Jump to content

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Coordinates: 38°46′12″N 104°51′18″W / 38.77°N 104.855°W / 38.77; -104.855
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Logo
Robust giraffe conservation program at the zoo
38°46′12″N 104°51′18″W / 38.77°N 104.855°W / 38.77; -104.855
Date opened1926
LocationColorado Springs, Colorado, United States
Land area140 acres (57 ha) (40 acres (16 ha) in use)[1]
No. of animals750[2]
No. of species170[2]
Annual visitors600,000+[3]

The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is a zoological park located southwest of downtown Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Cheyenne Mountain in the United States. At an elevation of 6,714 feet (2,046 m) above sea level, it is the highest zoo in the country. The zoo covers 140 acres (57 ha), 40 of which are in use. The zoo houses more than 750 animals, representing nearly 170 different species,[2] with more than 30 endangered species. The zoo was ranked the #4 best zoo in North America in 2018 by USA Today.[5] It is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.[6]


Businessman Spencer Penrose was given a gift of a bear in 1916 which inspired him to collect animals. Animals were housed at Penrose's Broadmoor Hotel until a monkey bit a hotel guest.[7] Cheyenne Mountain Zoo was founded in 1926 to house the collection of exotic animals. In 1938, Spencer Penrose incorporated the Zoo as a non-profit public trust.[8] Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization[9] and does not receive local or regional public tax support.

On August 6, 2018, the zoo was hit by fast-moving and unexpected severe weather that brought with it baseball-sized hail. The staff was praised in national media and by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums for their use of the incident command system to swiftly move animals and visitors indoors.[10] But just as some humans were confused and did not know where to go, many animals stayed outside in confusion despite having on-exhibit dens as required by the AZA. Three zoo employees were hospitalized following efforts to save animals and guests from the unusually large hail. Several animals were hospitalized as well and five animals including two peafowl, a cape vulture, a Muscovy duck, and a young Meerkat pup died of their injuries.[11]

Giraffe herd history[edit]

Cheyenne Mountain is known for its large and prolific giraffe herd. Two hundred giraffes have been born at the zoo since 1954.[12] When Dobby the giraffe was born at the Denver Zoo in 2017 without the necessary antibodies for survival, Cheyenne Mountain sent banked giraffe plasma from their herd to Denver. The subsequent blood transfusion was successful and Dobby survived.[13]


Up-close view of the grizzly bears at Rocky Mountain Wild


CMZ veterinarian and amphibian specialist Eric Klaphake working collaboratively with other organizations for conservation and research

The zoo breeds endangered animals such as the. black-footed ferrets, Wyoming toads, mountain tapirs and Mexican gray wolves. The zoo participates in over 30 Species Survival Plan programs.[27][28][29]

It financially supports multiple field conservation programs through Quarters for Conservation which allows guests to choose what programs the zoo supports. The zoo recently reached $2 million raised through the program since 2008.[30][31] It also participates in the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation project along with the Houston Zoo, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, and Zoo New England to release endangered amphibian species back to the wild.[32]

Other attractions[edit]



  1. ^ a b "Cheyenne Mountain Zoo 'America's Mountain Zoo' 2010 Fact Sheet" (PDF). www.cmzoo.org. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 June 2010. Retrieved 21 July 2010.
  2. ^ a b c "Learn all about animals at the 10 best zoos in the U.S." USA TODAY.
  3. ^ Staff Writer. "Cheyenne Mountain Zoo hits record attendance with 607,000 visitors". Colorado Springs Business Journal.
  4. ^ "Currently Accredited Zoos and Aquariums". aza.org. AZA. Retrieved 8 July 2010.
  5. ^ Knutson, Hanna (2018-05-04). "USA Today ranks Cheyenne Mountain Zoo as #4 "Best Zoo" in North America". KRDO. Retrieved 2018-08-28.
  6. ^ "Currently Accredited Zoos and Aquariums". www.aza.org. Retrieved 2018-01-13.
  7. ^ "The Penrose Legacy: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo". www.elpomar.org. Retrieved 2018-01-13.
  8. ^ Acord, Deb (13 April 2016). "The Beginnings of the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo". Springs Magazine.
  9. ^ "Cheyenne Mountain Zoological Society". Pro Publica Inc. 9 May 2013.
  10. ^ Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Staff Did 'Everything Right' When Devastating Hailstorm Hit https://www.cpr.org/news/story/colorado-springs-hail-cheyenne-mountain-zoo-staff-risked-safety-to-help-animals-guests
  11. ^ Cheyenne Mountain Zoo reopens after hail storm that killed five animals; repairs continue https://www.denverpost.com/2018/08/11/cheyenne-mountain-zoo-reopens-after-hail-storm/
  12. ^ CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN ZOO LIVE STREAMS BIRTH OF NEWBORN GIRAFFE — Calf is the 200th born at the Zoo. Retrieved from http://www.cmzoo.org/index.php/about-the-zoo/press-box/press-releases/6-5-2018/
  13. ^ DENVER ZOO TEAMS WITH CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN ZOO TO PROVIDE ONGOING HEALTHCARE FOR BABY GIRAFFE “DOBBY” https://www.denverzoo.org/denver-zoo-teams-cheyenne-mountain-zoo-provide-ongoing-healthcare-baby-giraffe-%E2%80%9Cdobby%E2%80%9D Archived 2017-06-19 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "African Rift Valley | CMZoo". www.cmzoo.org. Retrieved 2018-01-14.
  15. ^ "Encounter Africa | CMZoo". www.cmzoo.org. Retrieved 2018-01-14.
  16. ^ "The Association of Zoos & Aquariums Recognizes 2014's Most Innovative Exhibits". Entertainment Designer. 2014-10-21. Archived from the original on 2018-08-29. Retrieved 2018-08-28.
  17. ^ "Australia Improvement Project | CMZoo". www.cmzoo.org. Retrieved 2018-01-14.
  18. ^ Horton, Sara. "Scaly skin is beautiful". Colorado Springs Independent. Archived from the original on 2018-08-29. Retrieved 2018-08-28.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  19. ^ "Animal Exhibits". CMZoo. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
  20. ^ "The Loft | CMZoo". www.cmzoo.org. Retrieved 2018-01-14.
  21. ^ "My Big Backyard | CMZoo". www.cmzoo.org. Retrieved 2018-01-14.
  22. ^ "Asian Highlands | CMZoo". www.cmzoo.org. Retrieved 2018-08-28.
  23. ^ "Rocky Mountain Wild | CMZoo". www.cmzoo.org. Retrieved 2018-01-14.
  24. ^ "Primate World | CMZoo". www.cmzoo.org. Retrieved 2018-01-14.
  25. ^ "Water's Edge: Africa | CMZoo". www.cmzoo.org.
  26. ^ "Cheyenne Mountain Zoo begins project for new endangered species exhibit". The Denver Post. 2017-08-24. Retrieved 2018-08-28.
  27. ^ "Black-footed Ferret | CMZoo". www.cmzoo.org. Retrieved 2018-01-14.
  28. ^ "Wyoming Toads | CMZoo". www.cmzoo.org. Retrieved 2018-01-14.
  29. ^ "Animal Conservation | CMZoo". www.cmzoo.org. Retrieved 2018-01-14.
  30. ^ "May 2017- April 2018 Annual Report" (PDF). www.cmzoo.org.
  31. ^ Moore, Carly (2018-04-24). "Cheyenne Mountain Zoo visitors donate $2 million for conservation". KXRM. Retrieved 2018-08-28.
  32. ^ "Smithsonian Releases Endangered Frogs in Panama". Smithsonian's National Zoo. 18 January 2018. Retrieved 2018-08-28.
  33. ^ "Carousel | CMZoo". www.cmzoo.org. Retrieved 2018-01-14.
  34. ^ "Mountaineer Sky Ride | CMZoo". www.cmzoo.org. Retrieved 2018-01-14.
  35. ^ "Will Rogers Shrine | CMZoo". www.cmzoo.org. Retrieved 2018-01-14.

External links[edit]