A much-anticipated interactive children’s garden is slated to open next month at Riverbanks Zoo.
Waterfall Junction, in the zoo’s botanical garden, is scheduled to open April 7, according to a news release. It is the single largest addition to Riverbanks since the botanical garden itself was completed in 1995.
The three-acre children’s garden will include a dino dig, tree houses, a 25-foot waterfall, creeks and ponds.
The new feature is part of a roughly $36 million expansion at Riverbanks, the state’s most popular tourist attraction and a top destination in the Southeast. Attendance has jumped from an average of 800,000 in the early 2000s to more than 1 million in recent years.
The new Sea Lion Landing, among projects in the final phase of the expansion, is slated to open June. 9. The exhibit is a replica of San Francisco’s Pier 39 and will offer guests various vantage points to watch the sea lions.
Other features that opened last year as part of the zoo expansion include a new entrance and gift shop and two exhibits – river otters and grizzly bears.
Meanwhile, Botanical Parkway off U.S. 378, damaged in October flooding, remains closed. But repairs are under way, with Lexington County officials hoping the road can reopen as soon as late summer. Guests can still access the Zoo's garden entrance at Mohawk and Seminole drives.