Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

The focus of today's trip to Colorado Springs was the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.  The name of the zoo comes from the name of the mountain that the zoo is built upon.  Where else can you walk switchbacks to see animals (at an elevation of 6,800 feet) or ride a ski lift to get a better view of the zoo?

 The zoo's logo is a giraffe.  We now understand the meaning behind their logo.  This zoo leads the world in breeding giraffes, with 196 births since 1954 (with another baby born this morning).  Including today's new addition, there were 22 giraffes at the zoo.....that's a lot!
 The girls had the opportunity to feed giraffes wafers, which was the highlight of their day.  Evelyn was totally comfortable feeding her giraffe.  Julia, on the other hand, was a bit timid.  She wanted to be close enough to make sure the giraffe got the treat, but she quickly pulled her hand away so the giraffe's tongue wouldn't touch her too much.  According to the girls, the top of a giraffes' tongue is rough, and the bottom is smooth.
 After wandering around the zoo for about two and a half hours, we all decided it was time for lunch.  How's this for a picnic with a view?
 Carousel at the zoo?  Yup.  Did the girls want to go for a ride?  Absolutely!  You get your money's worth, too - the ride lasts four minutes.  (Yes, we timed it.)
 We continued our stroll up Cheyenne Mountain and ended up at the Wallaby Walkabout.  After entering the walkabout through two heavy gates, we discovered that the wallabies are free to roam inside the enclosure.  The ropes you see in the picture below are basically to keep the humans off the grass.  It was so cool getting so close to the wallabies!
 The wallaby exhibit is basically as high as you can climb at the zoo, so I informed the girls that it was literally all downhill from there.  The next animal exhibit we came to was the pallas cats.  These little guys (weighing six to eight pounds) are from Mongolia and China, and we thought they looked like fluffy, long-haired housecats.  (I'm sure they aren't as docile...)
 Before going to the zoo today, I got a schedule of animal programs via text message.  We chose several programs to attend, and we learned SO much about the animals by attending those zookeeper-lead activities.  Pictured below is Emmett, a 7-year-old grizzly bear.  We watched him go through his daily physical exam with a zookeeper; the exam looks like a bear doing tricks to us commonfolk.  It was pretty impressive.
We spent seven hours at the zoo today, and we were spent by the end of the day.  However, we didn't have time to see and do everything.  Hmmm...I suppose that means we'll have to come back another time!