COLORADO SPRINGS – The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is still closed after buildings and vehicles were pounded by massive hail stones on Monday.
The extreme damage is prompting the community to help in any way it can. Thousands of dollars are already flowing in between the El Pomar Foundation, family members of zoo employees, local businesses, and even people from Denver.
Nathan Hensley, a manager at Cheers Liquor Mart in Colorado Springs, said he loves the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. The city’s major attraction holds a special place in his heart.
“I can remember going there as a little kid, taking school trips up there and what not.”
After realizing the impact of Monday’s storm, Hensley said the “zoo needs all the help it can get right now.”
It’s why his business is stepping up to lend a hand.
In speaking with a customer Hensley said, “We’re raising money for the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo right now. Would you like to donate any spare change or anything for us today?”
The goal is to raise $5,000 to help the zoo with whatever it may need.
“Just from today alone, from what I’ve seen of people donating, we’re well on our way to hitting that goal.”
The money could assist in paying for some major repairs to buildings and cars.
Bob Chastain, president and CEO of the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, said, “We have severe skylight damage of where some glass fell into exhibits…Toyota has already reached out to us today from Motor City and we’re talking about how to be able to get vehicles so that the zoo can be operating again.”
Other donations are coming from the El Pomar Foundation. Chairman & CEO Bill Hybl said trustees decided to make a “$100,000 grant…for recovery here at the zoo.”
Help isn’t just coming from Colorado Springs. In Denver, Audrey Franson started a Go Fund Me page specifically for the hail damage in the bird area of the zoo. Two animals were killed in the storm.
Franson said, “They definitely weren’t the main attraction. They’re not the reason people go there and so I felt like the funding for those animals specifically would just kind of be overlooked naturally…they deserved equal protection just like the bears and the giraffes, and they deserved barriers that could keep them from the weather that they could get to quickly, and that they could access in time to where something like this doesn’t happen again.”
The zoo will be closed again on Wednesday. Employees are still searching for a missing meerkat.
If you’d like to help donate to the zoo check out the information below: