We hear it all the time from members and guests in African Rift Valley: “I needed some giraffe therapy!”
Just being around the giraffe (or whichever species you connect with) can lighten a mood, slow a racing mind, ground us to nature, and provide a quiet moment for a deep breath — which the daily grind of life can sometimes make difficult to muster.
“We started Silent Night in 2019 and ran it as a smaller ‘test’ event to see how our community responded,” said Amanda Ulrich, special events manager at CMZoo. “The events started with low attendance, but after the year we all endured in 2020, we saw how much our guests and members valued the Zoo as a natural setting where they could get away from it all. Because Silent Night is a no-noise, evening Zoo event that guests can enjoy at their own pace, our attendees can really slow down and reconnect in a mindful environment.”
CMZoo will host Silent Night from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays May 5, June 2, July 7 and Aug. 4, and Saturday, Sept. 11. Timed, advance e-tickets are required for all guests and members, and all ages are welcome. But, please consider whether attendees will appreciate and respect the quiet ambiance of the event, so all can enjoy its purpose.
“It’s a unique way to schedule yourself some time to unwind and stop to appreciate our beautiful natural setting, soothing soundscapes and the animals who live here,” said Ulrich. “It may be a first for some attendees, but we ask everyone to silence their phones and their voices throughout the event. You won’t hear any loud speaker announcements or carousel sounds. We even limit our dining menu so we’re not using loud culinary equipment to prepare food.”
There are sound-friendly zones in Safari Lodge, Lodge at Moose Lake and Safari Cabin for those who need to take a phone call or have a conversation while they’re at the event. Giraffe feeding and Budgie feeding experiences are available at Silent Night. Grizzly Grill will be open during the event with a limited menu.
Visit cmzoo.org/silentnight to secure required advance e-tickets and to read more about the event.
In addition to finding peace and quiet at Silent Night, the Zoo’s mountainside setting allows our guests to enjoy a little exercise as they explore. Our partner, Children’s Hospital Colorado says that exercise benefits children, just like adults. Children who get even 20 minutes of moderate physical activity in their day show increased attention, comprehension and learning ability over children who don’t — meaning exercise can even help kids in school.
If a walk through the Zoo sounds therapeutic, how about a walk or run through the Zoo, up above it to Shrine Road and back down? Once a year, during Run to the Shrine, participants can travel by foot on gorgeous Shrine Road. Ascending 1,000 feet above the Zoo, which sits at 6,714 feet above sea level, Run to the Shrine participants enjoy a peaceful journey on a paved road through the forest above the Zoo, with breathtaking views of Colorado Springs from Cheyenne Mountain.
“Run to the Shrine has become a Springs tradition for good reason,” said Ulrich. “It’s one of my favorite events to plan because we get to welcome people from all walks of life and abilities to enjoy a really special part of the Zoo – and the city – that you don’t always get to experience. Plus, when you finish the course, you get a real sense of accomplishment and community with the other participants.”
After completing the 4-mile course, participants can cool down by enjoying the rest of the Zoo until the event ends at 8 p.m. Advance registration is required to participate in Run to the Shrine, from 3:20 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 15 and Sunday, May 16. There are still a handful of registrations available for Run to the Shrine on Sunday, May 16. All registrations are sold out on the original date of Saturday, May 15.
Register now and get more details at cmzoo.org/run. Thanks to our Run to the Shrine partner s, Children’s Hospital Colorado and Cordera, for helping us keep the Zoo ‘running’! As a nonprofit that doesn’t receive any tax support, CMZoo depends on attendance at these events to provide excellent animal care and support Zoo improvements and operations.
Children’s Hospital Colorado Earth Day Mindfulness Webinar (Pre-Recorded April 22, 2021)