Denver Zoo

After your afternoon nap at the ART, a hotel, you can watch gorillas and orangutans enjoy a hammock siesta in one of the most expansive great ape habitats in the world. The hotel is near the Denver Zoo, home to 4,000 animals representing more than 600 species and even they join in on the art scene. To celebrate 2014 Denver Art Week, Dolly, the elephant, did her best Dali impression in her work, The Mask, with more than 10 animals contributing to the effort. The animal-created work was auctioned off to celebrate the city’s robust art scene.

Denver doesn't monkey around

The zoo was born when the mayor of Denver was gifted with a black bear cub, who came to live at City Park. In 1918, with the opening of Bear Mountain, the Denver Zoo became the first American institution to introduce Carl Hagenbeck’s zoo concept – that people should see animals at eye level, in natural habitats and without bars or fences. Since then, the zoo has grown into a tree-dwelling haven for primates and one of largest elephant habitats in North America.

The zoo’s Primate Panorama features open-air wire mesh tents that allow monkeys and chimpanzees to roam four stories above, while a separate one-acre exhibit allows the zoo’s gorillas to roam freely. The Toyota Elephant Passage features two miles of interconnected trails on 10 acres of varied terrain. Asian elephants, greater one-horned rhinos and Malayan tapirs enjoy these unique habitats with their mud wallows, scratching trees and shade structures.

At Predator Ridge, visitors can meander through rock outcroppings and native brush to see lions, hyenas and African wild dogs. The Feline House showcases more of the feline family.

Other highlights include Tropic Discovery, Northern Shores and the famed Bear Mountain. Don’t forget to catch a ride on the U.S.’s first natural gas-powered zoo train or to take a spin on the Denver Zoo’s carousel with hand-carved endangered animals.

More than just animal sightings

The Denver Zoo doesn’t just play home to 600-plus species. It delivers an educational experience where visitors can watch the sea lions’ and African penguins’ daily-scheduled feedings. Animal enthusiasts can even attend a safari mini-camp to see how baby animals grow up in the zoo and in the wild.

Since 1996, the zoo has participated in nearly 600 conservation projects in 62 countries on all seven continents. In its own backyard alone, the Denver Zoo focuses on preserving the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains native species, such as the bison, pika and prairie dogs. A leader in environmental action, the Denver Zoo is the first zoo in the U.S. to receive a certification for environmental management of the entire facility and its operations.

Annual events include: Brew at the Zoo, Do at the Zoo, Zoo Year’s Eve and the Zoo’s Halloween event, and Squish the Squash, where an elephantine-sized pumpkin gets pulverized by an Asian elephant.

Denver Zoo
2300 Steele St. | 720.337.1400