Spend a day with the animals

I f you'd like to take your family on a day trip, consider spending time with the animals. Several regional zoos and aquariums have deals for patrons.


SOUTH CAROLINA AQUARIUM: Through Feb. 28, South Carolina residents can save on admission. Adult residents can visit the aquarium for the child's admission rate of $10.95, a savings of $7 off adult admission.

The offer is available only to South Carolina residents with proof of residency and cannot be combined with other offers.

The South Carolina Aquarium has opened a new exhibit, Toddler Cove, for its youngest visitors. Toddler Cove features life-size play structures in the shape of sea life, brightly colored fish in the Great Barrier Reef room, games and interactives on the walls and more.

The South Carolina Aquarium is at 100 Aquarium Wharf in Charleston, S.C. For more information, visit www.scaquarium.org or call (843) 577-FISH.

Zoo Atlanta: Zoo Atlanta welcomes educators and their families to the biannual Educator Appreciation Day from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. March 5. Educators receive free admission (educator identification required) and $2 off general admission for each of their guests.

Educators can pre-register to purchase discounted tickets for their guests to avoid waiting in line. They can visit the Educator's Lounge at the Ford Tent from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for animal encounters, to learn about zoo programs and pick up a coupon for 10 percent off in gift shops and food outlets.

Local and out-of-state Pre-K through university level teachers (current and retired), homeschool parents, informal educators, administrative support staff and other education professionals are eligible to receive the discount. Each person must present proof of employment at check-in, such as:

- Employee ID with photo

- Pay stub or name badge imprinted with school name or county and state-issued photo ID

- Homeschool declaration of intent and state-issued photo ID

For more information, e-mail education@zooatlanta.org or call (404) 624-WILD. The zoo is at 800 Cherokee Ave. in Atlanta.

RIVERBANKS ZOO AND BOTANICAL GARDEN: With the zoo's new Unlimited Daily Rides and Attractions Wristband, patrons can feed the giraffes and lorikeets, ride the ponies, carousel and children's train, climb the rock wall and see the 3-D adventure show as many times as they want all day long. The cost is $20 per person in addition to admission

General admission is $11.75 for adults, $9.25 for children ages 3 to 12 and free for children 2 and under. Admission is $10.75 for military personnel and seniors ages 62 and older.

For families who visit the zoo more than once a year, the basic family membership offers a deal for two adults and their children.

It includes free daytime admission year-round, six guest passes, free or discounted admission to participating zoos nationwide (including a 50 percent discount off admission to Zoo Atlanta), discounts at the zoo's retail shops and off educational programs and one free visit to Lights Before Christmas. The cost is $69 per year. Other membership levels are available.

Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden is at 500 Wildlife Parkway off Interstate 26 in Columbia. For more information, see www.riverbanks.org.