COLUMBIA — For more than 25 years, the Riverbanks Zoo has entertained crowds coming out to see lights, animals, lights in the shapes of animals, and a good time in general.
While the evenings do offer limited sightings of the zoo’s inhabitants, many of the attractions are closed during those hours including the aquarium and the bird house.
The nearly one million lights include festive candy, zoo animals, and an impressive troupe of dancing wreaths. With music playing in all areas of the zoo, it truly feels like a community Christmas party, complete with drinks. While the month has been unseasonably warm, hot cocoa has remained a favorite of visitors.
Open areas that visitors may find to be highlights are the koala exhibit and the Riverbanks farm. The koalas are a park favorite and seem to have large crowds every year. The farm, which includes several animals available for petting and feeding, is another favorite.
Visitors who have not been to the zoo recently will find several major changes upon their arrival. The first and probably largest change is the complete overhaul of the zoo’s entrance. The entrance has been streamlined and adds a welcome feel to the zoo. Just inside, visitors will find the new sea otter exhibit, which features a small waterfall and one of the cutest inhabitants at Riverbanks.
The Lights Before Christmas will run through Dec. 30 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. daily except for Christmas Day. Expect minor traffic delays and remember that parking is at a premium, especially on their busiest day, Saturday.
Reach James Inabinet at 803-635-4016.