7 Incredible Aquariums And Zoos In Colorado

Written by Heather Hall
Updated: July 28, 2023
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Key Points

  • Colorado has amazing aquariums and zoos with interactive experiences and educational programs for all ages.
  • Spring and summer are generally the best times to visit for milder temperatures and fewer crowds, but any time is great for a family activity at an aquarium or zoo in Colorado.

A zoo is a facility where animals are housed and exhibited to the public. Zoos allow people to observe and learn about different species of animals from all over the world. Zoos also allow people to appreciate wildlife in their natural habitat. By visiting zoos, people can also gain insight into animal behavior, anatomy, diet, and more. Furthermore, most zoos have educational programs and interactive exhibits. These enable visitors to get up close and personal with animals they would otherwise never encounter in person. Aquariums and zoos in Coloroda are an enjoyable experience for children of all ages.

7 Zoos And Aquariums In Colorado

silhouette people in great aquarium

Visiting an aquarium in Colorado is a great family activity.

©Jakgapong Pengjank/Shutterstock.com

In addition to zoos and aquariums, Colorado offers plenty of opportunities to see wildlife in their natural habitats. Several national wildlife refuges throughout the state provide a safe place for numerous species of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. Visitors can walk along trails or take part in guided tours. This will allow people to get up close to animals in both cases. Many nature trails exist throughout the Rocky Mountains for those looking for more outdoor adventure. Visitors can explore forests, meadows, and canyons while admiring the abundance of beautiful plants and animals unique to this region.

1. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Visitors can enjoy multiple interactive experiences, such as riding the Mountaineer Sky Ride to get a bird’s eye view of the grounds.

©Brian Roeder/Shutterstock.com

The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is one of the most unique zoos in Colorado. Located just outside of Colorado Springs, it features over 800 animals from every continent (except Antarctica), including endangered species like Amur leopards and black rhinos. Visitors can enjoy multiple interactive experiences, such as riding the Mountaineer Sky Ride to get a bird’s eye view of the grounds or participating in behind-the-scenes animal encounters with their favorite creatures. With hundreds of daily activities, educational programs, and events for all ages, there is something for everyone at this incredible zoo!

Visitors can also explore attractions such as giraffe feeding, lorikeet encounters, and animal demonstrations. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo offers something for everyone – there’s even an aerial tram ride that takes passengers on an unforgettable journey through the mountainside!

The best time to visit Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is during spring or fall when temperatures are milder than summer days, and the crowds aren’t as large. During this time, you’ll have more opportunities to observe wildlife up close and personal without fighting crowds of people – it’s a great way to get away from it all!

2. Denver Zoo

Beautiful flamingos at Denver zoo,Colorado.

The zoo features several habitats, including African Savannah, Tropical Discovery, Predator Ridge, and Primate Panorama, and interactive exhibits such as a carousel and train ride.

©Mikhail Pogosov/Shutterstock.com

The Denver Zoo in Denver, Colorado, is one of the most popular attractions in the city. It has been open since 1896 and has over 80 acres with more than 4,000 animals worldwide. The zoo features several habitats, including African Savannah, Tropical Discovery, Predator Ridge, and Primate Panorama, and interactive exhibits such as a carousel and train ride. In addition to learning about wildlife conservation efforts at the zoo, visitors can also participate in educational programs or attend special events like Zookeeper Talks or Wildlife Shows throughout the year.

When it comes to visiting times, it really depends on what you’d like to do while you’re there. If you want to avoid crowds, then visit during weekday mornings. The summer months are ideal if you’d like to experience some of their interactive activities. But if your goal is taking advantage of discount admission prices, then early fall is when they often offer them!

3. Pueblo Zoo

Best time to visit the Pueblo Zoo is in spring or early summer when temperatures are milder.

©Jeffrey, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons – License

The Pueblo Zoo in Pueblo, Colorado, is a wonderful place to explore and learn about the wide variety of species living worldwide. The zoo has a large selection of animals from around the globe, including mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and invertebrates like insects, arachnids, and crustaceans. Visitors can also enjoy educational programs such as animal talks where they can learn more about the animals on exhibit.

The best time to visit would be during spring or early summer when temperatures are milder and there are fewer crowds at the zoo. This will give you ample opportunity to explore all that this incredible destination has to offer!

4. The Wild Animal Sanctuary

Wild walkway approaching the Bolivian Lion House at the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg.

©Donlammers, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons – License

The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado, is one of the largest animal sanctuaries in the world. Founded in 1980, this incredible refuge is home to hundreds of rescued lions, tigers, bears, and other large carnivores previously kept as exotic pets or used for entertainment. The sanctuary offers visitors a unique chance to observe these animals living wild and free in their natural habitat. Visitors will be able to take guided walking tours of the sanctuary’s three main habitats: Lion‘s Pride, Bear Mountain, and Tiger Ridge – which offer breathtaking views of the majestic Rocky Mountains. To ensure an optimal experience for both guests and wildlife alike, visiting hours are very limited, so it’s best to plan ahead when looking for a time slot that works best with your schedule.

4. Butterfly Pavilion

Common Lacewing



Cethosia bibles

) and Leopard Lacewing Butterfly (

Cethosia cyane

) perched together on flowers at Butterfly Pavilion, Colorado.

©Merrimon Crawford/Shutterstock.com

The Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster, Colorado, is an incredible experience for all ages. The pavilion was established in 1995 and now houses over 5,000 animals, from underwater invertebrates to free-flying butterflies in a tropical environment. Visitors can observe and learn about these creatures in a lush tropical environment with colorful butterflies and exotic plants. There are also interactive exhibits like the “Insect Zoo,” where people can get up close with bugs like hissing cockroaches, tarantulas, beetles, and more!

If you’re looking for the best time to visit Butterfly Pavilion, then summertime is usually your best bet. During this season, many activities like scavenger hunts, face painting stations, and even butterfly releases will make your trip extra special!

5. Colorado Wolf And Wildlife Center

The Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center in Divide, Colorado, is a unique wildlife refuge. This wildlife refuge allows visitors to connect with North American animals. Visitors can observe wolves, foxes, bobcats, raptors (birds of prey), bears, lynxes, and mountain lions living in their natural habitat. The center also has educational programs. These include day camps for children where they learn about responsible animal care and conservation.

The Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center was founded in 1995. It was created to provide a safe haven for wolves and other native wildlife species. It is dedicated to educating visitors about wolf biology, behavior, ecology, and conservation. The center serves as an ambassador for all wild animals by promoting public understanding of their needs. This is done through educational tours, special events, summer camps, and more. The Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) certifies the center. This guarantees that it meets or exceeds AZA’s rigorous animal care, health, and welfare standards. Visitors can explore exhibits onsite, such as the wolf/coyote enclosure, where they can observe these majestic creatures up close while learning more about them from experienced staff members passionate about protecting wildlife.

The best time to visit the center is during the spring or summer. This is because many animals are more active in the summer due to longer daylight hours. Popular activities include wolf howling events where you get up close with these majestic creatures!

6. Downtown Aquarium

The Downtown Aquarium has interactive exhibits that allow visitors to learn about animals and their habitats.

©Ginkgo100 at the English-language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/>, via Wikimedia Commons – License

The Downtown Aquarium in Denver, Colorado, is great for the whole family to visit. With a wide variety of aquatic life worldwide, including sharks and rays, this aquarium will surely excite everyone. The interactive exhibits allow visitors to learn about the animals’ habitats and behaviors and gain insight into their conservation. Visitors can also participate in other activities, such as touch tanks or even scuba diving with some creatures!

When it comes to visiting Downtown Aquarium, anytime is a good time! However, when school’s out during the summer months, you may find more families coming in than usual. Also, consider special events that may be going on at certain times throughout the year. That could make your visit extra special.

Summary Of 7 Incredible Aquariums And Zoos In Colorado

RankZoo & Animal SanctuaryLocation
1Cheyenne Mountain ZooColorado Springs
2Denver ZooDenver
3Pueblo ZooPueblo
4The Wild Animal SantuaryKeenesburg
5Butterfly PavilionWestminster
6Colorado Wolf And Wildlife CenterDivide
7Downtown AquariumDenver

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Jakgapong Pengjank/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Heather Hall is a writer at A-Z Animals, where her primary focus is on plants and animals. Heather has been writing and editing since 2012 and holds a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture. As a resident of the Pacific Northwest, Heather enjoys hiking, gardening, and trail running through the mountains with her dogs.

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