Columbia Attractions

Places to visit, points of interest and top things to see in Columbia

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Located in Columbia County, South Carolina is the 69-hectare Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, an all-in-one botanical garden, aquarium, and zoo. Riverbanks averages 1,000,000 visits annually, making it the state's biggest gated attraction.

The Riverbanks Zoo serves as home to about 3000 species of fishes, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Newest inclusions in the zoo include a collection of Koalas, Gorillas, and African Elephants. A 2-acre attraction, named African plains, displays ostriches, giraffes, and zebras. A half-acre place, named Ndoki Forest, is where visitors can see a De Brazza Monkey, Western Lowland Gorilla, and a Slender-tailed Meerkat.

A 1,900 square meter Aquarium Reptile Complex is home to reptiles such as Gharials and Tortoises, and an array of coral reefs from the Pacific Ocean. The Birdhouse is famous for being home to an array of Gentoo, Rockhopper, and King penguins... read more arrow
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Located along the Saluda River is the Saluda Shoals Park, a haven for people who wish to commune with the different elements of the environment. This 400-acre South Carolina natural park features a wide array of amenities which continue to attract thousands and thousands of visitors.

Saluda Shoals Park features River Observation Deck, where people can revel in the picturesque riverside view. There are also Picnic Shelters where friends can eat amidst the beauty of the park. People who want to traverse the river course of the park can start at the Boat/Kayak/Canoe Ramp and Launch.

Those who wish to explore the diverse fauna and flora in the park can follow the paved and unpaved trails in the park, which are perfect for hikers, bikers, and horseback riders. Kids, on the other hand, can enjoy the amenities at the Saluda Splash Water Playground and Wetland Reserve.

Aside from the various activities visitors can do in the Saluda Shoals Park, there is also a 11,000-square-foot bit Exhibit Hall and Environmental Education Center where they can learn more about nature and the different animals they can see in the park... read more arrow
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The South Carolina State Museum is deemed as the biggest museum in the southeastern part of the United States. The museum is located by the Congaree River, in Columbia, South Carolina. It has been in existence even before the Civil War began, and thus chronicles much of the lifestyle and history of the great state of South Carolina.

The South Carolina State Museum first opened its doors in October 29, 1988. The museum considers one of its buildings, the Columbia Mills building, as its oldest artifact on display. The Columbia Mills building is older than the museum itself, and the first floorings are still in place. It opened in 1894, and later on became a factory of the General Electric Company.

The South Carolina State Museum exhibits different types of arts, cultural histories, natural histories, and science and technology creations. The museum is home to the submarine H... read more arrow
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The South Carolina State House is where the government officials of South Carolina hold their offices. The state house is located at the corner of Gervais and Assembly Streets, in Columbia City, and occupies about 12,000 square meters of space. Officials housed in the "Greek revival" style building are the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and the state's General assembly.

The state house's first architect was P.H. Hammerskold, and was replaced by John Niernsee. Other architects who contributed to the building's design are Frank McHenry Niernsee, Frank Pierce Milburn and Charles Coker Wilson. Construction started in 1855, and was finally finished in 1907, after the civil war and the sparse budget during the reconstruction era. In May 11, 1976, it was named as a National Historic Landmark.

There are also several monuments within the state house's location... read more arrow
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The Kensington Mansion is located at the Headquarters Plantation, by the Wateree River in Richland County, South Carolina. The mansion was built in 1854 through the efforts of Matthew Richard Singleton. The mansion was placed across the Singleton family's property in the county of Sumter.

Kensington Mansion was designed by Francis D. Lee and Edward C. Jones architects who were based in the Charleston County. The mansion boasts 12,000 square feet of space and 29 spacious rooms. The basement is home to a cistern, which once contained 10,000 gallons of water for the use of the residents in the mansion.

In 1910, Robert Pickett Hamer obtained the Kensington Masnion. Robert Cochrane Hamer, his son, thrived in the mansion until the year 1941, until the U.S. government acquired the mansion. The government sold Kensington mansion after the Second World War. It was then transformed to a dairy farm... read more arrow
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The South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum, also called the Confederate Military Museum, was established in 1896. Considered as the third oldest museum in South Carolina, it serves as the repository of the state's military artifacts from the colonial era to present times.

The South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum was previously located at the South Carolina State House, but was transferred to the War Memorial Building near the University of South Carolina during the middle of the 20th century. In 2002, the museum was moved once again to the Columbia Mills Building. In 2007, the museum was renovated to feature a new gallery.

The South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum is home to different artifacts. Visitors can view relics and souvenirs from the Civil War, Mexican War, Revolutionary War, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, and even Bush's war against terror... read more arrow

* Regular pre-pandemic touristic activity level.

You can also rate and vote for your favorite Columbia sightseeing places, famous historical landmarks, and best things to do in Columbia by visiting the individual Columbia attraction pages.