Animal Magnetism

Not everyone knows that just thirty miles up the road from Denver, in Keenesburg, sits the 720-acre Wild Animal Sanctuary, a refuge serving more than 300 rescued lions, tigers, bears, wolves and other large carnivores. But the tourist-friendly sanctuary – which has a raised walkway system for safe viewing, as well as a welcome center and a gift shop -- is working on remedying that with a series of free Rock Into the Wild summer concerts designed to bring people to the rural site for some awareness-raising. Featuring laid-back Colorado talent, arts-and-crafts vendors, food and fun activities spread out Woodstock-style on the facility's land, the concerts also offer an opportunity to get up close and personal with the sanctuary’s wild denizens. And, as the walkways are open until 8:30 p.m. nightly during the summer, there's always the option of touring the grounds.

"This is a great time to visit. The animals are more nocturnal this time of year, so it gives visitors a better opportunity to see them while they're not down in their dens," says WAS director Lisa Wenninger, who adds that her current favorite animal guests are some new Kodiak brown bears who are "just 1,000 pounds of fun."

Today's concert, the second of three scheduled this year, begins at 3 p.m. and features music by Rocky Mountain Brassworks, Over Soul'd and Wildlife Control. Admission is free (plus $7.50 to $15 if you opt to tour the grounds), and it's a BYO-lawn-chair kind of place; for information, visit The season's last concert is on August 17.
Sat., June 22, 3 p.m.; Sat., July 20, 3 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 17, 3 p.m., 2013

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd