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Grizzly Bears & River Otters Are Open at Riverbanks Zoo!

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The first of several highly anticipated  exhibits and additions to the Riverbanks Zoo & Botanical Garden expansion are open! Grizzly Ridge and Otter Run opened June 10th!

From Riverbanks Zoo & Botanical Garden:

Be sure to brake for grizzly bears and river otters on your next visit to Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. Zoo guests will have their first opportunity to view these amazing animals in their all-new habitats with the opening of Grizzly Ridge and Otter Run on Wednesday, June 10.

The much anticipated public introduction of the Zoo’s grizzly bear and river otter exhibits marks the first in a series of projects slated for completion over the next several months as part ofDestinationRiverbanks—the Zoo’s $36-million expansion..

“We are thrilled to finally share these long-awaited exhibit openings with our members and guests,” said Satch Krantz, president and CEO of Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. “I also want to thank our visitors for their continued support and patience during this process. We are over halfway there, and I guarantee the end result will be phenomenal.”

Grizzly Ridge is home to long-time Zoo residents Butch and Sundance. The beloved brothers recently returned to Riverbanks from the Tulsa Zoo in Oklahoma where they lived for more than a year during construction of their spacious new habitat. The exhibit features an up-close view through glass for Zoo guests to watch the duo whether they’re playing, swimming or lounging.

Neighboring Otter Run showcases very playful North American river otters. Guests will enjoy an up-close view of sisters: Divya, Savannah and Sophia. The trio came to Riverbanks from Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington, Illinois. Riverbanks previously had North American river otters in its animal collection from 1979 to1987.

In addition to Grizzly Ridge and Otter Run, phase one of Destination Riverbanks is slated for completion in mid-to-late July and will ultimately showcase the Zoo’s expanded entry plaza, a 4,500 square-foot gift shop and a state-of-the-art guest relations center sponsored by SCE&G featuring more ticket booths, a concierge-type desk, an expanded first aid facility, and a room for nursing mothers. A brand-new solar array, made possible by a PaCE (Palmetto Clean Energy) grant and matching funds from SCE&G, will be installed atop the new guest relations center, helping to generate electricity for the building and create awareness about alternative energy.

Down the road, phase two of Destination Riverbanks crosses the Saluda River into the Botanical Garden with the addition of an interactive 3-acre children’s garden slated to open later this year. The final phase will drive guests back to the heart of the Zoo with the opening of Sea Lion Landing in the spring of next year.

For the most up-to-date “Hard Hat Happenings” including weekly photos showing the progress of construction, visitwww.riverbanks.org and click on Destination Riverbanks.



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