What sets the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (4250 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Rd., 719/633-9925, www.cmzoo.org ) apart from other zoos is the elevation of 6,800 feet above sea level and the large giraffe herd that lives and breeds here. The zoo’s setting in the foothills beyond the Broadmoor Hotel gives the zoo a natural feeling, to some extent.
Zoo founder Spencer Penrose was great friends with humorist Will Rogers. After Mr. Rogers died in 1935, Mr. Penrose built the The Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun to honor his friend. Visitors to the zoo can go inside the shrine and take in the views from the top deck of the five-story shrine at over 8,000 feet above sea level.
There’s the usual assortment of zoo creatures—lions, elephants, meerkats, and a lot more—but the giraffes are very popular, so the zoo sells special crackers that can be fed directly to them by guests. There is also a carousel and open-air chairlift ride that tours the entire zoo.