Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is turning 50

April 22, 2024

Join Riverbanks Zoo & Garden’s Birthday Celebration

Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, a premiere tourist destination in the Midlands of South Carolina, will commemorate 50 inspiring years of wildlife conservation on April 25, 2024. Since its inception, Riverbanks has been at the forefront of preserving endangered species and educating guests about the importance of caring for wildlife and wild places.

“As we reflect on this remarkable journey over the past 50 years, this major milestone serves as a testament to Riverbanks’ unwavering commitment to wildlife conservation and education,” said Tommy Stringfellow, chief executive officer and president at Riverbanks. “With a rich history to share and exciting developments on the horizon, the golden anniversary festivities promise to captivate guests and inspire a new generation of conservationists.” The year-long celebration will include elevated signature events, the grand opening of a new Komodo dragon breeding facility later this spring, and continued progress toward our exciting Bridge to the Wild expansion plans, signaling a promising future for Riverbanks.

Guests attending on Riverbanks’ anniversary day will be treated to a memorable experience, starting with the “A Wild Look Back” self-guided history tour. This nostalgic journey will illustrate the evolution of the Riverbanks landscape over the past five decades. Festivities will kick off at noon in the main plaza with a lively DJ-hosted dance party, featuring top-of-the-hour music sets to keep the energy high. Adding to the excitement, the Dreher High School Steel Band will deliver a captivating performance, setting the stage for an unforgettable celebration. Throughout the day, guests of all ages are invited to join in the fun, dancing amidst a sea of bubbles alongside Riverbanks’ mascots and their mascot buddies from across the Midlands, including Mason the Firefly, Blowie the Blowfish, and SCETV’s own Smart Cat.

“Riverbanks has a remarkable legacy of fostering connections that make a lasting impact on wildlife and wild places,” said Stringfellow. “As we commemorate our 50th anniversary, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to the dedicated staff, volunteers, and entire Midlands community as we recognize the past, celebrate the present and focus on the future of Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. Our vision for the future includes expanding our conservation efforts, enhancing educational programs for visitors of all ages, and creating innovative experiences that inspire environmental stewardship.” For more details about Riverbanks’ rich history and future endeavors, access the Riverbanks 50th Anniversary Press Kit which contains a look back over the last five decades showcasing historical highlights, pictures, interviews and more.

Building on the excitement of the Zoo’s 50th celebration, the highly sought-after Riverbanks 50th Anniversary Golden Tickets are currently circulating throughout the community. These golden tickets, symbolizing 50 years of wildlife conservation and community support, can be discovered now through June 30, 2024. Visit Riverbanks’ Golden Ticket webpage for a list of participating community partners, where these coveted tickets can be found.

As Riverbanks’ 50th summer approaches, community members can anticipate another exciting promotion centered around the number 50. In June, Toucan Tuesdays will return to Riverbanks, inviting guests to donate two canned goods in exchange for a buy-one-get-one park admission. This beloved program, which has been a staple since its inception in 2010, has collected an impressive amount of food for the Harvest Hope Food Bank. Riverbanks anticipates reaching a milestone of 50,000 pounds of donated food collected over the last 14 years. Visit Riverbanks.org for the 2024 Toucan Tuesday program dates and join Riverbanks in making a difference one can at a time.


Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is home to more than 3,000 magnificent and fascinating animals and one of America’s best public gardens. The Zoo opened on April 25, 1974, and for five decades has connected individuals, families and school children with the natural world. Riverbanks is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and is recognized as a global leader in animal care and welfare, education, recreation, science and wildlife conservation. It is the mission of the Zoo and Garden to create meaningful connections and inspire actions that will have a lasting impact on wildlife and wild places. For more information, visit riverbanks.org.