I have been intrigued by Crystal’s ability to attract animals for years. This happens with domestic and wild animals. I’ve seen it over and over, but I’m still in awe each time I witness this unusual occurrence. During our time in Colorado Springs, we set aside time for a tour of the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Sitting at over 6700 feet in elevation, it’s the highest zoo in America. As we awaited the opening of the gates, I wondered if her animal-attracting ability would once again surface. To be honest, this unique magnetism allows me to get some unusual photos and it’s entertaining.

African Penguins gather at the edge of their enclosure for a closer view of Crystal.

Drawing a Crowd

The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo covers 140 acres with plenty of elevation change. We began our adventure at Water’s Edge: Africa. This area opened in 2020 and features African Penguins. This flightless, tuxedoed species has an unusual “donkey-like squawk. When we arrived at their pen, they were meandering around their outside beach. It didn’t take long for them to waddle over to the border where Crystal had knelt for closer inspection. Since she was situated near the handler, I assumed that their gathering was due to staff, not an animal magnet. The handler brought the flock out onto the path where a couple of them felt compelled to get a closer look. I felt this was more of a curiosity than an attraction.

African hippos are curious about the visitor to their pen.

Look Who’s Here

While still in the Africa section, we stepped inside a nearby building to look at the youngest member of their hippo family. Baby Omo was still sticking close to his mother, Zambezi. I watched as they wandered around their pen, but the magic happened when Crystal decided to join me. Sure enough, the next thing I know the hippo mom came over to the edge of the enclosure for a closer look. It was starting to get weird but I convinced myself it was just a coincidence.

Wallabies are allowed to roam freely at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.

Our Animal Magnet in Action

We continued exploring Cheyenne Mountain Zoo by moving into the Australia Walkabout Exhibit. Here we found that they have a group of wallabies that are allowed to roam freely. We saw other visitors attempting to get as close as possible to the animals everywhere we looked. We stuck to the path and soon came upon a couple of marsupials exploring the pathway. Wouldn’t you know it, one of them decided to do some investigating of Crystal. While children all around were craning for closer views, she had one come to her.

Giraffes are curious and hungry creatures that will take advantage of a situation.

Entertaining Adventure

Since the zoo sits on a mountainside, we chose to climb to the top and make our way down. As we got closer to the entrance, we arrived at African Rift Valley. This area is filled with lions, zebra, monkeys, and the ever-elusive Okapi. Seeing these shy creatures reminded me of our visit to Tanganyika Wildlife Park in Wichita, Kansas. (Read about Crystal’s ability to attract this elusive creature.) We made our way to the giraffe herd and caught an example of forced sharing. One of these stately creatures found a branch, which it proceeded to tear from a shrub. Another giraffe spotted this treat and soon they were both engaged from opposite ends.

Crystal has the ability to attract the attention of creatures of all types.

There She Goes Again!

I watched with intrigue as I tried to determine what each giraffe must be thinking. When I turned to find Crystal, she had attracted a giraffe to her. This one seemed determined to get a closer look at her even though the enclosure was making it difficult. I decided to let her have her moments in the sun and went back to watching the limb eaters at work. As we moved around the enclosure, we saw many other visitors feeding the giraffes. It seemed like the giraffes were only interested in tourists when they had food to offer. I guess the rest of them should have brought their own animal magnet.

The authors pause during a visit to Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, in Colorado Springs.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Visit

While researching the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, we discovered that they have sliding admission pricing. Peak days carry an increased admission versus regular days. You may want to plan accordingly. We enjoyed our visit and found that the addition of mountain views makes this park unique. While the hike up the mountainside was a little more challenging than other zoos, it was still manageable. The zoo has food services available for a quick meal, as well as a coffee shop that we visited in the morning. Like most zoological parks, guests are welcome to bring their own food and enjoy a picnic in the park.

the authors signatures.

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