COLUMBIA, SC — Young visitors and their family members got a hands-on crash course in conservation during Riverbank Zoo's annual Party for the Planet Saturday.
The activity-packed celebration offered guests a closer look at ways they can make a positive impact on the environment with several educational and interactive activities.
“We want to encourage people to be good stewards of the planet,” said Magen Sier, the zoo's coordinator of interpretive programs.
During their visit, guests could pick up an Earth Day scavenger hunt guide that included a list of stations set up across the zoo that emphasized an aspect of conservation or animal awareness. At each stop visitors learned about such things as the life span of various biodegradable materials and endangered species. Children could collect stamps that could be traded in at the end of their visit for prizes. Several hundred youngsters took part in the scavenger hunt.
Three-year-old Georgia Chavis was wide-eyed as she visited the zoo's endangered species station Saturday. Her mother, Rene Chavis, said the visit is another step in helping her daughter become more sensitive to the needs of animals.
“Hopefully, she'll at least learn to love animals and one day she'll be able to care for them,” Chavis said.
The zoo's Earth Day guild sheet suggested several ways youngsters could conserve energy and save the planet. Those included picking up trash, recycling, carpooling, and turning off dripping faucets at home.
Sier said the hope is to encourage simple habits at an early age that will continue influencing children as they grow.
Party for the Planet was included with regular zoo admission.