CheyenneMtnZooWhen in Colorado Springs, don’t miss “America’s only mountain zoo,” the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Which means, be prepared for an uphill climb! There are more than 700 animals from around the world to experience up close at the zoo, and getting around to all of them takes some planning.The zoo opens at 9am and closes at either 5pm or 6pm, depending on the season, and it will take all 8 or 9 hours to see and do everything there is to do. So get there early and follow these 5 tips to make the most of your visit:

  1. Take advantage of discounts: Because this zoo is a little on the pricey side: $17.25 for 12 and over, $12.25 for 3-11, $15.25 for seniors and ages 2 and under are free. Military members with a valid military ID get $3 off admission, AAA members get $2 off and check their website before visiting for other discounts and promotions including hotel discount packages.
  1. CheyennMtnZoo2Text ahead: For the daily demo and feeding schedule, text “ZOO + day of the week” to 839-863, for example, “ZOOMonday” or “ZOOSaturday” (with no spaces). You’ll want to note the times of everything you want to see on the map provided for you with your admission, and then plan your trek accordingly. Keep in mind that if you’re trying to get to everything that is scheduled, it may mean going up and down the mountain several times. There is a courtesy shuttle that loops the zoo for those who need assistance, but we rarely saw it when we needed it.
  1. Bring a stroller: If your kid is like mine, you’ll need it. At 4-and-a-half, she still likes to be carried and was completely exhausted from the hike by halfway through our day, which lasted 6 hours, and we still didn’t make it to everything.
  1. Bring water: Water fountains are far and few between and with all the hiking you’ll be doing, you will want to stay hydrated.
  1. Leave time for the Mountaineer Sky Ride and Shrine of the Sun: For an additional $4, you can ride an open-air, chairlift-style ride to the top of Cheyenne Mountain, where the views of the city below are breathtaking. The Sky Ride has shorter hours than the zoo, so, don’t miss it! 

    CheyenneMtnZoo3With your paid admission, you can drive up the main road through the zoo to the top of Cheyenne Mountain to visit the historic Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun, for even better views of Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Region below. Worth the trip.

Everything about this zoo is spectacular. From the amazing giraffe feeding experience, to the pony rides, old-fashioned carousel and rustic mountain surroundings, it is like no other zoo you’ll visit in America.