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Full 2013 Riverbanks Zoo Calendar

12:27 PM, Dec 27, 2012   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- The Riverbanks Zoo released the full calendar for 2013, including family fun, Free Fridays, and more: 

Free Fridays
Only in January and February

Free Fridays are back at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden! Residents of Richland and Lexington counties will receive free admission to the Zoo and Garden every Friday during the months of January and February. Guests will be asked to provide a valid driver's license or property tax statement as proof of residency. Call (803) 779-8717 or visit for more information.

Scout Saturday
January 19, 2013

Join us for a wild day at the Zoo and earn credits towards badge requirements, achievements and electives. Programs are designed specifically for Daisy, Brownie, Junior Scouts and Cub Scouts. Scout Days start with a brief interactive educational program including live animal encounters, games and activities. Age-specific materials for a self-guided adventure into the Zoo are also provided. The cost is $10 per scout. Zoo admission not included. Register online at

So You Wanna Be a Zookeeper?
February 2, 2013

Middle and high school students will be given an inside look at zookeeping during this interactive program-sponsored by the Riverbanks Chapter of the American Association of Zoo Keepers. Participants will have an opportunity to explore behind-the-scenes as well as take part in a panel discussion with members of Riverbanks' animal care staff. The program will take place from 10:30am to noon. The cost is $15 plus general admission to Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. Don't miss out on this wild opportunity! Register online at

Orchids on the Riverbanks Festival
February 8-10, 2013

Presented by The South Carolina Orchid Society, Ikebana International Chapter 182 and Riverbanks Botanical Garden. See hundreds of blooming orchids and get great information on growing orchids from the experts. Hours are Friday from 1pm to 5pm and Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 5pm. Entry is free with paid regular admission to Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. Call (803) 779-8717 or visit for more information.

Girl Scout Night Out: Cupids for Critters
February 9, 2013

We are excited to offer this Scout program in honor of Responsible Pet Owner's Month and Valentine's Day! This will be a fun-filled evening of crafts, animal encounters and activities that will earn credits towards badge requirements and journeys. We will be playing cupid to our family pets, the Zoo's education animals and our furry friends at the local shelters who have no valentine. The 2-hour program begins at 5:30pn and will also include a heart-themed SWAPs meet, optional animal supply drive, sweet treats, fun animal care activities, and crafts of course! The cost is $15 per Scout and $5 per adult. For more information or to register, visit

Love on the Wild Side
February 14 and 15, 2013

Roses are pretty and chocolate is sweet, but a Valentine's date at Riverbanks just can't be beat! Riverbanks Zoo and Garden invites you and your sweetheart to experience Love on the Wild Side. New this year, the Zoo is offering two wildly romantic evenings. Both nights begin at 6:30pm and include dinner, specially created by Riverbanks' executive chef, plus a walking tour of the Zoo. A cash bar also will be available. Tickets: $100 per couple. For more information, visit

Wild about Scouts: Evening Adventure
February 23, 2013

Journey to the Zoo for an after hours adventure to learn about animals from around the world and view them in another light...moonlight! This wild evening will begin at 5:30pm with live animal encounters, games and activities that will journey into the world of wildlife at night! Finally, we will head out on a twilight trek to explore even more and experience a night hike to remember! The cost is $10 per Scout and $5 per adult. For more information or to register, visit

March for Meals 5K Run/Walk at Riverbanks
March 2, 2013

Lace up your sneakers and dash out to Riverbanks Zoo and Garden for the 2013 March for Meals 5K Run and Walk on Saturday, March 2. The race will begin at 7:30am. Additional details will be available at or call (803) 252-7734. All proceeds benefit Meals on Wheels. Please note: Jogging strollers are welcome on the walking course. Strollers will not be permitted on the running course.

Springtime at the Garden Festival
March 23, 2013

Dig up inspiration for a successful gardening season at the Springtime at the Garden Festival, hosted by Riverbanks Botanical Garden. Guests will have opportunities to 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 for more information.

Spring Break Zoo Camp
April 1-5, 2013

So come on, come on do the "animotion" with me! Explore various types of animal locomotion at Spring Break Zoo Camp and find out if you can keep up with the Zoo's wildest movers. Campers have a hoppin' good time as they discover how different critters slither, slide, surf or swing through their world by participating in animal encounters, behind-the-scenes tours, zoo walks, arts, crafts, games and more! Camp runs from 9am to 3pm; extended play and stay options are available. The cost is $185 for Riverbanks members and $255 for the general public. Extended stay and play is an additional $75. Register online at

Wine Tasting at Riverbanks Botanical Garden
April 12, 2013

The annual Wine Tasting at Riverbanks Botanical 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. 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. Event is rain or shine. For more information, visit or call (803) 779-8717.

Party for the Planet
April 20, 2013

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 to 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 for more information.

Rhythm and Blooms
May 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30, 2013
(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 night in May. Cash bar and food will be available for purchase at the event. For more information, visit or call (803) 779-8717.

Girl Scout Night Out: BeZooJeweled
May 4 and 11, 2013

Come and BeZooJeweled! This "girls only" Scout Program, in honor of Mother's Day and Endangered Species Day, will be a fun-filled evening of jewelry making, animal encounters, conservation education and activities that will earn credits towards badge requirements and journeys. We will introduce you to the "bling" of the jungle and the "jewels" of the rainforest! In addition, participants will meet a few of our animal ambassadors, learn how to help endangered animals, create your own handmade jewelry, enjoy live classical music with our special guests from the USC school of music and spend some quality time with Mom (or other special lady in your life). The 2-hour program begins at 6:30pm. Cost is $15 per Scout and $10 per adult. Register online at

Members' Night Series
May 24, June 14 and July 12

The 2013 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 6:00pm. Parking is at the main Zoo entrance only. Pre-registration is not required. For up-to-the minute details, log on to and click on membership.

Summer Camps for All Ages
10 One-Week Sessions Beginning June 10, 2013

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 wildlife and wild places through animal encounters, behind-the-scenes tours and other wildly interactive activities! 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. A discounted holiday week will be offered July 1-5 with no camp on July 4th. For more information, visit or call (803) 779-8717 x1113 (for Sprout Camp, call x1799).

Brew at the Zoo
August 2, 2013

Make plans now to join us for the coolest suds sippin' safari in Columbia! Brew at the Zoo provides the perfect remedy to those muggy Midlands' days-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. Event is rain or shine. No one under 21 will be admitted. Proceeds support ongoing conservation and education efforts at Riverbanks. Visit or call (803) 779-8717 for tickets and information.

Riverbanks ZOOfari
September 27, 2013

Don't miss the wildest event in town! Riverbanks ZOOfari, the Zoo's premier fundraiser, is set for Friday, September 27, 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 or call (803) 779-8717 for more information.

Boo at the Zoo
October 18-30, 2013

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 13 nights leading up to Halloween from 6pm to 9pm. Visit or call (803) 779-8717 for more information.

Veterans Day
November 11, 2013

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 23-December 30, 2013 (closed November 28, December 24 and 25)

Experience Columbia's longest running holiday tradition-the 26th annual Lights Before Christmas at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. The Zoo will light up each evening from 6pm to 9pm with more than one million twinkling lights and countless animated images representing some of Riverbanks' most loveable residents. Guests can roast marshmallows at the jingle bell bonfire, visit with Santa and enjoy the festive sounds of the Music in Motion lights spectacular. Riverbanks is also the only place in town where it snows every night! Visit or call (803) 779-8717 for more information.


Riverbanks Zoo and Garden offers free, scheduled animal demonstrations and keeper talks throughout the day. For guests who want an all-encompassing experience, Riverbanks offers a new unlimited rides and attractions wristband. Wristband wearers can take advantage of six interactive activities, including feeding the giraffes, feeding the lorikeets, riding the ponies, riding the carousel, hopping on board the Spots and Stripes Railroad (children's train),  and climbing the 26-foot Wild Adventures rock wall. Cost: $20 per person (plus general admission). 

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 or call (803) 978-1113.

Educational Programs at Riverbanks

Backyard Buds

Little sprouts, ages 3 to 4, will go wild about nature while exploring the fascinating world of plants and flowers through hands-on activities. The 45-minute programs take place on Thursdays at 10am and include a lesson, craft and story. Adult participation is required. Cost is $9 per child. Register online at or call (803) 779-8717 ext. 1799 for more information.

Discovery Days

Young explorers and parents: Go wild about wildlife through learning adventures specifically designed to teach children new concepts about nature. Two different topics will be featured each month, and are available Wednesdays and Saturdays. Classes are a combination of story time, songs, games, hands-on activities, animal encounters (when available) and crafts. For more information, visit or email

Family on Safari

Enjoy an exciting overnight adventure at the Zoo! Family on Safari is the perfect program to get everyone in the family engaged in nature. Once a month, participants ages 5 and up set up camp at the Zoo, enjoy a nighttime program with animal encounters, behind-the-scenes tours and a snack, and then wake up to a continental breakfast and a Zoo visit the next morning. For more information, visit or email

Homeschool Mondays

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. For more information, visit or email

Mudpie Mondays

Every Monday from 10am to 11:30am. Drop in for a fun, nature-based activity! Participation is free with a Zoo membership or paid general admission to Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. Meets in the Bloom Room at the Botanical Garden Visitor's Center. For more information, call  (803) 779-8717 ext. 1799.

Overnights and Night Howls

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 or call (803) 978-1113.

Pony Classes

Come meet our equine friends here at Riverbanks during an exciting Pony class. Each class may feature learning how to groom, tack, and care for our ponies here at the zoo. Whether it's the classroom based Pony Pals class, Ponies 101 or our Pony Bath class, your child is sure to enjoy spending time with these gentle animals. Pony classes will be featured on Saturdays during the school year, with some weekday classes taking place in the summer months. For more information, visit or email

Toddler Tales

Bring your preschooler on Thursday for this age-appropriate program that includes stories, songs, plus a wild adventure. These 20-minute programs are held every Thursday in the outdoor Congo Classroom across from Gorilla Base Camp. During inclement weather the program will be in Discovery Center Theater. The program is free with a Zoo membership or paid general admission to Riverbanks Zoo and Garden.

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