20 Things to do at CMZoo in 2020

December 26, 2019

We’ve created a CMZoo 2020 Bucket List! As a new decade approaches, see how many of these unique experiences you can check off the list.

  1. Ride the Mountaineer Sky Ride – Our one-of-a-kind chair lift takes you high up above the exhibits, for a true bird’s eye view of our mountain zoo, Colorado Springs and the eastern plains. It’s open year-round, weather permitting. May 1 through Labor Day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the last ride starting at 4:30 p.m. September through April the Mountaineer Sky Ride runs weekends only from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with the last ride starting at 3:30 p.m. Daytime Sky Ride membership passes can be purchased. With admission to the Zoo, combo package tickets are $4 for adults and $3 for children, or $5 for adults and $3 for children at the Sky Ride booth.
  2. Mountaineer Sky Ride view looking east to the plains from seats above

  3. Feed an Elephant – Have you ever been close enough to an 8,000-pound elephant to feel its breath on your hand? You can do that at CMZoo! For $10 or $15 (depending on how much you’d like to feed them), March through October, you can participate in scheduled elephant feedings. Check cmzoo.org/shows for a complete schedule of animal demonstrations.
  4. Ride the Carousel – Feel the wind in your hair on our historic carousel. Built circa 1926 and acquired by Spencer Penrose from the Allan Herschell Company of New York to be installed in 1937, it has become a cherished feature of Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.
  5. Have a Slice at Pizza with a View – This place might change your mind about the food options available at popular attractions. Aptly named “Pizza with a View” for its breathtaking scenery, this European-style pizzeria serves hand-made pizzas, salads, local craft beer, wine and dessert. It’s open year-round from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and gluten-friendly, vegetarian and vegan options are available.
  6. See the Grizzly Bear Demonstration – At one of our most popular animal demonstrations, you’ll learn all about Digger and Emmett, CMZoo’s two male grizzly bears. The demonstrations take place daily at 2:45 p.m. in Rocky Mountain Wild, named Fifth Best Zoo Exhibit in the U.S. in 2019 by USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice. Keepers work with one grizzly through a fence, mere feet away from guests, while another keeper trains with the second grizzly bear to demonstrate their flexibility, strength, speed and other natural behaviors.
  7. Attend an Evening Event – From our popular family events, like our Halloween tradition, Boo at the Zoo, and our holiday lights display, Electric Safari, to our 21-and-up events throughout the year, our evening events offer a new perspective of the Zoo, as well as a tradition for our community. Find out more at cmzoo.org/events.
  8. Feed the Giraffe Herd – Perhaps our most popular activity, feeding the giraffe is a must-do for anyone visiting Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Regardless of the weather, guests can feed our giraffe herd for $3 to $5 per bundle of lettuce. Once you’ve been licked by an 18-inch giraffe tongue, your life will never be the same.
  9. Experience a WildNight – Have you ever wondered what it’d be like to have the Zoo to yourself after the sun goes down? WildNights are sleepover programs that include dinner, giraffe feeding, a guided evening tour, an up-close animal encounter at The Loft, a guided morning tour and admission to the Zoo for the following day. Sign up for a scheduled WildNight or create a sleepover of your own at cmzoo.org/wildnight.
  10. Take an Outdoor School Class – CMZoo’s Outdoor School offers hands-on and interactive experiences and programs for people interested in connecting with nature, the outdoors, and their families. Classes occur on Zoo grounds, or offsite in other nature-based environments. The focus is less on animals at the Zoo and more on the powerful impacts nature has on us. For a full schedule of upcoming classes, visit cmzoo.org/outdoorschool.
  11. Woman feeding black rhino with a keeper at CMZoo

  12. Feed an African Rhino – For $10 or $15 (depending on how much you’d like to feed him), March through October, you can feed and get to know Jumbe, 16-year-old CMZoo African rhino. Visit cmzoo.org/shows for a complete schedule of animal demonstrations and feeding opportunities.
  13. Watch the American Alligator Keeper Talk – Daily at 11 a.m. in Australia Walkabout, meet CMZoo’s gator keepers. Visit CMZoo’s three American alligators at their heated pool and rocks, to learn about their incredible intelligence and unusual digestive characteristics.
  14. Take a V.I.P. Tour – If you’re looking for an extra-special behind-the-scenes experience, a CMZoo V.I.P. Tour may be for you! The V.I.P. experience includes admission to the Zoo for the day, a guided overview of the Zoo (from a golf cart), a Safari Trail tour of African Rift Valley or an exploration of The Loft, giraffe feeding and three behind-the-scenes animal encounters with participating animals of your choice. More information is available at cmzoo.org/viptour.
  15. Attend World Giraffe Day – CMZoo hosts animal awareness events throughout the year, but one of our most popular is World Giraffe Day. It’s annually held on the longest day of the year to salute our longest necked animals in the world – June 21. The Zoo plans events throughout the day, including special enrichment activities and training programs with the giraffe herd.
  16. Get Face-to-Face with an Orangutan – Visit CMZoo’s six orangs in Primate World. The great apes enjoy engaging with guests through glass that allows guests and Primate World residents to interact just inches away. Twice daily throughout the year, orangutans can participate in training and keeper demonstrations, where guests can get to know their personalities, learn about their family dynamics and witness their impressive intelligence.
  17. Participate in the Chicken Parade at My Big Backyard – Consistently a favorite guest experience is the chicken parade, which occurs each morning and evening on warmer days throughout the year. Keepers invite guests to help the 18 chickens, of various unique breeds, parade from their overnight roost to their yard in My Big Backyard.
  18. Feed a Domestic Goat – For $1, guests can feed our domestic goats, probably like never before. A bike-tire-and-pulley system allows guests to fill a cup with feed, which the goats can raise to a 20-foot platform where they stand by turning the bicycle wheel.
  19. Splurge on a Behind-the-Scenes Encounter – Have you ever wanted to go behind the scenes at the Zoo, to participate in an animal training session, or even feed your favorite animal ambassador? Make memories with friends, family and our animals and staff by scheduling an encounter. North American river otters, African elephants, African lions, Amur tigers, orangutans and more can participate in these encounters. See the details at cmzoo.org/encounter.
  20. Earn Bragging Rights at Run to the Shrine – May 16, 2020 is CMZoo’s annual Run to the Shrine – a four-mile walk/run through the Zoo, on breathtaking forest roads, to Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun. It’s the only day of the year that people can access the road on foot. And, if the views don’t take your breath away, the impressive 1,000-foot elevation gain will. More information at cmzoo.org/run (Early registration begins Jan. 30!)
  21. Spend a Snow Day at the Zoo – Ask any CMZoo staff member – snow days at America’s mountain Zoo are magical. They usually occur during winter months, when guests can take advantage of Value Days admission pricing. Plus, smaller crowds mean guests get even more individual attention from our outgoing and engaging staff. Many animals, like mountain lions, Canada lynx and river otters, get a little extra spring in their step during cooler temperatures, too.
  22. Attend a Wolf Feeding and Keeper Talk – These scheduled feedings are your best bet for seeing CMZoo’s endangered Mexican wolf pack up close. Because we intentionally keep our wolves as wild as possible, you won’t see wolves training with their keepers. But, at feeding time, keepers will help you get to know the pack dynamic, and tell you all about their tight bonds and what you can do to help restore this endangered species in the wild.
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