Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Zoo in Colorado, United States

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Zoo in Colorado, United States

Grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Photo © Miguel Vieira

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Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

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Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Colorado
	Springs - Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Colorado Springs - Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Photo by Rick Pawela
The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, situated just southwest of Colorado Springs in Colorado and 6,800 feet above sea level, is the one and only zoo on a mountainside in the United States. It lies to the west of the famous The Broadmoor resort on the northern slopes of Cheyenne Mountain (Wikipedia Article). The zoo’s area covers about 140 acres, 40 of which are inhabited by animals.

Because of its elevation, most of Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s habitats are alpine, home to 800 individual animals of almost 150 different species. This includes more than 30 endangered species as well as all-time zoo favorites such as hippos, tigers; lions, elephants; bears, and giraffes. The giraffe herd, by the way, is the largest in all of North America and one of the largest in the world.


In 1926 the philanthropist, Spencer Penrose, founded the Cheyenne Mountain Zoological Society as a place to house his ever-growing collection of exotic animals. After years of development, he incorporated the Cheyenne Zoo in 1938 as a nonprofit trust for the people of Colorado Springs. The purpose of this trust, according to Penrose, was to establish and maintain a zoo that would offer education, conservation, recreation and scientific facilities. It was his wish to forever keep the zoo a public place for the enjoyment of the people of the Pikes Peak region.

Since its founding, the zoo has changed its visitor’s experience from the passive viewing of the animals to an (inter)active educational and recreational tour.

As a nonprofit organization, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo does not receive tax support or subsidies and all of its income comes from revenues, membership fees, entrance tickets, donations, and sponsors.

	Mountain Zoo - Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo - Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Photo by Brandi Korte

Animals and Exhibits

More than 800 animals live on the zoo’s 140 acres and all varieties are represented. Big or small, furry or feathered, flying or swimming, Cheyenne Zoo’s collection of (exotic) animals will certainly entertain, amaze and even educate visitors. All habitats are aimed to reflect the animals’ natural habitats, whether they are from Africa, South America, or Australia.

African Rift Valley

The African Rift Valley exhibit is one of the zoo’s main exhibits. It is home to one of the world’s largest herds of giraffes in a zoo, as well as to zebras, okapi, red river hogs, meerkats, and more.

Rocky Mountain Wild

Because of its mountainside location, Cheyenne Zoo has the unique chance to house Colorado wildlife in its actual habitat. This is home to moose, mountain lions, grizzly bears, bald eagles, and river otters.

Encounter Africa

This exhibit is one of the most popular, because of its iconic animals; this is where the African lions, elephants, black rhinoceros, and meerkats live in an African savanna.

Other Exhibits

Additional exhibits in the zoo are the Asian Highlands, the Australian Budgie Buddies, Primate World, Wolf Woods, Aquatics and the Monkey Pavilion.

	Mountain Zoo - Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo - Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Photo by Brandi Korte

Visiting Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

In addition to the animal exhibits, the zoo also has a few fun attractions. The Mountaineer Sky Ride, for instance, allows visitors to fly over the zoo and enjoy a colorful sunset at the top of Cheyenne Mountain. Children will have a great time in My Big Backyard, where they can play in an over-sized garden and a petting zoo. Another highlight is the Will Rogers Shrine, which is not located on the zoo’s grounds, but is included in the admission price. The shrine is located on an 8,136-feet-high deck and is reached via the Russell Tutt Scenic Highway that leads up the mountainside from the zoo entrance.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is open year-round from 9 a0 feet to 5 p0 feet; last admission is at 4 p0 feet On holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day the zoo is open from 9 a0 feet to 4 p0 feet, with last admission at 3 p0 feet The Will Rogers Shrine is closed on those three holidays.

Ticket prices in the peak season, from May 1 through Labor Day, are $ 17 USD for adults, $ 15 USD for seniors, $ 14 USD for military personnel, and $ 12 USD for children between 3 and 11. Off-season prices, from after Labor Day through April, are $ 14 USD for adults, $ 12 USD for seniors, $ 11 USD for military personnel, and $ 10 USD for children between 3 and 11. Children younger than 3 can enter for free.

How to Get There

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo lies southwest of Colorado Springs. The best (and only) way to get there is by car. From the city, follow Interstate 25 south and take exit 138 onto Lake Avenue. Head west on that road and take the third exit on the roundabout onto Old Broadmoor Road, which will eventually turn into West Cheyenne Mountain Boulevard. After a while, turn left onto Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Road. The zoo will be clearly signed along the roads.

Cheyenne Mountain
	Zoo - Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Photo by Brandi Korte

Similar and Nearby Landmarks

The Colorado Springs area is dotted with fantastic tourist attractions. Examples are Pikes Peak, the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park and the Garden of the Gods. Further afield in the state of Colorado the Denver Zoo, Rocky Mountains National Park, and Dinosaur National Monument are definitely worth visiting too.

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Author: bramreusen. Last updated: Feb 20, 2015

Pictures of Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Hummingbird Moth - Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Hummingbird Moth - Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Photo by Lars Hammar


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