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Wild Denver: Where to Spot Amazing Animals

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Denver, Colorado is a haven for wildlife. The city contains hundreds of miniature ecosystems tucked throughout parks and preserves, while soaring mountains and wide-open plains provide refuge for roaming bison, deer and even urban bat colonies.

Located in the heart of downtown, Magnolia Hotel Denver is central to a variety of popular wildlife sites. Take a quick 12-minute car trip to the zoo or walk the riverside path at nearby City of Cuernavaca Park, named for Denver’s sister city in Mexico. From native bison to rescued African tigers, here are some of the exotic creatures you could encounter during your Colorado vacation.

Denver Zoo’s Animal Encounters

Denver’s 80-acre zoo inside City Park is impressive, with more than 4,000 year-round “residents” including Sumatran tigers, frilled lizards and ring-tailed lemur. If you want to get up close and personal with exotic animals, this is the place. While visitors can’t tickle the tigers or bounce balls with the bears, Denver Zoo’s Animal Encounters puts the tamer animals within reach. Take a tour with the penguins, handle a tropical snake or help handlers feed the zoo’s hungry, hungry hippo, Mahali. New this year, The Edge exhibit lets guests literally press their noses to a tiger’s stripes – through safety glass, of course. Tip: Through October 31, visitors can get a taste of Jurassic Park at the Dinos! Exhibition, located throughout the park.

Stroll the Sanctuary

Just 30 minutes north of Denver you’ll find The Wild Animal Sanctuary, a 720-acre habitat for rescue animals. It’s the largest facility of its kind in the world! The sanctuary was closed to humans for more than two decades. Today, guests can see the animals in wide-open habitats via walkways built above the grounds. Stroll the “Mile into the Wild Walkway,” which stretches over a mile-and-a-half over the facility, offering bird’s eye views of more than 450 lions, tigers, bears, and wolves. Guests can rest easy knowing that the critters on display were rescued and rehabilitated by the sanctuary’s animal-loving staff.

Rocky Mountain Arsenal

Just outside Denver’s city limits you’ll find an ecological wonderland. The Rocky Mountain Arsenal Complex comprises three separate wildlife refuges that provide a home for the area’s bison, bald eagles, deer and other woodland creatures. Once a chemical weapons site, the land underwent a massive cleanup post-Cold-War, transforming it into a pristine habitat. The Arsenal is free to tour; hike one of the site’s many trails or take the 11-mile scenic wildlife drive for your best chance at spotting large mammals in the wild. Tip: While the refuge is 25 miles outside the city proper, visitors can easily capture the Denver skyline as backdrop by pointing their cameras to the southwest.

Denver has amazing biological diversity for a major metro. There’s plenty more from the animal kingdom around Magnolia Hotel, including plentiful fish in Lowell Ponds State Wildlife Area and migrating birds and butterflies at Cheesman Park. The hotel is also pet-friendly, so Fido and Fluffy can spend some time with you exploring Denver’s amazing outdoor spaces. Get started on your Colorado adventure by calling 1-866-912-1037 or book your stay online today.