December 27, 2023
5 TIPS FOR COLD-WEATHER VISITS TO DENVER ZOO
Sure, it’s a little chilly this time of year. But for animal lovers willing to layer up, winter can be a wonderful (and wonderfully uncrowded) time to visit Denver Zoo! Here are our insider tips for making the most of your visits January–March.
1. Layer Up, Buttercup.
Whether you're a Denver local or visiting for the first time, it's easy to forget that the weather is fickle here. Very, very fickle. Dramatic temperature swings are fairly common, so dress in layers and you'll be ready for anything. It's also wise to bring a backpack (or better yet, rent a wagon) so you're not stuck with an armful of coats and an avalanche of mittens when the chill suddenly melts away.
It's important to remember that we lose up to 45% of our body heat through our noggins, so warm hats are essential—particularly for little ones. And, especially if there's snow on the ground, don't forget the sunscreen! The winter sun may not feel as strong, but it can still burn...and while rosy cheeks are lovely, painfully red cheeks are no fun.
2. We Like to Move It, Move It.
While we encourage you to spend some time enjoying each habitat and interacting with our animals, brisk walking with shorter stops will increase your circulation and keep the blood flowing to your fingers and toes. While we're on the subject of toes, we should note that even if you're on the date of a lifetime, this isn't the time or place for high heels or slick soles! We do our best to keep our pathways clear and dry—but sneakers with tread, hiking boots or snow boots are best this time of year.
3. Maximize the Magic Outdoors.
Just like your family, our animal family is made up of unique individuals, with individual preferences—and not all of them love extreme temperatures! That's why all our animals have indoor and outdoor habitats to choose between, and why you may not see some species on colder days. We recommend focusing your time on the animals who are most likely to be out and about during the winter months, and mapping your outdoor time to see as many as possible. Some of our more cold hardy species include African lion, Amur tiger, Bactrian camel, cape buffalo, eastern mountain bongo and Przewalski's horse.
4. Explore the Great Indoors.
There's also quite a bit of indoor space at Denver Zoo, and it's virtually guaranteed to be warmer for you AND our animals! You can watch our lions and hyenas from inside Pahali Ya Simba in Predator Ridge. Emerald Forest, tucked away within Primate Panorama, is a great place to see some of our smaller primate species as well as Tonks, our unforgettably odd aye-aye. Our Sumatran orangutan family, including adorable 4-month-old baby Siska, also has an indoor habitat with lots of guest viewing space.
Village Hall, in Toyota Elephant Passage, is home to our fishing cats, Asian small-clawed otters and others—plus, ALL our large pachyderms (elephant, rhino and hippo) have indoor habitats that are open to visitors. And of course, Tropical Discovery is warm and humid year-round, with about 1,800 snakes, lizards, crocs, frogs and fish to befriend—along with a perfect pair of capybaras and even a BAT CAVE!
5. Break for Snacks + Attractions.
Even if you're not stopping for a full indoor meal at Samburu Cafe or Zoo Gardens (or one of our many outdoor dining options, you'd be amazed what a quick cocoa or cappuccino will do for one's mood. Likewise, the promise of a favorite experience in the very near future can keep the little ones engaged! Our Zoo it All Pass gives you an all-access pass to our train, carousel and 4D Experience. And even if our western lowland gorilla troop decides to stay indoors, you can still get an intimate look at their close relatives (and yours!) with our Gorilla Trek virtual reality experience.
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