Fall is one of the best times to spend time outside in our beautiful state! One of my family’s favorite outdoor activities is visiting the zoo.

Tried and True Zoos

If you’ve been to our local Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, you know how magical it is! I especially love the giraffe exhibit where we are eye-level with these gentle giants. When my son was small, he loved feeding those giraffes romaine lettuce leaves, giggling each time their long, sticky tongues would reach out to grasp the treat. Plus, with all of the amazing renovations in recent years including the elephant barn and new hippo exhibit, it’s such a fun place. If you haven’t gone yet, you’ve got to check it out! 

The Denver Zoo is also a fun day trip. They have many animals in Denver that the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo doesn’t have including African wild dogs, polar bears and sea lions! My son’s favorite animals to visit at the Denver zoo are the Komodo dragons. We’ve seen two groups of babies born there over the years. This is a large zoo and will take a full day to see everything.

A New Zoo for Us

Recently, my family and I visited a new-to-us zoo just south of us in Pueblo. In fact, driving to the Pueblo Zoo was closer than driving to the Denver Zoo! (And there was a lot less traffic.)

The location is ideal. It is set right in the middle of a huge city park that has lots of places for picnics, a large playground, a duck pond, a Frisbee golf course and more. There are massive shade trees in the park that make it a lovely place to spend time during your visit. Parking is free and there are public bathrooms in the park. 

The grounds are smaller than both the Cheyenne Mountain and Denver zoos, and that’s great, especially for little legs. You’ll spend a couple of hours here winding around the mostly level paths visiting the animals. When you enter the zoo, one of the first animals you’ll encounter are the otters. These guys are so silly and delight visitors of all ages with their antics. 

The Pueblo Zoo is also home to my favorite animal in the world: red pandas. This is the only place to see these adorable animals in the whole state of Colorado. It also has a beautiful bald eagle, swinging lemurs, bouncing gazelles, busy foxes and other animals friends. There is a nice petting zoo with goats, chickens, a cow and a big pig.

Feel free to pack your own lunch or purchase food at the snack bar on site. There are plenty of places to stop and eat around the property. 

I especially enjoyed the wide open feeling and the smaller number of visitors. Cheyenne Mountain and Denver can feel very crowded at times; the Pueblo Zoo doesn’t have that feeling at all. Also, no reservations or advanced tickets are required and the ticket prices are budget friendly. 

If you go to the Pueblo Zoo, enjoy your day! And tell those two sweet red pandas that we’ll be back so see them soon.