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As the largest and oldest sanctuary in the world dedicated to rescuing captive-born large carnivores, The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado, currently houses over 500 rescued animals amid 789 acres.  

“All viewing of our rescued animals is done from an elevated walkway that is 20 to 40 feet above the animals,” said Kent Drotar, public relations director at the sanctuary. “By being above them, the animals do not feel any pressure or stress like they would if humans were at ground level with them.”

The sanctuary began in 1980 in Boulder but moved just outside of Keenesburg in 1994. In early 2018, The Wild Animal Sanctuary procured an additional 9,684 acres of land near Springfield, Colorado, and intends to place current and future rescues there.

Currently, groups can see 80 different habitats while taking a 3-mile round trip on elevated paths — with educational signs placed throughout.

“Along the way guests will pass through our covered Lion House, over the Grizzly Bear deck and then onto our Education Center and snack/bar rest area,” Drotar said.

See large mammals like tigers, wolves, jaguars and mountain lions. The sanctuary is also home to other animals like coyotes, fox, porcupine, emus and alpacas.

Credit: The Wild Animal Sanctuary

Tours of the facility are self-guided, although The Wild Animal Sanctuary enjoys providing educational opportunities for groups at the Education Center. Groups will learn about the animals’ lives in captivity and how they have changed since arriving at the sanctuary.

The sanctuary features a 48,000-square-foot Welcome Center housing 10 acres of parking lot space, the Gift Shop, Lion’s Den Café and an ice cream shop. The center also includes a private rooftop space for groups. The Wild Animal Sanctuary can accommodate groups of any size on the elevated boardwalk. Reservations are required for renting out rooftop space and the Education Center.

For more information call 303-536-0118 or go to wildanimalsanctuary.org.