Animals can have it pretty rough. Anyone who's seen pictures of forest critters fleeing wildfires -- or has had to evacuate livestock or pets -- knows that disasters don't just impact two-legged types. And it's not only major catastrophes that can wear down the furry and feathered residents of the globe; last week's fireworks were also enough to make normally docile pets act squirrelly.
Enter Animal Planet Expo, a traveling showcase that stops off this weekend at Chatfield State Park, 11500 North Roxborough Park Road in Littleton. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and tomorrow, the expo -- sponsored by the Animal Planet cable channel and the American Humane Association -- will offer a variety of pet- and owner-friendly events. Among the attractions will be a theater showing videos of animal rescues; sessions with local veterinarians, including Kevin Fitzgerald, Bob Taylor and Holly Knor, who gained exposure through Animal Planet's Emergency Vet series; and presentations by animal handlers working with exotic snakes and felines. Also expected to be on display is the eighty-foot-long Animal Planet Rescue, a mobile relief vehicle that's been visiting the scene of natural disasters since 1998.
The vets, Taylor says, will tell stories about various cases they've handled and "weave them into a positive message: that life with pets is good." They'll also play Animal Planet trivia, a game designed to teach humans some interesting animal facts. For example: How many kittens could be born from one female cat and her offspring in a two-year period? (Answer: About 4,000.)
Animals are welcome at the expo, and can even cool off in a pets' watering hole -- but leashes are mandatory. And while admission is free for people and pets, Chatfield has a $6 per vehicle parking fee. For more information, log on to www.animalplanetrescue.com. -- Ernie Tucker
Be Like Lance
Don't bypass this race
The Triple Bypass bicycle tour is a tiger. You pedal 120 miles from Evergreen to Avon, over Squaw, Loveland and Vail passes, for a total elevation gain of 10,000 feet. The 6:30 a.m. start can be frigid or rainy; even snow is not uncommon, at least on the passes. And there's almost always a gruesome head wind on the grind from Idaho Springs up to the Continental Divide. Punishment or challenge? You be the judge. The reward? Bragging rights. That's apparently been enough for an ever-increasing number of participants over the years. In 1989, a mere 69 people rode the inaugural Triple, according to Team Evergreen Bicycle Club, the event's sponsor. Last year, more than 2,600 took part, coming from as far away as Maine.
Today's ride starts at the Wal-Mart parking lot on Evergreen Parkway at I-70. Registration is $115, which entitles you to food and drink at aid stations, mechanical and medical support, an official ride jersey, and access to a great finish-line party in Avon. For more details, visit www.teamevergreen.org or call 303-674-6048. -- Hart Van Denburg