Justin and I had been dying to go to the Denver Zoo since we moved here! We were lucky enough to get free tickets from our friends, Julian and Karen. So we put the dogs away for a few hours and headed to the zoo, which is only about a 15 minute drive from our home. Being from California, I have been to the zoos in San Diego, LA, Santa Barbara, etc. They are all great, but I have to say that Denver is my favorite!
Denver Zoo has a lot of the typical animals that you expect to see at the zoo, but what I liked most of all is how close you were able to get to them. The best views! They set up their exhibits in a natural wildlife way, which I appreciated. When we first walked in, we saw the lions, front and center. They were lounging around, but not sleeping like usual.
There was an interesting exhibit that we had never experienced before-- monkeys outside of their cages! These little guys had a small forest-like area for them to play on and were only separated from the zoo-goers by a thin surrounding stream. They could obviously cross it and interact with us, but chose to mostly stay in their habitat and watch us as we watched them. It was pretty cool.
Both of our favorites were definitely the bears, because they were very active and kept playfully walked back and forth between their two areas like they were putting on a show. They had a huge group of people watching them and taking pictures, but they didn't seem bothered at all. The gorillas were great too! They sat up against the glass and stared right at us. We followed this big guy over to a different area and watched him chomp on some bamboo.
We happened to visit the zoo during their summer dinosaur exhibit, which was fun and silly, with some big animatronic and surprisingly lifelike creatures. They moved around and made dino sounds. It was an amusing addition.
Walking into the elephant's area, there were monkeys sitting on posts, crossing back and forth between them on long ropes. There was a tour (or maybe a show?) going on at that time, and the monkeys were very interactive, catching treats from the trainers and making all the guests ooh and ahh. The monkeys were definitely loving all the attention!
Anyone who knows me, knows that elephants are my all-time favorite animal! They were obviously the main attraction that I wanted to see and the only show that I cared to attend. Walking through their Elephant Passage, I was able to get pretty close to a beautiful one that I had to take a picture with. We ended up getting a little caught up earlier in the gorilla area, so we were unfortunately late to the show and there wasn't any seating left. But we did stand off the side for a couple minutes and got to see an elephant swim and eat treats. We took some pictures and moved on, but next time we will plan to get to the show early so we can sit down and enjoy it!
Another couple zoo favorites that we got to see were the tigers and the giraffes. The tiger enclosure was huge, and had multiple connecting bridges that allow the tigers to walk right over your head. There was also a viewing area with a perforated wall, where we watched a tiger play around in water, only a few feet away from us. The giraffes had a special encounter where guests can walk up stairs to get to their height and hand-feed them. I really wanted to do it, but it was expensive and the line was super long. Maybe next time! We had an amazing day at the Denver Zoo and will definitely be back soon to take it a little slower and maybe catch some of the shows.