Living Here Guide

Riverbanks Zoo: Otters and drums and bears, oh my

What’s new at the Zoo:

Be on the lookout for grizzly bears and river otters when visiting Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, 500 Wildlife Parkway in Columbia.

The opening of the Zoo’s Grizzly Ridge and Otter Run exhibits mark the first in a series of projects slated for completion over the next several months as part of Destination Riverbanks the Zoo’s $36-million expansion.


Embark on an epicurean expedition, encounter animals up-close and support wildlife conservation at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden’s premier fundraiser, Riverbanks ZOOfari. The all-inclusive evening will take place at 7 p.m. Sept. 25.

The evening will feature a variety of African-inspired cuisine seasoned with a taste of the South for sampling, plus creative concoctions to complement the featured fare.

Guests also will have an opportunity to step inside Riverbanks’ African elephant yard and experience a pachyderm’s perspective while the all-female herd spends some time off exhibit. Drums echoing in the night will entertain the crowd and give guests a chance to try their hand at African steel drumming.

In addition, scheduled animal feedings, presentations and up-close animal encounters will take place at various exhibits throughout the evening.

Advance tickets are $55 for Riverbanks’ members and $65 for the general public. For additional information, visit All proceeds will benefit wildlife conservation and education efforts at Riverbanks.

Did you know?

Each year, Riverbanks welcomes more than 1 million guests. That’s an average of 2,754 people each day – the size of the city of Folly Beach. Every year, Zoo visitors eat more than 3 tons of hot dogs, consume 191,000 gallons of soft drinks, use 941 miles of toilet paper and fill more than 60,000 trash bags.

Bertram Rantin