Your guide to discovering the world’s largest sanctuary for carnivorous animals
Get ready! This place will leave you, and your family, in awe. The Wildlife Animal Sanctuary located outside Aurora, Colorado is the world’s only sanctuary of its kind and has recused more than 1,000 captive animals in its 38 years. With a 3-mile elevated walkway, discover lions, leopards, tigers, bears, mountain lions, and so much more right beneath your feet.
Founded in 1988 by a Colorado native, The Wildlife Animal Sanctuary is home to more than 470 captive animals. These creatures, mostly exotic, have been rescued from unsafe living situations such private residences, businesses, roadside zoos, and circuses. While most animals were rescued from the United States, the Wildlife Sanctuary is also home to animals from international countries.
The sanctuary only rescues captive-born animals, which is important considering there’s often no place for captive animals after they’re rescued. Releasing them back into the wild isn’t an option because most never developed hunting or other wildlife skills. The Wildlife Animal Sanctuary provides open spaces, nutritious food, and social interaction with like-species that sets up the best possible scenario for hundreds of animals.
During the summer months, arrive early (before 9:00 AM) or late (after 5:00 PM) to view the animals at their peak activity level
Budget anywhere from 3-5 hours at the sanctuary (depending on your walking speed)
Don’t bring your dog, they’re not permitted on the property
Be prepared to walk 3.0 miles round trip
Pack the essentials:
The wild awaits! Here’s what you need to know for your tour.
Private guided tour
Spend your tour with one of the sanctuary’s highly educated and knowledgeable guides. Our team agreed it’s worth the $100 per person price for two and a half hour tour. The guide will walk alongside you and assist in animal discovery. Best of all? These people know the animals like the back of their hand. From their names and backstory to their personalities and habits, these guides are well trained and love what they do.
Darting foxes, roaring lions, playful grizzlies, and curious lynx are just a handful of the creatures you might see on your tour. With more than 80 habitat areas, grab a tour guide handbook before heading out to plan your trip.
Remember, The Wildlife Animal Sanctuary is tasked with transitioning animals from cramped cages to open space. While some of their current pens may seem small, it prevents them from becoming overwhelmed. Animals will be transitioned to larger spaced as they gain confidence and comfortability.
It’s a big place! With more than 720 acres of animal habits, here are our must-sees along the way:
Keep a quick eye to discover some of the sanctuary’s fox. Look for Joker, an arctic fox usually found digging or taking an afternoon nap. Peer into the tall grass, you just might see one rustling around.
Bolivian Lion House & Lion Habitats
About 1/5 mile into the tour you’ll enter the Lion House, a place used specifically for introducing new lions and housing older lions. Inside, discover lions and lionesses enjoying the sanctuary life. Outside, grab your binoculars to check out snoozing prides of adult lions.
Grizzly & Black Bear Habitats
These playful grizzlies are usually more active in the late afternoon and early evening. Watch their waterfall to catch Tiny, one of the largest animals in the sanctuary, soaking up some rays.
Tiger Roundhouse is home to lots of tigers who are new to the sanctuary and it’s used to help the animals get acquainted with one another. Stick around to see Athos splash in his pool.
Here’s the full list of animals at the sanctuary:
After the round-trip tour, The Wild Animal Sanctuary offers classic lunch options, like burgers and fries alongside vegan and vegetarian options inside the Lion’s Den for purchase. You can learn more about The Wild Animal Sanctuary and even purchase your tickets online on their website.