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If you are a fan of animals, an animal rescue can be a wonderful place to visit – especially if it is done even half as well as it is as The Wild Animal Sanctuary outside of Denver, Colorado. The Sanctuary is a huge 700 acre facility where the animals are gradually rehabilitated and introduced to large habitats with other animals, so that they can socialize and live a stress-free, comfortable life. They specialize in large carnivores and nearly 300 rescued animals under their care. Tigers, lions, wolves and black bears make up the bulk of the population, although they also have grizzly bears, jaguars and servals, as well as a few smaller animals.
It is definitely a great place for these animals, but visitors will also have an amazing experience because the sanctuary offers a unique way to watch their charges. The sanctuary built a huge, elevated walkway known as the Mile into the Wild. This wide pathway is raised well above the animal habitats so that visitors can observe the animals in their habitats without disturbing them or putting the visitors at risk. The pathway system is innovative, since the animals don’t need to be enclosed to allow visitors to see them – and you can see them acting much more naturally than they would in a small enclosure. For instance, the tigers like to swim and play in the natural and manmade lakes that are in their habitats! As the name suggests, the walkway is almost a mile long, but the sanctuary has plans to expand it as it expands and adds new animal habitats in the future.
The walkways also mean that there are great photo opportunities here, since there is no glass or plastic barrier between you and the animals. The cats tend to be most active in the morning and evening (which seems to be when feeding times are), and can often be seen snoozing like giant house cats during the day, but the bears seem like they’re active most of the time. You could easily spend a few hours here if you come armed with a camera and don’t mind waiting for that one great shot. Bring a zoom, since some of the animals nap further from the walkways than others!
Check out the gallery below for even more animal pictures, and be sure to stop in for a visit if you’re an animal-lover. Admission is $15 for adults, $7.50 for kids and goes towards supporting the sanctuary, which is a nonprofit. They’re open almost every day of the year, with more limited hours in the winter than the summer.
The Wild Animal Sanctuary
1946 County Road 53
Keenesburg, CO 80643