We planned to stay in Denver, but after trying to find a hotel room we quickly gave up and headed on to my Sister and Brother-in-Law’s place in Colorado Springs, and since we had left early enough we had time to head to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.
If you are familiar with Colorado Springs you will probably wonder why we didn’t head to one of the million and one fun pools, one of the great parks, to the great shopping, to the Olympic Training Center, to the Air Force Academy grounds, or more than likely on a hike around Garden of the Gods. There are of course other great places to hike around CS, but we opted instead for a trip to the zoo. Primarily to take Jane, our two year old, and Lucy, our 4 month old, around to see the animals.
My sister joined us for the little trip which was great for the help with Jane. The cost is $17.25 per adult, so it seems a bit pricy, but considering the cost of a movie, a lift ticket, or even access to a state or national park, this is a deal. Kids under 2 are free and $12.75 for older kids.
It was worth it.
If you go, know that it’s built on the side of Cheyenne Mountain and is as a result incredibly hilly. My sister, who lives in CS, jokes that some moms get a season membership not to see the animals with their kids but for the work out of going up and down the hills. It could be true, the facility is definitely built to give you a work out. The elevator up to the bear enclosure was even closed which meant going up three stories of stairs.
However, there are some perks to being on the side of a mountain other than the vigorous exercise it supplies. The view is spectacular. All of Colorado Springs is laid out in front of you as you watch animals in the foreground. C S is a beautiful city, and the view from Cheyenne Mountain just puts the city in it’s proper grandiose setting wrapped on one side with mountains and hills on the other sitting in the valley in between.
To get the views, there is of course a significant section of the zoo without three cover. We slathered the girls and ourselves down with sun screen just in case, and while about half or more of the zoo is shaded, we definitely would have burned spending three hours at altitude meandering between enclosures.
Of course the big attraction at any zoo is the animals, and the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo delivers in spades – or herds… flocks? We started out with the Giraffes and moved through the Africa area seeing Zebras, Lions, Cranes, Egrets, and eventually the Elephants.
Each animal we’d see, I would tell Jane the name of the animal and to say hello.
In her small voice she’d say “Hello, Mr. Giraffe”, “Hello, Mr. Lion”, and so on, but when she got to the elephant it wasn’t a small voice she was really excited and yelled her hello! It was adorable.
This zoo has a petting zoo for the little ones and little play areas throughout for every age kid. It was a great place for the family, and it is becoming something of a summer tradition for us. Two years ago when Jane was exactly as old as Lucy is now, we took her to this very zoo. A Giraffe was born just a few days before that, and I can’t help wondering if the Giraffe that licked Jane this year was the same one she saw as a baby two years ago… Now she’s big enough to ride the Carrousel!