Riverbanks Zoo opening 2 new exhibits

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Riverbanks Zoo is opening a new grizzly bear and river otter exhibit.

The Grizzly Ridge and Otter Run opening Wednesday are the first new exhibits to open as part of the zoo’s $36 million expansion.

Three North American river otters, named Divya, Savannah and Sophia, are coming from Miller Zoo in Bloomington, Ill.

This is the first time otters have been on exhibit in Columbia since 1987.

The two grizzlies, Butch and Sundance, have returned from the Tulsa, Oklahoma, 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 in Grizzly Ridge.

The rest of the first phase of the expansion is to be completed by the end of next month. That includes a larger entry plaza and a gift shop almost twice the size of the former one.

Work on an interactive children’s garden should be completed in the fall.

A new sea lion exhibit is scheduled to open next spring.