Published on July 23rd, 2014 | by Millennium Magazine Staff0
Riverbanks Roars over Record-Breaking Year
Zoo Crowds Soar to New High by More Than 14,000 Guests
[Columbia, SC] – Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is thrilled to once again announce a new attendance record welcoming 1,053,377 to the park during the 2013-2014 fiscal year that ended on June 30.
This marks the fifth consecutive year that Riverbanks has attracted more than one-million visitors. These numbers also greatly exceed last year’s attendance record of 1,039,372.
“Riverbanks’ growing success is largely attributed to an ever-evolving guest experience,” said Satch Krantz, president and CEO of Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. “We constantly strive to provide our visitors with exciting and participatory opportunities such as the recent addition of the Zoo’s zip line canopy tours. This invigorating attraction includes a 1,000-foot flight over the lower Saluda River.”
Other new additions also are taking off at Riverbanks. Demolition is now underway on the Zoo’s $36-million dollar expansion and development project—Destination Riverbanks. As part of the park-wide transformation, guests can look forward to a state-of-the-art seal/sea lion exhibit, a new grizzly bear and otter habitat, a children’s garden in the Botanical Garden, an expanded entrance and additional parking to accommodate more visitors, improved guest amenities, plus enhanced retail and dining locations.
“We anticipate that Destination Riverbanks will drive more out-of-towners to Columbia to explore the city and in turn encourage them to spend a night or two in the Midlands,” Krantz said. Recent surveys show that nearly 40% of the Zoo’s guests already travel 50 miles or more from outside of Columbia to enjoy a fun and affordable family outing.
Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is the largest gated attraction in South Carolina and ranks as one of the largest mid-sized zoos in the nation attracting more visitors than many zoos in larger cities such as Atlanta, Dallas and Miami. Krantz adds that Riverbanks is a proven economic driver in Richland and Lexington counties. In a recent study commissioned by the Zoo, the University of South Carolina College of Hospitality, Retail and Sports Management revealed that Riverbanks generates more than $60 million in business sales and is responsible for creating more than 700 jobs in the community.
For 40 years, Riverbanks Zoo and Garden has connected individuals, families and groups with the world’s wildlife and wild places. Riverbanks is a special purpose district governed by the Riverbanks Park Commission, which consists of seven members, two appointed by Richland County Council, two by Lexington County Council, two by the City of Columbia, and one jointly by the three entities. It is the mission of Riverbanks Zoo and Garden to foster appreciation and concern for all living things. Riverbanks Zoo is located at 500 Wildlife Parkway, Columbia, SC 29210. The Botanical Garden entrance is located at 1300 Botanical Parkway, West Columbia, SC 29169. The park is open daily from 9am to 5pm, except for Thanksgiving and Christmas day. Admission is $13.95 for adults, $11.50 for children ages 2–12 and free for children under 2. Group rates and other discounts may apply. Year-round membership packages are also available. For more information, call Riverbanks at 803.779.8717, visit www.riverbanks.org or www.facebook.com/riverbankszoo.