2011 Denver Zoo Lights

Don’t forget the Denver Zoo has its annual Zoo Lights event in December. The zoo lights up a large portion of its park with Christmas lights of all kinds and an array of animal light sculptures. If you are looking for places to take kids to see Christmas lights in Denver, Zoo Lights should be at the top of your list. You can find more information about Denver Zoo Lights 2011 on the Undefeated Daddy blog along with other useful dad parenting tips.

More Christmas events and attractions coming soon!

Denver Zoo Guide

The Denver Zoo is one of Denver’s top attractions for kids and adults. With fun for everyone from infants and toddlers, to big kids and adults, the zoo has something for everyone.

Denver Zoo Animals

denver-zoo-welcome-logo-sm Popular zoo animals include polar bears, monkeys, elephants, giraffes, seals, lions, snakes, and more. The Denver Zoo has several special animal exhibit areas. One of the most sought out zoo areas by young boys is the Tropical Discovery zone which is filled with tropical fish, brightly colored frogs, alligators, komodo dragons, and of course snake and spiders. Needless to say, this area is very popular around Halloween, during the zoo’s special trick or treat event Boo at the Zoo.

Another special habitat area is Bird World, where the Denver Zoo keeps its brightly colored tropical birds like parrots and toucans, as well as more exotic birds like the hornbills. A hard to spot, but worth the look animal is the sloth, which occupies one of the tropical bird rooms and can usually be spotting sleeping – of course — among the ceiling rafters.

Of course, no visit to the zoo would be complete without seeing elephants. The Denver Zoo is home to two Asian elephants. Daily demonstrations show both how zoo keepers interact with the elephants and offer a fun show that lets kids see some of the amazing things elephants can do, especially what they can do with that long trunk. Hippos and the zoo’s rhinoceros, along with the unusual Tapir are all housed in the same complex as the elephants.

The zoo is set to break ground on a new and improved elephant exhibit in 2010.

One whole corner of the zoo is dedicated to primates, that’s monkeys to most of us. But, the zoo doesn’t have just one or two kinds of monkeys, it has dozens of species ranging from a family of several gorillas, to chimpanzees, orangutans, and several smaller and less known monkeys as well. The primates live in indoor / outdoor environments that allow visitors to see them either climbing trees outside, or lounging around behind the glass inside.

Another popular attraction are the zoo’s lions which are housed in a new savannah style environment that mimics the animal’s natural habitat. Guests can see lions lounging in the sun on a rock outcropping, or pacing among the long grasses. An indoor viewing area offers up close and personal views of the lions just inches away through floor to ceiling glass windows.

Denver Zoo Special Events

The zoo offers several special events through out the year. Special events in 2009 include Boo at the Zoo, Zoo Lights, Brew at the Zoo and of course, the Denver Zoo free days.

Zoo Amenities – Food Strollers

Scattered throughout the zoo are concession stands offering the usual fare of hotdogs, hamburgers, and French fries. But, the zoo goes one step further, also offering up fresh salads, both chef salads and southwest chicken salads, and other healthier treats for conscientious parents. But, don’t forget to splurge on cotton candy, or a snow cone for that all around fun zoo visit.

If you don’t want to pack up your stroller or are just hoping that maybe it won’t be necessary, don’t worry. The zoo offers affordable rentals of both sturdy plastic strollers (in traditional and Jeep shapes) as well as wagons big enough for two kids and a day’s supply of food and drinks. Rentals are $5 for wagons, and similar amounts for strollers.

Denver Zoo Deals

For a great Denver Zoo deal, buy a large drink when you first arrive. Refills are just 87 cents (75 cents plus tax) all day. In fact, the zoo souvenir cups are refillable year round for the same price, so if you are making more than one trip to the zoo this year, keep your cup.

Parking

Although the zoo is close to downtown Denver, parking is provided with both large surface lots and an underground parking garage. On all but the busiest summer days or when there are special events, parking is no problem. For crowded events like Boo at the Zoo or Denver Zoo Lights, you may have to park at the Nature and Science Museum, or even walk in from one of the surrounding neighborhoods.

If you do park in on neighborhood streets, watch the signs. Some areas require a resident permit and others only permit 2 hour parking. Also, from April to November, be sure to read the street sweeping signs (the red ones with lots of words). These signs will inform you that there is no parking on one side of the street on a certain day each month. If you see everyone parked on the other side of the street, chances are, that day is today.