Service Animal Policy


Denver Zoo is committed to providing an environment that is safe and secure for guests, employees, volunteers, contractors, vendors, and the animals in its care. This policy applies to all persons on the Denver Zoo campus including guests, employees, volunteers, contractors, and vendors.

Service Animals are welcome at Denver Zoo. Persons entering the zoo with a service animal must check-in with security upon entry and will be provided with a map and detailed instructions for how to enjoy the zoo without causing distress to the zoo’s animals. Under the ADA, a service animal is defined as a dog or miniature horse that has been trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with disability.

Emotional support, therapy, companion, comfort, or assistance animals and pets do not qualify as service animals under the ADA and are not permitted on the Denver Zoo campus at any time.

Service animals must be under the control of the animal’s owner at all times. Service animals must have a harness, leash, or other tether unless the handler’s disability prohibits their use or if the animal’s tasks would be directly hindered by such equipment.

The number of service animals in training is limited to two (2) per group.

A minimum distance of five feet must be maintained between the service animal and the zoo exhibit railings or glass. The service animal’s owner shall quickly move away from any exhibit if any zoo animal begins to appear agitated.

Service animals are not permitted in any of the following areas (the zoo animals in these areas are sensitive and the mere presence of any dog presents a significant danger of undue stress and/or injury to the animals in the zoo’s care):

  1. In or directly around Zoo Gardens
  2. In or directly around the Wildlife Theater Plaza (During bird flight times of 10am and 1:30pm for 30 minutes each)
  3. Inside the Giraffe Building
  4. Inside the Giraffe Encounter Area (deck)
  5. Anywhere around The Edge tiger exhibit
  6. Inside the Lorikeet Adventure structure
  7. Inside the Forest Aviary structure within Primate Panorama
  8. Inside the Village Hall building within Toyota Elephant Passage


The purpose of this policy is to clearly explain the Zoo’s commitment to maintaining a safe and secure environment for Denver Zoo guests, employees, and the animals in the zoo’s care. This policy is a proactive step towards welcoming service animals while restricting the admittance of support/companion animals and pets. The presence of unknown animals, such as service or other animals, may cause distress for the animals in the zoo’s care.

The reasonable restrictions found in this policy will serve to protect the animals maintained on the Denver Zoo campus and will not unduly restrict legitimate visitors from enjoying experiences and educational opportunities provided by Denver Zoo.


This policy is in effect for the Denver Zoo campus, as defined in Section IV below. This policy applies to all persons who at any time are at, on or within the Denver Zoo campus, including guests, employees, volunteers, contractors and vendors. Without limitation of any other policies or contract terms which may be applicable, all such guests, employees, volunteers, contractors and vendors are required to adhere to the terms of this policy.


a. “Denver Zoo campus” or “campus” shall mean the Denver Zoological Gardens located at 2300 Steele St, Denver, CO 80205. The Denver Zoo Campus includes all buildings, exhibits, structures, and outdoor premises at, on, over or within the Denver Zoological Gardens, and also includes all parking facilities and structures for the Denver Zoological Gardens.

The Denver Zoo campus is managed and operated by Denver Zoological Foundation, Inc., a private Colorado non-profit corporation, pursuant to a cooperative agreement between Denver Zoological Foundation, Inc., and the City and County of Denver. The Denver Zoo campus is located within City Park, a designated park under the Denver City Charter, and which is administered and managed under the auspices of the Denver Department of Parks and Recreation and the Executive Director of the Denver Department of Parks and Recreation.

b. “Service animal,” as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), are either trained canines or miniature horses only. Service animals are individually trained to perform a task for the benefit of an individual with a disability. Therapy, companion, comfort, or assistance animals do not qualify as service animals and are not protected under the ADA. Service animals are not required to be listed on a registry, possess paperwork declaring the animal as a service animal, or wear a service animal vest.


There are no exceptions to this policy.


*This Section VI does not contain an exhaustive list of all applicable State and local laws applicable to service animals and is not a substitute for review of applicable laws and, where appropriate, consultation with an attorney.

a. Colorado State Law HB16-1426:

i. Intentional Misrepresentation Assistance Animal – Concerning intentional misrepresentation of entitlement to an assistance animal.

b. Colorado Revised Statutes (“CRS”) Provisions:

i. CRS § 24-34-803 – Rights of individuals with service animals

c. Americans with Disabilities Act


a. The Denver Zoo reserves the right to ask a handler to remove their service animal if the animal is disruptive, aggressive, or is not housebroken.


This Denver Zoo Service Animal Policy may be published in a variety of iterations to accommodate for the appropriate audience and space constraints.

Current publications of this policy to Denver Zoo guests are as follows:

a. Website
b. Printed Map
c. Posted Signs

Revised: July 31, 2018