Denver Zoo
Tips to Visit this Kid Friendly Attraction

The Denver Zoo is an amazing place to spend a day in the Mile High City. It’s a fun attraction for kids and everyone in your entire family.

Highlights of this attraction include the Primate Panorama, Tropical Discovery, and the tiger exhibit called The Edge. Make sure to also spend some time in Bear Mountain, Toyota Elephant Passage, and the Benson Predator Ridge.

The Zoo opened in 1896 and is now home to more than 4,000 animals.

Read on for tips for visiting, details on their free days, and other information on what to expect during your visit.

Denver Zoo

Denver Zoo Attractions & Exhibits

Below are just some of the top Denver Zoo attractions, exhibits, and activities you can enjoy with your admission ticket. You will also find some great pictures from my most recent visit.

Primate Panorama

Primate Panorama

The Primate Panorama is home to dozens of primates including a variety of monkeys, apes, gorillas and orangutans. You will get the chance to see them play as they run around and also swing from tree to tree.

These amazing animals are from all around the world including Central America, Africa and Asia.

After you go through the front entrance, just take a right turn to head toward this playful primate exhibit.

Tropical Discovery

Tropical Discovery

Tropical Discover is a large indoor area where you will see everything from snakes to fish. It covers several tropical regions. One of my favorite animals here is the huge Komodo Dragon.

You will also see a variety of colorful frogs, an alligator, sea horses, turtles, star fish, and hundreds of other amazing animals from South America, Africa, Asia, and other tropical locations from around the world.

You will find this building on the eastern end of the park. Take a left at the entrance to find it.

The Edge

The Edge

The Edge is the new tiger area. Here you will get the chance to see the two Amur Tigers, who are also called by  their more well known name, Siberian Tigers. This species originates from the far eastern side of Russia.

They are incredibly impressive as this species of tigers are some of the biggest living cats in the world.

Bear Mountain

Bear Mountain

Bear Mountain is home to several grizzly and Asiatic black bears. This exhibit is one of a kind as it was the first naturalistic habitat of its kind in the United States. Built in 1918, this exhibit changed the way zoos created exhibits which allowed visitors to see the animals at eye level in a more natural setting.

Toyota Elephant Passage

Elephant Passage

The Toyota Elephant Passage is home to the Asian Elephants. You will see them roam around their environment and get a great look at these amazing animals.

This area of the Denver Zoo also includes a variety of other animals such as one horned rhinos, Malayan tapirs, clouded leopards, fishing cats, and white-cheeked gibbons. It covers more than 2 miles and 10 acres of trails.

This area is on the southern side of the park.

Benson Predator Ridge

Predator Ridge

Another one of my favorite areas is Benson Predator Ridge. This is where you will find animals such as lions, zebras, and hyenas. Many of them are in natural surroundings which will give you a great view into their areas to see them.

Giraffe Encounter

Giraffe Encounter

The Giraffe Encounter is to the east of Predator Ridge and it's home to several giraffe. The species here are called Reticulated giraffes, also known as Somali giraffes. 

This species is native to Africa in the countries of Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya.

Lorikeet Adventure

The Lorikeet Adventure is a fun, interactive area on the southwestern corner of the Denver Zoo. You will step inside this area where the lorikeet live and play. 

In addition to watching these colorful birds, you can also interact with them by buying some food to feed to them. It's just a couple of dollars per container and you can purchase them once you enter the lorikeet area.

The picture below shows us feeding one of these gorgeous birds during our last visit.

Feeding Lorikeets

Location, Tickets & Hours

Location

The Denver Zoo is located just a few minutes from downtown in City Park. It's address is 2300 Steele Street and there is plenty of parking on-site. 

Tickets

There are three ways to pick up tickets to the Denver Zoo. You can either buy them on their website in advance or purchase them at the door. I recommend buying them in advance during the busier summer months or holiday weekends.

The third option is to visit as part of the Mile High Culture Pass. The Mile High Culture Pass is a discount card that includes admission to the Denver Zoo. It also includes admission to some of Denver's top museums including the Denver Museum of Nature and Science (next door to the zoo, also in City Park), the Denver Art Museum, the Botanic Gardens and a few others.

Hours

The Denver Zoo is open every day of the year. It opens at 9am each day. From March to October, the last admissions are at 5pm. From November to February, last admissions are at 4pm.

Free Days

The Denver Zoo also offers several free days every year. Find a full schedule of upcoming free days for the zoo and other museums around Denver.

Additional Visiting Tips

Peacocks roaming around

The Denver Zoo is an amazing experience, but it's important to remember that these are wild animals and could cause harm if they are not treated properly. Here are a few things to remember and to explain to your entire group before entering.

  • Don't feed, chase or taunt the animals. 
  • Don't tap on the glass or shout at the animals.
  • Don't throw coins or anything else into the pools. When eaten, they will poison the fish or animals that use these pools as their water supply.

In addition, you will see several roaming animals around the zoo. The most noteworthy are the peacocks. Please do not approach, chase, or feed these animals. It's best to admire them from a distance as they can get aggressive if they feel threatened or someone gets too close for their comfort.

During our visit, we noticed many children getting close and trying to touch these lovely animals. Please make sure to keep your children at a safe distance from them and give the peacocks plenty of space to roam around. They are very pretty but they are still wild animals.

Food & Beverage

One of the great things about the Denver Zoo is that you are allowed to bring along your own food and drink. The only restrictions they have are glass bottles or containers, which you are not allowed to bring inside. You will love that there are several places to stop and eat during your visit.

You will also find some great food available for purchase at a decent price. We enjoyed some healthy Asian noodles and veggies during our visit. We also saw a great food truck with tasty burgers, Dippin Dots Ice Cream, and a full bbq & steakhouse. Most of these places serve visitors starting around an hour or two after opening.

About the Denver Zoo

Where does the Denver Zoo get their animals? As part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), they follow strict guidelines on caring for and receiving new animals into their care.

Their new animals are brought in from rehabilitation centers where the animals stayed after being ill or injured. They will also bring in off spring from other accredited AZA facilities. 

The AZA does an amazing job of matching the needs of each facility with others that are accredited. These facilities also offer the best experience and a wide variety of animals from around the world to please their visitors.

History of the Zoo

The Denver Zoo opened over a century ago in 1896. The original facility was a small part of City Park. At the time, there was a black bear, bison, monkeys, and a few other local animals.

In 1918, this facility opened the first natural habitat in the US. Prior to this, all animals were kept in small cages and visitors could only see them through fences or bars.

The natural habitat they built offer their visitors a chance to see the animals in a more open setting. Not only could the visitors see the animals better, but the animals themselves had more space and a more familiar surrounding in which to live.

The zoo had a lot of community support and continued to grow throughout the 1920s to the 1950s. In the late 1950s, the city of Denver took over ownership of the zoo and developed a full master plan for the facility.

Since that time, they have added a great variety of animals. They also opened Bird World, Northern Shore, and Tropical Discovery. Today, the Denver Zoo is one of the most visited attractions in the Mile High City.

Other Fun Things to Do in Denver


› Zoo