Rescued animals have found a good home in Colorado.
Colorado is brimming with wildlife, and we are lucky enough to be near the natural habitat of several species. It's pretty awesome to see deer, coyotes, and so much more while out and about in our state's wilderness areas.
Colorado is also home to several sanctuaries that provide refuge for native wildlife, as well as other rescued species, which we don't often get to see outside of a zoo. Check out some of the best refugees in the state for a unique educational experience for the whole family.
*Please check-in with each wildlife sanctuaries' official website for up-to-date information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic prior to your visit.*
Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center, Divide
Courtesy of Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center (Facebook)
This unique Association of Zoos and Aquariums-certified sanctuary offers guided educational tours about the importance of the beautiful and majestic wolf and other misunderstood wild canids in our ecosystem. The center focuses on providing natural habitats for its animals, which include Mexican Grey Wolves and Swift Foxes.
"Our personalized, one-hour walking tours through the sanctuary are fun and educational. We guarantee an up-close view of the beautiful, majestic and elusive wolf. We welcome school groups, cub/boy/girl scout groups, nature enthusiasts, work parties and any other organization you may belong to," says the center's website.
Gabriel Foundation Aviary & Adoption Center, Elizabeth
Courtesy of The Gabriel Foundation Aviary & Adoption Center (Facebook)
The Gabriel Foundation Aviary & Adoption Center (TGF), in Elizabeth, has been a safe place for parrots and other birds in its current location since 2005 (it was previously in Basalt). It provides quality care to over 800 birds each day, providing adoption, rescue, rehabilitation, sanctuary, and long-term care for birds that are in its care. A huge part of the foundation's mission is to educate more people on parrots, as well as proper care to ensure more birds stay with their owners. To that end, it opens up its doors to visitors, who get a chance to learn more about parrots, the sanctuary, adoption, and more. The tour also lets you get up close and personal with one or two parrots.
Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, Commerce City
Courtesy of Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge (Facebook)
Just 10 miles outside of Denver (technically in Commerce City) sits a 15,000-acre home to more than 280 native flora and 330 animal species, including bison. Your best chance of seeing the bison on the refuge is taking the Wildlife Drive. You are required to stay in your vehicle (no biking or walking in) because bison are wild and unpredictable. If you are lucky, you might also see deer, coyotes, black-footed ferrets, owls, raccoons, and much more.
It just one of several bison preserves in the area that are worth checking out.
The Wild Animal Sanctuary, Keenesburg
Courtesy of The Wild Animal Sanctuary (Facebook)
The Wild Animal Sanctuary (TWAS) in Keenesburg offers 738 acres of refuge for large carnivores that were abused, abandoned, illegally kept, or victims of other horrible conditions. The site hosts around 520 large carnivores and serves as an educational facility that you can visit any day you choose. The animals live in large, open habitats where they can freely come and go, as they please. You'll get to see these beautiful beasts in a more natural setting, and they are often in the same areas together. A 1.5-mile elevated walkway will take you above several habitats where you can see these amazing animals doing their thing.
The Colorado Gator and Reptile Park, Mosca
Yes, the park is even open in the winter! Courtesy of Colorado Gator and Reptile Park (Facebook)
Home to both captive-bred and rescued gators and reptiles, this park is the best place in the state (and pretty much the only place outside of zoos) to see alligators! Thanks to the warm geothermal waters of the area, the gators thrive at the park. You will also see a host of rescued exotic pets, many of which were dropped off by owners who could no longer care for them. Over the years, this has included overgrown alligators and other reptiles such as large pythons, tortoises, iguanas, and more.
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