Are you planning a trip to Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, SC? Some call it the Riverbank Zoo, some call it the Columbia Zoo, no matter what you call it, we know you’ll enjoy a trip to this popular zoo in South Carolina. With over 2,000 animals spread across 170-acres there is so much to explore, learn and do! We will share all of our tips, what to expect, and how to prepare for your day of wild, memorable fun at this awesome zoo in Columbia.
The Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is made up of two large sections. You have the zoo side and then you have the botanical gardens side. This is where Waterfall Junction, the popular splash pad and play space, is located. It’s so cool, that we have a whole other article focused just on the Riverbanks Botanical Gardens and Waterfall Junction.
Have you visited the drive-thru safari at Eudora Farms? Get the family ready for a thrilling animal adventure, right from the car! Just south of Columbia, SC, this drive-thru safari is waiting for you with over 200 exotic animals. You’ll see exotic birds, camels, zebra, water buffalo, ostriches, and so much more!
We hopped in the car to check it out and this attraction was a hit for everyone! Here’s everything you need to know about Eudora Farms Wildlife Safari near Columbia, South Carolina, in Salley, SC.
Visiting South Carolina’s Eudora Farms Wildlife Safari
My family loved our recent adventure to Eudora Farms! I’m not totally sure what we were expecting, but our experience went above and beyond anything we had in mind! We shared plenty of giggles, unsure shrieks, and big smiles all around.
Before you head out to Eudora Farms, be sure to check the Eudora Farms social media account for any weather/closure updates. It’s far enough away that driving there and not being able to get in would make for a lot of tears (and the kids would be upset, too).
Planning Your Trip
After leaving Columbia, there aren’t many places to stop for gas, food, or potty breaks. The majority of the trip is very rural and there is often a line to get into the farm, so a quick pit stop before getting out of town wouldn’t be the worst idea.
Arriving at Eudora Farms
You will have to drive down a long dirt road before making it to the entrance of the farm. Upon arrival there will be a shelter where you can purchase (or show pre-purchased) tickets, buy buckets of food, and be given important rules and information.
Eudora Farms Tickets
Admission prices are as follows:
1 – 2 people in the vehicle: $18/person
3 – 6 people in the vehicle: $45/vehicle
Animal Food Buckets for Purchase
We recommend purchasing several bowls of food. Each bowl costs $5 or you can do a bundle of 5 bowls and save a few bucks. That is what my family chose to do and while it felt like too much at first, I promise, it goes fast! Be sure to keep the food not being used WELL HIDDEN! We will talk more about this later.
What Animals Can You See at Eudora Farms?
Overall, there are a couple of hundred animals that live on Eudora Farms! The safari driving trail will wind through several fields where you will see animals such as ostriches, zebras, camels, African Watusi, water buffalo, goats, llamas, and so much more! Some of these animals will gleefully approach your vehicle while others might need a little coaxing.
My son’s favorite animal was “the guy with the big horns”, better known as the African Watusi. Several of them greeted us right at the entrance and I think my son was in awe of how massive their horns were! My personal favorite was the highland cattle for no other reason than I think they’re cute and surprisingly rather gentle!
Beware of Ostriches & Camels
If you don’t remember anything else from this article, remember this: The ostriches will nip you! It doesn’t hurt (I got bitten); just scares the living snot out of you. You will usually be able to see the ostriches coming, so when/if it’s safe to do so, just roll your window up and they will move right along.
A second animal I MUST warn you about are the camels! They like food, A LOT, and are not afraid of sticking their enormous necks in and stealing whatever is in their eyesight. During our adventure, we had two separate camels steal a total of 3 food bowls from us. One of which I swore was going to end up sitting in my lap – he stretched through the front window, into the floorboard of the back seat, and snatched up 2 bowls like it was nothing. He was definitely well-trained on the act! (lol!)
Tips and Tricks for Eudora Farms
1. Bring Towels
Seriously, you’re going to need them! After getting 3 full bowls of food snatched out of the backseat of my van we used a towel to cover the rest of them on the floorboard. Out of sight, out of…danger of being robbed by camels!
Another great use for towels is draping them over the side of your car so that some is covering both the outside and inside of your door. We saw a few cars doing this and thought it was BRILLIANT. The animals will undoubtedly bring in a lot of mud, dirt, and, well…slobber, so having an extra barrier there will be helpful!
2. Pack Hand Sanitizer or Wipes
While there are handwashing stations in the walkthrough safari areas, there is no way to wash your hands while in the drive-thru portion. Remember how I said you’re going to encounter lots of animal dirt and slobber?! Hand sanitizer and/or wet wipes are necessary, for sure!
3. Demonstrate How to Properly Feed Animals
I know they probably don’t do it on purpose, however, some of the animals are more aggressive than others at getting their food. It would be wise to have a quick teaching moment and/or demonstration with younger kiddos about holding their hands flat to feed, staying calm when animals approach, etc.
4. Bring More Containers
While you CANNOT bring your own food to feed the animals, you can bring smaller containers to divide the food into. This helps a ton with not only rationing food out to your kids but it also gives them a place to hold it besides just their hands or laps. Think along the lines of a few small, plastic bowls or Tupperware containers.
5. Have No Fear, More Food is Available
We thought we were running out of food and started getting nervous, but about ¾ of the way through your trip there will be another shelter to purchase food buckets at!
6. No Petting or Feeding the Zebras
They will also tell you this when you’re checking-in, but you are not allowed to pet or feed the zebras! Make sure your children are also aware of this rule because the zebras will still stick their heads into the car and say hello. Just ignore them and they’ll leave quickly!
7. Only Honk if you Need Help
Honking your horn means you need assistance so you should only do this if you’re in need of a staff member.
More Things To Do at Eudora Farms
Now that the farm is 100% complete, in addition to the drive-thru safari, there is a petting zoo, giraffe visit, walk-thru safari, and food trucks.
Walk-through safari at Eudora Farms
Along the walk-thru safari, you can get up close to lemurs, tropical birds, bearcats, kangaroos, and have a chance to feed parakeets.
Petting Zoo at Eudora Farms
At the petting zoo, you can feed baby animals such as goats, camels, and cows.
Has your family visited Eudora Farms? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!
Eudora Farms Wildlife Safari Drive-thru is Reader Recommended
We had a fun adventure last week down in Salley at Eudora Farm. Kidding around Greenville has been such a fabulous resource and totally saved me multiple times. I wanted to share with the group. Eudora Farm is a drive through safari that’s only $36 a car. Takes about an hour to drive through depending on how long you choose to interact with the animals. There’s camels, exotic cattle, zebras, large birds, llamas, alpacas, a GIRAFFE, etc. etc. A wide variety came up to the car to be fed or pet. Buckets of grain are $5. After the drive there’s a small area where you can pet young animals and Elliot the giraffe. There’s a bird enclosure with about 60 parakeets that you can feed for $2 a stick. We spent ages in there. There’s some concessions, but we packed in food and ate at the picnic tables. Portapotties are available and handwashing stations. It’s a bit of a drive, but well worth it!!
Have you ever been to the South Carolina State Fair in Columbia, SC? This year, the fair will be in town from October 12th to October 23rd, 2022. The SC State Fair is an exciting fall tradition that dates back over 150 years ago!
Each year, the fair brings in thousands of people from all around the state who enjoy all of the great things it has to offer – games, prizes, rides, food, and animals just to name a few! Whether this is your first year attending or if you’ve been to the State Fair in the past, keep reading as we will walk you through how to save money on tickets, what to expect inside, where to park, what to bring with you, and more!
Have you visited the Riverbanks Zoo Garden? The Botanical Gardens and Waterfall Junction at Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, SC are fun to visit any time of year, with a variety of attractions that keep everyone entertained!
At the Riverbanks Botanical Gardens and Waterfall Junction you will find several beautiful and award-winning flower gardens, a huge splash pad, a dinosaur fossil dig, and several areas for exploration and play. We’ve got all you need to know to plan your trip from a mom who visits frequently!
Visiting The Riverbanks Zoo and want to see the animals? You’ll want to jump over to our guide for the Riverbanks Zoo, as this piece focuses on the amazing gardens and water play spaces at the Riverbanks Botanical Gardens.
Have you been to the newly-expanded Leo’s Landing at Saluda Shoals in Irmo, SC? Are you looking for a modern park that is more than just your typical swing and slide set-up? Whether you’re looking for a new go-to park or somewhere special to visit every once in a while, Leo’s Landing is sure to be the perfect place to exceed all of your expectations! This playground features all-inclusive play equipment, covered picnic shelters, and several safety features that will make your outing a great one!
Have you visited EdVenture Children’s Museum in Columbia, South Carolina? This museum is the perfect combination of hands-on play and educational fun for your family! Keep reading as we will share all the tips and info you’ll need to make your trip perfect!
From babies to pre-teens, EdVenture Children’s Museum is sure to have something for all! Several exhibits make up the two floors of wonder and include activities ranging from science and engineering to pretend play and everything in between. Before we discuss the exhibits, let’s start with some helpful tips to get you prepared for your “edventure.” Edventure is closed on Tuesday’s, but is open every other day of the week.
Admissions and Fees
Tickets can be purchased at the museum or online before you go for $13.00/person (children under 2 are free). Yearly memberships can also be purchased with various price ranges and package deals. EdVenture has a strong belief that EVERY child should have the opportunity to engage in educational fun within the museum. Because of this, they have discounted admissions options for families who receive SNAP, WIC, or Medicaid for $3 entry per person.
Once tickets are purchased, you can leave and re-enter the museum throughout the same day for no extra fees.
Camps, Classes, and Regular Events at EdVenture
EdVenture offers several extra programs throughout the week and during different seasons including:
Spring Break & Summer Camp
$198 weekly per child, $30 membership discount for Spring Break
$249 weekly per child, 15% discount for members for Summer Break
I was very impressed by all of the thoughtful features throughout the museum for even the littlest of littles! For starters, the museum is well-planned out making it easy to maneuver strollers to and from the exhibits. There is also an elevator located in the middle of the museum that is large enough for the whole family – strollers and all!
On the second floor, in “My Backyard” (the area for those under 3 years old), there is a cozy nursing room complete with a rocking chair, bookshelf, and dark, retractable curtains.
On the first floor, to the right of the main entrance, you can enjoy a fresh lunch or quick snacks. The cafe has a decent-sized menu and serves things such as pizza, sub sandwiches, salads, and a variety of grilled items as well as beverages. No outside food is allowed within the museum.
EdVenture Children’s Museum Exhibits
More than nine different areas with endless amounts of learning and exploration can be found at EdVenture. We will walk you through each level of the museum and let you know what to expect as you wander around with your kids!
On the main level of EdVenture you’ll find the majority of the museum’s exhibits.
World of Work
What do you want to be when you grow up? A firefighter? How about a farmer? Or maybe even a chef? You can try it all throughout this exhibit! “World of Work” takes up the majority of the main level of EdVenture.
Your children can climb into a 24 foot life-size fire truck, flash the lights and even create their own fire escape plan. Across from the firetruck, you will find a dairy and produce farm. Here, your children can “milk” a cow, harvest vegetables, climb onto a tractor and collect fruits from the fruit trees to send to the grocery store.
Next, make a “grocery list” and send your littles out on an errand – the Neighborhood Market is always a popular place to be! With small shopping carts, 2 check-out lanes, and realistic foods and goods, your family is sure to have a fun time playing pretend.
Be sure to also check out the Little Spot Diner (situated right outside of the grocery store) and let your kids make you a delicious meal. My favorite thing about “World of Work” is watching my kid’s creativity and imagination come to life in these real-world settings sized just right for them!
You can’t miss him, he’s the world’s largest child measuring in at over 40 feet tall with a heart weighing over 500 pounds! Eddie is his name and he will help teach your children all about body organs and their functions!
You can climb up a set of stairs that will take you into his stomach, intestines, heart, and brain. Eddie is the perfect combination of fun and education as his insides are set up like a jungle gym, but with realistic organs – You can hear his beating heart, the electricity inside of his brain as well as his stomach growling when you listen carefully.
As you make your way up, take a tunnel slide back down to his large shoes (which are each about the size of a car, might I add), and start your exploration again! I love that Eddie opens up a door for parents and caregivers to talk to and teach their children about the wonderful things our bodies can do at such an age-appropriate level.
The News Room
Has your child ever wanted to be on TV? If so, head on over to the “News Room.” Here, your child can pretend to be a news anchor or even a producer. With realistic equipment and large TV screens to look up at, this exhibit is sure to be a treat. Be mindful that to get here, you will have to go up a small flight of stairs!
Wags & Whiskers
Get ready to put your children’s pet care abilities to the test! In this area, they will be able to care for a variety of different animals with x-rays, grooming and veterinary tools, and basic pet care needs. Wags & Whiskers teaches your child how to care for the health of their pets through interactive play.
Biolab at EdVenture
Let your child explore their inner scientist in the Biolab, designed to teach kids about biomedical science in a fun way! With teaching laboratories, this exhibit and programming is geared toward kids ages 5 – 14 to spark a lifelong interest in the biomedical field.
Cooking Lab at EdVenture
Enjoy cooking and preparing real food in the Cooking Lab, all while learning about the body, how nutrition is important, and tie all the information together with what is taught in the Biolab.
Outdoor Fun at EdVenture
The outdoor area at EdVenture is made up primarily of water play which is great in the warmer months, but be mindful that your kids may get pretty wet so an extra shirt or full change of clothes isn’t a bad idea! There are also several tricycles and a small, model airplane in this area that kids can climb into and “fly.”
The seasonal exhibit changes frequently to match whatever is going on during…well, each season! EdVenture often has holiday characters such as Santa and the Easter Bunny set up here. You will also find holiday-specific activities, education on different cultural and traditional beliefs, and goodies throughout the year!
Fly an Airplane on the Second Floor of EdVenture
The second level of the museum is home to all things science, engineering, and technology, but with a closed-off room dedicated to the tiniest explorers.
This part of the museum is full of flight simulators and educational, hands-on displays that teach children about gravity, the solar system, and how/why some things can take flight while others can’t.
My son’s favorite part of this exhibit is the Boeing 757 cockpit where you can sit in the pilot’s seat, explore the gears, and look out of the windshield at a view of the city.
In this area, you can also create and launch your own paper airplane, climb and play in a rocket ship, read interesting facts about aeronautics, and learn to fly in the Boeing 777 flight simulators.
In this area, your children will be able to create and build. In the “Open Make” center, there are several recycled materials where your kids can cut, glue, fold and color their own creations. There are also several different styles of blocks that can be found – magnetic, large Legos, KAPLA blocks, waffle blocks, etc. that will put your child’s problem-solving and engineering skills to the test!
This part of the museum is best suited for children 5-10 years old, however, with extra assistance, younger children might also be able to engage in some of the play (especially with the building blocks).
Strictly reserved for children 3 years old and younger, here you will find tons of toddler and baby-safe play! There is a treehouse-styled jungle gym, a boat where kiddos can dress up in rain boots and large yellow jackets, puzzles, soft play mats, a ball pit, and several ways to meet the sensory needs of your tots!
As mentioned before, there is also a nursing area and large, family-style restroom within.
Party Room at EdVenture
Looking for the perfect place to host a birthday party? You might want to check out the EdVenture party room! Parties are $300 for non-members and $260 for members. The birthday packages come with several incentives including all-day admission for 35 guests, discounts in the gift shop, downloadable party invitations, 90-minute private party, and more! You can visit the EdVenture Birthday page to check for dates and find out more.
The SC State Museum is not only huge but so entertaining, educational, and fun. Here’s why you should consider a trip to Columbia, SC to explore it.
The South Carolina State Museum has been on my list as a homeschooling parent (actually, before that since my daughter was supposed to go as a third-grader and then the pandemic hit). I had heard it was cool but did not know the extent of exactly how amazing it would be. So I hauled my kids out there for a truly fun day trip. And if you’re a homeschooling parent, read all the way through for a special admission tip.