“Wolves are very misunderstood animals,” says Stacey Rampp, staff member at Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center. That’s why Darlene Kobobel founded this sanctuary for rescued wolves and wolf hybrids that cannot live in the wild, back in 1993—to educate other animal lovers in a fun and interactive way.
You”ll catch your first glimpses of the wolves from the parking lot, as you’re walking into the gift shop, where you can check in for your tour. Plan extra time to view the foxes and a kid-friendly conservation corner stocked with information on endangered wildlife plus Canidae skulls in the gift shop.
In order to walk with the wolves, you”ll need to book—in advance—an hour-long tour that”ll take your family through a series of stunning two to three-acre habitats constructed with native plants, trees, and rock formations.
Standard tours take off at 10 a.m., noon, and 2 p.m. After a brief history lesson, you”ll follow your guide right up to the enclosure fences, where you”ll get close enough to the wolves to smell their breath as they eat treats out of your guide’s hand.
While walking along a square-shaped trail system, you”ll see many of the Center’s 18 wolves, along with coyotes and red and swift foxes—all the while learning fun, lesser-known tidbits about the animals.
“We”re all familiar with things like pack structure,” Rampp says. “But did you know timber wolves are marathon runners?” Participants learn that every wolf has a unique howl and usually get to hear that fact firsthand, during a guide-prompted, end-of-tour wolf howl-back. “That’s usually everybody’s favorite part,” Rampp says.
If your schedule permits, book one of the Center’s special tours for kids. Held one Saturday a month for ages six to 12, these tours follow the format of a standard tour while incorporating educational handouts and activities that let youth experience what it’s like to be a wildlife biologist.
Hour-long feeding tours are offered at 4 p.m., Thursdays excluded. Or, consider coming with your flashlight for a longer Full Moon Tour, hosted once a month on the Saturday closest to the full moon.
Full Moon Tours start with refreshments, and end with a nighttime hike to Chinook’s Nature Trail, where the wolf howl will raise the hair on your back. Speaking of hair-raising, don’t miss Howl-O-Ween, on Sunday, October 29, from 4 to 6 p.m. The Center will be decked out for the holiday, and guides will lead haunted tours.
Tours are fantastic, but Rompp says, “The most fun part is meeting the wolves.” Children get a chance to meet the Center’s two wolf pups during the Full Moon Tour mentioned above. And kids age eight and up can interact with baby foxes, post-tour. Don’t be surprised if a fox jumps on your back while you’re handing him a treat—they”re playful, cuddly little animals that love to pounce.
Check it Out
4729 Twin Rocks Rd., Divide
Need to know
Open Tuesday through Sunday for guided tours only.
Tours start at $15 for adults, and $8 for children ages two to 12.
Don’t forget to wear sturdy, closed-toed shoes on this adventure, and consider bringing a packed lunch to enjoy at the Center’s picnic tables.