Wild Animal Sanctuary

Northern Colorado

This large 720-acre wildlife sanctuary is about 30 minutes east of Denver by car on your way to Fort Morgan. It has over 400 large predators – including lions, tigers, bears, mountain lions, wolves and more – that have been rescued from zoos, circuses and abusive roadside attractions. The highlight of the visit is a cruise along the 1.5-mile elevated walkway (a Guinness record holder). At the end, the tiger round house gives you a pretty close view of these massive cats.

Even people who don't love zoos may like a visit here, because the animals are in very large enclosures of five to 25 acres; the elevated walkway means that humans come into less contact with the animals. There are a number of heart-rending stories and pictures along the way, documenting the path of these 'retired' animals. The new visitor center includes snack and gift shops.

Insider tip: come either right when they open or three hours before close, when the animals are most active. Yes…bears sleep in the winter.