South Carolina

Grizzlies, otter exhibit now open at Riverbanks Zoo

Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia opened its new grizzly bear and otter exhibit on Wednesday.

The new exhibit areas, called Grizzly Ridge and Otter Run, are the first to open as the zoo undergoes a $36 million expansion.

This is the first time otters have been on exhibit since 1987. Three North American river otters – named Divya, Savannah and Sophia – are coming from Miller Zoo in Bloomington, Ill.

Two grizzlies, Butch and Sundance, will return from the Tulsa Zoo, where the siblings spent a year during construction of their new space in Columbia. A glass viewing area will give visitors a closer look at the animals at Grizzly Ridge.

The rest of the first phase of construction will be completed in mid- to late July. That includes a bigger entry plaza and a gift shop almost double the size of the former one.

After that’s done, work will finish on an interactive children’s garden in the fall.

The highly anticipated Sea Lion Landing, with its San Francisco pier look, is opening in the spring of 2016.

— The State Newspaper Staff Reports