Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is kicking off another New Year with the return of Free Fridays. Starting January 6, residents of Richland and Lexington Counties with proof of residency can enjoy free admission on Fridays in January and February. (A valid ID or property tax statement will be accepted). All other guests will be charged regular admission.
“Free Fridays is our way of thanking the residents of Richland and Lexington Counties for their continued support,” said Thomas K. Stringfellow, president and CEO of Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. Riverbanks relies on support from the community to help feed and care for the animals and maintain vital park operations.
“We have so much to look forward to in 2023,” Stringfellow continued. “Many thanks to the generosity of The Boyd Foundation, the Darnall W. and Susan F. Boyd Aquarium & Reptile Conservation Center will be opening in the coming weeks. The reimagining of the original building is starting to come to life as birds and reptiles are becoming acclimated to their new surroundings.”
The state-of-the-art animal care facility has already transformed the heart of the Zoo, and once opened will provide guests with an immersive experience that will highlight Riverbanks’ critical role in wildlife conservation. The official opening date will be announced in February.
Another reason to kick off the New Year at Riverbanks: to catch a glimpse of the latest zoo babies. A meerkat pup was born December 5 and began exploring its outdoor habitat shortly after Christmas. Meerkat pups are playful and vocal, and this one should be fun to watch as it gets comfortable with its terrain, trying new foods, learning to hunt, playing, sunning, and reacting to new noises.
Compounding the cuteness at the Zoo, a koala joey started peeking out of its mom Charlotte’s pouch in December and can be seen clinging to her mother regularly. Charlotte was the last joey born at Riverbanks in July 2017, and now she is a first-time mom to a daughter of her own. You can weigh in on a name for the miniature marsupial online beginning Friday, January 6. Stay tuned to riverbanks.org and the Riverbanks Facebook page to find out how you can help name the joey and for updates on the soon-to-open Aquarium & Reptile Conservation Center.