Columbia’s Riverbanks Zoo sets opening date for $10M aquarium, reptile center | Columbia News

Columbia’s Riverbanks Zoo sets opening date for M aquarium, reptile center | Columbia News

COLUMBIA — Riverbanks Zoo and Yard is poised to open up the biggest aquatic and reptilian lifestyle conservation centre in the Midlands on March 2 with a recently renovated 20,000-square ft. aquarium and reptile conservation center.

It really is a $10 million portion of an investment from Columbia’s Darnall and Susan Boyd Foundation.

The zoo is adding two new conservation labs — just one for coral reefs and a person for endangered amphibians and reptiles — as properly as a desert local climate biome for some of the park’s reptilian inhabitants, and with a nod to the favored animal of the charitable midlands foundation’s namesake, a big Pacific octopus named Susan.

Riverbanks Zoo coral conservation lab

The coral lab at Columbia’s Riverbanks Zoo and Back garden is a study and procedure heart for species of coral colonies rescued off the Florida coastline in partnership with the federal governing administration. T. Michael Boddie/Post and Courier

A major aspect is the aquarium and reptile center’s coral conservation lab, which operates one thing like a medical center for over 40 species of diseased coral colonies that have been rescued off the coast of Florida in the vicinity of Key West, Riverbanks’s Chief Working Officer Lochlan Wooten mentioned.

“The coral actually shields coastal communities, so you can find financial and environmental impression,” Wooten explained. “What this renovation has completed is enormously improve our footprint in the space readily available to do this get the job done, which is a game-changer.”

The $10 million financial commitment from the Boyd Basis is part of the zoo’s more substantial, $32 undertaking for a master strategy dubbed “Bridge to the Wild,” which also consists of the park’s white rhinoceros show that opened in 2020, additional than a 12 months just after the zoo lifted COVID limitations and made a thrust for much more interactive displays.

The park’s 30-yr-old crocodiles have been transported off to Fresno, Calif., to make home for the desert biome, which will household some animals native to the American Southwest together with rattlesnakes, blue iguanas and the endangered thick-billed parrots. 

The aquarium and reptile centre also will come as a continuation of the Boyd Foundation’s marks on the Midlands, which include landmarks like Boyd Plaza outside the Columbia Museum of Artwork on Key Street, a greenhouse at the historic Hampton-Preston Mansion and Gardens and an island wildlife sanctuary wherever the Wide, Congaree and Saluda Rivers satisfy.

Columbia's Boyd Foundation making its mark: 'They own the growth of the region.'

The zoo’s aquarium and reptile centre renovations and additions, this sort of as Susan the octopus and the big luminescent wall of moon jellyfish, are also an expenditure in expanding tourism, Wooten mentioned. The zoo stay on the major visitor attracts in the state.

The centre will give people floor-to-ceiling views of longtime Riverbanks citizens together with the alligator snapping turtle, cottonmouth and bushmaster snakes and the inexperienced anaconda, but many new species of fish and reptiles will be there by March 2, the chief operating officer mentioned.

Up coming to the coral conservation lab will be the center’s terrestrial lab, dwelling to endangered reptiles and amphibians from about the earth like the Madagascar gecko. On the wall is a live electronic rely of people who took a pledge to help protect the state’s endangered wildlife.

“It’s significant for us to comprehend our essential roles in conservation and how we can all do our component,” Susan Boyd claimed.

With new law protecting SC's reptiles and amphibians, conservationists look to future

The coral and terrestrial conservation labs will have infographics with instructed “little steps” for readers to choose in everyday life to protect forests and the ocean, Wooten said, regardless of whether that element is functioning to continue to keep plastic and trash out of them, employing reef-safe and sound sunscreen or advocating for lights-out beaches for safe and sound sea turtle nesting. 

This tale has been up-to-date to mirror that the aquarium and reptile conservation center is a $10 million investment by the Darnall and Susan Boyd Foundation.

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