Having some of the most unique event venues in Columbia can also bring with it some unique questions from clients and guests. We understand our spaces and location are not your typical event venue and are happy to answer any questions you may have! We’ve put together a list of common “unique” FAQs.
- Does it smell? Great question! Most of our venues are indoor, so you don’t have to worry about that. However, we can’t promise that if you’re walking by an exhibit you won’t notice the natural scent of certain animals.
- Can I ride a giraffe? No, animal care and safety is our biggest priority. However, you can have a giraffe feeding at your evening event. Feeding our inquisitive herd of giraffes is one of the most unique experiences in Columbia! In small groups, your guests can hand feed some hungry candidates while their keeper happily answers any questions that your guests may have. Those big eyes and long eyelashes create some unforgettable photo opportunities!
- Can I have a tiger at my event? No, only our education animals are allowed off exhibit. Check out our Animal Encounter options here.
- Is your catering more than Zoo food? We’re sure you’ve enjoyed our hand battered chicken tenders or our fresh baked pizza while you’ve visited the Zoo. Chef Jeremy’s talents go far beyond our daytime restaurant and concession menus. Your guests will be drooling over Parmesan risotto fritters with a pesto dipping sauce or his Shrimp and Grits with creamy slowed cooked grits with sautéed shrimp, fried leeks and a ham & bacon gravy. Check out our menus here.
- How do you pronounce Ndoki? And where did the name come from? We get this question almost daily! It’s N-doe-key. The name comes from a national park in the Republic of the Congo. The park is populated with elephants and western lowland gorillas. These same animals can be found in the area of the Zoo where the Ndoki Lodge sits.
- If we are hosting an event in the gardens, can we enter through the zoo entrance? We’re going to answer this based on time of day:
- Daytime Events – As long as your guests already have their admission tickets then they are welcome to use either entrance. If guests need to pick up their tickets from your registration table the day of the event, then they will need to use the entrance that you will have your registration table set up at.
- Evening Events – Your guests must enter through your designated entrance for your event. All other entrances will be closed.
- Where do my guests park? We have two large parking lots at each of our main entrances to accommodate event guest parking.
- Is there a fee for parking? Nope! We do not charge for parking for daytime or evening events.
- How do you deal with multiple events during the same night? We have several different entrances that we can use; allowing each event to have its own designated entrance.
- What happens if my evening event guest comes to the wrong entrance? Don’t worry! They won’t be the first or last person to do so. Most folks figure it out when they pull into the parking lot and there aren’t any other cars. Also, Public Safety is always on-site and can help get them directed to the right location. We have learned that using these addresses on your event invitation can help:
- Riverbanks Zoo
500 Wildlife Parkway
Columbia, SC 29210
- Riverbanks Botanical Garden
1300 Botanical Parkway
West Columbia, SC 29169
- Riverbanks Zoo
- Can my evening event guests walk around the zoo? Each venue rental comes with a specific area and exhibits open for your guests; however, for an additional fee you can have more exhibits open. Keep in mind that some animals may be taken off exhibit in the evenings.
- And an FAQ from our Chefs: Do you feed the animals? Jokingly they usually answer with “Yes, the two legged kind.” Chef Jeremy and his team are responsible for feeding all of the zoo guests – from daytime admission to private events. There is a whole separate team that runs our Commissary, which handles all of our animals’ diets.
We hope this helped. Please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 803.602.0900 with any questions that you have!