Animal Encounters

Animal Encounters

Meet the Animals.

Guests will have experiences for the opportunity of a lifetime! Animal Encounters are a great gift idea! You’ll have fantastic photo-ops and feeding or enrichment opportunities with your favorite species!

How Animal Encounters Work:

Book your *Animal Encounter by choosing your animal from the Animal Encounter List provided in the expandable below. Then, contact us to schedule your Encounter using the email or phone number below. You may bring up to three of your favorite people with you to get closer to an animal of your choice with Zoo staff.

  1. The number of people permitted is dependent upon the animal chosen and is thus subject to the discretion of Zoo staff at the time of booking.
  2. What you do or experience during the encounters can vary depending upon the animal chosen. A typical encounter often includes helping to feed the animals (with use of appropriate feeding utensils), or giving the animals enrichment items and watching them interact with them.
  3. Children 2 years old and under are FREE and may attend, but are not permitted to feed the animals.
  4. You will get to meet the keepers and take photos of the animals behind the scenes.

*Note: All encounters will be conducted in a protected contact situation. In most cases touching the animal will not be available.


View Your Animal Encounter Choices

Choose which animal you would like to meet:

Animal Encounters

Amur Leopard

This may be one of your only chances to see an Amur Leopard! With less than 100 left in the wild, these big cats are critically endangered, but you can help! Spend time learning about these fantastic felines behind-the-scenes with their keepers and find out how we’re helping their wild population grow! Plus, feeding them a treat will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Includes the opportunity to tong-feed one of our Amur leopards.

Animal Encounters

African Lions

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo takes a lot of “pride” in how we care for our African lions. While visiting our “mane” attractions, you’ll get to tour the indoor lion enclosure and watch some of the lions’ husbandry training. You’ll even get a chance to feed them some of their diet for the day!
Includes the opportunity to toss food to one of our lions.
Animal Encounters

Amur Tiger

Can’t find our striped friend hiding out in their exhibit? Schedule an encounter to find out how our ~300-lb. feline can disappear in plain sight! Go behind-the-scenes with the keepers and watch how they use training to take care of our Amur tiger. You’ll even get the chance to feed one!
Includes the opportunity to tong-feed a tiger. Six person limit per reservation.
Animal Encounters


Spend time behind-the-scenes with our keepers and one of our six female African elephants! Get an up-close look at the training it takes to care for these magnificent mammals. You may even get to feed them a tasty treat!
Includes the opportunity to hand feed an elephant.
Interested in turning your Elephant Encounter into a private painting session? Please discuss this option with us upon booking your Encounter.
Animal Encounters


Have you “herd” how we take care of our reticulated giraffes? Get a behind-the-scenes look at our giraffe barn and watch a training session with the keepers! See what it takes to care for one of the largest herds of giraffe in North America. You may even get to test your animal keeper skills by helping put together an interactive toy for them to play with!
Includes the opportunity to touch a giraffe.
Animal Encounters

Grizzly Bears

We usually tell guests “don’t feed the bears,” but on our behind-the-scenes grizzly bear encounter, feeding the bears is the best part! Our grizzly bears, Emmett and Digger, have great hand-eye coordination (or should we say, mouth-eye coordination) and catch the food you toss to them right out of the air. Get a close-up look into the day-to-day husbandry training with these incredible animals.
Includes the opportunity to toss food to our grizzlies.

Animal Encounters


Known in some cultures as “bringers of good luck”, these birds are the most charismatic birds at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo! Watch them train with their keepers and feed them some scrumptious snacks. You’ll even get to see where all of the African birds, zebra, and Red River hogs go to bed at night!
Includes the opportunity to toss food to our hornbills. Closed-toes shoes are required.
Animal Encounters


A marsupial mashup! Come meet two of our most charismatic creatures – our tree kangaroo and one of our wallabies. You will have the opportunity to hand feed them some of their favorite treats. There may also be an opportunity to pet a wallaby and observe a training session.
Includes the opportunity to hand feed one of our marsupials. Closed-toed shoes required.
Animal Encounters


See what it’s like to be a slender-tailed meerkat at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Join our furry friends inside their exhibit where they’ll demonstrate how to look out for predators and dig tunnels. Their keepers will help you feed them some tasty treats and show you their cozy indoor living quarters.
Includes the opportunity to toss food to our meerkats. Closed-toed shoes required. Five-year-old minimum age.
Animal Encounters


Getting close to a moose in the wild is a bad idea. Getting close to a moose during an animal encounter at CMZoo is an awesome idea! Don’t worry, we don’t go in with Tahoma, but you’ll get to meet our moose up close and learn about everything from his antlers to his favorite foods.
Includes the opportunity to hand feed Tahoma. Season dependent.
Animal Encounters

North American River Otters

Get splashed by these mischievous mammals in a little known area – their sky pool! They think raw fish are delicious and can’t wait to swim on over for a mouthwatering morsel. Our keepers will even show you where they prepare the diets of all the Rocky Mountain Wild animals with a tour through their kitchen.
Includes the opportunity to tong feed our otters. Minimal hiking required.
Animal Encounters

Orangutan Painting Session

Our orangutans are working to become the next Picasso! Join the keepers during an orangutan painting session behind the scenes. You get to pick the colors they’ll be painting with on your 3X5 piece of artwork. Yes, that’s right – you’ll receive the painting as a souvenir.
This is a watching-only opportunity. Weather Permitting, (if inside, 4 person limit per reservation).
Animal Encounters

Reptile Meet and Greet

Are you a reptile lover? Want to meet some of our beloved, scaly family members? Toss some chow to our gators then head into our Scutes Family Gallery to get an up close look at a few of our snakes and lizards!
Type of snake and lizard will be chosen the day of the encounter by animal keeper staff for the best experience.
Includes the opportunity to toss food to the gators and the opportunity to touch a snake or lizard.
Animal Encounters


Have you ever heard a rhino whine? This might just be your chance to hear him vocalize while feeding our rhino, Jumbe, a snack! Though he may seem big and intimidating our male Eastern black rhino is one of the sweetest members of the CMZ family.
Includes the opportunity to hand feed Jumbe.
Animal Encounters

Safari Trail Tour

The ultimate African small animal immersion! While most guests meet our giraffes, our giraffes want you to meet some of their smaller friends! Get a chance to see just how big our giraffes are from the ground level, while taking a stroll through the back of the African Rift Valley’s Giraffe Yard to meet our tortoise, Chobe, our venue of vultures, zebras and more! It’s an opportunity unlike any other!
Includes the opportunity to toss food to some of our animals, and for other animals, there may be an opportunity to touch them. Five-year-old minimum age. Limit to six people per reservation.
Animal Encounters

Sloth – Hoffman’s Two-toed

Schedule an up close feeding experience with these sleepy stunners! You get to spend the majority of their waking moments with them during this 30-minute encounter – you won’t want to miss it!
Includes the opportunity to tong-feed one of our sloths. 10-year-old minimum age. Minimal climbing required.

Animal Encounters

Tapirs – Mountain/Wooly

Scratch them. Train them. Love them. Meet two of the seven mountain tapirs in the United States (and the only two mountain tapirs in Colorado)! These unique ungulates aren’t the first animal you learn about as a kid, but you won’t be able to forget them after meeting our “Snorkel Pigs”!
Includes the opportunity to touch one of our tapirs.

Animal Encounters


Come meet our Grant’s zebra brothers in African Rift Valley! These guys are ready to show you how they train with their keepers – you can even help! If you’re lucky, you may even get a little zebra kiss on your cheek…
Includes the opportunity to touch one of our zebra.


Days & Times:

Daily between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Encounters are 30 minutes long with the species of your choice.


$353 per encounter for up to four people.
Additional people, if permitted, can be added for $75.75 per person.
Includes admission to the Zoo for the day.

– $3.00 from the total cost of your Animal Encounter is applied directly to Quarters for Conservation.
– .75¢ from the cost for each additional person, if permitted, is applied directly to Quarters for Conservation.
– Each group will be given 12 tokens upon entering the Zoo for our Quarters for Conservation token kiosks, to show their support for the conservation projects that inspire them.

Payment in full will be required upon booking.
Some experiences may be limited to fewer participants.
Cancellations will be refunded with a minimum 24 hours notice. Rescheduling is available.


To Schedule:

A minimum of (1) one week is required for scheduling Animal Encounters.

Email [email protected] or call 719-424-7874