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Cheyenne Mountain Zoo ranked fourth in the country

aerial view of crowd outside looking at giraffes

Aerial shot of the giraffes roaming in the African Rift Valley exhibit.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (CMZ), situated in Colorado Springs, earned recognition as one of the top zoos in the United States. From its origins as philanthropist Spencer Penrose’s private collection, to its current status as a highlight of wildlife education, this place has captured the hearts of zoo enthusiasts nationwide.

Voted the number four zoo in North America in the USA Today’s “10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards,” CMZ takes visitors on a captivating journey through its award-winning Encounter Africa exhibit, featuring elephants, meerkats, porcupines and black rhinos. The Rocky Mountain Wild area showcases the beauty of Alaska’s moose, grizzly bears and Canadian lynxes, while the Water’s Edge is home to Nile hippos and African penguins.

Encounter Africa is the result of the CMZ’s largest capital campaign, a two-year effort that raised $13.5 million through foundation and individual gifts, including $42,000 from zoo staff. CMZ is one of only a handful of zoos nationwide that does not receive support from tax dollars.

What sets CMZ apart is not just its incredible array of wildlife but also its commitment to preservation. Since 2008, CMZ has raised $4 million for conservation programs, earning recognition and a rare fully-clean accreditation from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums in 2021. Voters agree, it is also one of the cleanest and most delightful zoos they have ever visited. This recognition is not just a testament to the diverse and well-cared-for animal residents, but also to the community’s dedication to keeping our planet’s biodiversity.

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Otter enjoying his playtime at the zoo grounds with a pine cone.


By Dani Salas; photos courtesy of Cheyenne Mountain Zoo



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