Our favorite part was feeding the giraffes, but be aware it only happens from 11:30 - 1:30, but is well worth the $2 leafy treats they are hocking. The second favorite experience was feeding the birds ($2), my husband was able to coax one onto his hand so our daughter could hold the cup while it ate. They are mischievous little birds though, and tried time and time again to pull the cup away from her but she prevailed in hanging onto it. Pony rides were also fun and reasonably priced at $5
The animals at this zoo all seem very up close and accessible. We checked out the gorilla feeding which happened at 11:30, and the huge silver back was just on the other side of the glass and S was mesmerized as the zoo keeper talked about all things gorilla. The penguins are always so cute as they waddle and swim around and were putting on quite a show. The monkeys swung on their ropes and howled while the lions and tigers lazed around blending in with their surroundings. I missed the reptile area because I was nursing the baby, (oh darn) but S reveled at the HUGA-MONGOUS snake that was there. My favorite exhibit was the koala bears, they were perched up on their trees looking very zen and cuddly.
It's everything that a zoo should be, and it's clean and well maintained with changing areas in the bathrooms for the little ones. The food there wasn't very appetizing, and quite pricey so we were glad we brought a lunch to eat.
Riverbanks Zoo: www.riverbanks.org
Cost: 12+ $11.75, 3-12 $9.25, under 3 free. We joined the WNC (http://www.wildwnc.org/become-a-member/become-a-member) for a family membership costing $62, which has reciprocal privileges at the Riverbanks Zoo and 275+ other museums and zoos around the country, so we paid nothing that day. Discovery Place (not kids) is also a reciprocal museum in Charlotte.
- Animal feedings (giraffe, bird, gorilla)