The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is one of the most popular attractions in Colorado Springs. It is located high above the city on the mountainside in the southwest part of town. Colorado Springs is lucky to have one of the best Zoos in the nation. The road to the zoo leads you past the Broadmoor Hotel and many high end homes until you end up in the large parking lot of the zoo.
The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo was once just the exotic animal collection of successful gold mine owner and Broadmoor founder, Spencer Penrose. Shortly beforet Penrose’s death, the zoo was transformed into a nonprofit public trust and made accessible to the people of Colorado Springs and its visitors.
The zoo is financed by donations, grants, memberships and admissions and does not receive any support from Colorado Springs tax payers.
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What does the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo offer?
The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo offers a great variety of animal exhibits. But there are also wonderful programs and activities that allow visitors to get close to the animals. There are several opportunities throughout the zoo that offer chances for visitors to feed animals like giraffes, rhinos, and elephants. The petting zoo in the My Big Backyard exhibit allows kids of all ages to intereact with farm animals like chickens and goats. The zoo’s summer camp offerings are very popular and usually sell out quickly. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo also features virtual experiences, classes and special events like Boo at the Zoo and Electric Safari. The Mountaineer Sky Ride will give you a wonderful view of the zoo and Colorado Springs.
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The Will Rodgers Shrine to the Sun
The Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun is a monument dedicated to one of Penrose’s best friends who died in plane crash in 1935. The Shrine is located within the Zoo boundaries, so you will need zoo admission for each passenger in your car to drive up to The Shrine. The deck at The Shrine is located at over 8,000ft elevation and features unparalleled views of Colorado Springs.
Before you go
Check the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo website before you go to make sure you hit the programs you’d like to attend.
- Advance tickets are required to prevent overcrowding in the parking lots and zoo.
- Hours are 9am-5pm.
- Last cars allowed up to The Shrine at 3pm and last rides are at 4:30pm
- Click here to view the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo map.
PRO TIP: It’s always just a bit cooler at the zoo due to elevation. When it’s chilly down in the city, it’s definitely a good idea to have an extra jacket with you at the zoo. The zoo might provide a bit of relief if it’s hot in the city. Make sure to keep an eye on the weather. Most summer storm systems move west over the mountains and it can be difficult to see a storm coming from the zoo’s location nestled against the east side of the mountain. Don’t skip on sunscreen even if it’s cooler and definitely bring extra water.
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The zoo is fun any time of the year, but there are several annual events that make it extra special.
- Run to The Shrine: Usually held in May, this is a unique (and exhausting) fundraiser for the zoo that is a 4 mile race through the zoo and up the The Will Rodgers Shrine.
- Moonlight on the Mountain: This adults only event in June is a fun way to enjoy the zoo after dark. Tickets include all inclusive food and beverage samples (beer! wine! spirits!) and live music throughout the facility.
- Boo at the Zoo: Bring the kiddos in costume for trick or treating throughout the zoo on various nights in October.
- Electric Safari: The holiday lights at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo have been voted some of the best zoo lights in the US. You can enjoy them during select evenings during the holiday season.
- Military Appreciation Week: Each September, the zoo has one week where it offers 50% off the normal base admission to all active duty, veteran and retired military personnel. Tickets are still required in advance.
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Should you purchase a zoo membership?
The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo generates most of its income through memberships. Initially, the prices may seem steep but a quick calculation shows that it’s worth it if you plan to visit more than once each year. An individual membership will set you back $129. But with the regular admission cost of $29, you need just about 3 visits to make this pay for itself and you are supporting our zoo and it’s animals. Plus, the individual membership permits you to bring an additional adult each visit–for free. This is an even better deal for families!
We hope you enjoy your visit to one of the best zoos in the country! Be sure to subscribe to our blog by clicking the picture below and receive regular updates on all things Colorado Springs living, real estate and home ownership.