State and local officials gathered alongside Riverbanks Zoo and Garden staff Tuesday to celebrate the groundbreaking of the future Darnall W. & Susan F. Boyd Aquarium and Reptile Conservation Center.
The new facility is expected to open in the spring or summer of 2022. It will house a variety of habitats offering captivating views of some of the world's most endangered wildlife, highlighting animal care and conservation efforts taking place at the zoo.
The opening of a coral lab in the center will showcase the behind-the-scenes work Riverbanks is doing in conjunction with the Florida Reef Tract Rescue Project. Zoo aquarists have been caring for almost 40 coral colonies that were rescued off the Florida coast in 2019, following the outbreak of an unidentified disease.
Renovations will also bring to light a variety of terrestrial conservation partnerships including the zoo's work with the SC Department of Natural Resources to protect rare and endangered reptiles and amphibians in the state.
Governor Henry McMaster attended the groundbreaking along with Rep. Joe Wilson, West Columbia Mayor Tem Miles and other local representatives. More information can be found at Riverbanks.org.