DENVER (CBS4) – The wait is almost over. In a few weeks the brand new “Elephant Passage” exhibit at the Denver Zoo will be open to the public.

Elephant Passage opens June 1, but the gates finally opened for excited fans at the Denver Zoo Saturday. They were given exclusive advance access to the brand new exhibit.

“We saw a new elephant, Bhodi. He’s eight years old and we saw him in his new enclosure,” zoo visitor Trevor Mariotti said.

“We’ve seen them building the exhibit over the last three years or whatever, so we were excited to see what they built,” visitor Aaron Church said.

It was a chance for people to watch as the elephants and other animals get acclimated into their new home. Some were a bit a shy at first but felt right at home once they found their food.

PHOTO GALLERY: Denver Zoo’s New ‘Elephant Passage’

“It’s nice how close they have everything to the people; that you can actually see all the stuff that’s going on,” Church said.

“Well, we’d love to go to Africa or Thailand to see the elephants close up, so this is the closest we’re going to get I think,” visitor Pearla Church said.

Copter4 flew over the exhibit. Watch a Web Extra in the video below:

The animal’s new habitat is a $50 million state-of-the-art exhibit. It occupies 10 acres on the southern edge of the zoo. Zookeepers are excited to share the new space with not just the animals, but people coming to visit the exhibit as well.

“The joy for us is providing a great space for the animals like Mimi who have lived here a long, long time so that they can enjoy and explore, but an experience for our guests that’s changing every day,” Denver Zoo CEO Craig Piper said.

Get a sneak peek of Elephant Passage by visiting the Denver Zoo website.


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