The state of Colorado is known for its breathtaking landscapes and outdoor adventures – but is also home to a number of animal sanctuaries that provide refuge and care for rescued and endangered species. These sanctuaries offer visitors a unique opportunity to learn about and interact with animals in a safe and compassionate environment.
So, whether you’re an animal lover, nature enthusiast, or simply seeking a meaningful experience, here are the top animal sanctuaries to visit in Colorado.
1. The Wild Animal Sanctuary
Location: 2999 County Road 53, Keenesburg, CO 80643
Located in Keenesburg, The Wild Animal Sanctuary is one of the largest carnivore sanctuaries in the world. Spanning over 10,000 acres, it provides a home for more than 600 rescued animals, including lions, tigers, bears, wolves, and other exotic species. Visitors can embark on a walkway system that stretches over a mile, allowing them to observe these majestic creatures in their natural habitats. The sanctuary also focuses on education and conservation efforts, raising awareness about the challenges faced by captive wild animals and promoting ethical treatment.
2. Mission: Wolf Sanctuary
Location: Westcliffe, CO 81252
Located in Westcliffe, Mission: Wolf is a unique sanctuary that focuses on providing a permanent home for wolves and wolf-dog hybrids. The sanctuary offers guided tours where visitors can observe and interact with these fascinating animals. Mission: Wolf aims to dispel misconceptions about wolves and educate the public about their ecological importance. They also promote sustainable living practices and advocate for the preservation of wild wolf populations.
3. Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center
Location: Divide, CO 80814
Situated in Divide, the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center is dedicated to the preservation of wolves, foxes, and coyotes. Through guided tours, visitors can learn about the behavior, habitat, and conservation challenges faced by these animals. The center also offers unique opportunities to meet and interact with ambassador wolves, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation for these incredible creatures. Additionally, the sanctuary conducts research to support conservation efforts and participates in educational outreach programs.
4. The Wild Animal Refuge
Location: 00431 County Road PP Springfield, CO 81073
The Wild Animal Refuge is a Springfield-based second location of the Wild Animal Sanctuary (Keensburg). The refuge provides a forever home for a wide range of rescued wildlife, including large cats, bears, primates, and hoofed animals. This sanctuary focuses on creating naturalistic habitats to ensure the well-being and happiness of the animals in their care. Visitors can take guided tours and witness the transformation of these animals from a life of captivity to one of freedom. The refuge also emphasizes education and the promotion of animal welfare through community outreach initiatives.
5. The Rocky Mountain Wildlife Foundation [Closed in 2019]
Now closed, the Rocky Mountain Wildlife Foundation was once dedicated to rehabilitating and releasing native wildlife back into their natural habitats. The sanctuary closed its doors in December 2019 and the animals were transferred to a nonprofit called Mattersville in Sedalia.
Colorado’s animal sanctuaries offer a unique opportunity to witness the beauty of wildlife and learn about the importance of conservation and animal welfare. Whether you’re passionate about all animals, wolves, or a variety of rescued wildlife, these sanctuaries provide an immersive and educational experience for visitors of all ages.
By supporting these sanctuaries, you contribute to their vital work in protecting and rehabilitating animals in need. So, plan your visit to Colorado and embark on a journey of compassion and discovery as you connect with these remarkable creatures in their sanctuaries.