Free admission following flooding brings record crowds to Riverbanks Zoo

Free admission following flooding brings record crowds to Riverbanks Zoo

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - More than 20,000 Richland and Lexington county residents took advantage of complimentary admission to Riverbanks Zoo in the three days following South Carolina's historic flooding.

The Zoo reopened to the public last Wednesday, October 7 offering free admission to residents of Richland and Lexington counties—two of the state's most devastated areas. Of the 29,345 guests who visited the Zoo last Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 22,712 received complimentary admission. Friday's attendance of 13,752 was the single biggest day in the Zoo's 40-year history.

"I have not seen anything of this magnitude in my 40-plus years at Riverbanks," Satch Krantz, president and CEO of Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, said "Our thoughts are with all who are suffering. It was our hope that reopening the Zoo would give our guests some sense of normalcy and put smiles on their faces."

Despite Riverbanks location on the lower Saluda River, the Zoo and Garden received little damage and all the animals remained safe.

Riverbanks is a special purpose district that supplements its operating budget with property taxes collected in Richland and Lexington counties. The Zoo and Garden will once again extend free admission to residents of those counties with the return of Free Fridays in January and February.

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