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On WeddingWire since 2008
Riverbanks Zoo & Garden is a wildlife park wedding venue located in Columbia, South Carolina. Home to more than 2,000 magnificent animals, the zoo offers indoor and outdoor event facilities that exhibit elegance, class, and an extraordinary experience for couples and their guests to enjoy. An exotic alternative to the traditional wedding venues, the zoo facilities provide weddings with a nature-inspired setting, as well as great backdrops for photo opportunities.
Facilities and Capacity
Riverbanks Zoo & Garden offers a variety of indoor and outdoor event spaces that can accommodate both intimate celebrations and festive galas. Ceremonies are held after hours in the property's Magnolia's Garden Terrace, Ndoki's patio, or Riverbanks' Entry Plaza. Receptions, cocktail hours, and rehearsal dinners can be held in venue's five event facility options:
- Ndoki Lodge is a safari-themed space featuring high beam ceilings, panoramic views of forest foliage, and at certain times, the opportunity for an elephant or meerkat sighting. The lodge can accommodate up to 500 guests with use of indoor and outdoor space.
- Magnolia Room is one of the most breathtaking and unique spaces in the zoo, accommodating up to 350 guests using indoors and patio space. It features French doors that open out onto a bricked terrace, boasting views of stately fountains, cascading waters, seasonal flowers, and Riverbanks’ beautiful gardens.
- Tuskers is an ideal space for cocktail parties and can accommodate up to 250 guests. At night, the venue transforms into a chic event facility, featuring bamboo cloud lighting, a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace, a dance floor area, and a viewing deck overlooking zebras, ostriches, giraffes, and a ten-foot alligator.
- The ARC or Aquarium Reptile Complex, is perfect for a smaller wedding or any other evening celebration. It showcases a 55,000-gallon coral reef tank with sharks, moon jellyfishes, and gharial crocodiles perfect for a strolling cocktail hour or reception.
- The Birdhouse can accommodate up to 175 guests. It is a sky-lit atrium where guests can have the opportunity to be accompanied by penguins, hornbills, and other exotic birds.
Riverbanks Zoo & Garden provides event rentals for wedding ceremonies, receptions, rehearsal dinners, engagement parties, and bridal showers. The venue also accepts appointments for bridal portrait shoots, held after park hours at the Botanical Garden or zoo. Other services offered by the venue include:
- Bridal suites (dependent on wedding space and date)
- Lighting and sound system rentals
- In-house bar and catering
- Set up and clean up
Riverbanks Zoo & Garden is a proud partner of SSA Group, LLC. the event caterer based in the zoo premises. SSA's executive head chef, Andrew Humphreys, customizes menus and create new dishes exclusively for the event. SSA supports sustainability, helps local farmers, and showcases a variety of different cuisine options. The caterer offers couples the following serving-style options:
- Plated dinners
- Cocktail receptions
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Contact Riverbanks Zoo & Garden and their preferred vendors
Riverbanks Zoo & Garden
Events by Snow
Emerald Empire Band - South Carolina/Columbia
Frequently Asked Questions
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ReviewsWrite a review
45 User photos
Stunning and magical!
The price we paid was for 34 guests even though only 30 showed up (so it could have been even cheaper than that!) and that wasn’t including the photographer, the cake or the decorations (we brought our own centerpieces and decorations but the venue did offer to supply basic ones!)
The Perfect Day
Incredible Venue at a Great Value!
Are you interested?
Hey there! I'm Kayleen, Wedding Sales & Venue Coordinator here at Riverbanks Zoo & Garden. I relocated from Colorado to Columbia, SC in 2020. Prior to my role here, I worked in events and catering in various industries from hotels and hospitality, to the radio industry. I have serviced over 100 weddings including LGBTQIA, POC, and multicultural weddings!
I would be your point of contact for your facility, catering, bar, and rental needs for your wedding at Riverbanks Zoo & Garden. I hope to hear from you soon and can't wait to see your special day come to life!
Professional Network & Endorsements3 Endorsements
Love working with the professional team at Riverbanks Zoo! Courteous, organized and always pros! Beautiful venue and FANTASTIC food. Exciting, appealing displays and again...just a terrific staff.
SUCH a pretty place and great food !!
Lovely venue and facilities! Know that your wedding arrangements are in the hands of friendly and helpful experts! The ambiance here is that you are in a magical place! Great background for your memories and photos as well.
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Riverbanks Zoo & Garden frequently asked questions
- Clean Up
- Set Up
- House Beer
- House Liquor
- House Wine
- Limited Bar
- Open Bar
- Covered Outdoor
- Uncovered Outdoor
- Bridal Shower
- Engagement Party
- Rehearsal Dinner
- Bar Services
- Catering Services
- Clean Up
- Event Planner
- Event Rentals
- Get Ready Rooms
- Liability Insurance
- Outside Vendors
- Audio Equipment