The Greenville Zoo
Visiting the zoo may not be the primary reason you’re coming to Greenville, SC, but once you’re here, we think you’ll find a trip to our own little animal kingdom to be well worth your while. With its wonderful open-air exhibits and extensive collection of wildlife—from the kind that roar to the kind that slither across the floor—the zoo is filled with discoveries and surprises from around the world!
Set on 14 acres in the city’s Cleveland Park, the zoo was founded in 1960. At that time, most of the animals were indigenous species who already called the Upstate region home. In 1962, a monkey dome was added, and populated with 26 Colobus Monkeys. Needless to say, those handsome primates were not indigenous to the area and the zoo was off and running as a host to animals from around the planet.
Throughout the rest of the 20th century, the zoo experienced steady growth in both scope and reputation. Lions, giraffes, sea lions and leopards learned to call the place home. An education center, reptile house, South American area and waterfowl lagoon were all added and populated. (We’ve even got a little Red Panda named “Willie,” named for country singer/songwriter Willie Nelson. We think you’ll agree the resemblance is uncanny…) Even more exciting, the zoo developed a strong series of programs and events that provided guests of all ages with amazing opportunities to visit and learn.
Today, the Greenville Zoo is widely regarded as one of the region’s finest, and one of its best kept secrets. For residents, it has become a tremendous source of pride—and a really popular school field trip destination! For guests, the zoo remains another one of those amazing little Greenville discoveries that seem to reveal themselves around every corner. Its location in Cleveland Park means easy access to playgrounds, picnic tables, walking and biking paths (including the Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail) and more—all just minutes from the heart of downtown Greenville.
Simply put, it’s a cool little zoo that you really ought to see. The zoo is open year-round, but hours vary based on season. Be sure to ask about special rates for kids, seniors and military.
If you want a sneak peek of some of the Greenville Zoo's favorite inhabitants, check out the Giraffe Cam or take a look at the photo gallery below!