Progress Ahead! CMZoo Breaks Ground on Zoo Improvements

June 30, 2023

The first signs of a longtime vision to move the main road within the Zoo are starting to take shape at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. The second week in July 2023, crews will bring in the heavy equipment to begin excavating the far edge of the play hill yard to make way for a brand-new road.

“We’re really excited to see this extensively planned project start to come to life,” said Dave Ruhl, vice president of operations at CMZoo. “Other than moving the carousel – which we know many of our guests and members will miss until it reopens later this year – this initial phase of construction should not impact our guests.”

For now, guests might see some extra fencing and construction going on near the center of the Zoo, but guest pathways and animal exhibits will not be impacted during this first phase, which is expected to last until fall or winter 2023. The play hill and eateries will also remain open. Looking for Carousel Sweets, the red trolley formerly next to the carousel? That amenity moved to the walkway above Australia Walkabout a couple of months ago.

“We’re working really hard to balance giving everyone an awesome summer experience at the Zoo while we get started on these needed improvements,” said Ruhl. “Growing pains are real, and we appreciate everyone’s support and enthusiasm as we take this on together.”

The historic carousel will be disassembled at the beginning of July. Guests and members who want to use all of their frequent rider punch cards should do so by July 4, 2023. After that, teams will move the carousel to its safe storage for the summer. Guests should be back in the saddle by winter 2023-2024.

“If you’ve ever managed a construction or remodeling project, you know that there are a lot of constantly changing factors,” said Ruhl. “We’re staying flexible and will make adjustments to the plan as needed. Our goal is to do this safely, quickly and with the lowest possible impact to our guests and animals.”

The new road within the Zoo, which will largely serve Zoo staff and Shrine visitors, will eventually replace a large portion of the main road adjacent to the giraffe yard. Currently, guests and vehicles share that road from African Rift Valley to Australia Walkabout. For now, the main road will continue to be used without guest interruptions while the new road is created.

The new main road will one day span from the guest parking lot below the Zoo, on the existing road behind Water’s Edge: Africa and Primate World, next to the Cozy Goat and along the far edge of the play hill yard, to meet up with the current main road. The main road below the elephant bull statue is set to become additional animal space.

These improvements are part of a huge undertaking to elevate our guests’ experiences at the Zoo. It’s in part funded by the ELEVATE Capital Campaign to update the Zoo’s admissions plaza, better manage traffic within the Zoo, and expand animal areas. Stay tuned to CMZoo’s social media channels for updates.

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