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A Peek At What’s New At Riverbanks Zoo

A Peek at What's New at the Zoo - Columbia SC Moms Blog

There are so many new and exciting things going on at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden! Let’s take a look at these amazing new exhibits and areas!

Waterfall Junction

In April the Botanic Gardens opened up Waterfall Junction. If you haven’t been there yet, this is one place you need to check out this summer!

Waterfall Junction is a three acre play area that invites kids to have fun from the moment they enter. Children are greeted by rabbit holes they can walk through to enter the park.


As you enter and walk to the left you will find a large Dino Dig where kids can dig in the sand for dinosaur bones. Across from there is the Mrs. Pat’s Vegetable Garden. A large garden area the children can explore, see how plants and vegetables grow, and witness the butterflies and other wildlife inhabiting the garden.


Look closely to spot the rabbit tracks! Look for these and other animal tracks all over Waterfall Junction.


To the right of the entrance, in the center of Waterfall Junction, is a large open grassy area where kids can hula hoop, blow bubbles, or play a giant game of checkers. Just to the left of that is the main attraction; the spray area! Here a 25′ cascading waterfall flows down to where large spurts of water shoot up out of the ground. There are also two cabanas to change in along with tables and chairs where you can sit to eat (Waterfall Junction offers a variety of refreshments at the Oasis concession stand).



If you’re looking for an area with more shade, walk down the trail past the two play houses to the giant tree house. Each section of the tree house offers a unique experience. There is a small train with tracks set up, a cozy reading nook with comfy chairs and books, a cute mushroom with mushroom stools where you can hold a tea party, and plenty of space in the bottom area for parents to relax and enjoy the surrounding nature. Be sure to keep an eye out for the signs on the trees that are full of information about different insects and animals.


Watch out for the monkeys in the trees!

As if all of that wasn’t enough, there’s still more! There is the Bullfrog Pond where children can observe tadpoles and how they develop into frogs. There is a small play area where children can ride a dinosaur, sit in an over-sized chair, crawl through a large log, and go down a slide. Kids and parents can also enjoy a picnic in the shade at the mushroom tables and climb on some friendly ladybugs in Tadpole Circle.


Be sure to keep an eye out for these tiny little frogs when you’re near Bullfrog Pond and Tadpole Circle!

When any new place like this opens up, there are bound to be some problems. Down by the Bullfrog Pond is the stepping stone pond where kids can step from rock to rock over the water. However, the pond will be closed the remainder of the summer in order to install a new filtration system. This is a big disappointment for us since that was my youngest son’s favorite spot in WJ.

My only other tiny complaint is that the plastic dinosaurs the kids can “ride” on are in full sunlight and get extremely hot. Too hot for the kids to play on. If you want to use those, you should arrive at 9am when the Botanic Garden opens before the hot sun scorches them. But, overall, Waterfall Junction is am amazing place and I look forward to taking my children there all summer!

Sea Lion Landing


Sea Lion Landing is home to two beautiful sea lions and one harbor seal. It is a state-of-the-art exhibit with a gorgeous underwater viewing area. If you head over to the exhibit at 10:30 am and 2:30 pm, you’ll be able to see the trainers feeding the animals. You will love this stunning new exhibit!



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Have you been to Waterfall Junction or Sea Lion Landing? What do you think of these new exhibits?

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