For the third consecutive year, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo was voted one of the top 10 zoos in North America in the USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards. This time, America’s mountain Zoo was recognized in two categories: No. 6 Best Zoo in North America and No. 5 Best Zoo Exhibit in North America for its Rocky Mountain Wild exhibit.

“It means a great deal to know that people voted for us. We work hard to provide an environment where our community members can come to be inspired. This national recognition reminds us that the impact of our mission reaches beyond the city of Colorado Springs,” said Bob Chastain, President and CEO of Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. “We were nominated amongst a group of impressive organizations, in markets much larger than ours, which makes us even more proud to have been named the sixth best zoo in North America and that Rocky Mountain Wild is the fifth best zoo exhibit.”

The top five winners were: No. 5: Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Columbus, Ohio; No. 4: Fort Worth Zoo, Fort Worth, Texas; No. 3: Saint Louis Zoo, St. Louis; No. 2: Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, Omaha, Neb.; and No. 1: Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, Cincinnati.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo aims to set itself apart by making every guest experience inspiring. Exhibits are designed to remove unnecessary physical barriers, while keeper-led animal interactions and demonstrations are designed to establish and build connections between our guests and the animals who live there. The zoo’s goal is to foster connections that inspire guests to take action to protect animals and their habitats in the wild, a release from the zoo stated.

Rocky Mountain Wild, home to animals from the zoo’s native region, was named No. 5 Best Zoo Exhibit in North America. Rocky Mountain Wild opened in the summer of 2008, appropriately hugging the highest elevations of the zoo’s developed mountainside acreage. The area is home to a pack of endangered Mexican wolves, four Canada lynx, a Canada moose, two North American porcupines, two bald eagles, two grizzly bears, a mountain lion, three river otters, a family of turkeys and a flock of wood ducks. Rocky Mountain Wild is known for its expansive natural exhibits, exquisite views, educational and entertaining animal demonstrations, and enthusiastic and passionate team of animal keepers.

This is the first time Rocky Mountain Wild has been nominated in the Best Zoo Exhibit category, and the third time Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has been nominated in the Best Zoo category. A panel of travel experts, recruited by “USA TODAY” editors, nominated 20 North American Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited zoos and exhibits, and supporters had four weeks to cast their votes once per day for the nominees of their choice.

To see a list of all 10 winners, visit

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