Riverbanks Zoo & Garden

Zoo in Columbia

Considered one of America's top zoos, Riverbanks regularly wins awards for design, animal care and breeding of endangered species. Popular exhibits include the reptile aquarium, which houses species like Galápagos tortoises and Komodo dragons, and an Africa-themed feature with elephants, gorillas and meerkats.

There's also a stunning botanical garden reached by crossing a footbridge over the Saluda River. It contains more than 4000 species of native and exotic plants. The zoo is just west of downtown Columbia.