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Aug 17

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo: Colorado Springs

Giraffe AreaCheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs is one of only two mountain zoos in the United States which makes it very unique.  It sits at an elevation of 6,800 feet and since it is built on the side of a mountain there is quite a bit of walking up stairs and walking up and down hills.  The zoo is a modest size, about 70 acres, and houses more than 750 animals.  It also houses the largest collection of reticulated giraffes in the United States and there always seems to be a baby giraffe there which makes sense because according to their website they have had over 190 births since 1954.Feeding a Giraffe

The zoo has two outstanding exhibits.  The first is their African Rift Valley exhibit which is home to the world famous giraffe herd, and it is a herd.  The thing that makes it so neat is that you are walking on boardwalks that put the visitor face to face with the giraffe and for a couple of dollars anybody can feed them either lettuce or some sort of giraffe food graham cracker.  The exhibit is also home to a group of zebras, the always popular meerkats, colobus monkeys, and many other African creatures.Meerkat

The second great exhibit, which I feel is just as impressive as their African Rift Valley exhibit, is their Rocky Mountain Wild area.  What makes this animal display so remarkable is the fact that their big grizzly exhibit actually gives their bears a chance to hunt rainbow trout.  I know it is still a zoo and I am sure if those animals knew any better they would rather be out in the wild, but having a chance to actually do something they are inclined to do is pretty special.  The Rocky Mountain Wild exhibit also has a large moose yard with a pond.  Besides grizzlies and moose it is also home to a lynx, mountain lions, bald eagles, and several other animals.  Since the zoo sits on a mountain it just makes their Rocky Mountain Wild exhibit that more realistic.Grizz

The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo also has a very nice primate area with a large gorilla and orangutan space.  The weirdest thing at the zoo is also housed in their primate house which was the naked mole rates.  The display for the naked mole rats was pretty neat, but I think that would have to be the last creature in the animal world that I would ever want to be.Sky Ride

The tiger and wolf areas were also very large and well laid out.   At the time Karen and I were there we were not able to see any of the wolves, but the tiger was out playing around with its food, some frozen fish.  Like all zoos it is better to go early in the morning or find a feeding schedule and go to the exhibits were the animals are being fed.Tiger

The zoo also has lots of things for the kiddos.  Beside the standard petting zoo kids can take a pony ride, a train, or a carousel.  There is also a walk-through aviary where birds will eat out of your hand.  We are not kids nor do we have kids yet, but we are still young at heart and we were excited to feed the giraffes and pet a wallaby.Petting a Wallaby

The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, like older zoos, suffers from a few older cramped exhibits, which is to be expected for a zoo that was established in 1926.  The zoo is doing things to make it nicer and better for their animals.  The new elephant exhibit looks to be twice as large as the old one and all their exhibits in the Rocky Mountain Wild area, which was just opened not too long ago, are all decent size.  Karen and I were also impressed with just how clean the zoo was which was pretty amazing considering the amount of families who were there.  That either says something about the zoo staff or the people that were in zoo that particular day.Kid's Area

The zoo might seem a little expensive, and it did to Karen and me, but once we figured out that it is an independent zoo that receives no tax money it kind of makes more sense.  If you are into zoos and are planning a trip to Colorado I would definitely go to this zoo, but I would wait until they finish their new elephant exhibit (sometime in 2012) before you shell out your hard earned cash.Big Bear

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo – Colorado Springs, Colorado
Located at 4250 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Road
Hours of Operation- Open all year round, May 1st through Labor Day 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.  all other months 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost as of 2011- Adults $17.25 Seniors 65 and over $15.25 and Children 3 to 11 $12.25 there is a slight discount during the off season.
For more information visit their website at http://www.cmzoo.org/

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