Riverbanks Zoo Picnic Area
Open during daylight hours
Wildlife Dr. Columbia,SC
No charge for the picnic area.
Riverbanks Zoo Picnic Area is a great place to go for a picnic, to splash around in the Saluda, see some wildlife close up, or go fishing. The area to the left of the parking lot has several access points but the paved one right next to the zoo fence is the easiest for walking. The picnic area has both paved and dirt paths and plenty of picnic tables. It is clean and well maintained.
There are several spots where you can access the river. The point closest to the zoo bridge is wide and shallow- a good spot to let the kids splash around.
There is plenty of wildlife around as well. While in the area to take photographs, I ran across squirrels and birds in the wooded picnic area. I also disturbed a large brown lizard sunning himself on a log closer to the river. Out on the river I saw some sort of a heron or crane and a brown duck flew by.
At the end of the parking lot, next to the orange gate, is a walking path that will lead you down to the rapids of the river. This is a popular place for tubing, swimming, or just sunning on the rocks. Wildflowers and blackberries are all around the path area- for an educational trip, see how many you can identify!
Unfortunately, this end of the area is not as well kept up and you are likely to see plenty of trash and empty cans left behind. If you have small children, you probably want to stick to the picnic area.
To get there, take I-26 to Greystone Blvd. Follow the signs to Riverbanks Zoo. Once in the zoo parking lot, turn right and go to the end of the lot.