SubscribeCurrent Magazine Cover

Welcome Home

The Denver Zoo’s Toyota Elephant Passage opens.

When you’re 11,000 pounds and almost 10 feet tall, a spacious abode is a must. That’s why the Denver Zoo’s Toyota Elephant Passage (opening June 1) is such a coup: The 2.3-acre pachyderm playground is close to six times the size of the previous habitat, with more than two miles of trails open to Groucho (pictured)—the zoo’s largest resident—and his friends Mimi, Dolly, and Bodhi. On hot days, the elephants can even treat themselves to a shower by pressing a button with their trunks. Visitors can watch the herd pass overhead as it crosses a large (and sturdy!) bridge and also glimpse exotic neighbors like rhinos, clouded leopards, and gibbons. And despite its massive tenants, the $50 million project leaves a small environmental footprint by relying on recycled water and using biomass gastrification (converting trash and animal waste into energy) to power the exhibit. Now those are some impressive stomping grounds.

This article was originally published in 5280 May 2012.
Daliah Singer
Daliah Singer
Daliah Singer is an award-winning writer and editor based in Denver. You can find more of her work at

Sign Up For Our Newsletters

All things Colorado delivered straight to your inbox.

Sign Up

Welcome Home

As a hostess and former caterer, I’ve been known to overplan. It’s taken me a few years – and a few stressful parties – to learn that while clients demand rigid attention to every detail, friends usually prefer just the opposite. In other words, I’ve mellowed out and finally learned to toss “to-do” lists to the wind. (Or at least tuck them into an inconspicuous corner.)

My last party was positively nonchalant. I didn’t ask for RSVPs, I asked everyone to arrive “around 3 p.m.,” and although I did a lot of cooking ahead of time, I consciously forbade myself from elaborate strategic plotting. At three o’clock sharp, I was not ready. But my friends were – streaming through the door in droves as I scrambled to throw on lipstick and comb my hair. There was not so much as a dish on the table, and the vacuum was standing in the middle of the living-room floor. Still, somehow it all felt great. I set people to work filling bowls and moving chairs, somebody fired up the stereo with a long-forgotten CD, and the party was under way.

In the end, it’s all about balance. Great do-it-yourself entertaining is marked by a sweet harmony between the best-laid plans and the whims of the moment, between the work involved and the payoff gleaned, between the vision of the host and the collective will of the assembled friends.