As zoos go, a lot of them are pretty standard with long lines, sterile exhibits and the same sad caged animals. Many of them take two full days to trudge through, if you want to see everything they have on display.
There is a charm to smaller zoos, like the Phoenix Zoo, however, where visitors can relax and not feel crushed by madding crowds haphazardly wielding strollers aimed at your Achilles heel.
Another such zoo is the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo located in Colorado Springs, CO. It's nestled in a peaceful setting and features sky chairs that whisk you through the air providing dazzling views of interactive exhibits below where you can learn about more than 30 endangered species and animals with an artistic bent are armed with paint brushes.
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Yes, you read that correctly, paint brushes. At this quaint little zoo animals that show an interest in the arts are not only encouraged but taught how to paint. Animal art is routinely produced by a number of higher-thinking creatures, like chimpanzees and elephants, but at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (CMZ) even the giraffes get in on the fun.
That's not to suggest that giraffes are the dullards of the animal kingdom, but you rarely see them with a color palette at hand — or hoof — when held in captivity. At the CMZ, guests can witness these majestic creatures dabble away creating pieces to rival Jackson Pollock, the infamous abstract artist whose works go for millions. If you're wondering how it's done, think positive reinforcement.
According to the CMZ website, "Just like all of the other training these amazing animals participate in, keepers use operant conditioning and positive reinforcement during the painting processes. The artists were taught how to paint by receiving treats as they learned the steps (i.e. holding the brush, dipping the brush, touching the brush to paper or walking through trays and onto paper)."
There are also a number of educational opportunities at the CMZ, for both adults and children, as well as conservation information, animal shows, rides and attractions, kids activities, new exhibits in progress and so much more. This is a truly charming zoo that is well worth the visit if you're going to be visiting Colorado Springs or live in the area.
Planning a Trip to Colorado
Colorado is a major vacation destination year round due to the activities the state has to offer. One of the features the CMZ provides is their Mountaineer Sky Ride, which is basically a lift chair or ski lift that has smartly been utilized for summer use as well. This allows visitors to soar overhead 365 days a year and take in views of Cheyenne Mountain and Colorado Springs below for an absolutely unforgettable experience.
If you've experienced the CMZ yourself or know someone who has, share your visit with us below. We'd love to hear from you, and so would our readers. It's always great to discover new treasures!