Friday, September 28, at 7pm. Take an evening stroll through the Zoo, catch a glimpse of some wild creatures, savor tasty cuisine and cool cocktails, and bid on one-of-a-kind silent and live auction items. Proceeds support ongoing conservation and education efforts at Riverbanks. Visit www.riverbanks.org or call (803) 779-8717 for more information.

Boo at the Zoo
October 19-30, 2012
Hey, kids! Put on your cutest costume and head over to Riverbanks Zoo and Garden for the Zoo’s popular Halloween spook-tacular, Boo at the Zoo! Children 12 and under are invited to wear costumes for a spook-fest complete with Frankenstein’s Foam Zone, an eeky freaky DJ dance party and a trick-or-treat trail with candy and much more. This family-friendly festival runs for 12 nights leading up to Halloween from 6-9pm. Visit www.riverbanks.org or call (803) 779-8717 for more information.

Veterans Day
November 12, 2012
Active duty and retired military personnel with a military ID card receive free admission in honor of Veterans Day. Call (803) 779-8717 for more information.

Lights Before Christmas
November 17 – December 30, 2012 (closed November 22, December 24 and 25)
Experience Columbia’s longest running holiday tradition—the 25th annual Lights Before Christmas at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. From 6-9pm each evening, the Zoo shines with nearly one million twinkling lights and countless animated images representing some of Riverbanks’ most loveable residents. Take your photo with Santa, roast marshmallows and sip hot cocoa at the Jingle Bell Bonfire and if you’re dreaming of a white Christmas—Riverbanks is the only place in town where it snows every night! Visit www.riverbanks.org or call (803) 779-8717 for more information.