I recently returned from Colorado where I visited friends who moved there to retire and be near grandkids. While I was there to spend time with them we also did some sightseeing. One afternoon we went to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs. It’s uniqueness is that is it is built on the side of a mountain above Colorado Springs. The foliage is very green and the view is breathtaking. Additionally the animals seem very healthy and active which makes them fun to observe.
With the challenge of walking uphill with switchbacks and overlooks, my friends and I chose to ride the shuttle from animal habitat to animal jabitat. For $2 the shuttle pass was the deal of the day. We had the benefit of a guide named Juan who told us what to see and from what observation point. I don’t know if every shuttle driver was as knowledgeable as Juan but what a blessing he was.
There were lots of different species of animals, all with outdoor cages and indoor cages, since winters are chilly. I was captivated by the giraffes viewed at their head height. You literally look eyeball to eyeball at them their long blue tongues searching for lettuce as visitors are allowed to feed them this treat. You marvel at their size. There was a month old baby giraffe who seemed so tiny compared to the adults. This group of giraffes breeds prolifically and are known for having many of their offspring in zoos around the world.
My next favorite were the elephants who have a home that is like a covered football field as well as plenty of outdoor space. The elephants came from warm climates in Africa and India yet they have adapted nicely to Colorado. I wouldn’t like their food bill. They eat enormous amounts of food.
The monkeys were very lively and swung from limb to limb in their habitat. We watched them for a long time and I have to wonder what they think of us watching them. Are they entertaining us or merely getting some much needed exercise.
Inside some of the smaller cages there were reptiles and mammals and bugs - yuck. There were penguins and alligators, snakes and peacocks, bears and bunnies. I liked to watch the children and see their expression. The joy on their faces was contagious.
When my friends and I were done at the end of the day Juan shuttled us into the parking lot and right to our car. I don’t know if he does this for everybody but we were pleased with his service. He also told us to take our car into the park and up the winding road to the Will Rogers Memorial high above the zoo which we did. The memorial is inspiring and the view even better than from the zoo. This was a nice treat at the end of the day.
I’ve been to zoos in San Francisco, San Diego, Miami, Boston, St. Louis and more and this is by far the best I’ve ever visited. It was clean and green and had the most inspiring view. I would suggest you go on a weekday when is it not as busy as the Sunday that we chose. It was warm in the afternoon but the zoo has spritzers that spray light droplets of water in a mist if you walked under them. With so much greenery, we never felt like we were particularly hot as there was plenty of shade.
I don’t know if you will ever be in Colorado Springs but if you are, you should plan a trip to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. It is a great tourist attraction for young and old. You will not be disappointed. And look for Juan driving his shuttle.