Wild Animal Sanctuary-Adventure of the week

adventure of the week, colorado, Colorado Events, Environment, Travel

Maybe you are seeing a theme, why yes I do love animals!

This particular week involves Lions and Tigers and Bears…. oh my!

 

And wolves and lynx and bobcat and…. you get the idea.

 

Last weekend I took my Girl Scout troop to the Wild Animal sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado.

Keenesburg is about an hour south of Fort Collins, and around 40 minutes North of Denver. Yet it’s a world away from the traffic, noise, and hustle and bustle that is living in town.

 

Keenesburg is really just a small prairie village that happens to have one of Colorado’s best kept secrets. The only reason it got its claim to fame is due to it being so rural and having extra land for sale and to spare.

Enter the wild animal sanctuary. The sanctuary started as a private project of love by Pat Craig who began rescuing animals that were up for euthanasia or that were being mistreated. Rescues came from around the country from zoos, owners that misjudged their ability to own a predator, and circuses. Before they knew it, they had a lot more critters and needed more resources.

When I was a kid no one could visit without getting special permission. Now the sanctuary welcomes around 200,000 visitors a year! Guests not only visit the animals, they also learn about the rehabilitation process for these often abused and neglected creatures.

The sanctuary specializes in carnivores and larger predators as they are often the hardest to care for. What makes their experience unique is solely the amount of space the animals have to live, yell, have friends, play, eat, and be happy in their captive lives.

In addition to giving the cats their space and a life of comfort, the sanctuary boasts the longest raised walkway in the world. Almost like a boardwalk, a raised platform goes on for over a mile giving guests the chance to view the animals without infringing on their daily lives.

As presented at the sanctuary, the critters don’t feel threatened when people are above them in such a matter. This also improves the visibility for visitors as it gives guests an intimate view without driving animals to discomfort or hiding.

Perhaps my personal favorite aspect was getting to hear the animals call and run like they would naturally. The lions growled and talked to each other. The wolves howled. The bobcats rolled in the grass. Every animal seemed contented and happy, even if his or her lives had not always been that way.

What was sad about the sanctuary is that it has to exist. It’s that more tigers are captive in Texas than in the wild. And that humans are the culprit. While I think baby tigers are adorable there is considerable ignorance. To think baby Baloo won’t turn into a giant bear in a few years. Animals also belong to their instincts. Look at even a house cat, less domesticated than dogs they can terrorize their homes and they’re between 8-20lbs imagine one at 300! Point being, animals deserve not to be mistreated over the selfish whims of people.

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Some of the animals had visible scars, yes scars, from their years of mistreatment while other showed signs of neglect. One obese tiger that as going through rehabilitation had been over fed and under exercised that it was shocking to see them in extra weight. I had never thought an obese tiger was a reality, but lo and behold.

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WAS3WAS1500Yet, trying to move past the sad, is the hope; that with patience, love, education, and action we can end these tragedies. The Wild Animal Sanctuary is changing minds and the world and I hope, if in the neighborhood, you will take the time to be humbled by animals being their natural, wonderful selves.

Happy Travels!

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Road Trip Survival U.S.A.

Allergen-free eating on the road, colorado, family, new mexico, Travel, United States, wyoming

Growing up in the west, we take a lot of what the rest of the world would see as “road trips”. This could mean just a shopping excursion in the biggest city for 300 miles (Denver) or traveling state lines to get to family, friends, or just out of your bubble.

Growing up in a rural environment meant that we had to travel to get anything and anywhere. 30 minutes to the grocery store. 60 minutes to go clothes shopping. 120 minutes to go to a concert…. it took a while to get places. Then of course you had to return, usually the same day.

In some respects I feel like a road warrior, always prepared with a book and wet wipes for whatever may come my way. Yet I always cringe a little bit at the prospect of a five hour drive from where I live to my hometown. Thus, there are always a few things I bring along to make sure I can survive without going batty.

  1. Entertainment
    • This depends on the journey and if I am going solo or with family or friends. If I am solo, I bring out the audio books. Especially longer books I have been struggling to get to with my own eyes…..hello Ulysses. If I am going with a buddy I make sure we have a good song playlist.
    • Remember to download files to your phone or device as cell phone service is often unreliable or totally nonexistent in many parts of the American West.
    • If you aren’t the only driver, bring some physical books, movies, magazines, or anything else to help pass the time.
  2. Comfort Food
    • This doesn’t have to be food that’s bad for you, but rather something you enjoy munching on that fills in the gaps between meals. I personally love chips (crisps to you brits).
    • Don’t go heavy with your snacks, make sure it’s not something that will upset your system or leave you bloated and uncomfortable. I find vegetable based treats and minimal grease make the best combination.
  3. Plan You Meals
    • I often pack a car lunch of tasty meals so we don’t have to make extra stops. This is often breakfast or lunch, with the next meal being one we stop for.
    • This is often a sandwich of some sort such as an egg and bacon for breakfast, hummus and veggies for lunch, or peanut butter and jelly. I always plan for something that won’t sour and that will taste good in a few hours.
  4. Leave Extra Time
    • I feel that it’s better to be stupid early than late. Meaning it makes more sense to show up before you planned than to show up late and make a mess. If you can’t commit to a time, don’t make plans and show when you get there. This leaves frustration behind and makes the journey easier.
  5. Plan for Frustration
    • Life happens, especially when you are on the road. Maybe you’ll hit a traffic jam, or an elk jam (this happens) which means you may take longer to get where you are going. This is just a reality of driving through the U.S. of A.
    • Make sure you have an emergency kit in your car, a AAA membership and other things to make your emergencies less tragic.
  6. Plan Your Routing
    • This seems obvious but a lot of people don’t plan their routing ahead of their journey. Yet, when you look into say traveling Raton Pass in New Mexico, you learn that storms can make the journey a nightmare. Make sure you look into where you are headed, especially using local Department of Transportation Websites and other details to ensure a smoother journey.
  7. Bring Comfy Cozies
    • This means something different for everyone. For me, it’s a few things. I bring my down pillow from home (IKEA brand), a hoodie (maybe a little threadbare), and some favorite leggings. This means I have everything needed for cold morning naps, sleeping in questionable hotels, and for comfort during unexpected discomfort.
  8. Have Fun
    • Regardless of the reasons for road tripping, make sure you add some fun. Maybe it’s stopping at a silly museum, or a famous ice cream shop, but make sure you take time to enjoy the journey. Otherwise, why go?

Happy Travels!

 

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