Located in City Park in Denver, Colorado, Denver Zoo is the place where education comes alive. Open every day, it is home to more than 4,000 animals representing 650 species, including Asian elephants, African lions, and Komodo dragons. With plenty of interactive exhibits as well as numerous animal feedings and shows, it is among Colorado's top cultural attractions. The impressive mixture of animals and models of dinosaurs around every corner lets every kid beam with joy and makes for great family photos.
There are 16 exhibits to gaze at in amazement, ranging from Bear Mountain to Giraffe Encounter to Tropical Discovery. Bear Mountain was the first habitat of its kind in North America benefiting from Hagenbeck's revolutionary zoo design. Without bars and fences, visitors can see the animals at eye level.
After 11 years of planning and construction, Tropical Discovery opened in 1993. It takes its visitors into the land of balmy jungles and coral reefs. Visitors, both young and old, will be thrilled by its colorful creatures, exotic fish, reptiles, and amphibians.
The annual Zoo Lights span through 70 acres of Denver Zoo's campus. Taking place in December, it is a great opportunity for guests of all ages to enjoy the holidays with family and friends. It is among Denver's most anticipated events full of nightly entertainment, meet-and-greets with Santa, illuminated animal sculptures, and encounters with the real ones.
Needless to say, Denver Zoo offers guided tours for its visitors. There are even free guided tours for veterans, which last about 90 minutes. The veterans' family members receive a discounted zoo admission. Student tours are as recommendable as up-close animal encounters, where you get the chance to get nose to beak with a penguin or to get the insider's scoop on elephants.
The beginning of the Denver Zoo dates back to 1896 when the mayor of Denver received a special gift, an orphaned American black bear cub named Billy Bryan that came to live at City Park. Visitors enjoyed the growing zoo consisting of animals like bears, monkeys, birds, and bison.
With Bear Mountain Denver Zoo became the first American institution to benefit from Hagenbeck's zoo concept, being a modern zoo with animal enclosures that were closer to their natural habitats. Bars and fences gone, the exhibits features artifical rock formations and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
How to get there
Denver Zoo is located at 23rd Ave in City Park, Denver, Colorado. Since it is located in the town center, visitory get there easily by public transport. There are plenty of parking lots adjacent to the zoo. There is also a four-level parking garage. The parking is free. It takes you about 30 minutes to get from Denver International Airport to the Zoo. Keep following Peña Blvd and I-70. Exit at Colorado Blvd. Turn right at 23rd Ave. The Zoo is located on the left side of the street.