Denver Zoo, in City Park at 2300 Steele St., emphasizes the use of natural habitats to showcase their captivating residents. Rare animals such as Amur tigers, endangered cheetahs and greater one-horned rhinos thrive in this spacious setting, which represents more than 650 species. Dramatically landscaped special exhibits provide realistic homes for inhabitants, providing an entertaining and educational viewing experience for all ages. Kids are enticed by the Conservation Carousel, featuring wooden animal carvings, and the Denver Zoo Railroad, which takes passengers for a brief spin through a shady stretch of the grounds.
Grizzly bears lumber amid replicated craggy boulders at Bear Mountain, while birds fly freely in unencumbered air space at Bird World. Monkeys frolic and climb twisting vines while gorillas lazily nap in swinging hammocks at Primate Panorama, where you'll also spot orangutans, mandrills and lemurs. The curious can wander past settings enhanced with caves, mangroves, waterfalls and coral reefs at Tropical Discovery, the site of one of the world's largest indoor Komodo dragon exhibits. Come face-to-face with Amur tigers in the newly expanded cat exhibit The Edge, or experience the playful felines from beneath catwalks 12 feet above your head.
At Toyota Elephant Passage, observe elephants, rhinos, tapirs and fishing cats from a village in tropical Asia, stroll a boardwalk under trees populated by acrobatic gibbons or visit one of the exhibits exploring the culture and challenges of village life in rural Asia. Predator Ridge provides a glimpse into African wildlife and presents an opportunity to learn about three of the continent's chief predators—lions, wild dogs and spotted hyenas—with up-close views and educational material. Zookeepers can be seen interacting with the animals daily.
The Pachyderm Habitat's hippo intrigues zoo visitors, as does the Bactrian camel exhibit with its two-humped occupants. In addition to observing the nearly 4,100 animals cared for at the zoo, you'll also encounter a variety of bronze sculptures interspersed throughout the grounds. Up-close animal encounters also are available.
Picnicking is permitted. Food is available. Time: Allow 1 hour minimum.