Visit the New and Improved Aquarium and Reptile Conservation Center at the Riverbanks Zoo


One of my family’s absolute favorite places in Columbia is the Riverbanks Zoo! There’s so much to see and do! We’ve been members since moving here and we appreciate that they’re always working hard to create engaging, meaningful learning opportunities and special memories for their guests.

In the last few years, we’ve gotten to know the herd of goats with the farm expansion, said goodbye to our beloved elephants but welcomed white rhinos, been introduced to countless newborn animals, and had a blast at annual events.

We recently had the pleasure of stopping by the newly renovated aquarium, officially named the Darnall W. and Susan F. Boyd Aquarium and Reptile Conservation Center. My kids could see the gorgeous updated exterior from the zoo entrance and couldn’t wait to get inside. After a year and a half of construction, the anticipation had definitely been building!

Once inside, this 20,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility is a further demonstration of the zoo’s commitment to community education and animal care. It preserves the integrity of the aquarium we’ve all come to enjoy while adding new features and visuals that strengthen our understanding of the animals and how Riverbanks is working hard to secure their futures.

While the aquarium is home to over 12,000 animals across numerous habitats, my children were most drawn to the new desert biome and coral lab. In the desert biome, they explored animals typically found in arid regions, ranging from peaceful tortoises to slithering rattlesnakes to squawky thick-billed parrots. The coral lab was filled with colorful coral colonies and described the zoo’s efforts to protect them. It’s evident that a great deal of thought went into creating immersive experiences that would leave a lasting impact on all visitors.

The Aquarium and Reptile Conservation Center operates during regular zoo hours and is included with general admission or membership. Be sure to plan a visit soon and become reacquainted with your cold-blooded friends!


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