DENVER, Jan. 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Colorado is home to more than 750 wildlife species, and visitors are never more than a short drive into the wild.
Keep wildlife wild and always view creatures from a safe and respectful distance. To learn more, please visit Colorado.com
Brazilian Free-tail Bats, Moffat: Every summer, a colony of about 250,000 Brazilian Free-tail Bats roost in the historic Orient Mine in Colorado. Visitors can take a two-mile hike from the Orient Mine Welcome Center and observe bats entering and exiting the mine's opening.
Hummingbirds, Statewide: Colorado is home to several hummingbird species that migrate to the Centennial State for the summer. These speedy travelers usually arrive in Colorado in mid-April and leave in early September.
Monarch Butterflies, Canyons and Plains: Every year, thousands of monarch butterflies migrate through Colorado in the autumn and descend on southeastern Colorado. In 2019, Lamar earned a Monarch City USA designation.
Tarantulas, La Junta: Every autumn, tarantulas appear en masse in La Junta and Southeast Colorado. While the females stick to their burrows in undisturbed prairie rangeland, males of eight years or older group up and set out to find mates.
Noteworthy Wildlife Viewing Experiences
Bird Banding with Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, Various Locations: This program is an outdoor classroom to enhance the public's appreciation of wild birds and their habitats, and visitors are welcome to participate.
Colorado Birding Trail, Statewide: This scenic driving route connects 54 trails, more than 500 bird types and 800 bird watching sites across Colorado. The Colorado Birding Trail website has a free downloadable birding guide for the southeast and southwest trails.
Moose Visitor Center at State Forest State Park, Walden: With more than 600 moose residing around Walden and North Park year-round, The Moose Visitor Center is a great place to get oriented as it features informative educational videos, geocaching activities and more.
Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, Commerce City – This refuge is home to more than 280 native plants and 330 animal species, including mule deer, coyotes, bison, songbirds, burrowing owls and bald eagles. Visitors can take the 11-mile wildlife drive.
Wild Horses in Sand Wash Basin, Maybell: Maintained by the Bureau of Land Management, the Sand Wash Basin is home to a federally protected herd of wild horses.
Wild Animal Sanctuaries
Colorado Gators Reptile Park, Mosca: Colorado Gators is a sanctuary for unwanted exotic pets available for public viewing. In addition to alligators, other reptiles at the park include Nile crocodiles, Burmese pythons, anacondas and more.
Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center, Divide: This center is one of very few sanctuaries in the U.S. that has been certified by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. CWWC actively participates in the Species Survival Program by providing a home to Mexican Grey Wolves and Swift Foxes.
Mission: Wolf, Westcliffe: At Mission: Wolf, wolves and wolf-dog crosses born in captivity are given a second chance at a happy life while also acting as ambassadors for the quarter of a million wolves currently in captivity.
The Wild Animal Sanctuary, Keenesburg: This sanctuary rescues animals from captivity and currently cares for more than 520 lions, tigers, bears, wolves and other rescued animals.
8th Annual Eagle Festival, Barr Lake State Park, Brighton – Feb. 1, 2020 Barr Lake State Park recognizes the bald eagle nesting season at an annual festival every February, featuring live raptor presentations, guided hikes and tours and crafts for kids.
The High Plains Snow Goose Festival, Lamar – Feb. 6-9, 2020: The annual High Plains Snow Goose Festival is one of Colorado's largest birding festivals and offers a variety of programs.
37th Annual Monte Vista Crane Festival – March 6-8, 2020: Monte Vista hosts a crane festival each spring to mark the return of nearly 20,000 sandhill cranes as they fly north for the season with viewing tours, children's activities and more.
Mountain Plover Festival, Karval – April 24-26, 2020: The town of Karval is home to one of North America's largest breeding grounds for the elusive Mountain Plover. This festival includes homestyle meals, guided tours, educational programs and authentic western entertainment.
22nd Annual Elk Fest, Estes Park – Oct. 3-4, 2020: Elk Fest is free, family-friendly festival, where guests can learn about elk behavior at ranger presentations and observe the creatures in their natural habitat.
Georgetown Bighorn Sheep Festival – Nov. 14, 2020: Georgetown pays tribute to bighorn sheep during this annual festival that includes children's activities, crafts, live music, ranger programs and more.
SOURCE Colorado Tourism Office